“So That Nothing Is Wasted”
By Awake! correspondent in Ghana
I MET him at his humble workshop in Labadi, a suburb of Accra, sawing and planing the manual way with an amazing display of energy. His name is Adams Akuetteh. He is 70 years old and has been a carpenter for the past 50 years.
When I asked him what he considered the high point of his carpentry career, he quickly said the four years he spent on the construction of the new branch facilities for the Watch Tower Society at Nungua, Ghana. This was from 1984 to 1988.
“What did you do at the construction site?” I asked.
“I worked on concrete forms and assisted the roofers.”
“You seem to be remembered more,” I suggested, “in connection with the supply of nails at the site.”
“Ah, yes, nails. Nails are expensive in Ghana, you know. In those days a pound [half a kilogram] of nails cost from two to three dollars. So I said to myself, ‘Can’t we recycle some of the nails? I will try.’
“So I started on my own initiative and on my own time. When the overseer of the project saw me, he was delighted. He permanently assigned me to that job. So for four years, I combed the site every morning collecting stray nails. I also carefully removed any that I found in the wood of dismantled forms.”
“Did you throw out the dull and bent ones?”
“No. The dull ones were reused on soft wood, or a drill was used to start them for reuse on hardwood. The crooked ones I carefully straightened with a hammer.”
“Didn’t you find this job monotonous and boring?”
“A young fellow might have, but I didn’t. The project overseer told me my work was saving the Society money, Jehovah’s money, so I was delighted. It was a special joy to me to see the heaps of different sizes of salvaged nails grow. And I would say to myself, ‘Aha! Now I am ahead of the roofers!’ But then the heaps disappeared. They would shout from the rooftop for more! So I went at it full swing again.”
“What are you doing now that the construction work is over?”
“I am in the full-time ministry again, waiting till you come to build an extension on the Ghana branch. Then I will be there, salvaging nails and saving money—with joy.”
For four years he did what some would consider menial work. But never was it so considered by Adams Akuetteh, “the nail straightener of the Ghana branch.” With joy he recycled nails to save money for Jehovah!
Such was also the thinking of Jesus. Although he had unlimited miraculous power to multiply loaves of bread, he said after one meal: “Gather together the fragments that remain over, so that nothing is wasted.”—John 6:12.
[Picture on page 31]
Adams Akuetteh, “the nail straightener of the Ghana branch”