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Lord, Has Unemployment Really Dropped Here?

Dear Father,

Huh, so they say there are more people working in our village than ever before ehn, I wonder what their definition of employment and unemployment is.

My son, the economists define unemployment saying it is a condition where by people who are qualified and willing to work, are all over the place looking for job but they can’t find job. Employment, my son they also say is the condition of working for pay-that means you are doing something and earning money from that thing to survive.

So, Father with these definitions and the findings the people put out the other day, is it really true that the big numbers people used to call saying this village has 85% of unemployed people has come way down to 3.7 percent?

Mm, my son, I know when you look around your community, and see men, pregnant women, older women and children crushing rocks, people all around the community selling cold water out of which they can’t even afford a day’s meal and people say they are self-employed then it drives you crazy.

Yes, Father, because for me these are just physical examples of how people are really suffering in our village and that people will count that as being self-employed is an insult to the spirit and intent of the economist’s definition of employment and unemployment.

Go to the place called Rock Hole in some part of our village and see the countless numbers of pregnant women, young and the elderly, men both young and old crushing rock for survival. The energy with which they crushed those rocks just to have a day’s meal leaves behind a huge medical bill that sinks them further down into poverty.

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Look on our streets, and see desperate young men and women, some selling cold water and dog chains just to survive. Does this also contribute to the reduction in the 85% unemployment rate in our village?

Father, is this the kind of situation our big people should take comfort in and politicize it in a way to claim achievements?  Father, don’t you see that we are creating more problems for ourselves in the future where more than half of our population will grow unskilled and unable to read and write?

Now, don’t ask me how, because the picture is glaring. I live in the community with the people. I see that when they crushed the rock, it takes weeks, if not months before it is purchase. Before that is bought they have already borrowed all their envisaged proceeds just to feed their families. Do you know how many of them don’t have their children in school this academy year that just begun because they could not afford registration fees not to mention the extravagant tuition fees being charge?

But Father, our big people will go in the center of town relaying their messages through town criers indicating that all is well and by tomorrow our village will become a middle income village-nonsense!

And let me say this, Father, you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to know that people in our village are living in abject poverty. The people who come up with these stories of unemployment rate dropping, painting a picture that all is bread and butter, should bring their air-conditioned and tinted cars window glasses down when they leave their comfortable fence in the morning to see the reality.

My son, are you saying that the figures are all calculated lies put together to win accolades for the village big people that they are doing very well?

So true Father. And what they forget to know is that with this kind of projection, those who would have love to help will take their hard earned monies to other villages with dying needs.

You know, in 1996, when Bulk Challenge, the famous vessel that took refugees from here to Ghana landed in the Ghanaian port city of Takoradi, and the refugees were taken to Secondi, there was this foreign town crier who had followed this story about the vessel and the overly publicized suffering that the “refugees” on the vessel had encountered, came to the camp with good intentions too.

Not only had he come to get his stories but had also come to reach out to some of the refugees with clothes. But when he came and saw the kinds of clothes the “refugees” had, compared with the ones he had planned to give out, he felt the ones they were wearing were much better than what he had to give. His conclusion was that those on Bulk Challenge were not refugees but rather travelers who got stranded.

The point is why paint pictures and create impressions that will rubbed you of much needed assistants?

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