PG Sebastian

Helping You Build A Relationship You Can All Be Proud Of

Monday, 23 October 2017

A NOTE TO THE LADY GOING SOMEWHERE

My Dear Lady, 

This is just a quick one to bring your attention to something I believe you need to know. Please, if you find yourself standing three steps up the ladder of life, be careful when you have to look down at a man standing at the bottom of the ladder. Be careful if you have to give a 'poor man' a chance in your life. Think it over again...and again. It is a decision that must not be made lightly and in the convulsive fit of a love sting.

On a normal day, I woulda sipped my Cuppa Black coffee, black like my African Skin, and advised you to give him a chance; after all, no one knows anyone's destiny, and what is despised today may be exalted tomorrow. However, I will not stick my neck out for an empty man who is arrogant and proud. They are the dangerous kind.

Don't get me wrong; by my reference to poverty, I am not referring to material things. A man could be poor in spirit, in his thinking, in his soul, in his choice of words, in his impression of the world around him...in his emotional disposition... and...of course in his pocket. And a man who is this poor can be abusive, possessive, controlling and manipulative. All of these traits can be traced to insecurity and unresolved personal emotional conflicts and frustration. Again, such a man is self-conceited, stiffnecked, unrepentant, argumentative and does not accept any form of alleviating help that he finds is an affront on his person. Poor and Proud. Clearly, why would he feel secure when you are up there and you seem to be moving too fast for him to catch up. Why would he feel secure when you do not report to him, and he is not in charge of when you sneeze and when you breathe.

Be careful when you are dealing with such a man. 
Indeed, there are many predatory young men out there wearing big talks like necklaces and bandanas, brandishing dazzling impressions of themselves yet as empty as an endless hollow in a labyrinth.

Find a man your size or one who is higher than you in something... It could be in his spiritual life, his power of reasoning and insight, his intellectual prowess, his emotional maturity...his love and his gentleness of spirit. If you cannot find such a man, then, by all means, look for the one with a big bank account. In the end, it all comes down to one of these two things; the one who blesses your life with inner peace and joy, or the one who blesses this same life with material things. You could have both...but do not miss both. 
Remember, women do not look down at men and men, in this part of the world, hate to look up to women. So if you have to look up to a man, then make sure he is the kind you won't have problems looking up to.

If you have any sense of religion, then you know that you would be called upon to accept him as the head of the house... A head that is distorted, paranoid, confused and filled with a poor sense of judgment is a very very nasty hurricane to make a landfall in your backyard.

Not all women are called to marry; yes, mama didn't tell you that, but it is what it is. And none of those 'So-called People' you fear will talk if you do not marry, will be there when this man, poor in everything, is killing you with one hastily scripted drama or the other. I would rather you cry because you are single and free (of course being single can be lonesome, and it is OK to cry a few times and...maybe...just maybe... soil your heart with a good cuppa ice cream) than be married and be in bondage. Missy, I won't advise you to cry of loneliness when you are taken by a man who cages you and isolates you from everything that means something to you.

Look at him well; look at how he carries himself. You do everything for him. He thinks it is your responsibility. He thinks you have not seen his kind before. In his trying to assert his authority as the man, he abuses you. You can imagine him with a political power or a huge business deal. Do you see him reading out a million laws you must abide by? Do you see him threatening all your friends out of your life? Yea. I see it too.

Choose the head of the family very carefully; a man who is rich in something, tangible or intangible. But of course, not all men are born with silver spoons, and all men don't blossom at the same time. Nonetheless, there is something that must be present before you let him in; an inner quality that can comfortably overshadow every kind of material deficiency. An inner quality that portrays a disposition for greatness. 
Girl, you are the kingmaker; your choice will affect you and your children. Do not like a penis or a big talk, influence this critical decision. Own this process so you can look back with pride at what you have together when you stand tall with your Simba tomorrow.

Think deep about this and look at your options well. Don't make any excuses; It is not in your time that such men will change.

In the last days, the love of many would wax cold. Guess what, we are in the last days and everyone is for him or herself. Be for yourself. This is not evangelism; and even that, we are admonished to seek our own salvation with fear and trembling. This is a lifetime decision; do not gamble with it.

