The pain shot through my heart when I read the story in the Daily Graphic the other day of the seven year-old boy whose Grandma slashed his hands for drinking her last pot of soup.
I can imagine what may have happened in that small Twifo village. This sixty-five year-old granny has this left-over light soup, featuring a few sinews of bush meat.
She’s going to Women’s Fellowship and come. The plan, presumably, is to whack it with some small cocoyam fufu to, as they say, see her how far when she returns.
She strolls home humming her favourite Presby hymn score. She makes her way to the kitchen only to meet the absence of the said soup.
“Hwe! Where’s that urchin? Kwaaabeeenaaaaeeeeiiii!”
“Nanaaa!” The little boy is obviously within earshot of his Nana but is hoping that somehow the old lady would quit hollering after two tries. He appears in grandmother’s presence, but takes a visual measurement of her reach and makes sure he’s not within it.
“I have called you and called you and called you, Kwabena! You mean you didn’t hear?”
“Why are you standing so far away?
“Nana, I can hear you from where I’m standing.”
“I cannot hear you from where you’re standing; draw closer!”
Kwabena then bridges the gap by the length of his small toe. Tweaa! You think he’s a fool?
“Where’s the soup I left inside the pot?”
“Kwabena, I said wherree iiisss thee soouup?
“The soup in the pot?”
“Yes, Kwabena, the soup in the pot!”
I opened the pot a little to look inside but as for the soup I don’t know where it passed.”
“Was your something missing inside the pot?”
“I was just looking inside keke.”
Keke how? You drank my soup, Kwabena! Ah, Kwabena, waha me!”
Silence. Stalemate. Tension. Trouble.
At this point, Kwabena is on your marks.…..Come and see speed. He bolted like a little rat before any of Grandma’s wrinkles could negotiate a twitch.
“If I catch you! If I get these hands on your little body, Kwabena!”
Sadly for Kwabena a too-known neighbour stepped in his path, scooped him up and handed him in.
That’s when the old lady did the damage with that old blade.
She was obviously furious. But slashing a hungry child’s hands over and over again with a blade, even for finishing off your last pot of soup, is mean and cruel.
But. A big But. She shouldn’t go to jail. I wouldn’t even recommend punishment.
This is where our justice system ought to be innovative and more meaningful by solving problems rather than compounding them.
This calls for alternative resolution involving family and social welfare institutions. The ultimate objective should be to repair the natural bond between Grandma, grandson and parents.
Just as Love must triumph over a pot of missing soup, Justice is barren if it ruins the home of an errant Grandma.