Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Suicide or Homicide.

Do you know the main difference between a white man and blackwoman. I mean apart from the fact of the differences in skin colour,blushing,poverty… mode of having sex etc.etc. Yeah apart from this,, there is also another significant difference,. Let me tell you,

Whites commit suicide and blacks homicide. Think about it!

No black person, be they African, African American, Blacktino or Chinegro ever die on their own.

In Africa no person ever die on their own. They are always murdered by somebody. Even a 99 year old sick woman dies because of a witch or wizard in the family who wants to settle a stone age family feud..

In America, blacks die and there is a huge conspiracy!. Think Tupac, Biggie Smalls.
Compare and contrast Michael Jackson and Elvis Presley, both stars in their own right, they die in the twilight of their careers. Cause of murder? MJ’s was a homicide, Elvis suicide.

Shit how many blacks commit suicide. Behind every black suicide there is a murderer waiting to be found.

Friday, 21 August 2009

Living in Ghana.-Do's and donts.

A friend of mine was visiting Accra and asked me for some tips on life in Accra. Below are some of the advice I offered.

1. Ghanaians eat a lot of meat (or sorry chicken). Usually when a Ghanaian says meat he/she is actually referring to chicken. And when he/she says chicken, it is meant 1 out of 3 parts of the chicken wing.

2. When offered meat (usually goat/cow meat) Don’t be surprised if happen to find the skin (and some fur of the goat) along with the meat. Be polite for your Ghanaian host is doing you a big favour!. In actual fact the skin (wele) is considered a delicacy in Ghana. Other people wear animal skin, Ghanaians chew animal skin. There is a whole wele industry in Ghana, whose main function is to roll the skin from the meat and sell to folks around the country. Try it and you’ll never buy PK again.

3. PK- You will hear this initials being hollered by hawkers along the streets of Accra. This is a popular chewing gum produced by Wrigleys Company in the UK. It’s usually sold by people between the ages of 0- 25. PK is not the only product these hawkers sell, on their head they carry, plantain chips, on their backs is toilet roll (-you never know when! ), in their other hand are some tiny apples. A few meters back from the street are some pirated movies of the latest Hollywood blockbusters to be released in 2 years time. If you don’t chew PK you will certainly get something to buy from these hawkers.

4. As we are on the road let me just explain a few details, if you happen to drive in Ghana, know this that, laissez faire is the popular mode of driving in Accra. You can break a lot of rules whilst driving but get this, never cross a red traffic light. You can do all things, such as go on a 50 meter reverse on a highway, etc but never cross a red traffic light. The police stations in Ghana are so small that usually the some policemen try to catch some “shade” from the scorching heat by sitting on their motor bikes under the “shadeless” traffic light. Hence be your innocent self when you get to traffic lights. If you break any rule, your cash will .....

Ghana is on the left hand drive but don’t be surprised if you find another car coming exactly opposite you on the road. Probably he’s seen no police man around and just trying to dodge traffic. If you are also in a hurry, make a quick turn and follow this daring driver.
2 b cont'd.

Friday, 14 August 2009

Second Hand Clothing in Ghana

The number one distinguishing feature of second hand clothing in Ghana is the smell. It used to be the price, but currently one can’t tell the difference anymore between, second hand clothing and brand new clothing. They are both very expensive now, the cloth dealers are now also pegging their prices to the dollar. This means that one does not necessarily ought to have a PhD in tight monetary policy to understand foreign exchange depreciation.

For those unaware, second clothing shipped to Ghana all have a unique distinct smell. A sort of indescribable tingy smell you never smell anywhere else. Yes for over 3 or so decades the second hand clothing in Ghana all have this unique smell. This scent is not washed away easily. And especially for those who do not want to be associated with wearing second hand clothing this could prove to be quite embarrassing to them. Because the scent is so recognisable by everybody, even those who claim they’ve never worn one of these second hands.(hmm I wonder how they got to know)). So when one gets a first class selection of second hands (usually from Kant or TS) the first thing which comes to mind is the cleansing aspect. You get home and try it on again in a full length mirror to see how well it fits.(Because second hand dealers have no business for trying it on- you buy based on your gut instincts alone).’caveat emptor’- It’s a buyer beware sort of thing. You pray it fits well or it doesn’t have a fault which have been cleverly hidden from you by the seller.. yes they can do this very well and you’d ask yourself how come you never saw the flaw at the time of sale.))

After a couple of fashion critics at home agree with you that this is definitely a good fit of “London wear”, you go a get a bucket and strong home washing detergent to do a thorough washing till all traces of that second hand aroma is done with.

Very often after all omo, key soap , first and second washing and the smell/odour still remains. Show me a longer lasting perfume and I’ll buy it. After, you have to dry the clothes in a well ventilated area for the African sun to do its job. Mind you its only a second hand with less than half a life- if care is not taken, in the attempt to get rid of the odour, the life of the second hand attire will give up. So you don’t wash it too much..

Another way of getting rid of this unwashable smell is simply to wear it, yes it works, just put it on at home for a day or 2 before you do the washing, it makes it more simpler.

By the way can you imagine if someone decides to change this second hand smell/odour/scent? I bet it would not be the same anymore wearing them. It would be the end of an era, how would you know that what you are buying is actually from Yankee/London and not from China or those Togo cheap-fake-imitation- last only 1 week shada?

Monday, 15 June 2009

Bad stories

In Ghana and lots of places in Africa we hear lots of stories growing up. These stories usually end with a lesson or a moral. One of the very popular stories I used to hear ends like this… at the end of the journey, the old lady wanted to reward the twins-Kwaku and Kwesi for their tiring efforts, so she asked them to go to a dark room and pick from a choice of drums.

On reaching the room Kwaku saw lots of drums of various sizes. Very big drums to the smallest of drums. Kwaku went for the big one. When he went home a lion came out from the drum and ate Kwaku. His brother on the other hand, picked the smallest drum- he was rewarded with plenty gold and a beautiful princess.

What sort of crap and b..s is this? See the sort of generation stories like these have turned us into. We think being poor is good- mediocrity is a daily bread.
I will make sure my kids never get to hear this kind of story. When they are faced with a choice of drums I want them to pick the smallest one…no..oh sorry the biggest there is. There is nothing greedy in a making a wise decision.

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Humour Line

Agbala advanced technology

This is the internet age. Conducting business has never been easier and economical.--ask the sakawa boys!