Sincerely,
PG Sebastian 
All Rights Reserved 

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

THE SUBMITTED HUSBAND



Whenever the subject of Men Loving their Wives and Women submitting to their Husbands come up, the position some men take can be worrying. I have concluded, listening to many men, that the church, from which many of them draw their position, need to do more to teach balance in the home. If the Bible talks about the two becoming one, then it is consequential, that both are considered one and the same, seeing and treating each other the same way each other would want to be treated. Gen 2:24.

Many young men have peaked, failed or are being frustrated in their personal and marital lives because of how they have treated, and/or are treating the women in their lives, especially their wives. Regardless of what is written anywhere in the Bible, whenever you are in doubt as to what to do as a husband, always be guided by this scripture. Husbands, in the same way, be considerate as you live with your wives and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers. 1 Peter 3:7 (THIS WAS WRITTEN BY A MARRIED APOSTLE)


He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favour from God. Proverbs 18:22 Many men are married but there is no good thing to show for, and no favour to point to. Maybe... Just maybe… their prayers and the attending blessings and favour from God are hindered because of how they have treated their wives.

As a man, you are charged, on the pain of hindered Prayers, not to frustrate your wife. So instead of quoting God's word, I suggest you go and talk to Him. Let Him understand His word seem not to be having the desired effect in your home…or at least it appears so. Ask for His Spirit to move in the life of your wife. In the beginning, the Earth was without form and void (…). But when the spirit of the Lord hovered over it and the Word went forth, the light came, and other things fell in place. Gen. 1. All you need is the Spirit of God to move on your behalf as a husband. Ask God for it. The heart of the king is in the hands of God and like a river course, he turns it the way he wants it. Proverbs 21:1

The Lord said to my lord, sit at my right hand until I make your enemies your footstool (…) the people will be willing in the days of your power. Ps. 110

 All authorities are of God. Romans 13:1

Have you submitted your will and marriage to God yet?

Conform to God's Word, to begin with; submit to His leadership. When you are in His corner, He will elevate you to His right-hand side. Then, if your wife is indeed contending with you, or frustrating and resisting you, as you perceive it, then the Lord will humble her for you. He contends with those who contend with us, especially if you are an authority He has established. If you are an authority God has established in your home indeed, then He will endorse you as the head (that you believe you are) and make your wife willing, without any contention or grudge. Where the Spirit of the Lord is, the Lamb and the Lion, dwell in peace.

Solomon did not have to fight the kind of wars his fathers fought in his days because the Lord, endorsed him, and went on to cause the nations around, and under him, to fear him. Solomon did not have to do it; God did it for him because he found favour, regardless of his many failings. Young man, you don't need to drag your wife into submission. That is not your job. It is her responsibility, and she is directly accountable to God. Why take up a role in enforcing a task assigned to someone on your behalf by God? Why not go to God if you think the job is not being done to specifications?  Submission is like a Horse; you don't drag it, you lead it. God has never ever dragged us or compelled us into submission, I am sure you know that?

It is not enough to know God's word and quote it; you need to know the power behind the word so when you open your mouth, it is not just words that come, but power.

There are times you sit your wife down and talk, as humans, capable of reasoning. You can bring in a trusted outsider or two if you feel it is beyond you. There are, however, times you also lock up yourself and ask God to intervene if this marriage is of Him. If you are to do it His way, then He is mandated to help you, so you do not do it your way and shame Him. If you must get a few people you trust to help you pray, do. But know when to talk and when to pray, and when to combine both.

Always remember this my brothers, no one will submit to you, in the name of God, if you are not submitted to God. How can you go in the name of the King when you are a rebel to the crown? It doesn't work. The King's word is with His servant. It is only those He knows who can execute anything in His name. Does He know you? Because if He knows you, you do not need to do it on your own. His seal will be with you. Submit to God and watch Him put your house in order without you lifting a finger... Otherwise just stop using His word to suit you, which will most likely lead to frustration.

When God fixes your home, there will be no power struggle or a master-servant relationship. We all become joint heirs. That is when two can chase ten thousand, receive a better reward for their joint labour and lie together and be warm. Eccl. 4 


Now Speaking Directly on the subject of submission, as I have done oftentimes, The Bible says in the book of Ephesians chapter 5 from 22 downward, women should submit (...) as unto God. Then the Bible says further that Men should love (...) as Christ loved the church. These two concepts are mutually exclusive to each other. One does not depend on the other for it to be obeyed. …As unto God… Not because your husband did A or B. …As Christ loved the church… Not because your wife did A or B. Each of us will be separately accountable for adhering or otherwise of same. It may not be enough to claim, you did not love your wife because she did not submit to you. When God commanded you, the reference point was not your wife, but AS CHRIST LOVED THE CHURCH.

