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Bani Wasida lived in Watarra with his mother and three siblings. He came from a poor background and his family had to struggle to make ends meet. His father died when he was only six years old. His mother, Maa Amana, had a small kiosk in which she sold vegetables. As the kids grew older, Maa’s petty trading was not enough to cater for their school fees and they had to drop out of school. She toiled everyday in order to afford descent meals for her children. In time,

Maa’s health began to fail and life became hard for the family: a balanced meal a day was gradually becoming more and more distant in the minds of the children. As the eldest of the children, Bani knew he had to take the place of the parents to fend for the family. For a long time Bani worked as a porter, kayayo

, in the local market. He would carry load for people whom had come to the market to trade for a fee. Many a time, he was forced to carry a load which was more than a boy of his age could carry. Sometimes, he had to clean the local public toilet for a very meagre fee from the town council. One bright day, as Bani moved from house to house looking for work to do, he met his school mates coming from school and quickly went to hide. Not knowing his friends had already seen him and came to find him at his hiding

place. They teased him for almost thirty minutes and when B.B as they called him, could not bear it any longer, he broke down and wept. When his friends left him, B.B run home to his sick mother and narrated the story to her. That day, Bani could not go on his usual rounds in the market for fear that his friends would find him and tease him again. Bani and his siblings did not have the kind of childhood his friends enjoyed. There was no one to take care of the children after the death of their father and the subsequent illness of their mother. The only thing their father had left was their house. Many relatives gossiped about them calling them names. It was The White Man’s Wallet: Teddy Kamassah All rights reserved, (c) Copyright 2008, The Script Factory even alleged that one member of the family had committed a sin against the gods of Watarra. Soon, they became a laughing stock as it was common to see either B.B. or any of his siblings begging for food in the neighbourhood. Very often, Bani and his siblings would get together to console one another. When it was too much to bear they often cried themselves to sleep.

Consequently, the whole family slept on an empty stomach. The next day, Bani went to an old friend of his mother’s and asked if there was any work for him to do. “ I want you to take these tomatoes to Pakali, the next village and sell them for me”, the goodly woman said. “Yes madam” , Bani replied and quickly carried the tomatoes in a basket ready to set off for the next

village. He was full of smiles: this was the most decent job he had ever done in three years. The woman continued, “But before you go, take some food to your sick mother and your siblings” These were the kindest words Bani had heard since the death of his father. B.B first carried a bunch of plantains to his mother and siblings and then set off on his errand to the next village Due to his pleasant nature, Bani was able to sell all the tomatoes in very good time and made very good money as well. On his way home, Bani came across an old man who asked B.B to help him with a piece of load. As Bani carried the luggage, the old man seized Bani and twistehis hand hard. “Bring all the money you got from the market”, the man demanded. Bani pleaded that the money was not his but the man did not care. He hurriedly searched the boy’s pockets and took all the money he made selling tomatoes that day. The old man was a thief! That was about the most difficult experience Bani had ever had in his life, and that was the last time he ever sold tomatoes for the good woman. From that day Bani continued to work in the market place doing all the odd jobs for people. The White Man’s Wallet: Teddy Kamassah All rights reserved, (c) Copyright 2008, The Script Factory During the days of Bani’s troubles, white men begun to arrive in Watarra, with big cars and heavy equipment. They were going to construct a road from Watarra to Accra. Somehow, Bani had a strange feeling that life was going to get better for him and his family. The white men employed the people of Watarra as casual labourers to help in the construction of the road and Bani was included. While Bani Wasida was at work one afternoon, he picked up a wallet. It belonged to the rich white man who had just passed by. He was the director of the construction company that was making the road. The wallet had fallen when the man got down from his car. Bani knew it would contain a lot of money and he would be able to afford a descent meal for his family. However, a thought struck him: “it is not good to take other people’s things”. At that moment however, he was very hungry and his family lived in poverty, real poverty. Bani thought for a while “this is the greatest temptation” he said to himself. Bani remembered how hard life had been for his family after his father died. He had had to beg for food and do odd jobs for people in order to keep body and soul together and now there he was with five million cedis in a wallet. He would be able to buy food for his family for some time. After careful consideration, Bani decided to take the wallet to the white man. The white man was so pleased. Not because of the money but because the wallet contained his passport and other important documents. To show his appreciation, he decided to reward Bani and his family. He put Bani on a regular salary and agreed to take care of the rest of his family. Bani decided to attend evening school with the money he earned from the construction company.   He was also able to help deal with his mother’s health problems. The white man was also very helpful. Since he had no children of his own, he treated the family as his. He took Bani’s siblings to school and paid their school fees. The family could not believe their eyes. Today, with the help of the white man, B.W. is in the United States of America studying Law, his mother owns a super market at Makola and his siblings are among the best students in an international school in Accra. What  changed  the  destiny  of  Bani  and  his  family?  His  decision  not  to  keep  the  white  man’s wallet.

(ByTeddy Kamassah)

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