Some members of the agbala –(the Indigenous afro-tech-community have come together to harness mobile phones and broadband technology.) at a recent meeting sent out a communiqué from V-valley-(yes our own Silicon Valley)

From now on, when you need a ‘’business’’ done-(as in get quick money, win an election, stop your second hand car from giving you problems, prevent world petrol price increase, or halt slide of new cedi against the yen etc.) you don’t need to travel far any more. No need to trek across dangerous jungle terrain to see your favourite agbala man/woman. Technology has brought solution to your finger tips. All you need to do is to text your name, age and address. Next you text the scratch cards (pay as you go mobile top-ups) equivalent of 2 goats, chicken and corn dough (or whatever you are charged ) to the agbala.

Alternatively you can send an e-mail to agbala.quickersolutions@myproblemssolved. Include an attachment of your problem. But please your attachment has to be in pdf only .-don’t ask me why-the communiqué said nothing about it.

Sit back and hopefully your second hand car will stop the intermittent breakdowns.

Friday, 15 May 2009

Woes of a hiker.

Growing up in Ghana, I never really understood why summer time was so often mentioned in western pop songs as. 1. ''We are going on summer holidae'' 2. ''Summer time and your mama is good looking''.
Having gone through the terrible weather in London I now understood why there was so much fuss about summer.

Summer is sunny and green , the earth seem to be alive all of a sudden.
Anyway in search of something to do last weekend I looked around for new thing to do.(ie in keeping with my mantra of never staying at home over the weekend ever except in sickness) I decided to go a walking adventure with some friends.

On the website it was listed as being 20 miles and strenuous. I knew 20 miles was long but had no idea how it was that long.In Ghana we measure distance in time. Oh is it far ... noooo its 20 minutes drive from Sankara Circle (this 20 mins does not specify whether there is traffic or not).

Even if it is long I am from Ghana and I walk (okay I used to walk a lot) esp. in Uni. - hiking from the Great Hall to Bush canteen is not exactly on a walkers trail especially with the prospect of hot steamy delicious banku urging me on but it did give my feet something to t/walk about.

Being conscious of time I arrived early at the embarking point in my fake hiking attire ( boots (wrong kind),packed bag with lunch and jeans(wrong kind). I realised my wrong attire only after the other hikers in the group started arriving. But I was lucky because the rain did not fall and we enjoyed fairly good sunshine. Otherwise I was told I would have looked looking like a wet dog looking for its owner after a few showers. By the way whilst still waiting for the other members to turn up, I noticed a Debenhams store nearby was running a sales. I quickly rushed in a saw some nice khaki trousers/pants at a really affordable price (cheap paa) I had to take a good look at it b4 buying it ''2 good to be tru''. So if you see me next time donning some nice khaki you know where I got it from.

To say the least it was a long journey. 20 miles is 20 miles. The walk lasted from 10:30 am to 7:30 pm. with a 1 hour stop in between for lunch. My feet nearly gave up on me but I persevered till the end. It was a long along the end of the Thames with some detours to the country side, we finished in Rochester which happened to have a medieval castle and also was the home of Charles Dickens and most importantly happened to host good pub """hmmm!!!.

It was a tiring journey . Spent half of Sunday in bed. But my... it was well worth it,, various scenes along the journey from country side views to coastal scenes to some abondoned forts and World War 2 bunkers( part of the English preparation of a Nazi attack up the Thames during the world war).

Met some great people on the walk too. It was a long walk so in between taking pictures, ''refuelling'', or thinking of sore toes we interacted a lot. Met a volunteer who had just returned from Ghana on a 3 month assignment.We had an interesting chat along the way. Join me next time as I give you a narrative and her interesting views on Ghana and its people.
Please as usual accept and correct any spelling and grammatical errors.Leave your comments if you please.

Thursday, 7 May 2009

On your way to church

It is Sunday, the sun is way out too early, the birds are chirping something which sounds like its 6’oclock its 6 o’clock (repeats), you pull your neck out from the blanket and take a quick look the birthday or funeral gift of a ‘’Cetezin’’ wall clock .. ohh yes its 6’oclock. You quickly get up and start the morning rituals which countless people all over Ghana and Africa engage in every morning. You do your part as a Ghanaian. Scoop some water , brush, water again wash wash and you are ready to hit the road.

So whichever route is your preferred choice you make your way to church, lets call it Holy Fire Evangelistic Praying and Crouching Warriors. HFE for short. (note I am not referring to the real one – ohh yes! there is a church which goes by this name-just Google and see). They got their name because of the way their Chief Executive Pastor-CEP stands, bends and stoops, (as seen in the Chinese movie , ‘’eagle in the monkey shadow’’) when praying. Experience has shown this mode of praying yields rapid results. New members quickly have to learn it if they want similar results.

Oh by the way there are 2 churches close by your house. But no, you don’t attend those ones. One they disturb the area too much with their all night meetings held from their 2 by 4 feet verandah. You certainly don’t want the church to grow big by becoming a member and contributing to the Church Building Committee funds. Certainly no, you’d pray they never meet their harvest target. A big church would cause too much noise. Secondly as Jesus said, a prophet is least regarded in his own home. So you go to a prophet who is far away across town. AS you make your way there you see countless others making their way over to your area church, in their brightly colored Sunday attires. Let them come, I will go ‘’you say to yourself’’.

There’s lots on your mind now, most of it has to do with money matters. It is Ghana, money rules, you either got it or doing your best to get some of it. Or even complaining of a rich relative who has got it, but is unwilling to share the sweat of his hard earned money!. Numerous stuffs going on in your head but before you could fully digest it, the fervent ‘’jama’’ song from the praise singers get to you ears. Meaning you have arrived at the church. Your church is equally as noisy to the neighbours as the one in your area. But that is none of your…..

Outside, there are lots of cars parked. The Nissan terrano 11 is there, an old Datsun taxi and lots more of Opel Astras. You would one day get your own car parked there. One day is not far away, when the harvest would not proceed without your chairmanship, when the Osofo would know you by your first name and mention you in his anecdotes… ‘’I was in Atikes house and the way hugged his wife showed they have been attending my marriage seminars’’

To be continued.

Friday, 1 May 2009

A narcissist like me

Please allow me to bore you a bit today, after all it is my blog ,so let me do that a ''wee bit''

So its Friday the first of May --May Day!!congratulations to all workers and whoever invented the idea of the working man doing 5 days a week for a whole life and then quitting at the age of 60 to go and relax and hopefully die soon.

In the movie A Bronx tale - starring Robert DeNiro- Colegero had an argument with his father and it goes like this:

Colegero- ......the working man is a ''sucker''

Father- no he is not!,.... it takes a man (and I add-woman-) to wake up every morning every day and go to work...

By the way I am still at work. I will explain that in a jiffy.

It was both funny and interesting when I heard the TUC secretary in Ghana claim that there has been 50 years of workers day celebration and no improvement has been seen in the life of working man. True that! How long did it take him to come to this realisation?

