It’s a Trap!: Message from the Morning Man by Kojo Yankson


It’s a Trap!: Message from the Morning Man

by Kojo Yankson

14th December 2015

Eleven days to Christmas, ands the race is on to find the perfect gift for those you love. My advice? Give them a copy of Messages from the Morning Man. As a preview, here’s one of the 69 messages from the book. It’s called It’s a Trap!


Yesterday, I was in a friend’s car when I noticed that it was 6 pm. The radio was on a music station so I asked if I could change the channel to Joy FM and catch News Night. For some reason, my friend wasn’t too excited by the idea of a whole hour of news.
Curious, I asked him why he disliked the news. Did he not care about what was happening in the world around him? His answer startled me. Let me paraphrase what he said:

“Well what has the news got to do with me? If some people want to kill each other over land in the North, why should I care? If some politicians are chopping money, why should it bother me? Is it my concern if some people choose to defecate on the beach and give each other cholera? Tsatsu Tsikata doesn’t spend his salary with me, so why should I care what he gets paid? I don’t belong to the NPP, so why should I care what happens to Paul Afoko? If somebody says he won’t resign because Dumsor is different from load shedding, so what? How does that put food on my table? News is always about other people’s problems. Why should I care about theirs when I haven’t finished solving mine?”

I couldn’t help chuckling to myself at his unique perspective. But then it occurred to me that my friend’s position would actually make perfect sense to many people. Why indeed should we care about other people’s lives and choices when we have our own lives to live and our own choices to make? What have their problems got to do with us?”

Quite interestingly enough, what came to my mind at that moment was a story I used to read to Fiifi at bedtime.

There was once a mouse who lived in a farmyard. He enjoyed his freedom running around, eating anything he wanted from the farmer’s produce. One day, he noticed the farmer unwrapping a parcel. It was a mouse trap. terrified, the mouse ran off to share the terrible news with all the other animals on the farm. First, he went to the chicken. “Terrible news,” he said. The farmer has bought a mousetrap.”

“Well, what has that got to do with me?” asked the chicken. I’m not a mouse”.
Next, the mouse went to see the pig. “Terrible news, Brother Pig. The farmer has bought a mousetrap”
“Oh what a tragedy”, exclaimed the pig. “A sad day for mice everywhere. I will remember you in my prayers”.
The little mouse was not done yet. He went looking for the kind-hearted cow. “Sister Cow, you will not believe this. The farmer has bought a mousetrap”.

The cow lifted her head up slowly and looked at the mouse. “Let me know when he buys a cow trap”, she said.
Finally, the mouse gave up and went back to her hole.

That night, the farmer’s wife heard a loud snap, as something got caught in the trap. She woke up to investigate. In the dark, she felt around on the ground for the trap. Unfortunately for her, the trap had clamped down on the tail of a poisonous snake, and the farmer’s wife sustained a nasty bite. She became very ill, and the farmer decided to make her some soup, so he killed the chicken. Days went by and his wife’s condition got worse. Friends and family came to visit, so the farmer killed the pig to feed them. A few days later, the farmer’s wife died. Many people came for the funeral. The farmer slaughtered the cow.

From his small hole, the mouse watched sadly as these events unfolded.

My friends, if one of us has a problem, let’s not kid ourselves that it doesn’t affect the rest of us. Our lives are linked in ways that are not always obvious. We share much more than the human condition. Let us be quicker to show concern when our brothers’ beard is on fire, for we can never know who is next.

My name is Kojo Yankson, and if it matters to you, it matters to me.


(Messages from the Morning Man is available in all EPP and Challenge Book Stores, as well as the front desks of Joy and Luv FM. To buy in bulk as corporate gifts and hamper fillers, please call +233 242608824)