Archive for August, 2013

National Anthem!

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on August 29, 2013 by kola

God bless our homeland Ghana

Think about it closely and one comes to the sharp realization that God has already blessed this country beyond measure. In terms of natural resources I do not have to provide a list of what we have been endowed with but will mention a few; there are natural minerals like gold, precious stones like diamonds, timber from our forest and even non-traditional export products.
Talk about our human resource and Ghanaians are the most hospitable people on the surface of the whole planet. Furthermore, Ghanaians are the best at what they do the world over (except in their home country of course)

And make our nation great and strong

The geographical location of Ghana makes it difficult for outside influences without notice. A nation landlocked by three French speaking nations and the sea still thrives by whichever means it does.
With reference to greatness, most of Ghana’s statesmen throughout history have gone down as world statement – from Kwame Nkrumah (renown Pan Africanist advocating for African Unity) to Kofi Annan (past Secretary General to the United Nations)

Bold to defend for ever
The cause of freedom and of rights

The history of the country is a bane of strength in defense of what our forefathers have done for the country notable among them is the Aborigines Right Protection Society that fought against the British crown annexing all lands in its proposed Lands Bill

Fill our hearts with true humility

It is the Ghanaians fervent prayer that the pride of place in Africa will not make us proud but be humbled in our existence because pride comes before a fall

Make us cherish fearless honesty

Being honest is the bane of every human and social relationship. The ability to be honest in freedom is very important to the Ghanaian existence

And help us to resist oppressors’ rule
With all our will and might forever more

It is important that every person deals with their demons and in the same way the nation also as a collective deal with its demons. In this case we don’t only mean foreign oppressors but also the minority social few who lord it over the others. Resisting them can take various forms and this we have to do as a collective with everything we’ve got.

Long Live Ghana!

#GhanaAnthem
#Nationhood
#GhanaMyMotherland

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Homowo Chronicles

Posted in Uncategorized on August 29, 2013 by kola

My Homowo Story

The Gas having migrated from ile ife in Nigeria (where twins were seen as bad luck and thrown away into the evil forest) decided to do away with such a practice by incorporating twin culture into the celebration of ‘hooting at hunger’ which is the actual translation of ‘homowo’ (shame to hunger).

During the festival times, twins are made to carry bowls or basins with twigs in it and libation is poured to the spirits to thank them for blessings and appease them for the wrongs the society have been done. The contents of the bowls usually include chicken feathers (the sacrifice), twigs and branches (the forest) and usually some money (high denominated shiny coins).
The twins are made to carry these things in a procession through the major streets of the community for all to see and then usually the contents of the bowl are dumped at a particular site designated by the festival just for that. Usually the twins were in a trance from spirit possession after the libation has been poured before the procession.

The interesting part of the procession is that when the contents of the bowl had been dumped, the spectators following the procession usually went and scavenged for the money (shiny coins) within the contents of the bowl. There were other family members of the twins (and people who just did for the fun of it) also carrying canes and branches making sure that the money remained intact and they would lash out at anybody who went to collect the coins from the debris of contents thrown by the twins.

They lashed out at the folk, usually children like me , rushing for the coins and to come out with a coin meant that you had cane marks on your back. Amidst tears we young boys raised their coins in triumph.

But the toffees, and the balloons we could buy with these high denomination coins made the pains felt later in the bath when water touched your wounds, all worthwhile.

#Traditional&Culture
#AccraCityBlues
#HomowoChronicles

HOME IN 10 HOURS: The Journey (part 2)

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 21, 2013 by kola

The bus is ready to leave and they realize a seat is empty. A guy who didn’t have a ticket is admitted into the bus when an occupant doesn’t show. He packs his bags on the bus and also gets down to handle some business. By the time he comes back, the original occupant of the seat had come back. What a loss! Moral of the story: if you get the chance take it the first time no fuss. (Reminds me of the parable of the ten virgins)

As I say good bye to the city of my birth, where everything is being renamed, I keep thinking how relieved I am to be leaving. Battery check, both batteries, data working, internet assured, seat adjusted to comfy level. Now let the journey begin. Ten hours to get home!

Thankfully the road out of Accra is a highway as if metaphorically the powers that be want to decongest the city although nobody is taking them up on the offer. All the way to Nsawam is the highway then the rough patches start. It is so bumpy that you actually feel it even though it’s supposed to be a luxury bus in good condition. You get bounce about quite a bit. Why can’t they just fix those places to the proposed Suhum overpass? Well we wait!

