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Opinions of Monday, 3 August 2009

Columnist: Adofo, Rockson

A Ghanaian Family is Starving to Death in London.

The Credit crunch with the resultant recession has made life extremely unbearable for many a Ghanaian resident abroad. Not only has the cost of living spiralled out of control, hitting the roof, wages and salaries of workers have not seen any stroboscopic increment. Most people, both Whites and Blacks, immigrants and citizens, have lost their jobs. Some have been compelled by no default of theirs to live at the mercy of nature, suffering its attendant vagaries. The unpredictability of the economic scene has forced many Ghanaians to curtail what used to be their immoderate life indulgences. People are hanging out on the economic fringe; they can hardly tell what is lurking at the next turn of their life pursuit of economic happiness, or what is likely to unfold at the next ticking of the clock that may change their life for the worse.

My eyes are welled up in tears whenever the precarious state of a Ghanaian family of five living in London flashes my mind. This unfortunate family may not live to see the end of this year if urgent help does not manifest in their favour within a matter of days. This family composed of a man, a wife and three young children live in New Cross, a suburb of London. The husband was though a hard working man, the obnoxious credit crunch whisked him off his employment a year ago. He has since been effortful and relentless searching to secure another job but all to no avail. They had been subsisting on the meagre wages earned by his wife as a casual worker with what is called an "Agency" in the UK, and an "Interim", in France. The wife gave birth a few months ago. Their financial situation dictates that she returns to work quickly without availing herself of the full course of the minimum length of maternity leave granted in the UK. However, the Agency has categorically denied her an offer of employment with the flimsiest excuse that it is too early for her to return to work after giving birth. They are now penniless and they will so remain unless a miracle happens in their life.

They are unfortunately illegal immigrants. Their work permits have expired and they cannot get their residence and work permits renewed. Could it not be the reason for the Agency refusing to take the wife back but not willing to tell her the truth? The only miracle that the Merciful God Almighty can let take place in their lives is for good people to come to their aid immediately. Although they had acted providently while working, the immensity of the savagery of the credit crunch has dissipated all their life savings. They are now living in absolute penury without access to any decent meal. This family is famishing, concluding from the information reaching me. If Good Samaritans don't come to the aid of this family, they may perish from the surface of this earth in a matter of days.

Should any of the children be the first to die, the parents will be charged with cruelty to children, causing a child's death, and consequently jailed for that. But will such death if occurred be a deliberate act on the part of the parents? No it isn't. But the law being an ass, they will be held responsible regardless.

How did I get informed of this horrendous situation of this unfortunate family, one may wish to know? It is that very simple. I am a kind of person who sees every Ghanaian as a compatriot, if not a family member, who must be approached with respect and be helped if need be. I am always welcoming people with open arms and sharing especially, my food with them. By this cultivated practice of mine, I have been sharing my sandwich supply with a Ghanaian colleague at work. He comes every day saying thank you to me with the compliment, "Your sandwiches have been of great help to me especially my friends with whom I share them". He then tells me how beneficial they have been to this extremely needy family.

In a nutshell, a Ghanaian family is at the brink of doom and they need to be delivered from the looming death situation. I understand they don't even have money to purchase a tin of milk let alone vegetables and meat. They are incurring rent arrears and they will sooner be evicted from their privately rented accommodation. They will soon become homeless; thrown out of their house if Mr. Death does not lay his icy hands on them before then.

I suggest as follows:

* Any Ghanaian able to, especially the members of his Baptist Church in Seven Sisters, Tottenham, London, should donate either a can of milk, a tin of tomato, a kilo of starch or any non perishable food item to this family. All that they need to keep their soul and body together at this moment is food but not money.

* The Ghanaian FM stations and the numerous church centres can be a point of collection of any such donated items.

* It is now that the numerous Ghanaian pastors resident in London are being called upon to manifest their godly calling. It is not enough to pray for, and wish the needy the usual, "go, and God will provide". They need material assistance inasmuch as they are hungry.

* The family must contact the Member of Parliament for their area and discuss with him or her the way forward. They should plead with the MP to get the Social Services to take the children all of who were born in London into a transitory care. This is to avoid any of the children dying out of hunger and the parents standing trial for negligence of duty and cruelty to their children. Being illegal immigrants should not prevent one under such hopeless situation to approach their MP.

* Others may be in similar situation. Please all those needing dire assistance should not be afraid to tell it to their friends. Help can only come to a sufferer when he or she discusses his or her problem with trusted friends.

* The contact details of this family will be revealed to the London based radio FM stations. For the sake of the three young children, the parents should allow their details to be announced to the entire Ghanaian community in case one can come to their aid.

Now, do Ghanaians back home understand how their brothers and sisters are suffering in foreign lands? There are no flowing rivers of milk, honey and money in the Whiteman's land as ignorantly perceived by those back home to whom money and other things are entrusted by their family members living overseas, but are unfortunately often misappropriated. Do you now believe the reality of the lyrics of the song, "By the rivers of Babylon, the weeds are dying....?" If weeds by a river which are in abundant supply of water and rich nutrients are dying, then it goes to tell how life is not as rosy in the Whiteman's land as believed by many an immigrant.

May all the Ghanaian Good Samaritans emerge from their lairs to help this family and all others that are in similar situations? Our immediate assistance to them is the only way they can be out of the woods. I am not asking for money for them but food and how to keep the supply line of their gas and electricity open or else, the food so offered if any, can't be cooked. Any request for further information on this family can be obtained by sending me an e-mail.

Rockson Adofo, London