Reality Zone: What Have You Done For Ghana? – By Vicky Wireko

In the last few months, we have heard Ghanaians on radio and on the television repeatedly interjecting their discussions with patriotic sentences or phrases like “Ghana is our only country”, We love Ghana”, “Ghana needs peace”, “Mother Ghana”, “Ghana is bigger than any one” and “Let us love Ghana”.

Indeed we love Ghana because it is the only one our fore-fathers fought for us with their toil and blood. Is our love translating to the good of Ghana today or the words are mere rhetoric?

As for the saying that Ghana is our motherland and our beloved country, it is easy talk and we all say it at some stages in our lives. We even have cause to proudly boast about the country when others give us the cause to celebrate Ghana. When for example the Black Stars win international football matches, we show visible signs of being proud of Ghana. We dress our vehicles, our offices and homes with the Ghana flag. In sincerity however, does Ghana have a place of pride in our hearts on daily basis as one does for a parent?

I sometimes doubt it. If one takes the display of the national flag for example, the poor thing comes off the minute the Black Stars football match is over. Some vehicles, including taxis and commuter buses even display the national flags of other countries.

One hardly sees our leaders, our Members of Parliament and CEOs of state owned enterprises for example, wearing the national pin when they appear on public platforms. These same people would proudly wear the pins of their social clubs or associations instead.

Ghana has done a lot for some of us. If nothing at all, Ghana has given many of us good education for free and we are where we are now because Ghana cared. What have we done in return for Ghana and which we can stand in public and share with others?

I reflected on what one can do for one’s country last week when in the news I read about 23 US Peace Corps volunteers who have arrived at Anyinasin in the Eastern Region of Ghana to undertake voluntary works in health, water and sanitation. The team which arrived in the country in February has already been trained in the language and culture of the people they would be working with for their two year stay in the country.

Despite the odds of culture shock, these volunteers on the Peace Corps mission have consistently come our way to work in our rural areas. They do so with great passion. They do sometimes remind me of our school days when we used to engage in active volunteerism in our communities as members of the Voluntary Work Camp Association (VOLU). Today, one hardly hears about the work of VOLU in our schools and universities. It was a laudable organization that taught some of us community values.

These days, even under the national service scheme postings around the country, some parents are ready to jump in to lobby for their wards to be posted to jobs in the capital or at least, in one of the cities or bigger towns. We dictate the terms for service to Ghana to suit us.

I have been following the just ended fund raising campaign embarked on by an Accra based private FM station for a kidney unit for one of our hospitals. Throughout the campaign period, I have admired the radio station, Peace FM and its ace presenter, Kwame Sefa-Kayi for the passion and professionalism they brought to bear on the appeal for funds and for which reason, no doubt, donors were moved to make some commitments towards the realization of their target.

As at last week, the appeal for funds had hit a colossal sum of GHC300, 000. The amazing love shown by the radio station for Ghana for which reason it took up the challenge to raise the funds for the project is commendable. But even more overwhelming is the love individual Ghanaians home and abroad and corporate institutions have exhibited for their motherland as they helped the Christian Council of Ghana to accomplish a dream for the hospital using the Peace FM platform. Such gestures for Ghana are commendable.

As the appeal for funds was brought to a closure last week, and realizing its huge success, I wondered why we do not use our airwaves for such worthy causes of national appeal rather than projecting valuable airtime on endless unproductive agenda.

Admittedly, Joy FM, another private radio station has been a great champion of some needs in the country. For example, they have shown consistent love for Ghana when it comes to using their platform to teach lessons in philanthropy. Their commitment to feeding the needy through their Easter Soup Kitchen programme is another feat for Ghana.

Though well received and something the beneficiaries look forward to each year, the FM station could use its clout to get something monumental going for Ghana be it in the priority areas of water, health and sanitation. Already, they have the goodwill of Ghanaians looking at the sponsorship patronage for their Easter Soup Kitchen for example.

On individual basis however, many of us would be found wanting if we were to give testimonies as to what we have done or plan to do for Ghana in return for what Ghana has done for us. Do we acknowledge Ghana, our motherland by our deeds?

The National Women’s Aglow certainly I know would not be found wanting. Their leadership and individual members are passionate about the good of Ghana through collective prayers. I have always been moved by their communal efforts to intercede for Ghana and last Saturday’s event was another accomplishment. The initiative of the women is commendable.

There is certainly a role or something that each one of us, in our small ways can play or do for Ghana, one only has to look around and simple examples of what one can do abound. They certainly need not be breakthroughs. Perhaps one way to go about it is to list all the areas in our society where lawlessness has overtaken normalcy. We can also look at the filth that has engulfed us. The list in these two areas alone will offer one enough voluntary assignments for and on behalf of Ghana.

For those who carelessly knock down traffic lights, those who throw away litter indiscriminately, the landlord who has refused to provide his tenants with toilet facilities, the teacher who constantly absent himself or herself from school and doing other businesses on the sidelines, have you stopped to think how Ghana would be a better place if you did your bit?

For the public servant who arrives late for work or spend state paid time and resources doing private business, or the officer who takes an envelope here or there to buy roasted plantain is not hurting Ghana, the official who travels abroad on state funding and returns with no learning to help correct backwardness in our system, what can you do differently for Ghana, a nation that has so much potential to be Africa’s Singapore. Let us ask ourselves on daily basis, “What have I done for Ghana”?

**The Writer writes under the column ‘Reality Zone With Vicky Wireko’ in the Daily Graphic, a National Daily in Ghana

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