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Opinions of Thursday, 8 November 2007

Columnist: Adu-Gyamfi, Kwaku

The Erronous Impressions About The ?Burger?

WHAT DO BURGERS WANT? NOTHING!
THEY JUST WANT TO BE ACCEPTED AND TREATED JUST AS THE HOME FOLKS.

How best do we manage our folks who have traveled outside the country who of course are usually known as burgers? I would like to provide some few clues on how to relate and win the confidence of our folks out there. Trivial as this issue may appear, I want to hint that it is one of the agonizing issues if not headache, that our kith and kin who are domiciled in other parts of the world other than Ghana have to manage from time to time.

There is this perception among some folks back home that anyone who returns home from abroad is either rich or has no share of the world?s problems. Is this not a wrong thinking?

The reality is that Burgers tend to have more issues to tackle at home and abroad, but they hardly talk about them. The burger either believes the folks back home have very little to do in solving their problems particularly those that have to do with what they encounter abroad.

One of the complaints which one is likely to hear from Ghanaians in the Diaspora is that they are under perpetual apprehension that anytime they visit Ghana some folks back home either overtly or covertly ask for alms. It is important for folks back home to note that they can best court their relatives and friends who stay abroad if they create the impression that such companionships are genuine ones and not as avenues to dive into their wallets.

Given that Burgers are constantly under some kind of illusion that everyone wants something from them, the best approach to relate very well with these burgers is for friends and relatives back home to expect no cash other than their company. As the burger gets to know you as someone who is not in for his or her purse he or she will open up for you to be treated differently. You stand to benefit from his rich experiences that can become a start point for your own adventures in life.

The other thing you will find helpful is that many Ghanaian migrants left Ghana voluntarily, but their hearts are still in Ghana. They want to make impact on members of the communities they left behind. Unfortunately, fractured and punctured friendships and broken family ties make them strangers in their own land at times.

Some of them sought acceptance urgently and want to be part of the communities. Some also want a greater meaning to life, as they realized that much of their lives has been spent on some foreign soil and that they have missed ?something? that all the money in the world will not buy. They missed the sense of belongingness. In fact the burger feels alienated from the very community they grew up in.

In the midst of this alienation the burger wants to be accepted and be accommodated as someone who has genuinely come home to be part of his kith and kin and not as Automatic Teller Machine (ATM) or family financial officers, whose only assignments are to dish out cash to finance funerals and family expenditure.

Diasporas do not need fawning follows instead they need genuine friends who give them energy, acknowledgement, encouragement.

No matter how little money you have, anytime you are in the company of a burger, try hard to come off as equal to him or her. By that, I mean treat him or her as equal, with respect, and he would ignore what you have and what you don?t have.?he will treat you as equal too. The burger will have been proven wrong that it is not all persons back home are expectant beggers. Instead of the burger paying for your ?take ? away? you can strike surprise and buy him or her drink or pay for his or her lunch. I know some of them have inflated ego like that of a football and are very snobbish. But treating them with lunch or dinner will leave a lasting impression. That might even make them come down a little from the false self acquired ego. They are not hard to please.

My opinion is that the less one focuses on pecuniary rewards from the diasporas the more the burger is made safe to enjoy the trip back home. By this, the burger is reassured that he or she is no different or seen as a strange person who is insulated from problems of this world. After all, there are very many well to do and equally well placed persons back home. Why then do we create the impression that anyone who disembarks from Kotoka International Airport carries bales of dollars in his or her suitcase? Are we aware that there are certain aspects of life in Ghana that are very envious and jealously rewarding and so remarkable but are missed by the burger?

Ghana needs all her sons and daughters and it is the responsibility of all and sundry to make sure that experience of coming home remains memorable and enjoyable. The burger needs a place to rest his or her battered soul and also to recharge his or her over-drained emotional batteries. The best place for this resuscitation is ?Home? Are you ready to welcome them?

Kwaku Adu-Gyamfi NJ, USA
* The writer is a social commentator and the founder of Adu-Gyamfi Youth Empowerment, Educational and Apprenticeship Foundation, to help the youth of Asuom, E/R.


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