Every May Day, workers gather and have long speeches read to them by the President. There are grandeur speeches of better times coming ahead for the Ghanaian worker. Of a milk flowing wonderous future. The workers have a celebration and ''jama'' everybody goes home and next year the repertoire is repeated again.

By the way it is a lovely day today. The sun is out blazing in its full glory, the flowers are showing off their varied hues, people are smiling and I can even hear birds twittering. The beauty of the day has been magnified by the fact that it is a FRIDAY. I went for a walk after lunch and I didn't want to get back to work. It is soooo nice, it just makes you want to pause everthing else hold still and enjoy the scene forever.

Anyway am still at work because by law all the bank holidays here in the UK have been set on Mondays. So the May day holiday can only be taken on a Monday whichever day it happens to falls on!So I will be taking my day off on the coming Monday.yipee! In this way we always have an extended weekend. Isn't this sweet thinking.

I am desperately looking forward to the weekend!!!!! 3 days of doing my own self indulging stuff, staying in bed late , looking forward to absolutely nothing and thinking of nothing but how to get out from under the blanket. Doing nothing but enjoying myself to the max. Okay sorry to bore you, especially if you are reading this at work.

Anyway I will give you the filla on how the 3 day weekend went. See yah.

Thursday, 30 April 2009

What you learnt in school

Folks sorry I have left this space blank for sometime. I just managed to make some space and would be hitting here more often. I have been contributing to another blog also, World of Opinion( just check in my profile and it is the other blog apart from Modin).Please do feel free to take a look. It is more intellectually stimulating.

I present some of the things they made us study.

1. Sliding level, dove tail joint, cement to sand ratio(4:1:2) - I remember we had to chew in large numbers the right order for mixing cement, laying bricks or in wood work how to cut a dove tail joint. Step 1 measure the length of the wood- Tool tape Step 2. Cut a diagonal across the wood-tools – a G clamp and hack saw etc etc.. This was with the hope that we would become carpenters and masons after completing school and go on to build little mansions. Don’t know if any of my friends are using a sliding bevel yet. In actual fact the only time I saw a dove tail joint was in the TS book. I have never seen it anywhere else and not sure if I’d recognise it if I saw one. Anyway I can still hit a nail through a wood and paint my room.

2. Solfa notation-harmonic scale, Dminor scale etc. Yes, music is food for the soul. But believe me that learning the various types of major and minor scales, sharps and flats is no music to the soul. Well at least knowing what a membranophone was might earn you something although I can’t be sure what exactly that something is.This was pure boring ‘’Cultural Studies’’ and studying this did not make one a Mozart or Michael Jackson.

3. Forts and castles- Few of the beneficial stuff. Although difficult chewing the names of the forts and castles, name of the original owners and date of building this it was a good exercise, but at least we should have been made to visit at five or more of these lesser known castles and forts. Then at least we would know what they looked like. Anyway I still remember that Christianborg Castle was built by the Danes.. or????....

4. Rivers in Ghana- River Oti, River Ankobra , Black Volta, White Volta etc. I remember we had to learn the longest, the sources, regions and etc of these rivers. I have forgotten most of them. My task now is to try to see what is left of these rivers in Ghana.(ie if they have not dried up yet). Very useful but as in above -- we should have been made to see these rivers and not be limited to see them in the text books.

5. When JJ started the school reforms there was hope for the new system that it would produce better students. In anticipation of this, songs of adoration of the system were made in the various local languages of Ghana and taught across Ghana to little school children like me. Although I can vaguely remember some these, I still do not understand the language of these songs and neither did the teacher who taught me!- by the way , please if you happen to know the meaning of ”De viela pam, kitikati bam shegu” or the language please do contact me.

6. A lot more useful ones were the history classes. Sumanguru, Sundiata and the likes of Mansa Musa were inspiring. I really enjoyed the Social Studies classes mainly because of the history classes. Maybe the volcanic eruptions and the sedimentary rocks should have come later when one decided to do Geography in Secondary School.

Thursday, 12 March 2009

''People doctors”.

Herodotus the father of history wrote this about the ancient Persians..

''They have no physicians, but when a man is ill, they lay him in the public square, and the passers-by come up to him, and if they have ever had his disease or have known anyone who has suffered from it, they give him advice, recommending him to do whatever they found good in their own case, or in the case known to them; and no one is allowed to pass the sick man in silence without asking him what his ailment is.''

With our chronic lack of doctors in Ghana, maybe a modified version of this will help us a long way...)))

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

When the rain comes down-

Very soon and if it hasn’t started already, the rainy season would be here with us again. In Ghana how you welcome this rainy season is a function of X and Y.Y being where you stay and X , what time of the day it is.

Y-Where you stay

1. You stay off an untarred/murram/gravel road or whatever you call it, your hopes and anticipation might be different from someone who stays at a place like Labone or Cantonments.

First of all when the rain begins you start thinking of whether the open choked ‘’boller’’ gutters (if you have any at all) will do their work. Will the gutters allow the massive outpour to flow or are you going to have a second Korle/Kpeshie/Chemu Lagoon on your street? For some lucky people, (like me) puddles/small ponds/mini gutters will form on the road and you will have to skip, sidestep, jump and even summersault as you make your way in the early morning to work. Occasionally you will get a car splashing dirty water on you (this is usually done by the the private car).
If this is your lot, be grateful, for this is Ghana.

If despite the massive bigger than olympic size gutter which is still choked and not able to flow the rain water, thereby causing a stagnation, then due (not the english due but the akan demerifa-du-e) In this scenario skipping, sidestepping, jumping or no amount of summersault will help you out. Because in front of your house to as far as your eyes could see, there is a mini Wli falls and unless you are a Jet Li kind of person you have to wade through the darky waters. You take off your nice Kant/Kejetia black brownish shoes and wade through the waters as you try to remember who the Assemblyman for the area is. There is nothing to be shy of because even the dadaba boys and girls next door are doing the same thing. When you get to a safer dry part of the road you shake off the waters and troubles off your dirty feet ,put on your shoes and gallantly make your way to work.

X-Time of the day

Your hopes and fears of the falling rain is also dependent on the time of the day. When the rain happens to fall during the night you curl yourself into a ball and quickly pull the ntoma over your head. You enjoy the thundering rain and pray that it lasts all night long.

If on the other hand your roof is similar to Agba Maame’s sieve then you quickly jump out of bed and grab some buckets and pans. The number of pans and buckets needed, is also direct function of (z). z being the number of holes in your ceiling. You will not enjoy the rest of the night because the unmusical sound of Ton..,,,ton,,, in your pans and bucket will not allow you to sleep. Again depending on the windy conditions the rain might change its speed and direction, in which case you have to reposition your buckets/pans again. This situation is however not a direct function and no computer can draw an algorithm for you. Instead of enjoying the rain, you pray for rainy nightmare to end quickly. If you are a married man, then be prepared to do all the work because the lady will not lift a finger apart from pulling the ntoma over her head and pointing you in the direction of the falling rain droplets.

