It was a Friday, sometime in the month of March 1999, when I got that important call up from the Headquarters of Guinness Ghana Brewery Limited(now Guinness Ghana Limited) to travel to Accra for a training program which was to equip me with the requisite skills for the role of a Sales Executive. Back then, though a fresh collegiate from the finest college on the Hill-Adisadel College, I was not deterred by the fact that the odds were against me. I was not only inexperienced and unqualified, I had barely successfully completed my teenage transitory phase of life.
With few shirts and a pair of denim trousers, I hopped onto a Toyota Hiace mini bus a little after 7pm and journeyed to Accra. It was the days when the road from Cape Coast to Accra was undulating and decorated with potholes so I got to Accra around midnight and sought shelter with a friend somewhere at Achimota Abofu. By Monday morning-which by the way came as quick as though we skipped Saturday and Sunday, I was seated amongst tertiary graduates who were all experienced for the job. Shortlisting after shortlisting, I made it pass all the stages to the very final point when the last task was to bring out the final list.
On the fifth day of the training, we were put in this very cold room with crates of ice cold Guinness drinks prominently plastered on every free space of the floor. Our task was dangerously simple-to drink as much as we could and sit for the last lap of Q&A. It is was at that point that I realized that there was more to the saying *”sharing is caring”*. I learned that at best people could actually share without caring and at worst, share for very mischievous or negative reasons far from caring. Those who freely shared their allocated drinks with others had one agenda-to knock competitors off their feet to ease their way into the final shortlist.
One of the casualties of such sharing without caring happened to be a good friend of mine from Cape Coast. I went to see the bosses and offered to trade my spot for my friend who in my estimation, needed the job more than I did. But my boss(currently a Deputy Minister of Communications) declined the offer and instead reinstated the guy without taking me out.
Over the space of the two scores that I have lived, I have heard many people simply posited that, if one *shares*, surely one *cares*. But that’s not so simple, depending, for one, on what it is you’re sharing. Food, shelter, clothing, your time, your money – those are good sharing examples. But say you share high sugar candy with someone you know is a diabetic – that’s not caring because that action could lead to dire consequences regarding the person’s health and life in general. Another form of negative sharing which doesn’t spring out of caring is the “people pleasing” type which is outwardly egotistical-sharing only with people who due to their circumstances will openly sing your praises. People of this very group will never help anyone who’s managing their situations very well without crawling to their feet for help, but will rather throw tokens at people who should have been empowered to live above tokenism.
Caring however, is meaningless without sharing. Greed is now the driving quality of societies. More and more people have become hoardists, living their future in the present and consciously keeping others in their past. Even those who claim to know God and His blessings thereof when you have cared enough to share, are busily scavenging for wealth and properties they can’t even use in three lifetimes. And yet, they are quick to tell those in need that they would help them with prayers. The irony of The Word!
Sharing is not caring, but caring is sharing! The real altruism means that one gives without any reward from society, including recognition. That’s real caring.