Three hours later we make our first stop at Linda Dor Rest Stop. This rest stop has the most expensive items I can think of. Small items usually cost about three times the market price and sometimes I wonder if it’s because of the location. Wanting something to munch on, I decide to buy my favorite packet of ginger snaps which usually sell at 80p only to be told it is sold at GHc2. Wow! Since it’s only that I want something to munch on and get my jaws moving, I decide instead to forgo the ginger snaps and buy some fried yam.

The Linda Dor Rest Stop is an interesting spot if you are a ‘human watcher’. People from all walks of life pass through there and you might even meet a friend or two going the other way or even maybe going the same way. It’s so much fun at times to see the various passenger buses stop and passengers dash off to go to the washrooms. Some people even walk lopsided because of the load they carry and are in a hurry to offload. There was this one time a guy couldn’t even stop to pay the 50p gate fee and the attendant attempted to follow him into the loo. Guy just put his hand in his pocket and threw a whole wad of bills at the attendant to hold on to. The look on the attendant’s face was worth putting on a billboard. It will sell anything.

It is this look that inspired me to start taking notes to write this article. But first I had to find paper to write my notes and hence writing on the inside of a paper takeaway of the rest stop. Taking a pen from the cutest girl on our bus, I start taking notes and folk look at me like I am from Mars. Mind you, I’m writing in the dark since the lights on the bus are off. The only light is coming from the video screen with Azonto Ghost Reloaded playing.

Kumasi passes by in a blur since I spend the whole time chatting with my crazy friends on whatsapp. Only reminder of that journey is when the bus stops and people get out to pee and incidentally it stops at the St Louis High School bus stop just near the school gate.

Techiman passes by in a blur of lights and quiet streets. Soon we are at first point of escort. (On a particular dangerous stretch of road plagued by armed robbers, the police and military people escort passenger vehicles till they get to a safe point)  We stop and wait for the first escort. It’s a beautiful night. Crickets chirping away and there is a full moon. It’s not too cold and I crave a romantic walk. Have a few candidates in mind. Most passengers are just asleep and I type away on my phone keeping in touch with friends. Very soon escort arrives and we move again only to stop again after another hour for the second leg of escort.

This is in the centre of a town that doesn’t sleep. Sellers are shouting wares and stuff: yam, bread, eggs (boiled and fried). Some of my colleague passengers get down to eat because they are hungry and they order eggs. All I can think of at this stage is the damage they can cause when they get on the bus with such gaseous bowels. I take a cue from how harmful second hand cigarette smoking can be and then I get down to order two fried eggs and three boiled eggs (boiled eggs cost GHc1 for all three) and eat them right there and then. If anybody decides to release gas in the air-conditioned bus, they are in for a surprise because I am going to reply in kind. Fire for Fire!!

I observe at the stop also that there are a number of 4×4 vehicles in the convoy of buses that are waiting to be escorted across. These ‘big men’ are on a journey to the north and it is obviously their first time because they look antsy and are still in their ties although they have lost the jackets. It is past one am in the morning. Wonder why they chose to drive when they could have flown to wherever they are going.

Before leaving Accra I had charged my phone batteries fully (my android phone is so busy I carry around a spare battery and the charging cords in my pocket for backup) and I knew that by Kintampo both batteries would have run out. Each battery lasts four hours approximately. I had made provision for charging at Kintampo. There is this young man who has set up shop at the filling station where the buses stop to wait for the escort. It just a table with extension boards and different kinds of chargers, which he uses to charge any model of phone you have for only 50p.

Ali, that’s his name, runs his ingenious business and stays up all night servicing customers. When university graduates are sitting in the capital jobless and unemployed Ali is an entrepreneur who not only sells phone credits to travellers at a time they need it most but also charges their phones for a mere 50p. Sometimes his chargers are so busy people queue up to charge their phones. Having called earlier, I get pride of place and somebody’s phone is taken out and mine fixed for some charging.

Usually on a journey like this, I find one cute lass to strike up a conversation with. This time I took up a conversation with this buxom Muslim girl. She was dressed the part. I revelled her with my travels all over Ghana and on a long roundabout trip to Zaria and back. All this while her older male cousin just looked on and gave me a don’t-you-dare look I ignored. She listened to my stories with rapt attention about the route she was traveling for the first time to see relatives in Tamale then she dropped the bombshell. She has just finished junior high school and was going to see her grandparents. BAM!