When you are at work and the rain starts you pray that all the louvers are positioned correctly. If your roof leaky, you lift up your head towards the heavens, then you give a quick shout of prayer ; ‘’ashbi ishkabala ..'' and all will be well in your shack.

So when the rain comes what do you do?

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Governments hands off?

The founder of ICGC has proposed that his church will be starting a model city in the country. His reason was that since the government has not taken it upon itself to do so, they as private (or should I say as a non-governmental organisation/charity) will take the lead. This is good news.

Well I have just a few comments (as usual to make). The thing is, in Africa , every individual is his/her own government. By this I mean that as a person,

• you have to provide your own water,
• in most places your own electricity generator ( or if you are lucky- you buy your electricity poles to connect your power)
• hire private security personnel
• or in some cases contribute with your neighbours construct roads, as well as provide street lights.

The list is endless, and for years, for inexplicable reasons we have accepted it as part of daily life in Accra and beyond. This is all good, as we take on our roles as responsible citizens, except that by doing so we are in effect making government weak. It is like body muscles of sorts, through exercise it becomes stronger and the muscles build up. What we need to do is to ensure that government takes on its roles and plays its parts responsibly. That is what our taxes are for! Please do not ask me how to do this, I don’t ! I wish I knew! Maybe by voting governments out as we did recently could be one way to go about it.

The concept of model city works well if only the general populace also sees some development. It is not wise for the well off to barricade themselves into a whole city and pray that things will go on well inside and outside. It would be like the proverbial ostrich hiding its head in the sand, soon and very soon the real world would catch up with it.

A real example is India. India has a lot of these model cities. Though some are religious most are industrial in nature. The December terrorist attack in Mumbai woke up the elite (who live and work in these model towns) across India. Whilst privately India is a technological giant its government machinery is not so efficient. Software companies in India provide top class internet security worldwide but its police force is still way behind it terms of development. (2 police officers were caught on camera trying to stop the free shooting terrorists by sharing a single AK 47 between them). The elite/well educated/middle class/religious (whatever you choose to call it) in India have left government and running of the country to a certain class of people to run their country. The result is that the country is moving forward, but a whole lot more are being left behind.

Societies/towns/cities are not independent of their countries no matter how much they separate themselves from it.

The solution though very difficult, is for those who can, to work hard to change the status quo for the majority. The easy part is to throw our hands up and give up, saying Ghana is never going to be any good. By giving up we give chance to those no ‘’gooders’’ to continue their inefficiencies.

Thursday, 26 February 2009

Names and places

How are the naming of streets, bus stops and places done in Ghana. Who decide on these names and first begin using the names, and how is it that these names stick?.

Names /captions of places/towns have always intrigued me. So I present my list of names of places/bus stops/chop bars/captions- (not necessarily in any order!)

I mentioned this was not in any order but this beats them all! Yoomo Specs- This is Ga for old womans spectacles. Yoomo specs is an area as well as a bus stop in Teshie (a suburb of Accra).We’ve had old women in spectacles with us for years. Before the ‘’darks/shades’’ became fashionable items , they were essential for the yoomo. We all do have memories of that old woman at church or school in heavy thick bearing down on nose spectacles reading. (did those things obscure or aid their sight?) .We might not have erected or painted anything in their honour, but for now Yoomo Specs in Teshie bears the honorary torch.

Alonte bar --- (Also in Ga meaning cats bar). Cat bar does not actually mean that it is a place where cats are allowed to groom themselves and be treated to a first class service. Rather humans groom the cats with the aid of their oral cavity. Okay, in case you did not get my poor joke, @ Alonte Bar, cats are the main menu. In fact there is no menu, you sit down and order. No surprises sort , the attendants know why you are there and you know what is coming. The name of the bar has been given to the area as well as the bus stop there. Alonte Bar is in La (a suburb of Accra) and located slightly opposite the La Palm Beach Hotel. So next time you are at the hotel just cross the street and ask for Alonte bar. (don’t be surprised if you recognise your brown and white cat about to be..).

Sowutuom -- (Twi for hold your gun) Located somewhere around Santa Maria also a suburb of Accra. Maybe in sometime gone by, to stay here, you had to be prepared to hold your gun blazing.

Las scala -Now if you are a foreigner in a trotro and hear of Las scala from the trotro mate you might be tempted to get down and see some Italian opera. Wrong.! Las scala gets its name from a ‘video center’ situated nearby. And rather than some nice tenors you will hear shouts from market women nearby. A KVIP is nearby, so your nose (instead of your ears) might get the treat instead. (Location Teshie on the Accra- Tema highway)

Kojo Sardine- Also name of an area in La,- this name came from quite a famous family in La. So won’t say much here except that I liked the name a lot when I was in secondary school and always thought what it would be like to have an endless supply of Titus.

Don’t mind your wife. Somewhere in every town in Ghana, there is a don’t mind your wife chop bar. If collated in all, they could stand as one of the biggest food franchise, rivaling McDonalds and co. The name is a boost for every tired/heavily nagged Ghanaian man that no matter the situation at home, somewhere nearby they can always enjoy a hot bowl of fufu with groundnut soup engaged with dropped in long okro and the hardest thick skinned goat meat for their chewing enjoyment.

37 ! This is the name of a military hospital. There is no 36 and neither a 38 just 37. End of story.(Location-Independence avenue Accra)

Circle- yes also circle, not a rhombus or tetrahedron. Just circle. When you see a trotro approaching just do a circular sign and it will stop for you. Magic heh? Try doing this when going to 37 and see what happens (pls. let me know what happens).

Russia-not the other Russia with Putin, but the one with Alhaji Mutari as Zongo chief.Location -->suburb of Mataheko which in turn is a suburb of Accra the capital of Greater Accra.

Before screen savers and the ‘’what are you doing at the moment on Facebook and Twitter, trotro owners and drivers had theirs (…… or well sort of). My favourite caption on a trotro is –Enemies are not God! This is a huge statement and whenever I encounter small enemies along the way, I remind myself that enemies really are not God.

And what is it with the Ghanaian repetition of names- Kokomlemle, Coco Beach, Agbogbloshie and dabi dabi. Okay not a noun, but you get my drift. Wouldn’t a one ko and single mle do? But no 2X2 kokomlemle.

Petroleum, kau kudi, Palm wine junction, Agboogba, Laterbiokorshie, Auntie otsoo, Israel, Bethlehem, and the list goes on…great places.

