GHANAIAN NATIONALS ASSOCIATION - VICENZA "UNITY IS STRENGTH"
c/o Istituto Salesiano "Don Bosco", Via Marconi, 14, 36015 Schio (VI).
firstname.lastname@example.org Tel. 0444623392 or 0444601339 Fax 0444450962 or 0444698322
26/11/2002CONVENTION: LIFE OF THE IMMIGRANT (GHANAIAN) WOMAN IN VICENZA (*)
Venue: Arzignano; - Parish hall of B.V.A. "La Madonnetta", Costo di Arzignano
Date; Saturday 21st December 02
Time; From 15.30 - 20.30
TOPICS FOR DISCUSSION:
Special Guests of Honour: Social Assistants of the Comune, Health Centres, plus other Local Administrative Officials.
After the discussions there will be a joyful moment of cultural exchange in the form of exquisite traditional dishes from both the Italian and the Ghanaian Cuisine; in collaboration with the "Centro Italiano Femminile di Montecchio Maggiore".
MY AFRICAN HUSBAND A MAN TO BE PROUD OF.
by Zuweratu Abasimi
In most African traditions, a man as the head of the family is taken literally. Which means, he is the owner of the family, so that his decisions are final, his actions are unquestionable and he is not be contradicted in his speech. He is supposed to be served without complain. I can say this by the testimonies of other African friends that I have come into contact with or by what we see in the television. But I will hereby centre my talk particularly on Ghanaians.
In Ghana we have many tribes, as such different traditions and culture. But what is common is the stand of the man. Almost all the tribes feel the same way about a man, that is he is the head of the family.
If the man is a hunter, the wife becomes the caretaker of the house, goes to the market, keeps the house clean and takes care of the children, sees to it that food is always on the mans table. If he is a farmer, the woman builds the hut, keeps it clean and makes sure there are no leakages. Goes to the farm with the man to work on the farm, afterwards carries the heaviest load including the child on her back, comes home to start food preparing and at the same time taking care of the children, what a hectic life. All these are supposed to be her duties so there is no need to complain. The husband is there idling till for is served, water is taken to the bathroom. It is taboo for most tribes for a man to be seen in the kitchen or taking water to the bathroom or washing utensils. Helping the wife in the kitchen or bathing his children is viewed as weak or under a spell of the woman and consequently named OBEEMA KOTOBONKU.
The woman is regarded inferior without any intellectual ability, her only importance is making children and taking care of the house. Women were never sent to school and were never to have discussions with men. They were always seated in rear of any gathering. She was to obey without complain, and if she staying in the family house she becomes the servant and does practically all the house work including taking care of her husband. She is regarded rebellious if she complains or does not do all she is required to do. What a life for these poor and ignorant women. Even with the introduction and advancing of the new perspective of women, there are still women who suffer these degradation. It is more surprising to hear that they are being practised in Europe and in Italy in particular. Oh yes there are women who are subjected to this "Macho man" world.
These women do more hours than their husbands, but still come home to take care of the man, who sometimes comes home before the woman, cares for the children and prepares for the next day, before going to bed. She is the first to wake up because she has to prepare something for the man and children before rushing to go for her bus. The man has a car, but he is so inconsiderate and fills he is above taking care of the children or preparing breakfast for himself and the kids. There some men who dont even how to use the Microwave, they wait till the woman comes back from work to heat and put the food on the table for them. Some of these women cant stand these hectic life without the help of their husbands, so they are forced to take their children back to Ghana.
There are so many reasons for the union of a man and a woman. Some women prefer their men short or tall, stout or thin, fair or dark, rich or poor, learned or illiterate, there is always a something that entices us to fall in love. In some cases, love comes after the union, in other cases, love comes first. The most important thing is "Are we really in love?" Through my own experience, I known that with love, one is ready to undergo all types of treatment so as to bring happiness in the family. But there are certain times we have to try face our husbands and let them feel our importance. A man is a man, so is a woman a woman, whatsoever we do we can not become men nor can they become women, but it is through understanding and love reciprocate that we do not feel the difference in sex.