Wow! I instantly had goose bumps and now the stares from the older male cousin started making sense. She was just a young girl about sixteen or seventeen with the figure of a mid twenty year old. That made me almost twenty years older than she was. The male cousin couldn’t restrict the young girl talking to me but he also wanted to protect her from older men like me without being rude. I respected his stand so I just had to say a few words and have him whisk her away. It was her pen I was using to make notes for this article and I had intentionally held on to it as a way to open up a conversation which had been successful so I gave her pen back.

Soon we were on our way again and with my phone recharged made a call to my most favourite insomniac sweetheart Marian Boham and laughed for almost an hour until the networks set in since I was on the road. Networks keep fluctuating up and down in and out.

The black and white Volta towns of Yeji and Buipe passed in a blur since I started napping and before long I started seeing the walls of the SOS village which are on the outskirts of Tamale. I could envision home in sight. That is exactly what I tweeted ‘home in sight’.

The first thing that hits you when you get off the bus is the pure dawn air. Unlike the early morning smoke fumes that persist in Accra when people burn their rubbish at dawn.  It is four thirty in the morning and as if on cue the seven mosques in my community spring to life with the muezzins calling the faithful to worship. I have indeed arrived. Carrying my bags and tweeting, I trudge on home. After almost ten hours I had only four hundred meters to get home. My heart beats fast.

I pass by the public toilet that only smells at dawn when the children squat and do it on the outside (some are already present) and adults queue to go in and do their morning doodley at the adjacent one. The goats are out and about and the cacophony of noise goes on even that early in the morning.

Soon I’m at my door and just before I knock, it opens on its own. My favourite house guest Ivy stands there welcoming me home. That’s nice! And Wenzel too. I drop my bags and head straight to the bedroom where my twin and roommate is asleep. I have always loved watching her sleep and I just sit on the bed and watch her sleep for a few minutes. Sensing a presence in the room she opens her eyes and silently mouths my name and draws me into her bosom and into bed with her, even with my clothes on.

Finally I’m home. After ten hours!

If all men were the same

Posted in Uncategorized on August 21, 2013 by kola

There are times when we go through life

Wondering what went wrong.

Did we not believe ourselves enough that we could make it?

Or we just went on in life going with the fray.

Sometimes I wonder what kind of persons we are

As human beings we have human traits, yes!

But then what is insanity.

What is the thought process that we go through?

Shakespeareans would say there is no art

To find the mind’s construction in the face

But then as we like it

Is not the same as everybody deals with tempests

So when we are marooned we all think differently

In different situations

How come we are all not uniform

What would it be like if all men were the same?

Or all women

For that matter were the same

Then where does that leave us as humans

We have always been a people not subject to telling

We need to see to believe

What people will term show-and-tell

Even in the days of the prophets of old

Of the renaissance and enlightenment

Human beings have wanted to see miracles

Things of wonderment

But now technology has taken it all

Science has proven it all

And what we cant use science and technology to prove

Has been taken care of by faith

Oh humans!

I won’t want to be anything else.

 

HOME IN 10 HOURS: The Preface (part 1)

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 21, 2013 by kola

So I spent a few days in Accra and I had to head back home. After the relocation, I have never seen Accra as home anymore. Yeah I sometimes miss the people, my parents, my friends, my students and some girls but Kola Ville Accra has just become a rest stop or a hideout when I’m in the city. I stay indoors half the time and I realize that if I don’t get online, folk don’t even realize I’m in Accra so I leave it be like that. I love it like that!

The Kola Ville Reloaded Party was a fun party as usual but had to intentionally close it early close to midnight because folk had meant to stay all night and with the rate of alcohol around, I figured it was much safer that we had a memorable event rather than one that will probably end in an alcoholic haze. As per the rules of Kola Ville events, whatever happens in Kola Ville stays in Kola Ville, that is all I’m gonna say on the subject.

This time around I had the privilege of marking almost 200 exam scripts that belong to my students at Methodist University College and one thing was pretty obvious. Our education standards are falling rapidly and we need to do something about it pronto. If this applies to other African countries than I beg to say that I weep for our continent. College students cannot even express themselves and some just do not understand the concepts at all even though they have been in class every day and time. Thing is we don’t have curious minds and whether this is ingrained is where we have to tackle it from. That discussion is also for another post.