Can Christ choose not to love the church? The church he died for? The very essence of his ministry? That is the weight on us as men and husbands, and the inexcusable demand the Bible places on us. It is almost a shackle on us. As Christ Love the church. You can negotiate that when you hear Christ's love for the church is wavering. Until then, remember it was a filthy, rebellious and haughty church He gave His life to. So until you love to the point of death, even a wife with no hint of submission in her blood, you are not in any way in the will of God, for you to claim someone’s submission. If a man is willing to die for his wife, he won't be talking about submission. His love covers her 'sin' of insubordination...as Christ did while we were yet sinners. 

I am not against submissive wives; I am totally for it… It says in Ephesians 5:21, submit one to another out of reverence for Christ. So I am for it…from both parties. I am only taking this subject from this angle because, for a long time, the Bible has been quoted in part to manipulate women, and force them into submission, with no responsibility on the part of the men for the purposes of balance. It must end. As Ghanaians and Africans, this scripture suits us because it fits perfectly into our Patriarchal social structure, where a woman’s subjection to the headship of a man is absolute. So we take God’s word, pick this part that conforms to our cultural narrative and blows it out of proportion, dimming the light on the bit that is to balance it. So in the end, the Bible is seen as giving legitimacy to a demand which is more cultural than scriptural.


God has never compelled us to submit as a basis for His love. We are of our own free will supposed to submit considering all He does for us. The Bible is dripping with evidence of His love to us, to make us naturally submit to His kingship. The greatest of this is the ultimate sacrifice.

Submission is compelled in the habitation of love. There it ceases to be an arduous task, but an exciting experience. I would rather you beat her down with love and see if she can have the legs to stand to resist you. Showing her love, is a call made to you, concentrate on it and do it. 

PG Sebastian
All Rights Reserved

Monday, 11 September 2017

OF MARRIAGE AND THE BIRTH OF THE MODERN WOMAN




The face of human civilization has changed over the last 200 years. This has significantly influenced every aspect of human existence. From the field of medicine to transportation and anything in between, we see the clear footprints of tangible changes in how we live and do things. Sadly, some aspects of our social lives have not changed much, leading to a considerable discontinuity between these aspects of our lives and the greater society. I speak of culture and certain key areas therein. I speak specifically of Marriage.

Most of the changes that have taken place in the past century or two have not had a lot of positive influence on marriages; in fact, they have posed considerable challenges to some marriages. The motive for marriage, the process of marriage, and the purpose of marriage for most people have changed from what it was 200 years back. We also have the struggles most couples go through, especially the conservative ones, trying to live in a modern world, with all its unique demands, and still be married on the ideas and tenets rooted in a time which is totally different from ours. Many young men in Ghana, especially, are struggling with the role of their wives, the limit of their powers and influence in the scheme of things, and the extent to which they should be allowed to operate unsupervised, and when the time is right to rein them in to prove they are women and the men are the head.

For some men, they would rather not marry a 'successful' woman, to ensure that their authority at home is not be undermined nor their headship contested. I personally do not jump to slam men who think like that; I guess they are fixated on their paranoia so much so that they do not see the benefits the modern day woman brings. For us to get the best out of marriage in the time where everything else is fighting against it, we need to understand that some things need to change. 

We cannot marry in this Century and operate a pre industrial Revolution marriage Manual. Marriage as we have it is good. But conditions of the NOW prevent us from fully implementing the marriage of yesterday WITHOUT necessarily having to rearrange a few things. I believe we can change a few things without touching the foundations of the family or marriage.

The Christ Revolution did not destroy man's relationship with God; it only revised the process. No Priest between God and his People, as it was. The printing of the Bible in English and other subsequent languages did not make scripture any less of the word of God. It only took its interpretation from a few scholars and handed it to everyone who could read.

After the Industrial revolution and all the changes that have followed, the way of life for many has changed. Families are no longer depending on the income of one to survive. Cost of living has moved to a place where enjoying basic necessities of life means multiple streams of income need to be diverted into families. Societies have seen the need for an all inclusive development where no particular sex or gender is left behind. Though this is yet to be fully achieved, it is clear much has been done to bring about a measure of equality in different aspects of our society.

