Archive for April, 2013

Love is Beautiful

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on April 16, 2013 by kola

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What is more beautiful than seeing two people u love and care about in love…

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Pure unadulterated love..

 

 

Stop Incidents like this in Ghana!

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on April 9, 2013 by kola

Ghana-Flag-MapMany of us bloggers have been trying to put Ghana on the world map as a destination to be and that culminated in The New York Times declaring Accra one of the cities to visit in 2013. I must say whilst some folk work tirelessly to make Accra and Ghana a happy place, others are dragging us in the mud. The following story is not an isolated case and it has happened to me too in some places I have traveled to in Ghana.

i am not posting it to distract tourism in Ghana but it is high time we weeded this people out and blacklisted them ourselves. Let us not wait for the reviews of the tourists and then try to lash at them because they exaggerated it. We can relate to this stories so here goes an experience of a friend of mine.

                                                                              Customer Service? More like Customer “Dis-service”.

Afia Beach Hotel seemed like a nice enough beach-front hotel to accommodate my father who was coming in from Lagos, Nigeria to visit my sister and I in Accra for a week.

Big mistake!

First, he was checked into a room (Room 25) that was already occupied! Next, when he was given another room (Room 21), the lights in the bathroom, as well as the air-conditioner, did not work. We reported the faults to the Front Desk and a technician was assigned to fix them. After about two hours the faults remained unresolved and he was moved to yet another room (Room 17). In this room, the bathroom sink was wobbly, the tap was loose, and there was no water pressure in the taps. The bedside lamp had no bulb in it and the telephone did not work! So, of course, we had to complain yet again.

To our utter dismay, however, the proprietor’s response to our complaint was not an apology but rather: “This is Africa! This is not the West. In Africa, things break down; things do not work. This is what we have in this hotel and nobody has complained. I have prime ministers and other ministers of state coming to stay here and they have no complaints. My staff should have told you how things are here, so you could have decided for yourselves whether you can accept things as they are or not!”

To say we were shocked would be an understatement.

At this point, we decided that we had had enough. We gathered Dad’s things, stuffed them back into the suitcase and left the room. After settling him in the car, we went to the Front Desk to check out. The proprietor was seated in the lobby, watching us and listening in on our conversation with the gentleman behind the counter. When I urged the guy behind the counter to speed up the checkout processes, Mr. Proprietor flared up. He stormed up to me at the counter yelling: “This is my f**king hotel! I did not build this hotel with your peanuts! Who the hell do you think you are? After all, where are you from? Is it not just Nigeria? Get out! Get out of my hotel!”

I lost it. Despite my sister’s urging to ignore him, I yelled right back at him. I called him “a very bush man”. I told him that I was not surprised his hotel was as it is having seen the kind of ‘man’ in charge. Finally, I promised him that I would post a true review of his hotel on as many travel websites as I can find!

To this, his response was to yell: “You cannot do anything! You cannot do hooo!”

We left; and we have since settled Dad in a lovely hotel closer to home. It is not a ‘beachfront’ hotel but at least the room was not already occupied, the light in the bathroom – as well as the air-conditioner – works, the bathroom sink is steady, the tap is fixed, the water pressure in the tap is just right, the bedside lamp has a working bulb in it and the telephone works! Most importantly, the proprietor does not insult his guests!

So, as promised, here is my review: Afia Beach Hotel is most definitely NOT worth even half of the rates they charge; and I DO NOT RECOMMEND IT TO ANYONE.

via Mrs Lydia Parker Wricketts

Their website:   http://www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/tourism/hotel.php?ID=78

30 Poems, 30 Days: NaPoWriMo Has Begun

Posted in Uncategorized on April 9, 2013 by kola

30 Poems, 30 Days: NaPoWriMo Has Begun.

City Dwellers

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on April 5, 2013 by kola

Ga people

From OSU Clottey to Danfa, from Kasoa Nyanyanor to Afienya

From the Nkrumah overhead bridge to Sodom and Gommorah

Under makeshift canopies, sleeping on carton-made beds

You will find them, tattered, hungry, desolate and abused

The street is their home, protecting their territories like a pack of lions

Some are innocent, dragged into this harsh life by circumstances

Their fate is sealed, destiny derailed, the once glimmer of hope shattered

Subject to the harsh realities of life, some have become brigands

Petty traders by day, machete and AK 47 wielding robbers by night

The street has taught them, made them immune to emotions

Survival instincts heightened, evil thoughts run amok in frenzy

“Man must survive”, that is their motto, “f$$k the law”, they always say

They once had hope, false hope induced by thieving politicians

Some were foot soldiers, promised a better life once their party came to power

They were rejected, paper qualifications were demanded, their hopes shattered

In their own little world, they felt rejected by society, they felt betrayed

Their women could be seen at night, in skimpy clothes, awaiting clients

From Soldier Bar to Kwame Nkrumah Circle, from Cantonments to Achimota

You will find them hiding in dark corners, making sexual suggestive moves

All in attempts to waylay men with loose morals, men with huge libidos

Cheap Abidjan perfume can be smelt on them, chewing on gum like a regurgitation sheep

