Archive for May, 2013

Office Blues

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on May 31, 2013 by kola

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The office can be such a stressful environment depending on the people you work with or it can be a very conducive environment for sharing ideas and learning. Offices are set up to be places where work is done and done effectively.

Setting up an office can rely on a lot of things but paramount to these is the personnel that are going to work in the office. These are individuals from different walks of life and of different experience all going to be put together in a melting pot of an office environment to a desired result. Usually it is one person’s responsibility to coordinate all the people and such a person must be a person with an iron will and a heart of gold usually.

My office currently is still under personnel construction and so far I love the cameradie that is spreading among the staff. In an organization that has a bad reputation especially for staff not working according to par, this office is going to be a challenging one. Tasks are going to be attacked like no other and the level of commitment, dedication, teamwork and the willingness to learn is something to look up to.

I hope to enjoy being in this office and learn as much as I can from my colleagues.

 

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My Friends

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on May 31, 2013 by kola

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We all have friends and we all keep friends for different reasons. The basic reason can be found in the popular quote that ‘man is not an island onto himself’. No matter what we do and no matter our dispensation, you need other people in our lives. Whether you are rich or poor, tall or short, intelligent or stupid, goofy or smart, handsome or beautiful or just plain ugly (nobody is ugly), white or black, Caucasian or Asian or African or any other race, a lover or a fighter, good or bad, a terrorist or a freedom fighter, whoever you are, we all need friends.

They say that a man is not judged by how much money he has but by the company he keeps. Friends are a person’s backbone or a person’s weakness depending on what kind of friends you have. There are some friends that love you so much that they tend to stand out even worse than your enemies. There are some friends that you can do without and those that you cannot do without. In all these cases you still consider them as friends.

No matter who you are, your real friends will only be visible or come into the light when you get into situations you cannot help. This is when you need your friends and that is when you get to see who your real friends are. Some friends are like Facebook who will only like everything you do but when it gets to getting their hands dirty will keep their noses clean out of your business. That is their friendship, their friendship is virtual. Like Bluetooth they connect when they are close enough to gain whatever benefits they want from your friendship.

In recent times, friendships have become very impersonal especially with the intervention of social media and all those virtual sites that keep springing up almost every day. Social media has made lying about friendship so easy and also made people’s lives such an open book. A person tells you that they are unavailable when you need their help and in a few minutes time you check their facebook status and they are at a party with pictures. This is difficult to hide and usually it hurts knowing that your friends can only be there for you when you are happy and not when you actually need them the most.

It has come to be accepted that friendship can only come with benefits and not sacrifice. Oh! you can imagine the clichés that keep popping into my head as I type this article. They say ‘love your neighbor as yourself’ but didn’t say love your neighbor more than yourself is one of those. Even the term ‘friends with benefits’ have come to take on a new and much more accepted form and has come to usually relate to the opposite sex and sexual activity.

The sacrifice involved in traditional friendship where one can go the extra mile just so another human being can be happy or satisfied is in a gone era. No more do people just do anything for the fun of it. Oh yeah another cliché: ‘there is no free lunch’. A friend will only do stuff for you with the thought at the back of his/her mind of what they are going to get from the ‘sacrifice’ they are making. Then I’m tempted to ask, is that still a sacrifice?

What happened to friendships where you helped out and didn’t even expect a thank you? You did whatever you did out of the goodness of your heart knowing that it was an act that you were ordained to do as your brother’s keeper. You helped out because you were in a position to help? It beats my mind really.

What do we see these days? People in a position to help find a job will want to sleep with you, if you are a woman or would come to an agreement with you to take a cut of your salary when you are employed. I know a lot of people can relate to this and oh! some of the stories you hear.  Doing good out of the goodness of the heart is now so old fashioned but I want to believe there are still a few good people out there and like the circle of life these people never lack anything.

I have one true friend in Jesus Christ and He assures me He is always there anytime I call on him. Then I also have my best friend whom I will do anything for even if I have to die for her. She is my eternal love and I will do anything to make her happy.  For the rest, out of the goodness of my heart, I will help you out when I can and not expect any thank you. Trust me, it is easier that way because some people are so ungrateful even when they come begging you to get them out of a situation and their later reactions beats my mind. But it’s all good.