(Gosh! I got lots to write on)

Why is it that when you are in a hurry to leave some place or do something everything conspires against you to delay you. Just when i am ready to prepare to leave the house, my mom calls me over to tell me that her favourite ringtone not working so i should see if can fix it. The woman has no idea even how to put on a tv at times especially if it is put off at the socket. Then I remember I have to clear the fridge of all food and drinks (drank a litre of coca cola in twenty minutes) and clear the dishes in the sink. Then I also remember I have to close all the windows and make sure even the toilet is flushed. The gas pipe has to be taken out of the cylinder. All electric gadgets have to be plugged out of their sockets. Wow! All this come to mind when I have only thirty minutes to catch the bus to begin the journey to Tamale.

I also remember that I don’t have a suitcase so my nearest thought is to use a pillow case. After all there are designer bags that look like pillow cases so I find my best designer pillow case (a Tommy Hilfiger) and pack my clothes into it. But I later realise that I can equally do the same with a suit bag and I use that one instead. Looks like a bag and is easy to carry and pack overhead on the bus.

Finally I get out of the house carrying my bags and straight away I hail a cab to take me to the bus station. Taxi drivers are the most critical persons you will meet in Ghana. They criticise everyone and everything and even their fellow drivers but themselves. The shortest route to the station has apparently been blocked by works on a bridge that links two communities, blocked in the middle of the day when traffic is busy. ‘The nonsense of it’ my taxi driver says, ‘why don’t they just do this at night when there is less traffic?’ He forgets that the people who he requires to do that work are also human beings who should be sleeping especially in this cold Accra weather.

We talk about a whole lot of things: girls, traffic, roads, food and life in general. Whilst I’m in a hurry to get to the bus station, this driver stops at a ‘polo’ joint and gets some of the pastry which we gladly share and eat whilst I try to call Nana Yaw the station manager to book my ticket on the bus. Nana Yaw doesn’t pick up but i don’t panic, been travelling this route too many times to worry about not setting off. We take the most direct route and get to the station just as the bus is loading and i get to see Nana Yaw who offers me the last ticket on the first luxury bus. I quickly snap at it when i realize that the cheaper second bus has already been fully booked. It usually has more local people and it’s quite noisy too since there are more children on that bus.

Traveling on a bus with people can be pretty interesting. Human beings are fun people to just sit and observe and you always learn a lot from them. The dynamics of human beings in an enclosed space determines how you react to things around you and if I was going to travel ten hours with these other almost thirty people I had to observe them closely.

On the bus first thing was to get the phone credits from guy who walked on the bus amongst a throng of other sellers who were out to make a buck off the passengers. These include bread sellers, drink for refreshments and sweets and fruits. There was even a jacket seller to cater for those who cannot stand the cold air-condition temperature of the bus.

I call my twin roommate that I have sorted myself out and got on the bus and the journey begins. Now I have ten hours to get home – stoppages and all.

 

 

*Polo – local biscuit made from cassava dough

Fire for Fire!

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on August 21, 2013 by kola

Surgeon General warning: Smoking is harmful to your health!

second hand smoke is more harmful ..

sure this applies to farting too.

so our bus to Tamale gets to a rest stop at Kim Tampons

oops Kintampo (town in the middle of Ghana) and I realize some fellow passengers of mine in the luxury air-conditioned bus are hungry and ordering boiled eggs for dinner.

instantly all my dysfunctional brain can decipher

is the amount of gas that will accumulate in the bus when even five of them let loose their gaseous bowels.

not wanting to be outdone I step down and get two fried eggs and three boiled ones eaten on the spot.

slogan running through my mind?

FIRE FOR FIRE!! 

no second hand smelling for me.

too dangerous especially with my allergies.

#GhanaTravels
#TamaleChronicles

 

PS: watch out for the full article Ten Hours Home

Thanks! (y)

just here!

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on August 6, 2013 by kola

this is gonna be a short one because i only have five minutes to type what is on my mind.

what is Ghana coming to?

it is true that we gave the leaders the mandate to be where they are and be ‘lords’ over us but then the question i keep asking is ‘who does the power really belong to?’ us or them?

the earlier we wake up to the fact that power is in our own hands to effect the change we need, the better for all of us as Ghanaians whether literate or illiterate.

i have become so fed up with the Ghanaian situation that sometimes i am glad i am a savannah boy. true because the radio stations in Accra will not let you have your piece of mind on issues pertaining to politics almost every morning. here in Tamale, i don’t even bother to listen at all but get the snippets of the news online when i log on.

Ghana belongs to me and you! lets make the best of it!

Ghana my motherland!

like I’m used to saying now. it begins with YOU!!

long live Ghana!

#TamaleChronicles