Communication I can say is the key to a good marriage, where there is no communication, the man does all projects without consulting the wife, and when she enquires, it becomes tug-of-war, then this will definitely lead to a very unstable marriage. A marriage where everything is shared, permission "not in the actual sense of the word" is requested for the spending of money makes things easier and well organised. When there is always the sharing and giving of suggestions, ideas and projects for the future and even for the present, dialogue and freedom of speech, there is always tranquillity, which makes the family blossom. But where decisions are always made by the man and in some cases, the woman, there is always tension and unhappiness. One or other of the couple is always feeling left out.
My husband is not perfect, he was also brought up in this kind of tradition, but thanks to God, he has changed his perception of family life. I will not elaborate too much for fear of exaggerating, but I can say that Im among the lucky few. I am able to lift my head high and when Im called Mrs Abasimi, I feel so proud not only because of his attributes back in the house but also in society. Even though he now does an office job he has not relented at all. He baths and takes care of the children, sometimes prepares lunch when Im busy doing something else. Even though he has so many engagements which most of the time makes me so left out, he has his own way of making me feel Im important in his life. When he is home he removes the attire of the office before entering the house, with his position who can imagine him before the sink washing bowls but he doesnt feel less a man helping his wife, and he does not feel that once I am home, I should do everything. He helps in every way. This gives me amble time to rest and have a peaceful mind.
This is a plea to the men who cant or dont want to accept the notion that the world is no more as it was in the time of our forefathers, therefore this is the time to change our believes and attitude towards the woman. Women are now robbing shoulders with men in all the high places, giving orders to men in the Army, having men under them in offices, showing men the way, so many other developments. As the saying goes, behind every successful man there is a woman. Why is it not behind every successful woman there is a man. Think well about this, and if you are among the category I have just mentioned, then, please, do away with it and try as much as possible to help your wife, for without her life will never be easy. Let her feel her importance, involve her in all decisions and other help in the house work, in this our present day, there is no work assigned to the man, and there is no work for the woman. Once men are now doing hair plaiting, sowing womens wear and hairdressing, then why should we say the kitchen is only for the woman, there is even the agreement that men are better in the kitchen than women, so that most restaurants prefer men to women. We now have our field of profession. So do not please assign only child bearing and house keeping for us, it is now a shared activity.
Take good care of us, and we will always give praises and feel you are the only man in the world for us. Make us happy for we deserve it.May these my words go deep to have an impact. Glory be to God for giving me this courage to speak out my mind.
THE GHANAIAN LADY AS A WORKER AND A HOME MANAGER IN ITALY by Harriet Adu-Bediako
As a woman, you must be able to know how to manage the home. Well, after the days work you are already tired, but at least you must have a little time to put some things in order.
I usually wash my clothing during the weekend. I do this early in the morning, if I do not have go to work on. I also prepare enough stew or soup and reserve some. I do thorough cleaning in the house because I have ample time. I do weekly shopping. I also try to do some ironing. As the saying goes "Brighten the corner where you are."
The bathhouse and kitchen, I try to clean these places every evening and the compound too I clean when there is the need.
Anytime there is a holiday, I use the occasion to put things in order. One of the basic responsibilities that I never forget to honour is that of paying the house hold services bills, which I often do during the break time during the course of the working week.
MOTHERHOOD IN ITALY by Eva Olimpio
A mother is the maternal parent of a child, her responsibilities includes ensuring the welfare of the home (that is taking care of the husband, the kids and the household).
A Ghanaian woman, and I will call her "Mama Africa" is a virtuous woman, she is like a merchant ship, that brings food from afar. A Ghanaian woman is industrious. Way back in Ghana, our men are known as the breadwinner whereas our mothers are caretakers of the home, but since a Ghanaian woman more often than not has many children, in many cases, the monthly provisions money given to her by the husband is insufficient for the needs of the house hold, she supplements it by indulging in petty trading, which enables her bring home additional income to support the home. A good Mama Africa indeed! Our mothers were very dear and supportive to us, especially with their advises of how to lead a good life. I remember anytime my mother was back from market, as soon as we see her from afar we started shouting "Mama den-den", this even gives any mother a great joy, and taking her basket off her head, she would give us the local sweets from the market, with great joy and pride.
