Archive for December, 2013

My 2013

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

I don’t particularly set new year resolutions but I’m just realizing that I set myself to do some stuff in various aspects of my life and whilst some have been achieved, I failed woefully at most others. Honestly, there isn’t much to celebrate for me in 2013 personally because whatever I have done this year has been carved out of laziness. I haven’t pushed myself as much as I would have loved to in getting any achievements so there is nothing much to be proud about.

The more significant things that I should have followed up to do I never really did and it was more like I didn’t care. Furthermore procrastination took the best part of my initiatives and now on the last days of the year, it still takes me an effort to write this piece because I’m still in bed.

How ironic!

I know people will be writing and expect to be reading of achievement and what they did best this past year. But for me, this is a heartfelt piece. The greatest achievement for me, at least I might have done something right, is to have you reading my blog now, either as a follower or you might have heard of the blog.

Thank you for the support!

The past year has been a very eventful year for me. Changed jobs, relocated to a new region, tried to acquire some property and best of all, just help as many people as I can in whatever way I can.

But as usual, all this was done with the lackadaisical attitude that comes with doing everything else and even though some results might have been achieved, they were not as personally fulfilling as I would have expected it to be. The long term effects of some of these projects have have long standing benefits to anybody who is connected to them and that is my legacy for 2013.

I have encouraged, helped and seen friends want to develop themselves especially in education. Education is the one thing I have not compromised on and even though as usual personally I have not strived harder to gain any more certificates (a certificate does not necessarily define who you are and what you are capable of doing), I have also not stimulated my brain enough this past year.

It s been a year of the comfort zone I should say.

With relation to health and fitness, like any other actions this year, it has been on and off. Knowing my conditions and living according to the dictates of my body has not been a strong point. However I haven’t also pushed for excellence in fitness either.

My relationship with my family has always been great. Parents and siblings have been supportive and I appreciate the modality (a word whose true meaning I learnt from my kid brother) that comes with stretching a helping hand when it was required. Sometimes I know people have been baffled at the sort of relationship we have as a family but I’m thankful to my parents for bringing us up the way they did – to be open to each other and know that we are the life support of each other.

If you can’t go to family for help and encouragement, where else can you go to?

Relations with external family however has been strained because of one thing or the other. African extended families are supposed to be the bedrock of development but then in recent times people have tended to abuse the existing communal systems as they are and this has led to a strain on the very foundations of the African belief system.

Hope to try more to be as Afropolitan as I have preached we should all be when it comes to my extended family ties.

The year 2013 took my love life to a new dimension that I have realised that the more years you spend with the person the more work you have to do to keep the relationship going. I had always taken it for granted that being in a relationship for years meant that you got to know the person much better and became more familiar with who and how they were.

How very wrong I was.

Everyday with the person you love should be a day you cherish and live it like it will never come back. Truly it will never come back and you have to make that loved one feel the love and not just keep saying it. Just as faith without works is useless, professing love without showing it is…….

Well, you complete that one.

The love of my life has been my pillar and my support and has encouraged me to do stuff that I didn’t even know I had it within me to do. From the very beginning, she had seen my potential when even I couldn’t see it. She has pushed, cajoled, bullied me into being a better person and i still feel like I’m a work in progress.

Thank God for her life. She is a wonderful woman.

Furthermore I have made some very interesting friends through social media and via blogging too. The BlogCamp was a springboard to meet other bloggers with common interests. On other social media especially on Facebook and Twitter, some friends have proved to almost be blood relations and it’s been a learning experience and fun throughout the year.

Every year I have set out to complete a personal project and in most years past, these projects have grown into a wider scale and some even going global. The past year has been a very lazy year because I didn’t set out to do any projects but to support them if the project handlers called for my support. There haven’t been too many and I’m ashamed to admit that I didn’t really contribute that much to any of the projects I was part of this year even though most of them were a success.

With regards to my writing, you are my witnesses to the laziness that has characterised my writing process. Content has never been an issue with me but the willpower to just sit behind the PC and write has been lacking. You, dear reader, are my motivation.

I have written stuff that haven’t been of he quality that I would have wanted them to be and in others I have not researched well into the topics I have wanted to talked about thus leaving the arguments porous.