The woman of the NOW, is no longer unemployed and uneducated. She is not a stay home mum, who is technically a responsibility of the husband. This woman is the chair of a multinational corporation, she has patented a few inventions, She is known to be the first human to have achieved a feat. This woman is no longer good for just babies, house chores, and sexual gratification. She is worth more than a Ruby. She is part of the various streams of Income diverted into the family. Her rent allowance defrays some of the costs of daily living. Her Tom card makes it possible to have two cars at home. Through her work, the family now can have the income cap needed to qualify them for a mortgage, etc. She is the Havilah and the Euphrates in her own Eden, and her waters contain gold.

Beyond what she directly and tangibly brings to the table, is the social value attached to her as a graduate of school A, holder of Qualification Z and member of a particular Association. All these connections add value to her; the value the woman of yesteryear did not have. Now this woman doesn't just have the empty voice of an uneducated, unexposed and a liability of a person, she is, in all sense, an asset.

In most homes today, if you cut out the woman's income, it would be like the stopping of a UN Aid to many parts of Africa. The children would have to change schools, the AC would be turned on less, the WiFi may be disconnected, and one of the cars would be parked. Let's not talk about the lull in weekend outings and the tension that would build up. It is the woman's income that augments what the man brings in a way that cools the home. Some woman pays more. So I don't know how, the one who pays just as much as you and is in all sense as qualified as you, subject to you in a way that, to some, is almost like a master and servant relationship?

Now, because the woman goes out there to grind, in the same measure as the man, and comes back home to assume the full management of the home, with the man offering minimal support, she may not be able to play her role in bed as though she stayed all day at home, chit chatting at the market square. She may have probably done more exerting work than the man depending her area of expertise. There will always be a trade off here. She is either home cooking, cleaning and working it in bed, or she is out there supporting you Build something bigger than yourself. You can have a compromised version of both, but not the full version of both.

There is a social demand on her as well, which means that she cannot always be home and at the beck and call of Mister. She will be out there, meet people of a certain calibre and think in a particular way. That influences her general impression of the world around her. This influences her expectations. That means she will have an opinion and she will love to express it. When she does, she would want to have it respected.

Many things drive the modern day woman. I don't think those things make them evil. The subjugation of a woman does not make us better. It only means half of the hands we need to go forward as a people in this age have been cut off... Hands we need in the area of innovation, Research and development and critical thinking have been cut off.
There is a way that a rider handles a new horse. Until he masters it, the horse may never allow the rider to mount it. We bring the best out of people when we know how to draw the best out of them. We make women less belligerent when we approach them with respect and a sense of acceptance. I certainly will respect the one who helps the family budget. I will respect a woman who is making an impact in her own way in her own world. I will definitely respect a woman, respected by her parents enough to give quality education to, so she can be a productive member of the society. I will respect a woman who has so much social value. And I certainly will respect a woman in the image of God.

We need a lot of mind changing. A man does not go higher because he suppressed his woman. This is not a balancing scale. We cannot demand things and expect them to be granted nemine contradicante. We need to understand that now we compete for our wives with their jobs and the various things social interconnectivity they are caught in.

A lot of patience, understanding, compromise, respect, and love are needed to get us thru. We need it for our own sanity. We need it so our children will not grow up in broken and competitive homes. We need a change of minds so we can bring our women home.
For the man who is thinking the Bible said this or that, kindly read Proverbs 31 in the Amplified or Message version. You will understand that a man is identified in public by the worth his wife carries. You will understand that while she was successful, her husband took pride in her.

This union is for life. It is a partnership that is supposed to achieve a lot. We are not competitors; we are complementary. This is not Coke and Pepsi, it is the candle and the wick, and for the purpose of lighting, they both need each other. There is more we can achieve when we work together than when we compete and strive to suppress each other.

Have a great week ahead.

PG Sebastian 
All Rights Reserved 

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

MANAGING TRUST ISSUES IN RELATIONSHIPS

In every marriage and relationship, trust is of utmost importance. Trust is built; it is not ascribed. It can take grueling years to build, and be shattered by a single act; intentional or not, deliberate or accidental. How a person reacts to you is a function of their past experiences. It could also be a function of your past history or your past mutual experiences. Perception significantly influences trust.