The hassle over price begins, the customer is always right; against their wish they have to comply

At least, it will enable her make a saving to her “susu” account; she has hungry mouths to feed

From the obscure location at Nima, a young boy with hopes and dreams sit in a cyber café

Throwing baits at the thieving and greedy “Mugus”, plans well crafted, plan known as THE FORMAT

He has hope of making it big, riding in Toyota Corollas with his hommies

Life is too short, “all die be die”, refuse to be broke, that is what keeps them going

To him, education is just a fairy tale; he must survive no matter what

From the noisy Kaneshie bus station, bus conductors can be heard hollering

“More passengers more chobo”, he always says to fellow bus conductors

Stuffy “trotros”, acrid and pungent stench from some passengers’ armpits

Pastors with loud speakers on full blast, assuring the populace of salvation

Offertory bowls bigger than deep freezers; the Lord loves a cheerful giver

Speaking of prosperity, breakthroughs, evil spirits, visas and marriage

“Accra stay by plan”, the hopes they had to remit home once they made a decent living shatters

From another end, in plush restaurants and pubs, the elites party their hearts out

Bottles of expensive Moet, Hennessey, Courvoisier and Champagnes are adored

Life is lived in the fast lane; poverty never exists in their dictionary

Gold digger women are their friends, love never existed, and it’s all about the kwacha

Pride and arrogance are their banes, talking big, with swagger like hip-hop artistes

Osu Oxford Street is their second home, the place where the rich party and dine like heaven

Licking on ice creams and chewing dead chickens, sign of good living they always say

These are the city dwellers, some fortunate, others unfortunate

Life has never been fair, life has never been equal, life has no mercy

At night we all go to bed, to be awakened by the morning’s light

The struggle continues, the hustle begins, it’s a repetitive vicious cycle

It never ends, it never reduces, it stays the same, life of a city dweller.

Where do you belong? Where do you stand, in life’s untamed waves where does your ship sail?

via Quophy Appiah Obirikorang

Morning Musings

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on April 4, 2013 by kola

Woke up with a song on my mind

Lord I lift up my hands

   I lift up my eyes

Have your way with me

Every step that I take

                                Every move that I make

Lord have your way with me..

 

Women have an internal Peace

                                That they only find in religion (Christ)

                Or in the arms of a man.

 

 

Watching her sleep

                In between soft breaths, breasts and soft snores

Such a pretty sight

 

She did not recognize my cell number

                                For someone she claims to love

                I am hurt

It’s not right but it’s okay.

Threesomes and handiwork

  Tap flowing in the wee hours of the morning

                                                With accompanying sputtering noise

More rushing to the tap to avoid flooding the room.

Need to find a pen

                                Put these thoughts down

Grumblings from the bed

Mutterings about loneliness

                                                And Neglect

But I have been here the whole time

                                Watching you sleep the beauty sleep peacefully

 

                Where is my phone

                                                I gotta check Bernadette’s daily message on facebook

                                And my messages too

                How about friend’s statuses

                                                                                To post or not to post

                                                                                                                It is still  too early

                 Eish! My mind

All this in half an hour

                I guess this will go on

For the next twenty four hours!

Bus Travel in Ghana (2): The Buses

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on April 3, 2013 by kola

Recently there are many buses travelling all over the country from different stations dotted all over Accra. Some of the new stations I am sure some readers have never heard of but they exist in obscure corners of the city. Let me try to get into some of these bus stations and you tell me which ones you recognize.

neoplan stationThere is the age old Neoplan station at Nkrumah Circle from whence one can travel to any destination both in Ghana and abroad. At the Neoplan station there are minivans as well as buses and sometimes even taxis that one can hire to your destination. I will not go into the destinations because that will prove an arduous task. Sometimes there are buses of different kinds and prices going to the same destination. Let us take Kumasi for example. There are minivans to Kumasi which charge different fares and are different from the big buses. Even the minivans include Mercedes Sprinter, Benz 207 or the American minivans from Ford or Chevrolet which are the fast cars usually referred to as ‘kont3m bra nt3m’ (quick in, quick out). These are noted for their speed usually for the more adventurous.