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Did we go or did we come (or are we going?)

Please find below a list of things we have gone back for or are unwilling to let go of. There may be more because I think this is just the tip of the ice berg. Visit www.modinmind.blogspot.com to add your comments.

I recently watched some old archived footage of election campaigning during the 50’s,60’s and 70’s. Really listening to the campaign messages you would think they were speaking at a rally last December! The message was the same,ala providing water, electricity, roads and opening more factories. Some messages can never die out – like wiping out corruption and building more schools. But after 50 years we should have moved on from building new roads and providing electricity and water.

When the Europeans first moved here they were appalled by the tattooing and numerous piercing they found on Africans. They classified as uncivilized. Today, the world over, tatooing is a common feature found on most streets in the ‘’civilised world’’. Have we gone?

In the autobiography of Malcom X he mentioned one significant difference between Ghana and other African states. That the streets of Accra were clean and he saw no single beggar during his stay here. This was in the mid 1960’s. Please Malcolm X, wish you were alive to visit Ghana today- you won’t go far, just 100 meters from the airport. Did we go or …..

Since creation, we (man and woman) have tendered to relax at the end of the day by the fireside to talk of the biggest game killed and how the crops are doing. Under the moonlight there was singing and dancing and merrymaking. Today we still meet at the end of the day in a club somewhere to talk of the boss at office and how big a salary we deserve. Looking at it nothing much has changed. There is still the fire side – the club with its lighting systems. And what do we still do there? Dance and have a nice time. The only change is that average calabash of palmwine is now a bottle of Stone Lager beer!.

Mascara or eyeshadow- Painting of the body was done by Africans both to adorn the body by the females and for the males to scare off opponents on the battlefield. Both sexes adorned their faces with various colours. Again it was deemed by others to be uncivilized. Today there is a massive industry in China and the Far East churning out various types of mascaras/eyeshadows to be sold here to our ladies. On the Osar ceremony on Sunday not one ‘’civilised’’ actress walked the red carpet without ‘’peppering up’’ first. Should we go?

I heard this explanation for why Accra and Ghana goes slow on rainy days (by which it actually meant late or no arrivals to offices or functions, empty streets and hence no traffic).That our forefathers who were farmers did not go out on the rains to farm, because rain filled rivers usually broke their banks and trees uprooted by storms blocked pathways. So I ask –really I need an answer—does it mean that somewhere in our Ghanaian cells this ‘’ don’t go out farming code’’ is still embedded and functioning? Did we ever go?

It was said that the last British Governor General prepared a secret report on the future of an independent Ghana. In it he stated that tribalism (maybe Gadafi isn’t wrong after all) and corruption are major features of politics in Ghana and he did not think Ghana can successfully manage as an independent nation. Have we changed 50 years down the line? I wish we have.

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Changes I will like to see (no fancy stuff)!

These are mundane simple things I will like to see and feel in Ghana. You are welcome to include your comments here. www.modinmind.blogspot.com

1. I want all gutters in Ghana, to be covered up so that the noses of Ghanaians will no longer be used to the smell of open sewers. Unfortunately by the time we grow up the smell is already part of us and when foreigners ask what is that smell we respond in characteristic fashion, “what smell?”.

2. I want all areas in Ghana to have accessible and free flowing water and electricity, every hour and every day of the week throughout the year –whether the worst drought in a century occurs in this year or the next half of the next decade.

3. I want to see somebody below the age of 50 become a president in the next general elections.

4.I want to be able to go to work and back without worrying about traffic and forming long trotro queues. No fancy stuff as in subways/bus lanes etc. I just want to be able to hop on to the next available trotro without having to make an Olympic style dash, pushing my brother/ sister aside before seating by a sweaty trotro mate in order to make it to work.

5. I want peace in this country. Not the peace we talk of when approaching elections, but the peace knowing that I can sleep and move about in Ghana at whatever time without any torment from robbers or mobile phone snatchers.

6. I want Ghanaians to win international laurels and I’m not excluding myself here. A Nobel prize, Pullitzer prize, FIFA World Cup,a 100 meter record holder, an Oscar /Grammy winner etc etc.

7. I want good health facilities available to all souls of Ghana within Ghana at affordable prizes. To know that whatever one’s ailment or economic status a world class medical care is within reach and no longer will our relatives go on TV3 to plead for 2000 USD.

8. As part of utilities provision I want broadband or internet services to be included as part of the basics of life in Ghana. This obviously is after number 2 - electricity. It is true majority of people do not have access to water, yet access to information and education is a great ‘equaliser’. No fancy stuff here again, but just for Adjoa Mansa in her village school to improve her brofo by reading interesting stuff/news/magazine/journals .

9. And while we are at it, I would like our president to start blogging or to have his own personal internet site where he will tell us his thoughts and the reasoning behind some of his decisions. Not all but just some of his decisions. It would be a 2 way affair, as we will comment on his actions. Nothing fancy again, we just want to be in touch with someone who we have put in charge of our political and economical destiny. Then Adjoa Mansa can ask the president how they can write the forthcoming SSCE English paper without an English teacher.

10. I don't want to see any difference between the public toilets and our own little private ones at home because Ghana will have numerous public places of convenience built countrywide and they would be well maintained. Ghanaians will stop spitting and pissing everywhere whenever they feel like it. We will hold it in a little till we get to a public place of convenience.

11. I want Ghanaians to always compare ourselves with the best practice wherever.If America does not have it,this does not mean we Ghanaians cannot have it.

Is this too much for a taxpayer to ask for? I hope I have not asked for the undoable here.

Friday, 13 February 2009

Share your stories

Thanks God it’s Friday!! Well this week has not been very eventful for me by this I mean its been very very busy for me at work. I have done a lot of late nights and early mornings too as well and I am just looking forward to the weekend. A little of an extra hour in bed is all I am craving for. Well that and a couple of movies (whilst still cuddled in bed of course ). My busy week has meant little time to update my blog. I have a couple of writings which are still uncompleted so I decided to digress a little bit today. So I am sneaking this in during my lunch hour (with noisy protests from my stomach). Please forgive my errors.

Its not easy keeping a blog, it requires dedication and discipline. I am glad for the opportunity that the internet has given to us this generation to be able to share our thoughts with people all over. This has never been possible before in the history of the world. For the first time people could meet others who in the normal speak of things would never have dreamt of meeting. It has also allowed voices to be heard in far off lands and in the unlikeliest of places. It is difficult to suppress knowledge now and whole new possibilities have been opened to us. It is a great place to meet people and this virtual world is impacting on lives daily. I mean friendships and sharing of ideas across cultures is all very common now. Now we don’t need to get a sympathetic editor to air our views in his newspaper. If you have a good message people will beat the doors to hear it. It’s a great feeling too to be able to share small small toli’s—little drops of toil make a big story.