You may accuse your partner of having trust issues. What you fail to see, however, is that by designating them as such, you may end up not caring about how they feel, and therefore may not go the extra mile to deal with their trust issues. By this action, you heighten their fear and help them import the same reality or perspective they had in their previous relationship which led to its break up. Regardless of what you do, if nothing changes, your current relationship with them will also not last.

Love me, love my dog. It could be a beautiful poodle, a nasty past, or fiery looking trust issues. You cannot select what you like in a person and hate something else in them and deal with these things independently. Your partner is a complete package. You either love those things you love about them so much that it makes up for other areas of deficiency, or hate certain things about them to a point where it tears up other areas of strength.  You love them for the part about them you like and help them deal with the part you don't like....unless you don't see a future in that Relationship. Then the question comes up, what are you doing in that relationship without a future?

If a marriage or relationship means something to you, treat it as if it does actually mean something to you. When trust issues come up and are allowed to fester, it affects perception, and a skewed perception affects conversation, actions, and reactions. It is your responsibility, for as long as you choose to stay in that relationship or marriage, to work on how the person sees you. The onus rests with you. Trust is a form of promotion – we all earn our promotions.



We are by nature selfish. Selfishness means we seek out our interests first. That means we all have the tendency to want to be sure we are not short changed in any social interaction. It is for you, therefore, to act in ways that settle the person. Raving and ranting and fighting their insecurities make everyone expend more energy than lovingly and in a caring way, try to help them deal with these issues. It is a deep seated emotional issue; you don’t fight it, you assist them to deal with it.

How do you handle information that involves them? How do you handle their queries? How do you handle issues of privacy? How do you handle third parties in your relationship or marriage? How do you handle their curiosity? How you handle all, or any of these, can go to heighten their insecurity or deflate it. It may take you less than five minutes to say or do the right thing, to set in motion something that will run for a long time to your advantage. Or you can let your pride, frustration, and lack of thought let you trigger a needless fight or tension that can last for weeks, months or years. It will all depend on how you handle the triggers of their insecurities.


Do not assume your spouse is on the same level with you as far the perception of the world around you goes. And do not use their insecurity as a measure of their maturity. Many people have gone through a lot to warrant their skepticisms. Many have seen enough to almost make them lifetime doubters. Your actions can add a layer to their skepticism or take a layer off it. It is a choice that has endless ripples.  Do you love your spouse enough? Did you get into their lives to seek your interest or you did to make each other happy? Happiness is not just about you getting the best of everything. It is not just when your spouse trusts you nem con. Happiness is a boomerang; it always returns back to the giver.  It is when you make it your target to ensure that the one in your life is happy that you will be happy.

You may have tried a couple of times and may not see any improvement. You may have been as open as a book and still get the look, the tone and the body language that says you are still not trusted. Well, see it as taking someone through a period of rehab from a strong addiction. There is no magical way around it. You go through it thoroughly and painstakingly with a lot of hope for the best in the future. There are no buttons which get you results. You don't judge and go ballistic on them because you have done all you can, but they keep relapsing! If you take it upon yourself to be with someone, your attitude toward helping them become a better person is a can-do one.  

Be intentional about trying to help your partner deal with their insecurities. Handle it as you would want any of your concerns in the marriage or relationship handled. Ask them what it is about you that trigger their insecurities. Ask them what you can do to make them feel better. Discuss the difficult demands they may make on you and find a compromise. Carry out the easy ones and make them happy. If you realize you are looking at two different sides of an issue, and there is no place for compromise, then it is advised, at the relationship stage, to walk out. There is no love where there is no compromise.

Sometimes, they may not be upfront with you, and it will be for you to note those things that lead to fights, questions, sarcasm and skeptical reactions. Look for an appropriate time and engage them in a cool and civil conversation about those issues. I notice you react in ways that show you don’t trust me when XYZ happens. Can we talk about it?  There are also certain lifestyles you may need to change to build trust. I have mentioned a few earlier, but let me add a few more. How do you deal with your phone calls? At what times are you seen online? How do you react when the question of a particular person of the opposite sex come up? How do you communicate your views about issues, especially when those views have been formed by your discussions with someone of the opposite sex? How do you treat things from your spouse in comparison to things from other people? All these can lead to trust issues. Find ways of dealing with them.
Marriage is between two people willing to become one, and a good relationship is supposed to be a precursor to that marriage. If two people can’t live as one, then physically occupying a space is a failure. A Key component of living life as one is trust. I need to know that I can go to sleep and won’t miss anything.

