Shall we forever depart Terminal 3 ?

Growing up in the 90s, I remember so well that it was often during festive seasons that bus terminals would usually be full of passengers traveling from Accra and its environs to their respective regions. And even that, after a while, the transportation system and passenger influx would come back to normal when the festive seasons are over.

Traveling overseas was one of the most rare moments people experienced. Many of the people who had the opportunity to travel were mostly students and professionals pursuing further education and career opportunities in European, USA, Asian and The Americas countries and even with that most of them did return to help make things better in Ghana with their expertise.
It often took well to do families to frequently travel in and out of the country on a leisurely basis.

For the rest of the population, many pieces of cloth(Holland materials) cocoa proceeds, sales of lands and other properties had to be put together to fund a single person the chance to depart the shores of Ghana to overseas.
It then wasn’t a common and easy decision among the Ghanaian people.
I would also not say that life was heavenly or generally comfortable for everyone but at least I remember that there was some hope for patriotism that inspired people to stay, make a living and raise their families here, when Ghana felt like home with a great sense of belonging.

According to oecd-library.org, “the United States has by far attracted the largest annual flows of Ghanaian nationals since 2000 and 2006 (by 115%) reaching roughly 9,400 Ghanaians by 2006 and peaking at more than 10,500 in 2012. In 2019, flows from Ghana to the United States were among the highest of all African countries after Nigeria and Egypt”

Again, recent estimates made among the Ghanaian population in China suggests that there are currently about 10,000 to 30,000 Ghanaians in China and according to Wikipedia, there are a total of 4 million Ghanaian people in the diaspora. This figure spreads across the globe and is made up of Ghanaian individuals who are permanently settling abroad.

One would say or assume that there is some hope for us a country because people are able to afford overseas travel almost very easily these days and I indeed heard a politician on tv recently saying that the frequent traffic at terminal 3 is a great sign of a good economy because Ghanaians are able to afford international flights very easily.
I found this assertion very ignorant and insensitive.

Now if you happen to hold an European, Australian, American, some Asian countries and Middle East countries like that UAE’s passport, the ease in acquiring a visa to any country of your choice clearly isn’t the same as a traveler with an ECOWAS passport.

As a matter of fact I have read many stories on the X social app where Nigerians most especially have been awfully discriminated against at immigration check points for very absurd reasons and I believe many of my Ghanaian people have experienced similar situations.
And this experience does not only happen in Europe, America or Asia.
In fact in countries like Egypt, UAE, South Africa and other African countries, travelers with the ECOWAS passports are sometimes discriminated against horribly.
According to some reported cases on social media, Africans with ECOWAS passports who travel to Seychelles are scanned with Drug detection scanners, deliberately delayed after thorough and extensive interrogation as though travelers from West Africa are a threat almost always. Meanwhile, it is not the same with passengers with “stronger passports”

Recently there was a viral letter written by a Ghanaian surgeon to the Spanish embassy in response to a visa refusal he had.
Now this surgeon I believe stated clearly his purpose of travel which I think was a conference he had to attend and provided all the requirements the application demanded.

Upon reading the letter he sent to the embassy, even though I shared in his anger and frustration, I was also very elated that he made it very clear that he was overly content with his work in his home country and even went on to state his great achievements across the world in both academia and in medicine. Now if you have ever been refused a visa, you would know that most of the reasons given are very petty and unreasonable. And indeed it’s not the same with other people from different countries with “stronger passports”. I say different countries with stronger passports because the topic has matured to a level where we now have counties with weaker and stronger passports so at least we know where we stand but is it fair ? Absolutely not!

Now it’s never the case that the rapid increase at the terminal 3 departures are as a result of a good economy. The process in getting a visa in Ghana is almost a miracle. People are spending days, weeks and months praying and fasting to get visas, aside the fact that they have even sold properties to make it happen. On a daily basis, people are being scammed by some individuals purporting to be travel agents charging very huge sums of cash to assist people with visa applications.

It will amaze you to know that majority of the people working their way out of Ghana with huge sums of money in their savings are actually employed individuals in very respected sectors of government and private companies. The traffic at terminal 3 isn’t only made up of the employed.
In fact there’s a great number of unemployed young people who fall in the category of selling properties to acquire visas.

According to statista.com, “The total unemployed population in Ghana was estimated to reach some 592,000 in 2024, slightly increasing from the preceding year, when around 582,000 people were not in any form of employment. In 2015, the peak of unemployment was observed in the country. Overall, the rate of unemployment has been following a downward trend”.

The ways and means of survival among the young especially is mind blowing. It’s evident that most of the Ghanaian citizens as this point have lost hope.
Attempts have been made to demonstrate against the poor governance we are currently experiencing and to our surprise, institutions have risen against the peaceful protests young people have attempted to take. The very same people we are fighting for. This is one of the many reasons why young people are desirous to flee Ghana.

This has not only caused a great impact in our health, education, and other areas of national development but families have also been affected.

Unlike many years ago where families would grow up together and establish a great bond. In recent times, the rapid immigration levels have rather dispersed families for so many years and it’s never a feel good experience to leave behind your family and travel to a place far from home.
Not only is it an overwhelmingly sad feeling but it comes with its own challenges even after arriving at the various destinations abroad.