This week (yesterday actually) was the 200th birth anniversary of Charles Darwin (he said we are all primates) and BBC has been running programs all week in his honour. One of my favourite ads on the tube is also about Darwin.— it goes ‘’if you have an idea which will shock humanity will you keep it to yourself?’’. Darwin held back his idea of evolution from the public for over 20 years. Considering the fact that evolution is still not accepted and creates all sorts of divisions today ( peak of civilisation!) just think of the furore it caused back then. He was actually scared of what it might do to him and his family. He had to discuss this over with his wife and explain to her several times his ideas. There were some letters with his wife which even suggested that he wanted his book on evolution to be released only on his death. Finally after 20 years of sleeping on it, his hand was finally forced to release the book- ‘’On the Origin of Species’’.

What he feared came to pass,- it was accepted with a shock! Darwin lost some of his trusted friends. There were caricatures mocking him and his ideas in the newspapers. Various bishops preached against it in the pulpit. (he stopped going to church years earlier in anticipation of this). The thing is Darwin was left with a good endowment and therefore money was not his motivation for releasing his book. He had this idea, this spark and nothing could stop him from sharing it with the world. This idea which was outrageous (human beings descended from apes- back then it was generally accepted that only Africans did) he did not keep to himself .He shared it with the world and we are richer today because of bold men like him. Today scientists are still using some of his ideas in finding cures to diseases like AIDS.

Our ideas and stories might not be as mind stretching or shocking as Darwin’s. However little the toil/story might be let us make our stories heard.

Friday, 6 February 2009

Travelling in Ghana

What sort of holidays do we have in Ghana? Please do not mention the take-a-leave-stay-at home holidays. I mean holidaying Ghanaian style if ever there is one! should be different. Elsewhere people go to some far off village or abroad to Egypt, Morocco or Spain to sightsee and relax after a hectic working year. We can make do here with our plenty sunshine by just going around the country.(the northern regions and Volta region as e.g). For example in Volta,there are some villages which straddle on the borders why not cross over to Togo by just walking about in a village. Or if a bit adventurous trying taking some of the ‘’unapproved’’ routes to enter Togo and do some shopping. (Mind you to have your passport with you at all times (I am yet to do this myself- but 2 friends of mine from Uganda and Kenya have!)). The northern Ghana is also unknown to most of us, (except for some UDS friends of mine in Nadowli). Apart from the cost of travelling there, which is a little expensive, food and rest rooms are affordable. Afram Plains has a great scenery in some areas but I don’t know if there rest stops there. The southern parts are quite nice but because of the tourists, it’s a bit expensive to sightsee on the coast especially with the cost of hotels.

For most people, the only travel done was during primary and secondary school excursions. These excursions ended when working life started. And it was replaced by funeral tourism. This is not a bad idea, but funerals are attended in a day or 2 and then there is the hurry back home to Accra on Sunday night and one usually meets the hideous traffic at Nsawam. By the time you get home you are too exhausted for Monday morning. We cannot limit ourselves to Elmina Castle and the usual funeral picnics to get to know Ghana!Or the visiting our hometown (same town for 20 years?) during Xmas. What of taking a drive, or hopping on to the trotro (STC is much safer) to take you as far is possible. There are usually small hotels/motels available and at a good rate one could have a week to him or herself free from the hustle and bustle of Accra, traffic and car fumes and if lucky/unlucky no unnecessary mobile phone calls. A tip by the way- just call up friends who did national service in the districts and ask them of places of interest as well as rest rooms. They have been there before and know all the tricks. Or ask for people who know the area, friends of friends (believe me this is Ghana and a friends friend will surely know) On the other hand if you enjoy moving in a pack as I sometimes do just hook up with a couple of like minded friends and travel together. It’s much fun and a little cheaper. For the women who are usually worried of security, this is also much better for them.

Believe me it helps to take some time off to think on your own or to be in a different environment altogether. Try it once and you will be wondering why you didn’t start earlier.

Being a Ghanaian I know it is against our very nature to do this. Its uncommon and it has so many uncertainties (something which Ghanaians do not like at all!). If you happen to live with your parents like me, they will ask you who have you seen doing this in Ghana?, why do you want to do this?, ehhh you have soo much money and this is how you want to spend it. And several other questions which have no answers. The thing is 50 GHC (if it’s not too much to ask for) can take you to the eastern region, accommodate you in a rest house for a couple of days and enough to buy you tilapia and apem (plantain) on the way back. I usually tell my parents that this 50 GHC is my money saved from buying funeral cloth and other expenses I deem to be unnecessary. (I say it in a polite manner though) Also don’t forget to promise them some yams or vegetables on your return (believe me it works).

So why not pack your toothbrush/sponge/soap and some few clothing and head off. See more of Ghana, let the child in you explore a little and see how energized and refreshed you will get upon returning back to Accra.

This is my experience please share yours as well as pictures with us and let us know of your secret hideouts as well your experiences in undertaking these trips.

Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Have you ever been in a waakye line before? Then this is for you.

Well one day during vacation I decided to visit one my favourite waakye spots. I have a lot of spots when it came to food, the yoo ke gari (beans and gari although the ever present plantain and zomi (palm oil) isn’t mentioned) fufu, banku and the like. I however decided to head for the waakye spot this afternoon. A few meters to the place and I was shocked at the sight before me. The queue was long, well what was I to expect, Maa Grace’s waakye is one of the best in the La Palm-wine junction – Kojo Sardine area. Others like me have made their way to enjoy this delicacy of Maa Grace. Upon reaching there I surveyed the long line to see if there was any familiar face ahead in the queue to whom I could start an innocent chat with to avoid queuing from the back. Most of the people in the queue wore stern faces and from the look of things there was no way I could ‘’cross’’, so I sadly made my way to the back of the queue and like the numerous others before me patiently waited my turn.

Maa Grace knew she had the market at her finger tips. Her shito (a sauce for the waakye) was expertly prepared and the aroma of it called customers from far off places. Although she knew workers started queing at lunch time she was never on time. She always waited till a sizeable queue had formed before she made her way to small wooden road side stall. Added to this she was extremely rude and would easily rain abuses on you if you crossed her. The worst part of it was she always raised her voice to the hearing of even someone across the street. In the queue its always normal to hear stuff like ‘’ahooo 500’’ (tr. your order is too small to be served) or ‘’ohee loo’’ ( are you not buying meat?). Despite all the impoliteness, people still kept coming for her waakye and every afternoon the queue got longer.