Here in Italy an African woman is more or less a prisoner, her role as a mother is never played well, there is no good social relationship with the kids and husbands, because, foreigner as I am, I am obliged to work or else my stay Permit will be taken away from me. I have to wake up the poor children around 5.00am, dress them up and then send them to a neighbour ( an African of course!) and then rush on to start work at about 6.00am, with a nervous patron who most often is jittery, and showers abuses at the least circumstantial event.. At the end of the day, one comes home tired charged with anger and low sentimental mode, without a smiling face to receive the children and husband. No time to help the children with homework, and complains keep coming from the school. Our role as a mother is poorly played here. The place for a mother is the home, from all generations that is our workshop and that is where we find our peace and joy.
GHANAIAN MARRIED LADIES IN ITALY NOW FACING A GROWING TREND OF ABANDONMENT AS THEIR HUSBANDS LEAVE ITALY FOR GOOD. CAUSES AND CONSEQUENCES. by Erika
This is a problem that many Ghanaian women have faced especially during this year, i.e. 2001. I have seen many Ghanaian ladies, not only in the province of Vicenza, but also in other provinces of Italy, with very sad faces, in as much as they try to hide their despair and disappointment about this particular issue. My question now is, WHY WOULD A HUSBAND TRAVEL WITH THE WIFE TO A FOREIGN LAND ONLY TO ABANDON HER IN THE END? To me, this is a very sad situation that we all need to address.
What then are the causes of this abandonment?
I think the n░.1 cause of husbands leaving Italy for good is the "aben w╔ ha" issue (as we all term it) i.e. the Pension Proceeds issue.
I may also say that part of this problem is caused by the "Laws of the land" of Italy. We all know that the laws concerning Immigrants in Italy are not very favourable and this has caused the going-away of some Ghanaians.
The cold reception of some Italians is another problem that makes life difficult to reside in Italy as an immigrant.
Another cause is the fact that people go home to complete projects that they have started but have not been able to finish.
Yes, all these may be some of the causes why some husbands abandon their wives as they leave Italy for good but permit me to say that the major cause is the "aben w╔ ha" issue. I think you all agree with me. To cut a long story short, I would say that the major part of this problem is money. What we forget however is that, most of us came to Italy to work hard in order to obtain or earn enough money in a form of a capital and go back home. Of course I know that the pension money is also a form of capital but we should remember that when we were travelling from Ghana to this land, we did not have the least idea that at a point in time we could retrieve our pension pay and go back home. Let us now ask ourselves this question: WHAT ARE THE CONSEQUENCES IN THE END?
In the end, many Ghanaians tend to follow money and abandon not only their wives but also their children here in Italy as they leave for good. The saddest part of it is that some even leave with the excuse of going on holidays and all they later tell their wives is that "we are not coming back anymore".
They sell their marriages in order to obtain money. They abandon their kids in a foreign land just because of money. They go away leaving their wives and kids miserable. Some have 2 or 3 kids and others even more. How can a woman manage to live with 2 or 3 kids without the husband? Bringing home only one salary at the end of the month? That is even when the woman is working. What if she is not working or if she looses her job? We allow money to break our homes and as we all know, a broken home is one of the major causes of juvenile delinquency. Where would the children find the paternal care and love?
Now, we also know that women are very delicate and precious and if the man married woman, it means that at least he had some kind of love for her other than that he would not have gone ahead to marry her. Why then would he have to abandon her in the end only for money? Where did the love and respect he had for his wife go? Supposing the woman left him to follow money, how would he feel?
Brothers and sisters, the Bible says that "money answers all" but the same Bible also says that "money is the root of all evil". I would advise that we work hard enough to be able to save something, no matter how little, at the end of every month, for our future and that of our families. After all, the pension proceeds will always be ours. If, for any reason we have to go away for good, let there be a thorough discussion and agreement between the two parties so that all will be at peace and well with each other.
In conclusion, let us remember that marriage was instituted by God and for that matter we need to value our marriages and be proud of our partners. "A GOOD WIFE, WHO CAN FIND HER? HER PRICE IS FAR ABOVE RUBIES."
Thank you and May God bless You.
(*) Gilbert ABASIMI, secretaire of the GHANAIAN NATIONALS ASSOCIATION - VICENZA