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Opinions of Saturday, 31 March 2012

Columnist: Mensah, Solomon

Feed an Orphan at the fringes of your farm

By Solomon Mensah
Although her coffers do not flow with honey, the wise words brewed from the wisdom pot that sits on her neck exceeds material wealth and it is enough for me.

When I lost my parents in less than a year, my Swahili friend’s message of condolence kept me strong. “Hapana fisi asiye na rafiki,” translating, “There is no hyena without a friend.” To paraphrase her, there is no orphan without a friend. Indeed, I had Afaafa supporting and encouraging me. However, as the most popular 2011 “christmas-zonto” drew near, one question kept aching my head: the question as to whether the inmates in our orphanage homes have friends?
It was December 25, 2011. As usual, the inhabitants of Dodosuo welcomed the Christmas with pomp and pageantry. As the goats struggled and bleated at Opanin Koo Nsowa’s backyard, I had already jumped into that rickety taxi. To where? Wait a minute. You know, I could not have been on board without lobbying for the goat’s liver from the village’s butcher, Kwa-Asare. “Agya, yebeda nti yennwu?” a revised version of the proverb.
From Dodosuo through Gonoasua-kromonom to Sebreni, I responded to the greetings of the roadside weeds as they shook me in the car. Yea, back to your question, it was an ‘away bus’ to Yawhima, a suburb of Sunyani, to visit the Compassion is Love Orphanage home.
Upon entering the Compassion is Love Orphanage home, I was once again greeted by a colourful Christmas painting done by one Julian Compriche, a German volunteer. In front of this painting were empty chairs waiting for visitors. As I got to the chairs, I heard, from nowhere, a cacophony of joyful noise from children playing. Kojo is one of such children of the home. For his role, he serves as a pastor praying before and after a meeting he had with visitors. As usual, his prayer was as short as a lady’s skirt, which aroused interest, but was long enough to cover the essentials. In unison, the children responded, “We ate rice,” when I enquired whether they had had any food since morning. Unlike that ‘stubborn’ child in the Pure Milk ad, Kojo did not point a finger at any phone, but rather at the fufu being pounded. Telling me they have enough food.
Winston Churchill said it right, “We make a living by what we get; we make a life by what we give.” In an attempt to make a life, Mr Adams voluntarily gives himself out as the public relations officer to the Compassion is Love Orphanage home. Mr Adams is a teacher at Chiraa Senior High. For the past six years, he has been feeding the orphans at the fringes of his farm (volunteerism).
Perhaps for the name of the home, visitors kept trooping in with all sorts of gifts: rice, bread, cooking oil and the like. These kept a cheerful look on the children’s face. However, aside Mr Adams thanking each of the visitors, he told me it would be appreciated if the friends of the home could also help in the health and sanitation needs. “After our children have drunk and dined, we need to health-check them to keep them healthy,” Mr Adams said. Like Oliver Twist, he asked for more by mentioning the need to get a mower to weed their compound. “Our children’s muscles are too weak to weed,” he added.
In Acts 3:6 of the Holy Book, Peter said to the cripple, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” Similarly, I did not have silver or gold, but with my Swahili friend’s message of condolence in mind, I told them to “walk,” which was widow’s mite of feeding the orphans at the fringes of my farm. For your information, I made a promise on your behalf before mounting on my Phoenix bicycle that you will also feed an orphan near you.

The writer is a student-journalist at the Ghana Institute of Journalism.