I waited patiently in the queue as the others ahead of me got theirs. Some especially the office messengers took longer to order with their long office request. Others like me just shorter , quietly order your waakye and shito and quickly made away to enjoy in the nice relaxation of your home. As it got to my turn I made a quick calculation of exactly how much I was going to buy. This usually depended on how much money I had on me, but as it got closer to you, based on what you have seen others receive you reappraise your orders, a little gari here, some macaroni and if possible some plantain. But on this day I was in no mood for any excesses, I wanted my waakye, I will add the gari at home and that will be it.

‘’Owula enyie ohio’’ and I knew it was my turn. ‘’Ofaine ma he 1500’’ . I was being a little polite in case this fetched me more waakye. With the keke sound of her laddle, Maa Grace served my order. ‘’1500? I exclaimed, but the boy in front of me bought 1,000 and even he had more than me . Of course I said this in my head, who was I to challenge Maa Grace. But this was not fair, this waakye for 1500? after all the distance I walked to get here to get this. I wanted to say something to her, to plead with her if possible that she was not being fair to me. I was buying 1500! Not 1000 like the other person before. More so I am a frequenter to her spot and I deserver better. The seconds were ticking fast and I had to think of something persuasive to say before she wrapped my waakye and sealed my doom.After all as they say ‘’kanewu is better than fashewu hu’’ ( to say it is better than to keep it) So in a most polite manner I could gesture, not shouting but audible enough, I repeated what I had said earlier said but this time only an ‘’Ofaine 1500’’. !!...**()...

I would like to stop my story here. I didn’t mean her any harm nor was it my intention to cause any commotion, my only objective was to get a few spoonful of her waakye on this hot afternoon. Needless to say, as I walked away with abuses behind my back and an unfulfilled objective I decided never to go back to Maa Grace again. Well I did go back after a couple of days staying away, but I never repeated myself again to her and always accepted what I got from her even if the one before me got more than I did, I accepted mine gladly, who said life was fair. Thanks to Maa Grace I understood this better.
What is the connection between Mentals -Morning assembly.

Do we still have mentals in school? Growing up, this was one definite way that school started for me. My first real alma mater was located somewhere in La not far from Alonte Bar (if you don’t know this is opposite the La Palm Beach Hotel) - Kojo Sardine and the Trade Fair.(first real alma mater because until then the schools I attended were to keep me busy till my mama came for me.or is it that I have forgotten - got to ask my mum!) I remember these morning rituals, they are ever so ingrained in my mind (and you will understand why by the end of this text) as well as the connection between mentals and morning assembly.

Okay so back to this great school, (its alive and kicking by the way). Mentals always started at 7:20 am after a bell is rung for a period called silence. Silence period was not really a period of silence ( still to find out why we used this name). Silence period was after we had swept our sections of the compound (I was in red (house one) which also came after having my long walk to school which was also after I had taken my morning tea ( by this I mean it could be coffee, cocoa or real tea) at home. You see my school was in our area so I did not have to take a trotro or any sort of transport.( which is the way it should be for most kids).

Now about the walk, on the way to school you usually met friends and caught up on the latest kokonsa or who had the ‘’new wili’’ (new release) or what Jagger Pee did on TV theatre the night before. Even if you didn’t watch it you had to think some story line up and give your tale with ‘’hmmm’’ ‘’eheh’’ ‘’paa’’ and the likes.

The sort of friends you met on the way depended on the time you made your way to school. There were the early morning birds who even on a rainy day were never late. And if you happen to meet Rahman ( not his real name) then you were really late in which case you double your steps or start thinking of a good excuse to give the teacher on duty, failure of which your back/buttocks are subjected to some early morning ‘’hot coffee’’. (I mean lashes/caning in case the dadaba’s don’t get what I’m saying). (One of our teachers was so good at this, that he developed 2 ways of caning and depending on how lucky/unlucky you were he could give you options- do you want normal caning or german strokes. Imagine! Sorry my poor back)).. anyway more about canning/ lashes later in another episode.

So now that you know how I got to school, let’s get back to the mentals. Mentals (and its agonies) started when you got class 2.(most of us were around the ages of 7and 8, except for the few methuselahs who had managed to sneak in among us kids unnoticed). In class 2 a one Mr Roberts, gave us our first intro to many unwelcomed mentals. His was pure orals. (written mentals started in the senior classes). Immediately the bell goes for silence Mr Robert would pick up his cane and pick a poor soul to begin with. In truth mentals was over within a space of 20 minutes. But being there, one minute was an eternity of torture. During this period we would all become white as our little powdered faces and few us would become reflective, praying to God that something would happen to the teacher to stop all this madness ( oh yes I did pray) . Even the noisy and too known girls and boys were mute and became ‘’bedee’’ ( i.e.soft).

The thing was, you had to learn the times table and not only that but to be able to remember it by heart. Added to this is the pressure of a tall cane loving teacher before you about to swing his cane at you ( as if he was weeding his overgrown cassava farm) if nothing sensible came out of your mouth within the 2 nano seconds of him asking you with a shout ‘’sevvvennn taimes eighhht..’’ I tell you that even if you had learnt it all the previous night before at that moment and unspeakable point in time you will forget it, you become mute, the whole class is silently watching you, and even though it was a funny sight nobody laughed. Because the woe you are witnessing would soon become yours. You could only laugh after you sat down on your lashed bottoms. He usually asked for the times table counting after seven or eight because you couldn’t say the tables fast enough before he gets you with his cane. Even if you start saying it in your head (hence the word mental) by the time you got to eight or seven the cane swinging like cassava farmer would already be at you doing what he loves best. We were bonded in this ceremony because of the unfortunate situation we found ourselves in, so as you stood in your seat you go through every question asked as if it was your own, and wonder how you would fare if that ‘’sevvvennn taimes eighhht..’’ shout had been thrown at you. You also silently prayed that someway somehow you will get yours correct and be spared the mornings caning. In this environment the notion that learning is meant to be fun had not been born yet.

But there was a saviour, which also came in the form of a bell. This bell signalled the end of a session (which we gladly welcomed) and the beginning of another dreadful session- morning assembly- i.e if you didn’t bring your handkerchief to school or your socks was not white enough or something of that sort. It meant another caning session. No wonder most of us hated school that much. So now you know the connection between mentals and morning assembly- german strokes nkoaaa!!!

There were some funny aspects (a lot of them ), but that would have to be told another day.

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Chaskele 101 (fan-da-MENTALs)

Chaskele is an ingenious game invented by some kobolo-(truant) (not referring to Wanlav da Kobolor).And mind you kobolo is not a derogatory term. It is usually played by young adults when their peers are busy in the classroom. Or for the serious students, during long vacations (i.e. before long vacs were destroyed by extra classes and computer games).