The year 2013 has seen the successful start up of another chapter in my writing with the Letters to Kpakpo talking about my adventures as I live in Tamale where I relocated to during the year. It had been fun so far.

I hope to write more and also attempt to get more traffic to my blog and that can also be done with your help as you recommend the blog sites to others. Thank you!

Well, there are many good things that also happened to me in the year I just can’t take credit for. Plenty just happened to me and I’m grateful to God and everybody who has been a part of my life in 2013.

May we remain closer in the coming year.

#Happy New Year.

A Short Story

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

“Mommy! Mommy! Look at me!” The little girl came out from the room and walked to her mother dressed in a white Muslim dress smeared with all shades of color imaginable. She had powder in her hair, which was dishevelled and in what was obviously an attitude at wearing ponytails.

She was wearing all shades of make up on her face and it looked like she has turned a brown lipstick into eye shadows and worse. She looked beautiful,more so she thought as she strutted into the room to show her mother just how capable she was of dressing herself up.

She was only four years old.

Her mother, sitting behind the TV set, watching her favorite soap opera had failed to turn when the little girl came in because she was trying to unravel the mystery of who the handsome guy in the mask was and the heroine was giving him a ‘trick kiss’ in an attempt to unmask him. Their lips were locked on the screen as the little girl walked in.

She took her eye off the screen for one second to see what the fuss was about and in the next second the remote control was flying out of her hand as she flew out of the comfortable sofa, the on screen kiss forgotten and thinking what did you do this time, all in one fluid motion.

The utter horror on her face frightened the little girl and she looked on bewildered as her mother bore down on her. Finally she voiced out her thoughts ” what have you done?”

“Mommy i dressed up for you, just as you dress up when you and daddy are going out.” The child’s innocence cut through her like a deep knife and she realised that she had actually overreacted the way she has sprung out of the chair like a lioness about to pounce on it’s prey.

She lifted the little girl in her arms and headed towards the bedroom knowing very well what kind of mess she was going to be met with. She was sure her boudoir will be a complete mess with powders poured all over, lipsticks used like crayons and shone only prayed that she was lucky that there was no perfume on the dressing mirror. Luckily she kept those In the locked wardrobe.

Carrying the child to the room brought back fond memories and these memories made her laugh to herself. She remembered one time whe she was a little gal curious about make up and had raided her mother’s dresser in a bid to look beautiful. Now it was the turn of her daughter.

The child in her arms picked up on the smile on mommy’s face and in confusion asked what it was.
“You look very pretty my dear. Now let’s go look at yourself in the mirror.”

The initial confusion and anger was gone replaced by a fondness for this lovely part of her, her daughter. She carried this multicoloured smeared bundle of joy in her arms with pride as she walked towards the bedroom, soap opera forgotten and thinking to herself ‘ truly, the apple does not fall far from the tree’.

She has to check who that quote belonged to.,

My Ghana, Our Africa

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

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This photo has profound implications for me as a person interested in education in this country. Please look at the photo again and tell me what you make of it.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words but how will you hear the picture if you have no idea what language the picture is talking to you in.

First and foremost, this picture is not from a rural area. Yes! From the way the date is written it is obvious that it is from an urban or peri urban school, the teacher wrote the date for the pupil since it is the same handwriting used for the correction.

Furthermore, it is obvious that the cultural shocks and influence change with the different generations. During my time for example in the 80s when were attending basic school, we had not heard of China. The only popular countries we knew were Russia, the USA and Britain. France didn’t even come in the picture.

For us nerds, we were aware of the Cold War and the ongoing battle between the capitalist and communist superpowers vis-a-vis the spy wars between the western powers of Britain and USA and the eastern bloc of Russia and Germany. Oh how I loved reading those counterespionage novels.

Recently, China has become a world super power with it’s population about one third of the total world population. The Chinese have grown their traditions and harnessed their culture into a global force to reckon with. With basic raw material production and manufacturing industries, it is evident that China will continue to be a global hub for a long time to come.

Thus the Chinese produce cheaper durable goods for all, which do not necessarily meet European and western standards and sometimes Chinese goods are referred to as fakes.

This accounts for the basic school child’s answer to what is the opposite of original. To the child, original is authentic, as produced in the west, and China is fake.

The child’s mentality in this case is evident of the social fabric and global structure as mentioned earlier.

