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Thursday, July 25, 2024

The Tragic Lives of Everyday People

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By AMin Modad

I would like to share this sad and disappointing story of a young man whom I was fortunate to have encountered and tried to help.

Sometime last year, a coconut seller entered one of my premises to sell his coconuts. I found it interesting that he had only about 6 coconuts in his arms walking the streets rather than in a wheelbarrow as many others do.

I called him, not only to patronize or assist him in that moment, but to also hear his story, to know who he was, and see if I could change his life. I believe everyone has a story that goes deeper than what we see, if only we cared to find out.

My wife and I usually take the time to talk to such individuals. If moved and we see that the individual was sincere and aspired for more despite their bleak situation, we try to give them that break they need and change their lives with the hope that they will pass that goodwill to someone else.

In fact, I am writing a book (a documentary) entitled ‘Everyday People’ to share these encounters and demonstrate how little support can change people’s lives for the better.

Anyway, jokingly, I told him that I wanted the coconut free as my commission for selling on my property. Without hesitation, he opened the coconut and told me that I could have it. I then asked him why did he give me the coconut free when clearly he needed the money and saw that I could afford it.

He said “Why not, If someone could have saved my life, why wouldn’t I help another person”. Probing further, I asked him to explain what he meant.

He told me this interesting story about how he and a friend went to pick coconuts, and the friend fell from the coconut tree and later on died; this was just around the time he had graduated from high school.

Fast forward, the police jailed him and did not investigate further since he did not have any other witness; the court also did not afford him the due process and had him incarcerated for 6 years. He felt that this all happened because he was poor and had no family backing.

He then informed me that he was recently released form prison through the benevolence of former Chief Justice Kporkor who somehow got to know about his situation through the persistent letters from his mother and had the cased reopened.

By then, his mother who had to sell her land and home to pursue his freedom, and also passed away.

I asked him about his aspirations and what where is next moves now that he was free. As another example of the tragic and hopeless conditions many live in this country, he said that though he was out of high school, he wanted to improve on the only thing he knew, selling coconuts.

I was so moved by his magnanimity and the simplicity of his aspirations, that I gave him $5 and asked him to come to my hotel in three days. He came as requested… I had bought him a new wheelbarrow and gave him $50 to purchase his first stock of coconuts.

I had only one condition, the same that I have given many who I assisted in this way…he was to come back to me every month to update me on his progress; and if I was impressed, we would discuss further assistance. Since that day, he has never returned! I was so sad today when a former employee who was present when I assisted this young man, forwarded a post by journalist Nyantee Genero Samuel Togba showing him in such poor physical and mental state and expressing bitterness that society has deserted him (last photo).

What went wrong? Who is to blame? Abe Darius Dillon, can you help him at your center if we can find him?

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