As for my best friend, I will say I’m sorry I haven’t been that much of a friend to you lately but I will make it up to you one way or the other God being my helper. I will see to it that you are the happiest woman on earth even if it kills me because I am prepared to die for you.

To all my friends out there, thank you for letting me be your friend. It is not you who is privileged but it is me who is honored to know you and consider you as my friend. I will try my best to be a good friend to you no matter what and God being my helper let’s have a healthy friendship.

Lifestyle Accra

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on May 24, 2013 by kola

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So I have been in Accra for a few days and the realization hits me that I am now an outsider. Yes I do feel like an outsider. I walk into offices and homes and people are surprised to find me there. Why because they expect me to be in far away Tamale. For my international readers, Tamale is 12hours drive from Accra and an hour and fifteen minutes by plane.

Out of sight out of mind the saying goes and it is interesting to see it applied to me. I daresay I have been a life force in Accra’s social circuit for so long that my presence will be missed. Thanks to internet and social media however folks don’t realize that I have been gone for that long. Enough of the nostalgia let me talk about revisiting the city of my birth.

I wanted to go out on a Wednesday night to the usual social hangouts only to realize that these hangouts were not functioning. Upon inquiry I got to learn that the ban on drumming and dancing was in effect prior to the celebration of the Ga Homowo festival. This is a period of silence for the gods and spirit forces of the land to rest their heads and wait for the big day. This further created an epiphany that the city of Accra is a very noisy city with people sellingvideos, CDs, everybody trying to use music to draw attention to their wares and even at night churches having public address systems blaring so loud residents living nearby cannot sleep in peace. In a time like this, residents of Accra heave a sigh of relief from all the noise even though they might be part of the noise making.

Life in Accra, being the capital, has always been stressful whether you let it get to you or not. It’s very alarming the rate at which young people are developing high blood pressure, heart problems and its related diseases in the city of Accra. Even though everybody claims nothing much goes on, we all don’t see why people are stressed like that. Especially with the current economic down trend it looks like the only persons making it in Accra or even in the country as a whole are the politicians and persons with political party affiliations. The easiest shortcut (oh! There are several) to ‘making it’ in Ghana now is to ‘do politics’. Ghanaians in our usual jocular way have even designated a path to riches from serial caller (call radio stations every morning to talk partisan politics), to foot soldier (errand boy for politicians), to a desk in a ministry (pseudo consultant), to full blown MP in a new district or if you are not successful a deputy ministerial position.

Otherwise become a pastor. And just maybe people will stampede for your holy water.

I have come to the realization these few days that in reality I don’t miss anything about Accra. Maybe some of the people but i daresay that inasmuch as possible, this is not a city that you can live in your whole life and say you have lived. There are too many varied opinions, too skewed in one direction or the other and too many shades of illiteracy and ignorance to ignore. I also daresay that living in Accra somewhat makes a person narrow minded if life in Accra is all you know. Like they say, travel and see. Till I started to love to travel, I also thought Accra was the bomb and the place to be. Oh yes it is the place where the action is but then what kind of action are we talking about here. Depending on your interests you will find something in the potpourri called Accra but at what expense.

At the risk of being branded an irate blogger let me just say that Accra is one fine city if you really know what to look out for, where to go and the right places. That is if you can find the time to do all that with the ‘rat race’ (money chasing) as a full time job. Chase money the whole time and don’t even have time to spend the money but only to get competitive with each other over who has the latest gadgets, finest houses, cars, clothing (Sarks?? Lol) etc. Is that not the routine story in Accra?

Let me end here by saying that just as Accra is in flames lately and the environment is all smoky and chaffed, people should not let their lives be that empty. Find something worthwhile to do, be philanthropic, take an outdoor interest in photography or travel to see other parts of Ghana. This should take some of the stress off.

Now I hear people are rearing animals on the side. First it was dog breeding but now it’s animal husbandry like pigs, cattle, etc. Nice! Whatever works charley!

