REMEMBER We were like you

Permit me to begin by sounding a note of caution: this piece is not for timid timorous souls. You need guts, lots of tough nerves to be able to continue reading.

I bet you will never be the same after reading this article.

There is a part of the city of Accra called AWUDOME. It lies west of Nkrumah Circle. North of Adabraka and east of Kaneshie. Awudome, though a paramountcy in Volta Region, in Accra is known for Awudome Estates and Awudome Cemetery.

It is the biggest cemetery in the city, divided into two by a main street linking the Estates and Ring Road. I use that stretch of road literally everyday going to and from work.

I have entered the cemetery only three times – the first time it was to bury a police corporal from Hohoe and the second and third occasion, sorry, to bury two members of my theatre group, the Theatre Mirrors – Ahmed Sheriff and Iness.

Last week as my driver drove leisuredly along that street, I took a look at the entrance to the cemetery, and reader, I missed a heartbeat when I saw an inscription at the entrance to the cemetery: REMEMBER WE WERE LIKE YOU……………….

What does that mean?

That all those buried in there once walked this world, marrying, drinking, eating, working and whatever, and today, they are no more, no longer enjoying time and circumstance, like us?

Now, that is something.

In other words, we are being told that a day will certainly come when all this moving around will come to an end. But the million dollar question is WHEN?

Tomorrow. The fear of tomorrow. The fear of the unknown.

What makes life so exciting is that from birth up to the age about 30, everything in life seems to go like clockwork: morning, afternoon, evening, night, rainfall, sunshine, travels, parties, programmes ………..then after 30 years, you start hearing of “accident”, sickness” ,“death”………..by 40 years old, you get this weird feeling that NOTHING IS CERTAIN – I can also go like how others are going……………..

So called “Pastors” or “Men of God” make millions of cedis cashing in on the morbid fear of the unknown. They have had “Visions” or “prophecies” or “fortune” or whatever.

On 1st September 1969, a young 29 year old Army Captain, Muamar El GADDAFI together with young officers toppled the Monarch, King Iddriss of Tripoli, Libya, and started a Revolution. In the beginning, freshly promoted Colonel Gaddafi used to drive about on the streets of Tripoli, Head of State, in a landover, alone.

Along the line as he became more and more unsure of what to expect tomorrow, he established an elite brigade of Guards, heavily guarded, over 1000 kilometers, trained, to escort him wherever he went, never sleeping at the same place for the night. When time caught up with him, 40 years later, he was killed in a gutter!!!

Fear of the unknown tomorrow…….

Sheer passage of time pales into insignificance all that you hold so dear today.

After the 1966 military coup, so much noise or hue and cry was made about Krobo Edusei’s super executive ultra modern “Ashanti House” at Airport Residential area, said to have been furnished with “gold plated bed” and so on.

Later, after form five in 1972, I was in a taxi that drove past that area and the driver pointed at “Ashanti House” to us in the taxi – ah, reader, is that “Ashanti House” A small single storey estate building, no match for my even two by four cubicle at Kasoa. Today, that edifice has long been demolished and given way to executive apartments.

Reader, nobody can predict precisely what will happen tomorrow, and this fear of the unknown tomorrow drives us into crazy heights, but Barack Obama US President after eight years writes that “all is vanity, vanity of vanities, all vanity….”

Preaching the sermon at Accra Ridge Church, one day, a preacher told us that the fish told God that the two eyes were not enough so God gave him eyes on literally every part of the body. Suddenly, the fish saw that the ocean waters were full of sharks , ships, bushes…..danger everywhere – it could not sleep, so it rushed back to God complaining: “Give me  back my two eyes…. I am okay  with it…”

Reader, do you know the safest place to be? Inside your mother’s womb!!! Outside, problems everywhere, jealousy, sheer envy, betrayal, poison,, accident, storms, wildfires, earthquakes,  volcanic eruptions, plane crashes…..why do you think you are alive today, reading this article, and not lying dead in some grave at Awudome cemetery?

There is a street running directly north of the cemetery towards TV Africa and a certain young man lived in one of the estate houses there.

He had this nasty habit: he will  go to town, especially on weekends to chill, then pick a taxi, direct the driver to pass right through the main cemetery street, then amid the darkness when they get to the centre of the cemetery road, he will say in choked  voice “please I will get down here……………” Usually, the taxi driver will be so scared that after managing to bring the car to a halt, this guy will jump out, walk straight into the cemetery, amid the darkness, then walk in  between the grave to scale the wall to his house.

One night, luck ran out of him. He went to chill alright, after a long time he got a taxi with three people in it. He told the driver to drop them before taking him home and the driver said: “Don’t worry. The woman at the front here is my girlfriend and the guy behind me is my younger brother. We can drive you everywhere you want……”

Our man decided to play his game as usual. He directed the driver to the  middle of the cemetery, then said: “Please I will get down here.” To his shock and surprise, all three replied : “Don’t worry, we are all  going there…”

When he recovered, he was at Korle  Bu OPD, and was told  he was found lying collapsed at the cemetery, with foam at his mouth. That very day, he went and packed all his things from the house to go and live in Dzorwulu, far away from Awudome Cemetery……Danduruwa…..

Reader, with all its uncertainties, it is still a Beautiful world.

Remember, THEY were like US!!!!

Nkrabeah Effah-Dartey

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