My hands were full with my laptop, mobile phone and some books, I needed to give him some money so I made way with the finger tips of my left hand to give him the money. Sternly in an angry tone, he screamed, “Herh! What do you take me for? Use your right hand!!” Oblivious of the fact that my hands were full, I had to put my stuff on the ground to give him the money with my right hand.
In Ghana and in many parts of Africa, the left hand is culturally unaccepted especially in greetings or in giving or receiving items from people. At least that is what I know about it but it seems to have a superstitious stand as well for many. Why? Many claim the left hand is deemed filthy because it is the hand with which people wipe their anus with when they visit the loo or the toilet. Oh! I know right!
It’s not as if toilet paper is not used or hands are not washed after using the toilet. The funny thing is, it’s not everybody that uses the left hand at the toilet. Ignorantly, it is believed that everybody uses the left hand so it makes the left hand unclean to use even after washing it,
So for those who use their right hand at the toilet, I guess it is necessary to tell people before greeting them or giving them an item so that you don’t cause any disrespect.
The most stressful thing is when you are buying fuel at the gas or filling station and you are supposed to use your right hand which is furthest from the window to give the pump attendant money while it would have been easier to do it with the left hand.
Sadly, a left handed child is one that suffers the most in our society. He or she is beaten over and over again until he or she changes from being left handed to right handed. This generally affects a child’s ability to utilize his or her maximum capabilities in life.
It has become so bad that in church at times of worship, it is deemed disrespectful to God to wave your left hand in worship or use your left hand to drop money into the offering bowl. Sometimes I wonder how God feels about people who do it without that consciousness of disrespect especially people in other cultural settings. Are they also disrespecting God? As I spoke about before in this post, sometimes culture and religion has become so confusing for a lot of people especially in Africa so much that morality in our religious confines is defined by our culture and not religion and vise versa.
The African culture is beautiful with our own do’s and don’ts but the rigidity and the lack of a clear distinction between culture,superstition, religion and beliefs makes a masquerade of our beautiful and rich culture.