Marriage is a lifelong decision and commitment; be certain what you commit to. If you are sure you can't deal with the person's insecurities and you don't have the grace to attempt to help them, then walking out is a good option. However, if you stay, complaining and throwing your hands up in exasperation does no one good. You entrench their fears and insecurities while they, in turn, push you to the edge. But always remember when you do it for them, they become indebted to you to do it for you. That is how you clear every clog in the trust continuum.

PG Sebastian. 
All Rights Reserved 2017


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Friday, 19 May 2017

THE HIDDEN PRICE OF MARRYING INTO A FAMILY

There is a price to pay for every family you marry from. There is a price to pay when you marry from a poor home, a rich home, a prominent family, broken home, a family of academicians and religious people, a family from a culture/race/ethnicity different from yours.

It is important you know what the price is or likely to be. For some, it is the price of  the money you must be willing to part with just to crank the engine before we even start talking. The V8 families, I call them. For some, it is the price of being intellectually up there, being a spiritual firebrand, being able to cope with different customs including food, traditions, values, language, skin colour stereotypes and general way of life. For others, the price is to be able to blend into a certain class and being able to flow with certain line of conversation, a way of thinking and mannerisms. For some yet, it is the price of fear. Everything from that family was earned through the hard way that no little expenditure is seen as little, and every little laxity in spending is seen as prodigal.

The knowledge of this is not to scare you off; it is to help you decide if you have what it takes to pay that price and if you are willing and able to pay that price. Sometimes it helps you simply walk away.

A Black African man marries a white Lady, and due to certain cultural differences, marries another African woman in secrecy just so they can end up with someone they can identify with. People from 'ok' backgrounds [usually men] marry rich people [usually girls], and they complain about the crazy demands, expectations and lifestyles. People from families where both parents are living together marry from broken homes and live in terror because their spouses do not trust them, are paranoid or are abusive.

I do not know what you want to do with this information, but sit back and look at the family you are going into....look at the price you will pay for becoming a part of that family. Forget love and all the emotional stuff for a minute, and look at the reality of it. Are you willing and able to pay the price? No one ever went into a marriage with the view to breaking it; it only breaks up, most often, after the things they feared from the onset spring to life and start dancing in their face or haunt their dreams.

People are not just as they appear; we are a collage of all the experiences we have had, and how they have all influenced us. Do not forget it. Some backgrounds and upbringings do not just go away with marriage; some people do not change who they are after years of socialisation. They suppress them to get along until it becomes unbearable, then who they truly are resurfaces. God bless you if your marriage turns out differently; most often the price just gets ridiculously through the roof. Look before you jump. If you can't pay do not acquire. Prayer may not change much. That is why God gave you the vision before the commitment.

Homes are breaking up NOT ALWAYS because of an evil partner or their friends or relatives or the altar in your village; they are breaking up because of the differences in socialisation, which influences perception of the world around, how that world is interpreted and how it influences one's behaviour. People think and act in the way they see the world as shaped by their experience... Experiences of wealth, poverty, conflict, need for love, need for security, freedom, decisiveness, indecision, authority, lack of authority, faith, religion, ethnicity, language (verbally and symbolic) education, exposure among others. These things don't change overnight. There is no Harry Potter magic wand for that. If it took 25 to 30 years to shape them, before you met them, you don't expect them to change in 2 years because you are the new kid on the block. So as she is, can you pay the price of accepting her? Can you walk with him for the next 15 years before he finally decides to see it and do it your way? You can't? Great. I just saved you from a certain divorce.

PG Sebastian
All Rights Reserved. 


Thursday, 4 May 2017

WHATSAPP DOWN!!! SOCIAL MEDIA AND THE CHASM IN REAL LIFE CONNECTIONS

The very first major national Dumsor was in 1998. Bill Clinton was coming to Ghana. I remember when the lights went off in the evenings, area boys would just come out and sit in front of our houses, some will congregate on the street in front of a particular person’s house. We would chat and talk about everything. It was around this time of the year, so it was kind of hot. The cool fresh air outside did a lot of good to us. Sometimes, we would talk and dream for hours. By 10 pm, we would start trickling out into our various dark holes... This was In Takoradi, Anaji Estates (around John Davies' house), as it was so for many neighbourhoods across the country.

We had a life.