Lessons from Liate Wote (Afadjato)

Posted in Uncategorized on May 20, 2013 by kola

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So I took a trip to Jasikan to get away from the busy life in Accra and usually one track weekends that Accra has to offer. Ghana is so blessed with weekend destinations that it’s quite a pity that the citizens do not take an interest. I remember one time my Californian Study Abroad students coming to me and asking that we go hiking in the Volta Region. I am a Tour Consultant but I just laughed it off. This is the business I am in and I laughed it off. I wonder what a lay man or lay person will say to a suggestion like that.

So woke up early in the morning to catch a mini bus to Hohoe from where we will take a chartered taxi to Jasikan to see our host. It was really an interesting journey with the different permutation of passengers also going to that part of Ghana for different reasons.

One part of the trip that we found interesting was some of the names of some of the various towns and villages that dotted the road to Jasikan. Some of the names sounded weird, some were sing song whilst others were just plain profane when translated to other languages. One thing that was evident though was the extent of diversity that exists in this land of our birth Ghana. We are so diverse yet so joined together at the hip and we do not even realize it because we do not make any efforts to learn about each other.

This brings to mind our educational system and makes me wonder what happened to the social studies (studies about other towns and cultures within Ghana) that we used to study back in preparatory school? I would like to see what the curriculum for that particular course is like nowadays and compare it to what existed. What I ask myself is that who is to blame when even Ministers sit in their offices in Accra and make decisions for parts of the country they know nothing about. Do we even know the dynamics of a particular region? What are the ethnic groups and how do they relate to each other?

A case in point is some time ago when based on stories of fighting in suburbs of Tamale, the Ghanaian Interior Minister instituted a curfew on the citizens for 12 midnight to 4am.  Interestingly, the average Joe such as Musa, my favorite sandal seller in Tamale, did not even know about the curfew and when I told him about it he just laughed it off because usually by 12midnight the whole of Tamale had gone to bed. All shops and even ‘spots’ were mostly closed after 10pm and it’s only around 5am that u will find market women and farmers taking their wares to the market to sell. So what then is the essence of such a curfew and who does it affect if it’s not only administrative.

Another thing of note is the way tourism is treated in Ghana. Ghana’s tourist destinations, albeit being available and sometimes given space on tourist magazines and brochures, are nothing to write home about. The infrastructure available around these tourist destinations is shameful. I wonder what the Ghana Tourist Board does about that.

On the visit to Jasikan we took a tour of the highest point in Ghana, Mount Afadjato. It was a grueling task up the sometimes steep mountain side to the top of the mountain which gives a view of all the surrounding mountain ranges and the nearby township. Although the sun was high up in the sky at the time the feat was undertaken (about 32 degrees in the shade) the air en route to the top of the mountain and on top of the mountain is the cleanest and freshest I have ever breathed. For someone with allergies, I could breath freely even through my shallow breaths of tiredness.

Climbing the mountain had lots of lessons that can apply to real life. Sometimes it is so difficult and steep that we felt like giving up but with perseverance and persistence one can reach the top. Furthermore, another important lesson learnt is that as an individual, one has all the ability and capability to make it to the top but you are the only individual who can talk yourself down and not reach the top. Focus is very important to undertake a mountainous task.

After the climb there was another rewarding hike to the Tagbo waterfalls another 40mins away where we actually took a relaxing swim in the God ordained fresh waters of the Tagbo falls. It is true that we ignored all the signs of not swimming in the water but then who are we to resist the beauty of the waterfall enclave and the coolness of the water especially after the hike up the mountain top and further to the waterfall. Ghana is really blessed with beautiful natural sights we can make money off but what happens is rather the reverse.

The drive back to Jasikan is another story altogether. By the time we were driving back, we were so tired we ended up asleep only to wake up with blond hair for dust dyes. The dusty roads had painted our hair blond and it is interesting to know that although the road is seemingly tarred, driving on the dirt part of the road is more comfortable than driving on the coal tar. This is because the potholes on the coal tar are as big as craters and provide for a very bumpy uncomfortable ride. Make us wonder how pregnant women are driven on the road to the main town because the road can cause a woman to deliver prematurely in this case.

Another interesting observation is that taxi drivers in the town are reluctant to embark on some journeys especially for folk who are out of town because they want to wrangle more money out of tourists for the same routes that they ply every day of the week. This is not too uncommon in Ghana. This greedy attitude does not encourage visitors, even Ghanaians, to go on tours when they visit places in Ghana with tourist sites.