Just around the Neoplan station there are various other bus stations that operate in various capacities also usually heading up into the hinterland. These include the OA Bus Terminal and the VVIP Terminals. There are some other obscure bus terminals also jotting the same stretch of road with transport companies like Jopee Transport heading further up north and sometimes into Burkina Faso. Most notable in such terminals is the visibility of bicycles that are to be transported up north after they have been imported into the country. Further visible is plastic products like rubber bowls and especially the muslim ‘buta’ which are in high demand in the 3 regions up north. The main mode of transport in these regions is the bicycle so it should come as no surprise.

vipJust across the road from the Neoplan station is the VIP Terminal to Kumasi. This particular bus terminal only specializes in transporting passengers and goods to Kumasi and nowhere else. VIP prides itself in the safety of passengers and with their imported buses, they also pride on the comfort of the clientele. In recent times, VIP has become the transport of choice to most people traveling to Kumasi. This is also the reason why on occasions such as holidays when people have to travel especially to Kumasi this particular terminal is overcrowded with passengers.

Now we are leaving the Nkrumah Circle area heading towards Kaneshie and on the way there is a stopover terminal at the State Transport Company (STC). Being a typical State Owned Enterprise (SOE) it has been and it is still being run as such. The only persons who still use the state owned transport company in their travels are loyalists who remember the glory days of the transport company I believe. Every time this company goes under rebranding something comes up and they revert to the doldrums of mediocrity.

STC-Bus Recently the company purchased new buses to augment the already existing buses but mileage was put on the new buses so much that they are also in a sorry state even more than the ones that existed prior to the rebranding. Apparently the new buses were run such that a bus arrived from let’s say Takoradi, went in for servicing and the same bus within an hour was scheduled to leave for Kumasi. With the new buses on the scene, the old ones were packed into storage and not used. For me, STC acts like a child with a new pair of shoes.

Just when we thought STC had gained its place among the transport agencies and could compete with the new transport brands such as VIP and OA Travel and Tours at least, the age old nemesis of delays set in again to derail their efforts. STC is known for its buses being delayed sometimes for several hours. A loyalist friend of mine finally broke ties with the transport company when he went to get an advance ticket for a bus scheduled to leave at 1600hrs GMT when he was told to get a ticket for the 1100hrs GMT bus which was yet to arrive for loading. He was so dumbfounded that was the last time he set foot in STC terminal anywhere.

Furthermore I had the jolt of my life when I boarded an STC bus to Tamale which was not full and the 2 drivers ended up picking passengers on the way trotro style. This is after I had been told that I had to be at the station to board the bus at 5am check in time when I live quite some way from the station. Interestingly the bus passes in front of my house on the highway to Tamale where I could have waited for it but I was denied that with the reason that the bus didn’t stop anywhere apart from designated rest stops. Oh! I gave the drivers a piece of my mind and promised them to take it up to a higher authority which I never got to do. Hmm! this ‘fa ma nyame’ (Give it to God) attitude we have as Ghanaians will be the end of us someday.

I know readers will agree with me that the least said about the nation’s transport company the better.

Before I get to Kaneshie, let me just get to Abossey Okai behind the Central Mosque and on the road to the more notable International Central Gospel Church (ICGC). A small corner there houses the Imperial Transport Company with their fleet of Marco Polo buses heading out into the hinterland. Imperial Transport buses go as far as Burkina Faso and they are mainly patronized by the indigenes of these areas and mostly students going to school in the 3 savannah regions up north especially to Tamale. A bird's eye view of the Central Business District of Tamale

Most travelers in Ghana love to travel with their own kind. The elitist will travel with the elitist and unless you want to gain any special interest in other passengers you are travelling with, most people do not mix up too well. It is really an experience travelling with the indigenes of the north. Both their ethnic culture and Islamic culture permeates their every action and it is interesting to observe and learn.

imperialBehind the Imperial Transport are other buses that are privately owned and they also travel to the same destinations and sometimes to various towns within the northern parts of Ghana. Then there are other bus stations that I discovered by accident within the Agbogloshie market that travel also up to the northern parts of Ghana. These buses are some of the buses that are responsible for the influx of the people from the north into such areas as Sodom and Gomorrah in Accra with their flexible terms of payment for transport to and from the north. Some of these buses can be contracted to bring in friends and relatives from up north and bus fares if cannot be afforded upfront can be spread over a period of time. Interestingly I didn’t observe any ‘private’ regular travelers but mostly the market workers such as ‘kayayei’ or ‘busboys’ etc living in the slums who wanted to travel up north to visit parents or traveling for one reason or the other. These are people who invariably cannot afford the standard fees for the luxury buses that Imperial Transport, VVIP or OA Transport services provide. There are about 3 of such stations in Accra Central including one at the Yam Market.

The main bus station is at Makola market on the Fire Service Lane near Tudu where one can find a car to anywhere heading eastwards of Ghana to as far as Lagos in Nigeria. Here too the buses are privately owned with the Ghana Private Road Transport Union (GPRTU) regulating the transport and controlling affairs just as in the Neoplan Station at Nkrumah Circle and Kaneshie bus stations.

