Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Child friendly, my foot!

A person close to me once said he wouldn't take his children on holiday to Ghana because it's not child friendly. To add to it, this person had not himself been to Ghana since 1999. Interestingly, he found Egypt an appropriate place for a children's holiday, just a few months prior to the Arab Spring. In a similar manner people in Sweden often ask me how child friendly Ghana is. Although I don't find the question offensive, I do find it strange that no British friend has ever felt the need to ask this question. Well, what can I answer? The (malaria) mosquitos are to me the only threat against children in Ghana. This morning though, I started thinking of all the threats to children here. Right now there's a meningitis outbreak, a 5-year old died at pre-school a few days ago and other children at the school are home sick, but not yet diagnosed. Every day or two, there's a story of a missing child in the paper and from the age of 5/6 a child of colour can expect to receive racial abuse and/or discrimination from school mates or teachers. Come to think of it, I am constantly reading stories about 20 and 30-year olds going missing, tragically found murdered a few weeks later. 60-year old men are brutally attacked on the street in broad daylight by unprovoked teenage thugs. This country (and the UK is even worse, I read UK papers daily) isn't safe for anyone! Is it me? Am I naïve or am I right? It seems on the scale of things, as long as you survive Accra traffic and don't have a fancy schmanzy looking house that'll unfortunately invite a robbery, Ghana seems a much safer country than the European ones. So the next time someone asks me how child friendly Ghana is, I may just respond: Child friendly, child friendly?!? Where you're coming from what demands can you make on child friendliness???, give them a long mtcheeeeeew (kissing my teeth) and walk off.


Raine said...

Glad to see you're back to blogging Maya, keep 'em comin'!

On to the topic at hand:

A family friend just came back from a 3 week vacation with her 4 kids to Ghana. The kids, ranging in age from 3 to 12 were all visiting Ghana for the first time. When it was time to return stateside, the kids asked their mom why they had to leave. They begged their mom to let them stay a bit longer.

I think it's a bit offensive when people make such comments without really knowing what they are talking about. It essentially means that any parent who takes their kids to Ghana for vacation isn't a good parent and is basically putting their child in danger, whether real or perceived. And let's not even begin to talk about all the kids who LIVE in Ghana. Smh

Maya Mame said...

Thanks Raine, it's good to be back, let's see how long I can keep it up, hope you do too!

I completely agree with you, I wonder if people realise how insulting it is to ask someone who is raising their child/has been raised in/ or regularly takes their children for visits to Ghana such a question. At first I thought I came off sounding very angry, but since you in agreement with me, at least I know I'm not being over-sensitive!

And what you describe of your family friend's kids is exactly how I used to feel when summer holidays where coming to an end and we were heading back to Europe.

Abena Nyarkoaa said...

The negative perception of Ghana will take a while to erase.


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