It is unsettling that the advent of social media has resulted in huge gullies in real-time face-to-face relationships. We have all been alienated and cut us off from each other. Because of the guy inside my phone, I am not so eager to meet the new guy who moved in next door. Because of the many things I get to see and laugh about on social media, I don't bother to try laughing with my neighbours. Now we give each other highlight in traffic, or give each other strange looks, or completely avoid each other and hurry off to our little 'Intel Inside' machines and send them heartfelt messages of how we saw them in traffic and gave them a light... How we were not sure of their reaction so we looked and walk on... How we were not certain (about what we don’t know) so we did not approach at all.

I lived in Tema for 5 years. My neighbour to the left of my residence was Middle Eastern Looking; I assumed was Lebanese. My neighbour to the right had the similar features. They had children. The children would see me drive inside anytime I came home, and they were playing outside. They would smile at me and I would respond with a curt smile. To my shame, there was not a single time I stopped to give them toffee or ask their names. I would wave at their parents (the men) and drive off...or in. As culturally enlightened a person that I am, I completely avoided interacting with the women who were always clad in their black hijab.

They were my neighbours; the aroma from my kitchen was in their noses, and the moanings from their boisterous lovemaking were in my bedroom. We were spatially close yet socially very far apart. I was closer to the folks inside my phone… folks in London, Takoradi, Accra, even New York... than I was to these families… humans that lived next door.

The day I finally decided to move out, I went to my neighbour to the right, and I told him I was moving out. I actually met him at the entrance to his house. The place was too far from my workplace; it makes me tired. I told him. He could barely understand me (He spoke Arabic…I think). But he said, please come in. He took me in, instructed his wife to hurriedly go cover her face and bring me a glass of water. I nearly turned the water down. These are strangers. I can't drink from them. But the better part of me took it and gulped it down. I looked at his eyes and his hair closely, and I noticed they were a bit different - lighter. Are you Syrian? He said no. Jordanian. I said Ah. I met a Jordanian man once in Europe. We once in a while stay in touch on Facebook. He was very cosmopolitan. We had something to share and smile about. Amman? I asked. He said yes. His eyes beamed like the headlights of a Beamer. Ah, you know about Amman. I answered quietly, I know the entire Middle East well... Of course, I did not have to tell him I am a fan of the various News channels and their different perspectives, and also a fan of History.

In about 5 minutes, my visit was over. This stranger had had enough of my time. I needed to drive off so I could catch up with my friends inside my phone. Those who are in Chicago, Glasgow, and Rome. The guys on my phone who will not be there when I needed someone to help me push my car because my ignition is spurting and my battery won't kick. They won't be there to carry me to the hospital in the event of an emergency, or… borrow salt from when I suddenly discover I am low on salt and I don't have to drive a kilometer or two to buy some.

Over the weekend (just this weekend) I saw the lady who has moved into my next door for the first time after she moved in about two months ago. During Christmas, I managed to say hi to the other neighbour who had been staying around for the past 6 months. I notice them when they come, I just don’t talk to them.  She said she was called Ang... Angela.... Angelina... OK. I will probably have to call her Angie, so I don't embarrass myself. I remember asking her name when we exchanged greetings. I was locking my gate she was opening hers. But most importantly, I was chatting with my friend who lives in Tanzania, that I did not listen to the one next door mention her name. What happened to us? Or it is just me? Why is this happening to us? Maybe it is just me.

Last night when WhatsApp went down, I was asleep. I woke up to see the emptiness in people as they posted online looking for answers. Individuals who live among people in densely populated areas. All they had to do was to walk out and chat with a friend... But alas all their friends live on their phones, and the only way to link up with them was to resort to another lifeless means of reaching out.... FACEBOOK.

And to think that it is not just WhatsApp and social media that is messing our way of life up, but since 1998 till date, no sensible government has been able to fix Ghana’s energy problems. 19 years and counting... 19 years of stories, excuses, and foolish grand plans.

PG Sebastian

2017. All Rights Reserved



Thursday, 20 April 2017

THERE ARE NO "SMALL WIVES"


Since forever, for one reason or another, I have stayed “woke” in regards to all forms of oppression and social injustices; in my personal life, my professional life, and society generally; as if I have been primed for them. I am unsure whether it was enrolling in a Gender and Development course for a year during my undergrad studies that deepened this social-consciousness or whether I had already started becoming more sensitive to them by mere observation, but it seems that every day something new, different, and often worrisome arises and I just can’t look away.
It may seem the steam that erupted during the Otiko Djaba brouhaha might have settled, but that is only because “those of us who really care,” do not have as much power and influence like she does. While the controversies centered around Otiko and her current role as protector of the feminine realm in the country, it also exposed our society in very unsettling ways.