The Chinese have taken over every aspect of retail trading with their consumer products that are substandard. Heck! There is even a joke that a couple of Jehovah witnesses asked a Chinese man if he knew Jesus. His reply was that they should give him a picture and he will reproduce Him. The Chinese can reproduce just about ANYTHING.

Delving deeper into the child’s answers also reveals the standards of education that exists in Africa now. This picture is obviously set in Ghana but then it is a global phenomenon.

Education is one important tool for liberation but then what sort of education are we getting. It is invariable that the sort of education we are getting will determine the sort of liberation we get. Our children are being taught in expensive schools that look good on paper but nothing really to write home about if you should spend a day at the school.

The opposite of good is bad, the opposite of black, truly is white and the opposite of original is fake. The teacher’s correction of artificial is rather suited to the word ‘natural’ and I wonder what was running through the teacher’s mind with such a correction.

Sadly, it most likely that the parents of this pupil may not even see it because they have been caught in the rat race in the quest for money to pay the very fees that is giving their ward this most important atrocious education. How ironic!

If I’m right, when we were children, we had so much belief in what the school teacher said and were even ready to hold our ground with our parents over what some particular teacher had said. Imagine this child being like we were back then and having now learnt that the opposite of original is not China but ‘artificial’, I can’t even fathom the harm that had been done to this child.

We need to back up with our education not only in the visual arts and science but also in our history and culture. It is important that our younger generations know the history of Africa as having prospered long before the European set foot on the continent.

The stories of Mansa Musah, Sundiata, the Pharaohs of Egypt and civilisations along the Tigris, Nile and Euphrates should be taught.

How about the university and scholarly life in the Moroccos, the trade of the Fezzan and the ingenuity of the desert Tuaregs who are now in history as desert rogues. Imagine that!

Let our children learn about the battle formations of Chaka the Zulu that ensured that he was never conquered, his scorch earth policy which same was adopted by the Russians to defeat Napoleon after he crossed the Rubicon.

How about the Asante battle formation (designed by Osei Tutu and Komfo Anokye) that even determined their political system in the king’s court as even exists today.

Yes! I’m sure some of you readers are dumbfounded but this is no Martian tale. This is the story of Africa. An Africa that we can all recapture if we set out policies right.

But alas! The culture of western capitalism and selfishness has deeply penetrated our social fabric and we need more than education to wean it out. Our policy makers make policies to suit western whims because we go begging for aid for development. The citizens too have been caught in an ironic web of chasing money which we never seem to catch up with. All we have is our hope and our religion.

As for the religion, I won’t even tackle it.

Let us arise as an Africa to reclaim what it used to be. The other cultures have been able to do it. Heck! Even the Chinese have done it and see where they are now. What are we waiting for. Will we as Africans forever be in the bondage of slavery, one way or the other?

One simple picture, and see where I have gone to. Maybe that is me. I look at the global picture. I am not really a thinker but then I’m a pointer, trying to point out what is wrong with our system.

Our ancestors have said that ‘sankofa, yen tsi’ to wit going back for your past is not a taboo.

Our solutions to our problems lie in our traditions and culture and we can only get to that if we know our history – not the one the European wrote for us. The one in our songs and drum language and our oral traditions. The one handed down by our forefathers through the generations.

Like I always say, it begins with YOU!

Africa Arise!

Persons With Diabilities

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on December 19, 2013 by kola

In some of my earlier posts I have dealt with issues that are dear to my heart but none is more dear to me than the issue of persons with disability (PWDs).

The politicians always irk me but hey, I don’t care because inasmuch as people sit on air to rave about the corrupt practices from one government to the next, nothing will really be done. This is because politics is now the focal point, and festering ground, of getting rich quick in our black continent of Africa, Ghana being no exception.

However in the case of persons with disability, it is obvious that when you fight for them, you see visible changes in their situation and that alone is good enough knowing you have contributed to another person’s well being.

Why do you think corporate entities roll out programs costing large sums of money to give to disadvantaged people in society. It is not only their social responsibility but also it helps them win compassion from their intended clients. A person will feel better knowing that part of his/ her money will later on be used to cater for disabled people in some community somewhere thus patronising a particular corporate entity.

