Mercy Appiah is 18 years old and from Greater Accra, Ghana. She is currently a student at the African Science Academy. In this post, she reflects on what it was like growing up in a certain class in Ghana.
Growing up to know the actual meaning of class really marveled me. Isn’t “class” supposed to be a group of mates who share and learn in one classroom at school? So, I was left perplexed when my classmate told me I wasn’t in her class. “I’m not your class in what sense?” I recall saying after she had made that statement. In actual fact, as time went by I realized the word “class” meant more than I knew it to be. It was to my astonishment to realize that it was only people of my “class” who wanted to mingle with me.
I always was bewildered when I went to the market with my mom. I was confused at how the world was so unfair. We would by a cup of rice whilst others ordered bags of rice. So, I asked myself whether my mom and I did not also deserve bags of rice.
The story of lacking never ended so far as each day came by with me in the scene. Did I just say me? How could I have forgotten about all those street children and also my friends who happen to share the same fate as mine. “I don’t have” had always been part of most of my answers when friends made requests. Only God knows the amount of tears I held back when things got worse.
My dad did not have a car and it is same with my friends. Some of my friends did not have someone to call dad. Like me, none of my friends wore designer clothes. My friends never felt embarrassed with me around because we were all members of the same “class”.
Talking of dreams, are they not supposed to be as big as the ocean? If so, then why the interference by ‘lack’? Whilst others dreamt of living in the sky, I dreamt of getting to live in a house which contains more rooms. This is because the state of lack limited my dreams and made them as little as a drop of water. Our minds only got to picture what we hoped for, so it is not surprising that our wants became our dreams.
When I finally realized that it wasn’t worth brooding, I turned my mindset to a brighter way of seeing things. Why do we lack? To ask a similar question: do we really lack? From the way I thought, I had just considered the money aspect of life. What about the love from friends and family? What about the moments I laughed and smiled?
On occasions like birthdays there were no presents or outings, but I was always excited to be celebrated. Even if loved ones don’t have money, they always have a way to make us happy.
If you smiled once, it was because you had a reason to do so. There is a saying, “No condition is permanent.” Life is a story that’s builds up each day. Everyday experiences forms part of your story. Suppose you did not go through any kind of challenge; perhaps your story would be lacking that ingredient. Life provocations build, strengthen and make us who we are. People who are resilient are those who encountered, battled and conquered.
If you feel you lack, look around yourself. You will be amazed to discover that you don’t completely lack. Why brood over present situations?