This past week, in particular, I have heard and read many cases of child sexual abuse, which has triggered, on my part, a very critical reflection into our cultural setting to identify other ways to steer the discussion on sexual harassment and child sexual abuse. I have noticed and mentally cataloged, over the years, the various disturbing ways in which grown men address not only adult women but teenage girls and children with terms of paternalistic endearment.
"My wife..... “
“Ei miyere kitiwa,(my small wife) how are you? When will you come and cook for me?”
“Ei my wife, I'll marry you ok."
Here, methinks, is a prime example of unassuming, subtle everyday-sexism mining its heels deeper and deeper into our collective subconscious. With every saying of “my wife,” there’s not only a reinforced gender stereotype in our cultural lexicon but also, a  perpetuation of a culture of polygamy, patriarchy and ‘chattelisation’ of women as items and objects, that a man can just have at his beck and call. This goes to influence a woman's sub-consciousness that it is OK to be a little wife, a second wife or the side Chic when the big madam is indisposed.
A very mundane picture in our society is being painted here. The sexualization of girls from a very early stage is one cancer we cannot afford to miss. This statement is also one we’ve heard come from our uncles, family friends, neighbours, etc. It is for this simple fact that statistics show that majority of rape victims actually know their rapists on a personal level.
It starts as simple “flattery,” or “compliments,” as I suppose these patronizing monikers would seek to achieve but really what it does is give a false sense of intimacy to relationships that are in truth built on nothing more than mere cordiality. And because it is mostly overlooked by even parents, the perpetrators are able to get away with it because obviously, they are people “we trust.”
We might have all heard this statement in some variation before. Adults who should know better, shamelessly say it to freshly born babies. They say it to toddlers. They say it to teens. They say it to adult girls.
Now here are a few things to note:
Please, men, listen up. Erect a thick wall of boundary that reaches to the highest heavens when it comes to girls. Don't admire, don't flatter, don't propose marriage. Let teenagers remain, teenagers and children, children. Keep your favours and endearments to yourself.
If the only thing you have to say to a little girl is 'my wife'; then you should give yourself a befitting hard knock on the head and STOP, because it is no endearment. It is totally INAPPROPRIATE.
Also, young girls are not your playmates. Desist from sending little girls and boys on errands; you were blessed with legs too. The truth is, people notice these things and more often will not complain openly or call you out until something terrible happens to that child.
If the child goes missing, they will mention you. If the child gets raped, they will point fingers at you.
Why? Because you chose to treat the child as an adult and made marriage proposals to little girls in jest while sending them on errands as if they were born to serve you.
Many dangerous people are clad as family and friends. The perverts are not strangers. Even our sons and baby boys are not spared. Some of these pedophiles are also females. There’s no gainsaying that evil in itself has no gender!
Parents, please pay attention to your daughters (and sons); listen to them. Don't beat them into silence. DON’T BLAME THEM. Listen. Believe the child. He/She may only reach out once.
Also, pay attention to the people they get close to. Rape and child abuse did not die yesterday - it will be here with us till the conversion of the Jews.
Don't make a sexually abused child lie in the name of “protecting the family" or your marriage. Cowardice at this time is not an option! Get justice for that child. Let the child trust you; let them know you are here to protect them and not blame them. Name and shame the abuser. Let the laws deal with him/her.
If you see or notice something odd, don’t look away. SPEAK UP! You have chosen the side of the oppressor (abuser) when you say nothing. Sweeping sexual abuse under the carpet won't make it stop. Neither will it make our kids safe nor us. Break the culture of silence.
Talking to your kids about child sexual abuse isn't scary. NOT TALKING IS!
Empower your child to identify/recognize what an inappropriate "touch" or compliment is and to boldly say NO! Teach them to SPEAK UP!!!
It is an easier task to build a strong child than to fix a broken adult.
Stay “Woke.”


Efua Sintim 2017 
All Rights Reserved
 Ms Sintim is our Guest Blogger for today. She is a student of law, at the University of London, and a Compliance Professional, Content Writer/Developer for African Youth Excellence (AYE), Massachusetts