To the uninitiated let me explain, chaskele is a potpourri of baseball and golf. So to be very good at it you have to be a Bonds and Woods at the same time. Just as the object of golf is to hit (or is it kick) a ball into a hole (hope am right! Please correct me if I’m not) so is chaskele. The aim is however not just to get the ball/can into a hole but that there is a further obstacle in terms of a player with a bat/ heavy big stick who will try to prevent the ball from entering the basket/ hole and whom you have to outwit. As in baseball also, this player will try and hit the can as far away from basket as his strength will allow. (now something for Tiger Woods to try).
Instruments of the game include an empty milk can ( any tin can will do, but for optimum enjoyment , you need an old empty Ideal (R) milk can)

Xtreme sports

This is extreme sports by all standards and kids in Ghana are warned never to play this game (possibly for an impending doom it is supposed to bring). This heightened the adrenalin and ecstasy for playing this game. Surely this must be extreme by Ghana standards, comparable to mountain climbing and bungee jumping. Since we don’t have snow boarding and the like of games, this is our own origination that we should be proud of. The dangers of playing chaskele are numerous but I can only mention a few here. Remember the dangers are not just from playing chaskele but also associated with it. You are likely to get some lashes if your parents find out (possibly through a loud-mouth-long nose neighbour), you would be classified as a bad boy (this boy is a chaskele player and hence a kobolo --- possibly by relatives of the loud-mouth-long nose neighbour) and other things- you see the dangers do not come directly from the game but the social imports associated with the game.

Chaskele 4 olympics

Now since Ghana has and continues to be thrashed--beaten to dust—and all but thrown out of the Olympics. (can’t believe we haven’t won gold since the inception of the games? Are we that bad?) , this is a game we can excel at –surely by all means. Secondly since we have a lot of kobolor (or tough boys) as compared to swimmers and athletes, we can ehmm… mobilise our ugh..%$ human resources capital… so that we can start winning medals for our homeland Ghana (can I hear the next sports minister quoting this at the next ministerial vetting?).

Moving forward (I’m not NPP by the way)

Please do let me know how we can take this game forward. Setting up a CBA (Chaskele Board Association) to run chaskele in Ghana and beyond the shores of Ghana. We will have to model this on the Barclays Premiership with sponsorship and all that, which will help us get the best kobolor players from the nook and cranny of Ghana. We will then have our own Ronaldo and Jose Mourinho’s (have some old kobolo friends who are willing to share their experience with the youth of today). This as we say in Ghana has huge potential and could be a major foreign exchange earner for Ghana overtaking cocoa and gold (how many times have we heard this!) and could make Ghana an African tiger. Who knows Atta-Mills might make this his first presidential initiative.
Koreans have their judo and Ghanaians should have their chaskele. We need to push this through , yes we can! chaskele.

A slow dawn

The Slow dawn

Like a old photo it brings back memories
Of thoughts which make me glad and sad,
It makes me shudder and make me want to be there
It rises till the morning takes over

Catch the dawn when it rides the morning waves
Hold it for a moment
Savour the timelessness it brings
Let it be only for a moment lest it lasts too long

Catch a glimpse of it if you can
It passes and waits for none
Let its sight, spark your day
To last you a lifetime

Before the sun shines
And hope arrives
Slowly it keeps warmth
Celebrate is all it says

When is it coming again?
I can only hope and dream
Is it going to be the same?
I hope so!

Monday, 12 January 2009

Xtreme sports in Ghana

Has anyone thought of setting up a Ghanaian version of X-Games.
IF any one has please let me know. I have a good suggestion.Chaskele! This when we were young was one of the forbidden. ( mind you this group of forbidden includes the taboo topic sex). We were under no circumstance to indulge ourselves in this dangerous game. if you did your parents were bound to hear this (either through some konkonsa over zealous adult who should be minding hsi own business) and you were sure to receive a severe beating.

Friday, 9 January 2009

How to read well

I do not want to dwell why this is so and bluh blah dat. But it is a fact that reading is not an established culture in Ghana. You can get on the London tube every morning and find readers of all income classes and ages reading. (mind you the tube is not more comfortable than our trotro's believe me on this!!)

The fact is everybody reads and you will often find a man strectching his neck on to a book raised above the heads of everybody else standing, just to get on with his reading. Its a common occurence on the tube to see people holding on to the rail with one hand and with the other holding onto a book or a newspaper.

Dont ask me how the pages are turned. It comes with practice as I have learnt: with careful timing and deliberations, you wait till it seems the train has attained a balance and then quickly release your grip on the rail and turn the page quickly before the trains hits the next curve, please dont loose your balance or else you will find yourself saying a thousand sorries and apologies to polite London train travellers.

A significant difference between the developed and the 3rd world countries is the level of literacy. Ghana has an adult literacy program which has been running for years. But this is not what I am talking about. Nor is this about the technical and vocational training programs at our basic levels or the read-a book-cumpulsory-for final-exam-book thing. But it is fact that we (Ghanaians and Africans ) do not read. If we do it is our text books and no encouragement is given to go beyond these and satisfy our indulgences. This is even the case in our universities. Neither do we have enough writers.

These 2 are the missing ingredients in our quest for development and the earlier we start looking at them the better. Lets have more libraries and encourage reading earlier on in our eduction system and not wait till secondary school to start reading Macbeth.( the fact that you are reading this shows we are getting there somewhere.

Friday, 2 January 2009

In case you have missed it, most Ghanaians and I mean most-now believe that the NDC as a party is a better democrat than the NPP (if you don’t believe it please check the electoral results!) This change of belief happened very recently over just a few days ago.

In a few days the NPP has undone decades of its hard earned reputation.

It is hard to believe that the NPP and some of its supporters are in denial of this fact. They just cannot/would not believe that they have lost the elections. I can tell you now that if the elections are run again, the NDC would win by a comfortable margin.!! I know this for a fact that most of the people who voted NPP even in just the past re-run would vote NDC the next time around.

It has come as a shock to most people (me included)that the NPP is going to this extent just to cling to power . In case you are not aware, Ghanaians are sporting (characteristically and culturally speaking) . This is why when the Prof accepted defeat 8 years ago, people praised him (even though some of his party members were not pleased with him.)

The unfortunate thing is that NPP is being very short sighted in thinking of only this election (there are many more to come) because it would be interesting to know how they are going to come back next 4 years and what would be their message. They have lost their 2 main themes – that :
1. Ghanaians are now better off- the voters clearly rejected this claim. and
2. the NPP is made of idealist democrats, has good governance and all the blah blah we usually hear– ( there is a new definition on who an NPP democrat is …it entered our vocabulary a few days ago.. but this is a story for another day)