So I find myself sitting in at a workshop on community development especially with regards to Persons With Disabilities (PWDs) in the community. At the worship, PWDs are sensitized that like any other person they have rights too and they can demand for their rights. They have a rights to legal aid, police protection, any public utility or facility and a whole lot more like any other cirizen.

A resource person stressed that community and therefore national development shouldn’t exclude PWDs. To this effect, social facilities and amenities should be provided for PWDs. In other articles I have expressed the lack of ramps and other facilities in public buildings to cater for the disabled. This is worrisome and it is important that city engineers take note and make amends.

It was stressed at the workshop that education is very important. PWDs should try to get themselves educated so that they know what is going on in society and be able to make informed decisions about issues relating to them.

In the Sagnarigu District in Tamale, most of the schools are located. The Education Ridge, which hosts almost all levels of education in the region is located in the district and as such PWDs in the district should take advantage and sign into available education programs.

Disability is not inability!

A very important lesson learnt was that global development in recent times is about linking people who will provide development and those who will receive development amenities. It is a time not to be selfish but development now involves sharing resources. Resource persons reiterated the importance of PWDs coming together as a force, through their association to demand for disability rights.

One resource person called for PWDs to “Raise Your Voice” for yourself.

The resource person stressed that advocacy is perseverance and persistence. The Disability Association needs to find ways to get itself heard at committee levels or high profile meetings where all the stakeholders are usually present.

Personally, I think this is a lesson that doesn’t apply only in this situation but I have adopted it into my proposal writing lifestyle. Perseverance and persistence are the keys to success.

There were other resource persons at the workshop on various topics including loans for business ventures, the district common fund and how it applies to PWDs and how they can assess it and many more.

Generally, it was intriguing seeing persons with different disabilities – blind, deaf, dumb and lame – and managers sit in one hall to have an interactive session on the way forward.

In the wake of Madiba’s funeral, with all the signing going on, (for the deaf) I had a smile on my face the whole time just wondering how much of it was fake and if any of them was schizophrenic. Obviously with the intensity of signing away all around me, well, who is to say.

Disability has always been an issue very dear to my heart and sitting in a program like this – even though it’s partly in dagbani – makes my heart skip with joy. There should be more programs like this nationwide and I do commend whoever organized it to keep it up.

Furthermore, it is high time stakeholders took notice that PWDs are part of the community and development should involve them.

Politicians! They have thumbs too! Watch out!

#TamaleChronicles

My Bank

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

It is amazing just sitting in the bank on a Monday morning and I can imagine how bankers dread the doors opening on a Monday after spending a maybe dull or fun weekend.

Mondays are arguably the busiest days of the week for bankers and I would want to say Fridays too. Weighing the two, I think the difference is that in Mondays people are paying in whilst on Friday they are taking out.

It is no secret that I dislike banks and as such avoid banks as much as I can. It is also no secret they unless it is absolutely necessary, Mondays have been declared as Lazy Mondays for me.

So here I find myself sitting in my bank and the reason being that my best friend wants some money and I have to send it into her account.

The long queue are first puts me off but I’m determined that this will be my first order of business or it won’t happen. If it doesn’t happen then my best friend is in trouble and that means no peace of mind for me.

Why is it the banks have to attach their pens to a thread and usually even the pens don’t work. But do you blame them? In a city where anybody will take anything of yours, even the most insignificant of things, precautions have to be taken. What am I saying?

Heck! I used to take the ink out of the biro just to prove that we could still steal the pen the bank had just for the fun of it. Well, that was a long time ago and it was youthful exuberance.

If banks weren’t crowded, where else do you expect the crowds apart from at the stadium or a concert.

I love the way that there is now competition in the banking industry and as such different banks are rolling out just to capture the market. I wolfed not bother to give examples of any of these promos to get people to save with a particular bank but walk to any ATM and the respective bank’s promos will be playing. Now we even have talking ATMs.

How far this world has come. From talking movies now we have talking ATMs.

Well, with the competition comes better service and easier banking methods. You can even do transactions from the comfort of your home or wherever you are provided you got internet connection.

As for those banks that are lagging behind, well it’s up to them because the works is not waiting.

I didn’t stay too long in the bank even though there was a long queue. I can say I’m impressed by Fidelity Bank, Lapaz Branch.

My bank indeed but they have their short falls too that I won’t outline here.