Food and land abound in Jasikan. Seeing land lie fallow all over the place reminded me of the proposed British Lands Bill that didn’t get passed because the Aborigine’s Right Protection Society led by the Gold Coast elites and ably supported by the chiefs sent a successful petition to London to fight the bill that sought for government to take over all lands not in use. These lands belong to people and the fact that they are fallow makes me wonder what use they can be put. Places in Ghana are losing their youth to the urban areas in search of greener pastures. If programs were put in place, these vast lands could be put to profitable use especially in agriculture.

Upon chancing upon some women coming directly from the farm carrying bunches of plantain, we asked how much they were going to sell it. A bunch of fully grown ‘apem’ was GHc 1.50 to which we all screamed ‘WHAAAAT!’ in unison thinking we had heard wrong. Then the woman further goes like ‘oh if it’s too expensive I can reduce it’. That was the final straw. We spent the rest of the day discussing how come food in the city was so expensive when in the town areas it was relatively so cheap. Even though we bought a bunch, all of us in the group were feeling too ‘cityish’ to carry it to Accra so we left it with our host. Who was going to carry a bunch of plantain to the city so they be called a ‘villager’.

There are places in Ghana that are interesting hideouts especially for people who want to relax in a change of environment.  We don’t need to pay all that ticket money and go through the hustle of getting visas to go out of the country ironically just to rest from the struggle of getting a visa to go away from the busy hectic life in Accra. Places like Jasikan are dotted all over Ghana and have all the facilities for relaxation. The weekend away in Jasikan was not only relaxing but an eye opener that Accra as a city is overrated. Life exists elsewhere in Ghana and it is less stressful.

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Relocation Chronicles

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on May 20, 2013 by kola

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Moving into a new community can be very stressful and needs careful attention especially when it has to do with the reason why a person is moving into a new community. If even a new community is sometimes seen as a stressful one, imagine what it will be like moving into a new region altogether.

Recently I have been attempting to relocate into a new region in Ghana that is different in culture and systems from what I have been used to my whole life. Imagine living my whole life in Accra interspersed with a few years’ stints in secondary school in Takoradi and Cape Coast that provided my only contact with a community outside Accra in my teenage years. It was only when I got to the university that through sport, I got to interact with international community along West Africa especially in Nigeria – Lagos, Ibadan and Zaria. Furthermore being on the Coordination and Orientation Team on the University of California Study Abroad Program has also brought me in contact with American students studying in Ghana.  America is said to be a melting pot of all cultures.

However thanks to learning I have read about various cultures all over the world and my studies in African culture and religion have exposed me to the cultures of Africans wherever they are. So pardon my digression but back to my relocation to a different region.

Relocating to Tamale in the northern region of Ghana, predominantly Muslim is a far cry from the life of hustle and relative comfort I am used to in Accra. Especially with the northern savannah regions being marginalized by the colonial masters resulting in it’s lagging behind when it comes to development and social infrastructure. Furthermore, the perception about the north that exists in the south is not favorable at all. When you tell someone you are relocating to the north, they ask what is wrong with you and if you are leaving a comfortable life down south where at least you are in a position to manage into a place where you are uncertain.

But I have come to realize that human beings are generally afraid of the unknown and as such would rather not venture into the unknown especially if the perceptions about that unknown are very mundane. Southerners only interact with the people from the north they see in the south and therefore generalize that they are all like that. But what they fail to do is realize logically that even they southerners are not the same. They generally don’t like to travel but the cliché ‘travel and see’ is very true in this case. If you refuse to travel then you cannot make informed judgements on a people. Sometimes even books don’t give you the full picture because the writer would have been writing from a certain perspective that you do not really agree to. You have to be there to see for yourself.

What interests you have when you travel can prove very key to relocation to a new area. These interests are what make the relocation so much bearable. For example, the sights can be so breathtaking that you will not want to see it alone but to share it with the rest of the world. This generates a further interest in photography to capture these sights. Chronicling my travels through pictures on social media have turned very fascinating results and a large following interested in the perspectives I give on my new location in Tamale.

