It was a hot Thursday morning at the Banking hall.
The huge hall was filled with virtually only national service personnel who have come to take their end of month pittance. Those ‘coins’ politicians have nicknamed allowance had unnecessarily delayed for the second month of the year and was paid around 8th of the 3rd month.
This banking hall was packed because in the capital of the municipality, this is the only bank with proper e-Zwich service. Forget about the other part of the municipality. You do not ask about friends when the family is already sleeping in hunger.
As a “servitude” personnel, I had also come for my coins. In the long queue leading to the single teller who was serving the entire hall-full customers I met Kwarpong.
You would not want to fault the bank for using just a single teller to serve customers in this huge banking hall. On a normal day, this bank does not serve even fifty customers. Probably, it is the reason why they are the only bank with proper e-Zwich access to boost their customer base.
As a means of punishment, politicians have decided not to pay the coins into people’s own bank accounts. So wherever one finds his/her self, you will have to locate a e-Zwich location at the end of every month and sometimes in some locations, the e-Zwich service could go off for over a month or two. So for the people in this municipality, this bank is a heaven on earth.
As if talking to himself or I don’t know if he was talking to me or the guy behind him for I was just standing right in front of him, Kwarpong started lamenting why the country has failed its graduates. “This country? Hmmmm” he said. Very typical of fresh Ghanaian graduates especially young men, you are only “relevant” in the eyes of your pals if you could rattle the pidgin language. Kwarpong continued “like the for bi some support fund bi dem for take give graduates after service wey dey go use search job or dey for increase the alawa so say as you dey do service you go save some den use search job after service.”
No one in particular seemed to be paying attention to Kwarpong as he goes on with his unending lamentations. Probably fed up with speaking to himself and realising the queue was almost getting to my turn, he tapped me at the shoulder and asked “or my guy what u dey think?” It was my first time ever meeting him on this earth. A very nicely dressed young man. I only responded with ‘hmmm’.
My response was a big relief for Kwarpong to unleash all his frustration on me. “My guy, after service, you for get money you go take print dis chaw CVs, applications, transportation here and there, even the data to search for available opportunities or the money to buy papers to search for available vacancies sef. Or my guy you no dey bab wat I dey talk?” Obviously, Kwarpong needed a response but unfortunately for him, he’s got the wrong guy. I was very much interested in whatever he was saying but just wanted him to go on without interfering and so I was not going to give him any response except my usual ‘hmmm’.
But obviously, a frustrated Kwarpong who probably has been harbouring his frustration for ages and has been looking for a victim to pour them on him/her has met a saviour and he will unleash everything on him like a parrot who has eaten pepper whether he is listening or not.
Kwarpong went on and on and on until it got to my turn to go for my coins and leave the banking hall.
As I was leaving the banking hall, the ideas in Robert Kiyosaki’s “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” which I read sometime ago started conflicting with what Kwarpong had been telling me in my mind.
Interestingly, around that same time, I had just finished reading ‘How to become rich’ by Donald Trump and had started reading “The Richest Man in Babylon” and several other business related books. With all the hopes these books give me, the practicality of the situation had not dawn on me until that unplanned meeting with frustrated Kwarpong.
Could Kwarpong be right? The immediate answer that came to me was NO. Unlike Kwarpong, I may not be looking for opportunities after national “servitude”, I will create the opportunities for myself.
Then the big question of where do you get the start-up capital to start creating the said opportunity came to mind.
One thing that struck me most listening to Kwarpong lament his tales was when he said “my guy what dey bore me koraa bi dat fin dem dey tell we when we dey school say start your business, start your business, ibi sand dem dey take start business?”
Mr. Kiyosaki must have been lucky, he had Mike’s dad to help him, he also in the initial stages was able to secure some jobs. This is a certain Kwarpong who is lost completely in where he will be after his one year of compulsory National Servitude.
Life is about letting your money work for you but how about if you don’t have the money and especially in a society where the little help politicians make noise about are reserved for “whom they know”.
So I ask, in the mind of the poor Ghanaian graduate, what is next after national service?
NB: The name Kwarpong is just a mere creation of the writer and does not represent any person. Any person with such name is entreated to treat this as purely coincidental.
Kwasi Frimpong SayItRight