There are many Ghanaians in the diaspora willing to come home to see their children, spouses, siblings and parents but are unable to do so because they are still struggling to get legal documentation to allow them the luxury of traveling back home and departing after short stays.

Now one would wonder why traveling back to your own home country has become a great challenge even after the many spiritual and physical toil to acquire a visa as it’s the case for many Ghanaians abroad.

As pathetic as this topic is, there have been an uprising of many individuals who have swamped themselves in the tourism business and making very enormous monies from assisting people with visas. And this is not to condemn their work because tourism and immigration is a great and well established field of study and career.

A visit visa application to the UK can cost a person as much as £3000 in Ghana with the services of some travel agents. I wonder what magic is done since the application process is often straightforward although strict and bias sometimes.

With the other visa routes applications that require longer stay, the charges are as high as you can imagine.
Now this is happening in a country where our economy has consistently performed very horribly whiles politicians make unimaginable fortunes at the peril of Ghanaians.

Personally, I used to be overjoyed and desirous about the idea of traveling abroad and one day settling in a foreign country when I was growing up.
I remember my siblings and I fighting over who would speak first after my parents would speak to my aunties and uncle on the phone who where were living abroad. The sound of their hello was very heavenly and our laughter and smiles when talking to them was as though we had been given very expensive gifts readily.

And that was just a phone call so you can imagine when they traveled back home.
I’d look at their skin steadily to see if it looked different from mine. Their presence had a different smell and that alone could make you feel like you did arrive with them and your ice is yet to melt.

This is all to say that, we as a people have gone many years of gradually selling our consciences, hopes, potentials, resources and trust to the west and heavily giving up on what a great and peaceful country we have.

I have many at times seen young men proposing marriage to very older white women as old as their mothers and in some cases grandmothers. That clearly doesn’t look like an action with genuine intention.

This is all to escape the harsh reality in Ghana by acquiring foreign visas and documents to leave the country. And I wonder how those marriages end up. Again, I have also seen videos of young Ghanaians traveling through forests and wild cartel areas in countries like Ecuador, Brazil, Mexico, Nicaragua and other countries in that region just to make their way to the United States and the conditions of going through that process is indeed troubling.

I had the opportunity to travel recently to Germany and went through France, Switzerland and Belgium.
Now from departing terminal 3 to my destination, I couldn’t again feel all of the excitement I once had about leaving the shores of Ghana and experiencing life elsewhere far from home.

I was not only amazed at the technological advancement I experienced during my trip but I was blown away by the social behaviors among the Europeans. The orderliness, cleanliness, safety, easy accesses and just how well structured everything looked. I was impressed but at the same time I felt a great sense of loneliness.
Yes! A great of sense of loneliness. Absolutely no sense of belonging. The hostility I felt in most of the areas was overwhelming. There is a way that you are gazed upon as an African that would make you feel very less of yourself.

Apart from that, I missed the societal freedom living in Ghana comes with. There was none to feel. Everyone seemed busy and moving to and fro without any unnecessary stops or chitchats and most of them wouldn’t even talk to you if you tried to start a conversation.

Another thing that blew my mind was the strong hostility among Africans.
It seemed as though the West had gathered a number of enemies from Africa from a just-ended war at one place. Many at times I kept saying to myself ‘Efie ne Fie’

One would wonder why a country so rich in Gold, diamonds, manganese, limestones, bauxite, iron ore, Cocoa, Petroleum, Fishes and other precious commodities would have her citizens suffer this kind of cruelty where running away from home feel like a greater blessing.

But I have to say that, it is better to live in a country where structures are well established and taxes are efficiently used and hard work sufficiently pays.
It is better to make a living in a place where citizens are cared for and corruption isn’t something to often worry about.

That is to say that, the terminal 3 exit, as rapid as it’s becoming might not soon end as the leaders themselves are quick to politicize every single issue without considering the immediate and later effects.
But I ask that must we continue to leave behind the freedom we have always felt and our families we have grown to love? Should we continually pray our way out of Ghana? Must all of our properties be sold out to acquire visas ? Will Ghana develop itself if we all run away?
Will we ever get a set of political leaders who will at some point fight for a better future for the Ghanaian people?

Until the Ghanaian people get a good reason to stay in Ghana and share the national responsibility of building our nation that demands our devotion, I am afraid but the terminal 3 departures will for a very long time see even more numbers than they are seeing now unless the west stops all Africans from traveling to their lands.

But Arise Ghana Youth for your country!!
Why we ought to arise is that, the hasty departure from Ghana only gives politicians more opportunity and power to unstoppably mismanage and ruin our country for their personal good.

A good example is the recent list from the scholarship secretariat that showed a number of very rich politicians who have themselves been granted scholarships and that of their children with huge sums of monies in British pounds and American dollars.

And that’s a program meant to fund financially struggling but bright students. There have been several complaints from qualified applicants of the scholarship scheme who have said that the only way to get a grant is to bribe your way out and they mean very huge amounts and not a few thousands of cedis.
But this is just one of the many grievances.

To end, no matter where we find ourselves in the world as Ghanaians and even with foreign passports, the west will never consider us as one of them. Let’s start worrying about how to make Ghana once again a home and everything politicians describe it to be to the world.

And should you get the chance to leave the shores of Ghana, think about Ghana. Come home at some point as the nation demands our devotion.

Jakpa is not our end.

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