It could also be the food. What do you like about food? As a friend recently pointed out, there are two groups of people when it comes to food – those who eat to live and those who live to eat. Which one are you? What will affect which one you are considerably is also the price of the food in the location area you find yourself in. if the food is cheap you will want to sample everything. Soon you become a culinary expert on foods because at least you can compare the food between your new location and your former location. I have been found to be using a toothpick as a stylus in recent times because of the amount of meats I have to sample every day as I walk along the streets of Tamale.

The people in the locality you are moving to influences greatly how you will fare in your new location. Most Africans are friendly and will welcome new comers but then it is up to the new comer to know the culture and systems in place so that you can conform to these unwritten rules and regulations. This will ensure that you have a peaceful stay within your new locality. Sometimes some of these customs may sound bizarre especially since you are from a different locality but you still have to conform. No cultural system is too bizarre and nobody is above a cultural practice no matter how mundane and outmoded you will think it is. Northerners, predominantly Muslim stick to Islamic practices and although there are Christians living up north it doesn’t mean that these Christians will not conform to the practices. I have found some of these cultures outmoded and sometimes funny but hey, they are what make living in the north interesting and sharing these practices is more fun even than living them.

The more relativity a person has in a new community or locality also ensures that life in the new locality is bearable. When family and friends are around then one is assured that at least there will be familiar faces. For the past 10years the number of southerners that have migrated to the north for work and other purposes have increased steadily. Furthermore, those northerners who came to study in the south are mostly going back to serve and work in their local homesteads and this has influenced  the need for rapid development of the savannah area in terms of social amenities and general standard of living.

However, there are some drawbacks and setbacks that come with relocating to a different area and paramount among this is the language barrier. Cultural diversity will ensure that you blend in but then when the language is spoken the look on your face says it all. If one can manage it, it is important that the language is learnt at the shortest possible time to facilitate easy access to conversations and life in general. It is interesting to note that some of the language will be the same in your language but will mean differently sometimes with funny consequences. In Tamale, whenever you greet the response is ‘Naa’ which means ‘cow’ in my krobo language. Now does it mean that every time I greet anybody at any time of the day, they call me a cow?

Cultural diversity for you.

Being used to life in Accra which is so fast paced, living in Tamale is kinda slow. The systems work slower and life is much on the relaxed side. It can sometimes get frustrating but if one is not careful before long one is singing to the same tunes that exist in the system. Conformity is key however.

Generally, relocating to a new community can be uncertain and sometimes stressful but then the onus lies on the individual to adjust and make the best of it.

 

Ghana’s History

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on May 18, 2013 by kola

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found this interesting and i thought i should share it:

http://ghanarising.blogspot.co.uk/2013/05/history-ghanas-majestic-past-people.html?m=1

 

tells the story of the Gold Coast in pictures.

Enjoy!

 

 

Rave and Rant

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on May 7, 2013 by kola

so I am angry and I decide to rave and rant about what is going on around me life is such a mixture of all the things you can prepare for and life itself does not prepare you for some of the incidents that happen within it but you just have to go with the flow no matter what you go through why does it always have to be war in Africa terrorists insurgents chemical weapons but do we know who are always responsible for this who are the proponents and the opponents they always say that one man’s rebel soldier is another man’s freedom fighter what is freedom fighting if you are killing the people you claim to be fighting for then who would you lord it over in case you win that freedom you are free but are they free too when they are buried in mass graves all over the news we hear all over the place is very depressing why is it that SKY NEWS BBC NEWS CNN AL JAZEERA CCTV  and everybody else brings us world news full of wars what about the way money is going down the drain on the stock markets all over the powers that be need to look into this because whatever happens in the western world affects Africa adversely and the impact cannot be underscored for the stories in our African press sensationalism takes the cake and our politics and political leaders are so stained that politics has become a fail safe way of getting rich what happened to selfless service I weep for this continent Africa why wont there be strikes protests and unrests everywhere you turn all over the world all economies are reeling all humans want to do is survive and now markets are burning all over Ghana and Mayors say it is an opportunity for development what about the property and means of livelihood that was lost amidst rumors that fires were intentionally set wow im getting out of my mind cant think straight let me just end here