okgr

10K 3K not about money 🇬🇭

I’m going to begin with stating that I intend to move to Japan1 after school. The reason is because I do not feel intellectually challenged in the Ghanaian environment. The plan is to go for so many years, make a name and return. I experience the dumsor, the terrible internet and have bland conversations with people. People close to me have heard me a number of times say “I don’t have anything going on for me so travelling abroad will just be me having a 9-5 in a job I may not enjoy everyday.” Which is why I’m not motivated to travel.

To summarize:

  1. I intend to leave Ghana.
  2. Yupp, not about the money.

The matter

I think this is the third time we’re having this kind of conversation on Twitter. And interestingly, it always attracts the same format of opinions from the same division of people. In any argument, it’s people making desperate attempts to convince the other of their choice. It would seem to either parties, the other is an idiot. In fact, people make it clear the other is an idiot [literally]. The topic is:

Between earning $10K monthly in Ghana and earning $3K abroad (say US, EU, etc), which do you choose?

The sects

Just like anything else, we have those on the left, right and the middle. The middle (in this case) being people giving neutral opinions OR waiting to choose a side. But one thing I noticed is that, almost everyone involved in the discussion, grew up here — which means everyone involved in the discussion had had first hand experience of life in Ghana. That is good!

The right

People on the right2 suggest deciding to live abroad is not about the money. It’s about a lot convenience. Like great transportation system, stable elecricity power, ultra-fast internet, health, etc. For some few, it’s about the future of their children. Very valid reasons. Especially if a lot of basic problems like food, shelter and social life are no longer a problem.

This is a lifestyle the right is attempting to sell. Surprisingly for them, quite a lot of people don’t agree with them. Something must be wrong! Maybe it’s because the others have never travelled. Maybe they’ve never tasted a better life. These are the frustrations of the right.

Privilege is blinding (and deafening, if you will). When I came to school, I once mentioned an amount I intended to spend on food and they boys shouted “ei” unanimously. It was a quick realization: I was in a different environment. To a lot of people here, spending more than 20c on food is absurd. Spending 70c will be an occassion!

People spending 20c on food don’t think not spending 70c is a problem. In fact, they’re not thinking about that at all. Which is why it was a shock to hear my budget.

For a lot of people that appear to sound stupid for deciding to stay in Ghana, their problems may be simpler: how do I get a PS5, what should I get my friend this coming birthday, etc. Every other inconvenience (which is used as reason to desert) are things the Ghanaian people have learned to live with — no matter how frustrating.

So you can see why $10K to a lot of people in Ghana is gold. And it should be easy to understand this!

Even in countries advertised as better, the people have their frustrations they have learned to live with. I learned in Germany, bureaucracy is a pain.

Some are going to respond with something like: “but things don’t have to be like that” OR “things could be better and that’s what we’re trying to say”. Yes and I’m going to talk about that.

The left

Why forsake $10K for just $3K and live abroad? This will never make sense to anybody on the left. For a lot of people in Ghana, and most parts of the world, this is a lot of money. This is no debate!

But to the left, they have never actually experienced what life abroad feels like. I believe most of them, if not all, have heard about all the rainbows and sunshine at the other side. Without reasons personal to them, they can never be compelled to live abroad with just $3K at hand…

As a reminder, I’m not advocating to stay (nor leave). But if you ever decide, it should be for reasons personal to you: just like for those abroad (who have tasted life both home and abroad) standing for a more structured and (seemingly) comfortable life.

The crossfire

In the crossfire, is a country with crumbling economy. Ghana! The right will miss no opportunity to mention how shitty this country is.

It’s fair to say a, “I wanted to advance my career and I happened to get a job in country X that offers that opportunity”. This is also true for people from developed countries — they travel to other regions to pursue a career.

Another example b: “I didn’t like the unstable electricity or internet, so I had to travel to country Y.” This will mean you had the means to live a comfortable life in Ghana but these were issues you couldn’t live with.

Another example c: “Rents are so expensive in Ghana, I had to travel to country Z.”

There are more examples you can make in isolation. But for the right to make a compelling argument, they need bundle all the possible problems as “Ghana” and then bundle “abroad” as the solution. The right also makes it look as though it is/was all in their control to leave: they woke up one morning, decided it was enough, chose a country of choice and left the next afternoon.

When you take problem b and c in isolation (and as someone earning $10K), leaving the country is absurd. Because you can actually afford to remedy either. In reality, people from rich neighborhoods in Ghana don’t get into these kind of conversations because they remedy it. Which also cascades to why the “elite” don’t get involved in these discussions.

I do recognize one can have all of these problems but in reality, someone just wants his salary to increase from 2000c to 3000c. Simple! Other wants to get a car to buy, simple! What the right is doing is imposing some superficial values on people at the expense of desertion of Ghana. In fact, in the eyes of the right, they think they’re helping people do (or see) what’s right.

The real problem

Throughout history, countries (especially ones used as models against Ghana) have gone through very difficult times (and for multiple times). While the people used different means to overcome their tribulations, least of them was desertion. Where would you run to?

Desertion is the opposite of patriotism. Leaving the country for better opportunities abroad is not desertion. But never returning or wanting to return is desertion.

Instead of brainstorming ways to attack problems of the country, the brilliant idea educated people could come up with was to encourage desertion. Have these people learned how these countries arrived at their current state? Was it always that good? Is there anything we can learn from them? Can we inspire the same trend? How would we do that?

These seemingly simple questions would take years to figure out. It’s the conversation to be having. It took some communities decades of different attempts here and there to arrive where they are.

We bundle everything as “Ghana” blame “leaders” and call it a day. How effective! You choose the lazy approach and expect more from others. But as much as you don’t feel responsible for the state of your country, you are also not responsible for the state of that which you hail — you’re enjoying the fruits of the labor of people you never knew.

So maybe, the problem is that everyone wishes for a life of glamour which should have been built by people past but in fact we’re a very young country. We really don’t have any history — no examples.

Can we set some?

Footnotes

  1. Yes Japan 🇯🇵. But principally, wherever I can nurture my values.

  2. Not implying that they’re argumentatively right.