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Opinions of Tuesday, 28 September 2021

Columnist: Abdul Rahman Odoi

The anguish of a birthday cake

We’re in a better position to buy those flamboyant birthday cakes we never had We’re in a better position to buy those flamboyant birthday cakes we never had

Praise be to God for keeping us steadfast, no matter the countless times, we were shoved aside during our juvenile days. And it was just for the mere reason that we were not coming from homes that had enough notes deposited in their bank accounts.

As a matter of fact, that didn’t scare the goals we had due to what was within us — faith, hope, and resilience.

I remember vividly, in the early 2000s, our childhood friends who were from the ‘better to-do families, even had their parents being selective, as to which of us they should play with, or invite to their kids’ birthday parties. These were harrowing scenes for those of us stemming from poor homes among them. Maybe we were half-humans.

Sometimes, with a mustered effrontery, we gatecrashed their jamboree birthday parties and other occasions of theirs when the celebration is pretty underway. You would see us wear out-of-fashion clothes, not that tattered. Maybe less expensive or third collection.

Even though we didn’t look miserable on point, we were seen as not presentable well enough per their standards. So they kept us standing outside the main gate till the party was over.

What we merited, in going not invited, was seeing a crop of rich teens making merry; cutting a finger-licking garnished birthday cake.

Days that we were lucky, they presented us with some of the leftover drinks which the rich kids couldn’t have finished drinking.

Seriously, we took delight in enjoying these leftover bottles. Times that we were given Malta Guinness, we knew that heaven had answered our prayers. For it took one full year before we tasted malt, if not by the kind courtesy of the Christmas festive season.

This social canker of parents teaching their kids that they are better than other kids because of wealth and somewhat elitism bluff made us look so down-hearted and emotionally distraught.

Still and all, we became self-motivated; nobody taught or told us to be hardworking; it came so naturally. We made ourselves determined to change the narrative. Perhaps we could also go for the billionaire title poverty denied our parents.

Interesting to note that their kids couldn’t let go of our feisty relationship, without us their football matches would be boring. Playing soccer and field hockey were our cash cows. They cherished these aspects of our talents.

Simultaneously, we engaged ourselves in menial jobs during our days in Junior high school (JHS). On weekends, we spent it at a woodshop near our place of residence — Ebenezer House.

When customers buy woods, in lieu of transporting it by car, we pushed it for them on a truck (designed, also, with four tyres). Our services, eventually, were most preferred as compared to hiring a taxi. It was very affordable and lessened the risk of some unscrupulous drivers running away with customer’s purchased goods.

In some instances, we joined some of the aged men in the hood — PHILANTO, to labour in some plumbing, painting, and masonry works, too.

Isaac Tawiah, Bernard Anyetei, Samad Okocha, Stephen Akushie, Edmundo Eddie, et al., learnt their crafty handiworks from these. Though Thomas Ako-Nai Romeo is a banker, he could lay blocks and paint perfectly well. Similar to Titus Appiah, now a budding musician, Orlando, the Vocalgod, is also versatile in his own way.

When we began making decisions as teenagers, we never made those ones that could easily help us to cheat nature. We self-learned to follow the contentious way, and we put our thinking caps on. We appreciated whatever our parents had for us.

For instance, when scamming had its peak in the early 2000s, and betting and other illegal ways of getting money became the gateway for becoming so rich at a go, we chose to struggle for success.

Today, even if we haven’t made it that ‘big’ in life, at least, we can buy birthday cakes and request for embellishment.

More importantly, we will teach our kids to love unconditionally. They must not be selective in choosing friends only based on wealth or social status.

We shall, in our own small way, ensure that our society becomes a better place that would house all classes of men; whether rich or poor, king or pauper, master or servant, black or white. In fact, we’ve known the price tag on being content.

Also, we’re in a better position to buy kids from poor homes those flamboyant birthday cakes we never had to cut and to put smiles on the faces of those who were like us then.

The good news is that we have reasoned beyond this pitiable sentiment — that a family without much wealth deserves no attention and people’s companionship. How forsooth!

So, you there, don’t also teach your kids to be peace-loving, only to those with social status or amassed wealth, for that’s grievously odious in the sight of the Lord.

This life sometimes sucks!