The Kaneshie bus stations deal with mostly with transportation to areas westwards of Ghana. This includes destinations in Cape Coast, Takoradi, Axim as far as Elubo and even into Abidjan in Ivory Coast. Most of the buses are privately owned but recently some owners are expanding with a fleet of buses heading to specialized destinations. Kaneshie also houses the terminal for the Metro Mass buses which also travel into towns within the various regions in Ghana.kanesh trotro

It is worth noting that there are both bus terminals and minivan stations both at Nkrumah station and Kaneshie. The minivans are somewhat quicker and don’t take too long to load but there will usually be more stopping on the way for passengers to get on and off. For an adventurer this is more convenient because you get to experience life in the various routes along the way. One gets to buy and taste ‘boodoo’ and ‘pusna’ (bread and octopus) along the western route, ‘adodey’, ‘abolo’ and ‘agbeli kaklo’ (oysters, steamed corn bread and cassava fried dough) along the eastern route, ‘bayir shiw’, ‘chofi’ and ‘atadwe’ (fried yam, pork and tiger nuts) along the northern route amongst a list of other items one can buy without getting off the bus.

There is one more major bus station that caters for east bound passengers and that is the Madina bus terminal. This is mainly a minivan terminal that takes travelers to the eastern parts of the country. These include destinations such as Ada, Ho, Hohoe, Jasikan and Aflao on the border.

Bus travel in Ghana can be fun. No matter the reason for traveling, keeping an open mind can always turn a simple journey into an adventure. Next time you are travelling by bus in Ghana, be sure to turn it into an enjoyable adventure.

Photo-000774

Bus Travel in Ghana (1)

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on April 3, 2013 by kola

luxury bus   Bus rides in Ghana can be very fun depending on who you are and where you are going. Ghanaians take lots of bus rides everywhere they go. This is especially when your line of work involves travelling a lot throughout different regions in Ghana. The most important part of bus travel is neither the driver of the bus nor the roads you use on your travels but you the traveler. Obviously travelling from city to city in urban areas will have more comfortable options due to the roads than travelling into the much more rural hinterland in this land of our birth Ghana. Moreover if the bus breaks down on any bad roads, you get to chalk it down as experience.

Bus travel in Ghana reminds me of nostalgic moments in high school in the 90s where buses were arranged for us. When school reopened, buses such as STC were arranged by the school to get students in a particular region to school. However on vacation the buses were organized by individual students in the school. They were arranged so that the buses will pick us up from school so we didn’t have to go to the station and struggle with other students from other schools for buses at the bus station. So throughout the term, students looked out for who was going to organize the latest, most comfortable and fastest bus leaving the school premises to the various destinations especially to Kaneshie or Nkrumah Circle in Accra.

The organizers therefore used these points in their advertising for passengers to join their buses. Most of these were mini-vans who travelled the road so fast that it led to increased rate of accidents so much so that they were banned on the intercity highways in the mid 90s. I sometimes have nostalgic memories of the VW LT buses, then the Toyota Hiaces and much later the fast automatic Fords.

Students on these buses were caught in the fun of being with each other and with the ‘Jama’ songs flowing, police check points were overrun and it was just a straight run to Accra, virtually no stopping for anything. Everybody wanted to get on the buses with the most notable ‘jama’ singers of the school because you knew that automatically that ‘ride’ was going to be fun with non-stop singing. The louder the ‘jama’ the faster the bus went. At the police check points, the songs against the police were derogatory and it was partly the reason why the police did not bother to stop the students. They just waved us through.

I came to love travelling by bus so much that in later years I came to find solace in just sitting on buses to read books as a hobby. I really didn’t care about destinations. All I had was an urge to get out of Accra’s stifling heat on a particular day and then I went to the bus station in Kaneshie and got on any bus that caught my fancy and off I went to whatever destination it was headed to, armed only with my curious sense of adventure and a novel to read when the lands got desolate and there was nothing to see from the window.

My adventurous nature was fuelled by this kind of travelling and I also got to see very interesting places and towns in Ghana. It was in this way that I discovered Winneba town in those days before the University College of Education, I discovered Mankessim and Saltpond townships and also Suhum and Swedru. Other towns include Ningo, Prampram, Ada and Sogakope. These are towns that occupy an important part in Ghana’s history and it was fun to look for relics of the colonial era in this towns. In the coastal towns I found old relics like cannon balls and in one town an old popular Dutch fort. Being a history buff, one will understand what this means to me.

Recently I have come to love travelling to various parts of Ghana when I can and with the help of social media chronicle and share my experiences with my friends. With this blog post now I can put down my thoughts and observations on a bigger platform to create the fun and awareness of the interesting places that exist in Ghana.

metro mass