The Capital A-C-C-R-A

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

Every time I head down south to the capital I have fears and I dread what it is going to be like living even for a few days in the capital. Living somewhere else that is less stressful and in a more relaxed atmosphere has given rise to these misgivings that I shared in an earlier article on this blog Judge Dread.

After that article I have received calls to criticise me like I’m acting as if I haven’t lived in this situation for the most part of my life. Yes, living in Accra has become a situation for me and like I did in the other article I apologize if it hurts your sensibilities but that is how I feel. I still have the things I dread every time I’m in Accra.

Why would I not dread the capital when everybody you meet or talk seemingly wants to dash in on your fortune or misfortune whichever one they see. Definitely they will see something.

Oh! You think I’m being harsh in the city? Why would I not be when my new phone drops in a taxi and I realize it just when I get off the taxi and me and the taxi driver spot the phone on the seat at the same time and he intentionally sprees off. This is not an isolated case. Same thing happened to my friend Sena at National Theatre and driver sped off with her purse.

Do these driver thieves even consider the inconvenience they cause with such an action? Even when you offer them the same amount of money they were going to sell the phone for it back because your contacts are priceless. In Sena’s case, what happens to all her cards in her purrs because there is no way anybody can use any of those cards.

But why should we be surprised at these actions. They are only a means for these people to survive and why won’t it become the norm in the capital where the biggest crooks wear a thousand dollar suits, ride in tainted fully air-conditioned 4×4 cars and unfortunately make the laws of the land. Why won’t they pass an invisible and unwritten law of looting as much as is possible?

There are some good stuff in Accra that will never change and those are the things, albeit very rare I look forward to during my stay every time I’m in the capital. Like in the title of the movie, there are still ‘a few good men’ (and women) who abide by a seemingly extinct code of life and it’s refreshing just to know those people still exist when the majority of the people are in to cash in on your good or bad fortune.

The capital has become like life in the Serengeti – eat to be eaten and the higher you are up the food chain the safer and more your chances of survival. This time politics is the social climber. People with political connections are untouchables even if they are professional serial callers.

With this latent rains in Accra, I think maybe the Heavens is giving a sign that the sins are too much and the rain is washing some away. Why else would it be raining heavily only in Accra and it’s environs when even all the trees have been cut to make way for urban beautification.

Wow!

So it’s back to Accra and the cacophony of hoarse voices on the radio and television stations – politicians during the day, prosperity revival preachers at night. I will try as much as possible to avoid as many as I can these few days and hope I find the good side if the capital.

But like they say, life in the capital is unavoidable so just like potholes in the capital you don’t dodge them all but rather you choose which ones to bump into.

Being back in rainy Accra is also a welcome relief from the dry winds and dusty roads of the savannah that doesn’t play well with my respiratory health.

I miss the sounds of the trotro mates shouting their destinations and heck I even miss their stale sweat shirts early in the morning. I definitely will make sure I take a lot of the capital in in these few days before I head back to ‘the bush’ (as many people like to think it is).

It feels good to be home to see the people, family and friends and I say akwaaba to myself.

First order of business is to get off this toilet cos the shit is running out.

See you around!

Best Wishes

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

So I get a call whilst eating my jollof breakfast and it’s this beautiful roommate of mine I had just seen off in a taxi to work.

She was in tears and couldn’t even talk.

At first I panicked because I thought somebody had died in our family. Lately there have been some scary bits of news, but God has been good and we have left it all to Him to let His Will be done in our lives.

So you can imagine my relief when she tells me it’s okay but it’s just tears of joy. Now it’s up to me to ask what she’s happy about.

My twin is a highly emotional person and sometimes I’m overwhelmed myself by her reaction to some things.

However this time her tears are justified. She has been too busy to open her Facebook page since Monday so she decided to just check on her social connections.

The first thing that jumped at her were the avalanche of messages that hit her smack in the face, of well wishers on her birthday a few days.

She is so ‘flabberwhelmed’ by all the well wishes and being caught under the avalanche, she burst into tears and called me to say her hands are shaking so much she can’t type so I should write on her wall to thank friends, family and all who wished her well on her birthday.

Thank each and everyone of you very much for making this strong woman break down in tears under an avalanche of love and well wishes.

God bless you all.

And to you Afia we say we love you and wish you all you wish for yourself.

Happy Birthday to my wife…