“Never say die until the bones are rotten,” is a popular slogan of Accra Hearts of Oak, one of the well-known football clubs in this country.
The slogan urges players to keep pushing on for victory till the last whistle in the game. That tenacious spirit is what seems to be driving 50-year-old Mr Kwaku Arkoh, a Form Two student at the Kojokumikrom Roman Catholic (RC) Junior High School (JHS) in the Dormaa West District of the Brong Ahafo Region.
Mr Arkoh comes from Morle-Amanfo in Sampa in the Brong Ahafo Region. I met him neatly dressed in his school uniform with a blue pen sticking out of his left chest pocket at Kojokumikrom when I went on tour with the Regional Minister, Mr Eric Opoku, early this year.
As soon as I set eyes on him together with his colleagues at a durbar where the Minister was to address the community, my journalistic instinct instantly prodded me to have a chat with him.
We left the durbar grounds and went to sit under a shed roofed with palm branches about 15 meters away from the gathering. He smiled and nodded in the affirmative when I asked if he was a student.
According to Mr Arkoh, early last year he decided to approach the headmaster of the Kojokumikrom RC/JHS to discuss his intention to go to school with him.
The headmaster, Mr Francis Amankwah, gave him a school uniform and bought him some books. He has also been helping him in other ways and Mr Arkoh considers him as his father.
According to him, he skipped some classes because it was difficult learning with the children since they already seemed to know some of the things they were being taught.
He said when he started schooling initially, both the schoolchildren and the town folks were laughing at him folks were laughing at him because of his age.
“It hasn’t been easy going to school with the children. Everyone was laughing at me, especially the students, until the teachers warned them not to do that.
They all now see me as their friend and whenever I don’t go to school, they come to look for me.”
He noted that schooling should not be confused with age since age had nothing to do with education.
“I am very happy now that I am going to school and I will complete school very soon; age is not a matter at all. I see the children as my classmates and I take part in whatever they do.”
He added that the children respected him both as their colleague and as their father. Mr Arkoh, however, has neither a wife nor a child. He has no intention of marrying soon.
“Marriage is not part of my dreams now. I decided not to marry because I’m jobless. And I don’t want to go in for a woman and later fail to cater for her welfare and that of our children,” Mr Arkoh explained.
I could not hold back the laughter when Mr Arkoh revealed that he had been nicknamed “Kandigimen” by his colleagues.
“I feel so happy when the children call me Kandigimen. I love the name very much; it is such an amazing name,”