A few months after resuming work, I was beginning to feel very normal again after a year of dormancy. It was one of those rare warm mornings in the unusual rainy October. I was greeted with faces I would not exactly describe as satisfied to my surprise.
People wore the “are-you-sure- Monday-is-not- a-weekend” look and the sunshine could not change the fact that it was the first work day in the week for most people.
The high-pitched noises from cars were also enough to tell you that even they were having a share of this feeling. As for me, I was absorbing some Vitamin D into my body and thinking about the fact that a friend was dropping me off at work made my morning just perfect.
The traffic caught up with us at a petrol station just after the Musuku roundabout and the displayed fuel prices gave us something to talk about with the others who had joined us in the car. The traffic looked like it was going to hoard us on the road for some time so I opened my bag to pick out my laptop so I could do a few things. Almost immediately everyone in the car shouted “NO!” “Jesus!”, “The child.” I was shaken to the bone as my mind raced. This could not be good so I was not going to look up. “I don’t want to see this God”, I practically said so many times before I lifted my head.
A school child of about eight years old, was scooped off the tarred road by a man and rushed off in the oncoming car that had just knocked him down. The passengers in the trotro on the opposite side of the road, where the child was rushing to, were speechless… he only wanted to join the bus to school! Clearly, the joy of locating a bus going his direction took his mind off the fact that he had to be extra careful on a road like that. Series of questions flooded my mind at that point. “Was he not too young to be treading a road like this to school alone?” “What would happen to him now?”
Subsequent days drew my attention to something rather very common in this part of the country. That child was just one of the many young children who are left to go to school by themselves every day. I had on several occasions spotted groups of school children who had been left in the care of “older children”- a four year old trekking to school in the company of a six year old. But why should that be alarming?
Well, if older people sometimes contemplate on when perfect the time is to cross the road, how about these children? If older people complain about the fact that motor bikers make it difficult to cross the road these days, how about these children? If older people recount experiences of how they met strangers who harmed them on these same roads, how about these children? You tell me.
Maybe if the parents of that child had taken a few minutes off their schedules to at least make sure their gem sat it that bus those tears he shed that morning as he tried to stand on his feet again would not have been necessary. I hear a child silently screaming “I am just a child, could you hold my hand through this?”
Written by : Yaa Serwah Antwi
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