Ghanaian journalist, Carlos Atsu Lorlornyo has shared his heartwarming encounter with a mentally-ill man at Kpone-Katamanso in Accra.
Carlos in his write-up on his Facebook timeline disclosed that the man, Mr Wiliam Nkrumah affectionately called ‘London Ambassador’ refused to accept the money he (Carlos) offered to him for engaging in a clean-up exercise.
According to Carlos, he was touched by what the mad man was doing and so he had to pack his car by the shoulders of the road to engage him.
I caught up with this mentally challenged man at Saki near Michel Camp in the Kpone Katamanso Municipality of the Greater Accra Region in the early hours of Saturday morning 22nd August 2020 during a community clean-up excercise where he was busily desilting open drains.
I was touched by what he was doing and so I had to pack my car by the shoulders of the road to engage him. As I alighted from my car, I walked to him and said “hi”.He responded “hello” with a charming smile.
Then I said “ayekoo”, and he responded “ayekoo” back to me.”I am impressed at what you’re doing, so I am offering you this 5 cedis note, I said solemnly to him.He paused, took a long look at me and said, “it is my responsibility as a member of the community to clean the environment so there is no need for you to pay me”.Surprised? Yes, I was very surprised.
In fact, I was shocked!However, I insisted by saying that “I am not paying you for what you’re doing but rather offering you this token because I am touched by your actions.” He looked at me again, smiled shoke his head and went back to his work more seriously than before. At a moment I felt stupid.Still determined, I posed the question, “please can I record what you’re doing for others to learn from you?”His response shocked me.
He said “why not”.I hurridly pulled my phone from my pocket, activated the camera and started recording. So, as you you can hear him say in the video, I asked him why he was desilting the drains?In short he said the filth was bad for our souls and body.
The whole interview lasted for just about one minute sixteen seconds in which he identified himself as William Nkrumah or William Arthur; the Londoner.After the interview, I again pulled a 5 cedis note from my wallet, streached my right hand forward with the bill and said, “please thank you for talking to me”.To my surprise again, he declined to accept the money. Instead, he gave me a moral lesson.He said, ” I don’t take money for talking to people”. Implying that he does not spend free money.Then I said, “ok, that’s very nice of you. Alright, if its so, then from my heart, kindly accept this money to buy lunch”.
I inturupted him and asked if he knew anything about the man working there?Then he said, “o that mad man?””Yes” I said.Hmmmm, he is such a nice person. He helps people around with menial jobs.He went on to say, ” its been rumoured that he was very brilliant in school and many people envied him. That was why someone ‘juju’ him.Really??? I enquired.
Yes, he responded as he started walking away from me. Sensing he was in a hurry, I quickly asked him if he knew where Mr. Nkrumah lives.”O there”, pointing to some shrubs nearby.I thanked him for the assistance. Based on my curiosity, I jumped over the gutter and walked through the bush to see for myself where Mr. Nkrumah calls home.
Indeed, your guess is as good as what I saw. It was exactly so. I spent sometime there interacting with a number of people who spoke highly of him.I may be wrong though, especially the fact that I am not a psychiatrist. However, based on the interactions I had with Mr. Nkrumah himself as you can see from the video and the numerous good accounts given by those who knew him, I am convinced that with some little attention and treatments he can be fine and reintegrated into society. People like these are rare but common on our streets.
In fact, if a mentally retarded person like Mr. Nkrumah can take the cleaning of the environment seriously, then the sane has a lot to learn from them.Again, if a mentally detailed person like Mr Nkrumah can still have the courtesy and the conscience to imply that he genuinely earns every pesewa he spends as corroborated by the mechanic, then the sane in our society have some serious lessons to learn on morality from the insane.
I am therefore using this medium to appeal to the Department of Social Welfare, the Member of Parliament for the Kpone Katamanso Constituency Hon. Affotey Agbo, the Municipal Chief Executive MCE of Kpone Katamanso Municipality Hon. Solomon Appiah, the Media, NGOs, Civil Society Organisations CSOs, benevolent individuals and organisations to come to the rescue of poor William Nkrumah/ William Authur the Londoner.
Watch the video below…