Friday 20th March was World Storytelling Day. And boy, did the world have a story to tell! The plague had already ceased the global stage, taking storytellers hostage – monopolising the storyline – forcibly dictating the global narrative. Like wise willow trees in the path of a passing storm, storytellers the world over obliged to tell the hostage taker’s story. Verily, homebrewed wisdom teaches that when the battle cry is heard,even distinctly, warrior-hunters must forsake their hunting adventures and heed the call to arms.
The eagle-eyed learner I am, I promptly took a leaf from the pages of master storytellers. I too, from my lowly place in the scheme of things, did the hostage taker’s bidding. I told my small faithful audience an ‘amateurish’ rendition of the hostage taker’s story. Even so, I chose the less trodden path of giving hope in trying times. I chose to see the glass filled halfway up – not half empty. I imagined its content rising above midlevel – not dwindling further below. I envisioned it brim-full. I chose to see the sunny side. And my assurance remains sure that as sure as God, humanity will surely prevail.
But people, my optimism is not a large plaster over a festering wound. It is not an oversized cloak worn to conceal a malignant tumor. My optimism is as a solitary bridge over tempestuous waters; upon which we may cross over to safe grounds. And in crossing over, repent – and in repenting, reform – and in reforming, make restitution. All humanity, like a man, may stumble and even fall. But he surely will rise up again. The wise man, when he has risen, does not just dust himself and walk away – nose pointed heavenward. He knows it adds nothing to his learning.
The thinking man will doubtless rise and dust the earth off his Yendi handcrafted batakari. But he will also seek out that which caused his fall, so he may rid the path of the obstacle or at least, caution others who walk the same path. His wisdom tells him that he owes it a duty to himself and to others so to do. He imagines that a fair maiden – the object of many a young man’s nighttime fantasies, may be returning from the river with a treasured pot of water perched in delicate balance upon her head. Ekuaba could fall victim, sprain her ankle, spill the life-giving content of the pot, and lose the earthenware receptacle too. So the momentary fall of the wise becomes to him, a call to right action.
But in these days of wanton galamsey, it may be a hard thing for some people to imagine a river with clean water, worthy of a fair maiden’s commute and patronage. Try as these folk may work their imaginations, their best picturisations may be as clayey as the selfsame galamsey waters – the very waters which once mirrored the skies above. Today, courtesy the creators and patrons of the changfang floating covens, The Creator can no longer smile and admire Himself from on high; His waters no longer mirror His vast blue dome above; now the waters mirror the greed of man. Made in Odomakoma’s image, he would not reflect HIM, neither would he let HIS waters do. Onipa Konongo kaya! People, such is a random sample of the deeds from which we must repent, reform and make restitution.
…The ill-natured treatment of Nature as a living entity and natural nurturer – the rejection of Her ‘sacredness’ – the illusory sense of our separateness from that country… that race – the grave error in the aggressive assertiveness of our arrogated ‘right’ to plunder, profiteer and pollute – the absurdity in the belief that Earth is our bonafide piece of real estate; that we, by default, are sovereign landlords, not caretakers and co-tenants;that our charge is not to tend and keep the Garden, but to rend and eat carelessly thereof – the futility of intellectuality without godliness...I may exhaust myself; the list of ills is inexhaustible. People, these are some of the strongest arms busily paddling our canoe – backwards. These are thoughts from which we must keep our distance; deeds from which we must wash and sanitise our heads…and hearts…and hands.
In our compulsed temporal retreat, air pollution levels have fallen in China and America. Dolphins are swimming at anchor close in Italy’s waters. Swans have returned to the inland canals. In Singapore, otters are having a jolly field day – literally. Water bodies are turning cleaner – Odomakoma’s mirrors are self-cleansing elsewhere; certainly not in a certain place I know south of the Sahara. Egyptian geese walk freely in ‘enemy territory’ across the tarmac at Tel Aviv Airport. Are these not telltale signs to ‘thinking’ man that he must rethink his thoughts and take action against some of his actions? Bitter as bile is the Truth pill sometimes. But the swallow is worth our collective while.
Nature is a great teacher, but a strange creature is man. In adversity he may learn…and fast…and fall prostrate praying. Out of the woods, he soon forgets. Nature prays us not to forget today tomorrow.
Definition of Terms:
Batakari: a smock native to people from the Northern parts of Ghana
Changfang: floating vessel used in illegal mining in Ghana
Ekuaba: wooden dolls symbolising female beauty and fertility among the Akans of Ghana
Odomakoma: a name for God in the Akan language
Onipa Konongo kaya: the proverbial head porter who would not carry a load and would not let another carry
Galamsey: the term for Illegal mining in Ghana
Yendi: a major town in the Northern Region of Ghana
BY: Laud E. Nyampong Freeman.
The writer is a Communications, PR and Marketing Consultant with close to two decades of professional experience across several industries. He may be contacted on Tel: (GH) 0268811122 and Email: firstname.lastname@example.org