Archive for July, 2015

Ancient of Days

Posted in Uncategorized on July 31, 2015 by kola

Romans 16:19-21 (NKJV) 19 For your obedience has become known to all. Therefore I am glad on your behalf; but I want you to be wise in what is good, and simple concerning evil. 20 And the God of peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.

Be wise in what is good and simple concerning evil.

So much confusion has been created by the enemy. Many things that are evil are no longer recognized as such because people have bought the lies of the enemy.

Black is no longer black and white is no longer white. There are now so many shades of gray that people have trouble recognizing things for what they are.

But God never changes. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. And He has told us that if we stay wise in what is good and simple concerning evil, He will crush satan under our feet.

God wants to crush satan under our feet, but so many times we make it hard for Him to do so because of our choices. Because, so many times, we fail to recognize evil for what it is, we continue to open the door to it and let it waltz right into our lives over and over again.

Sometimes we might even use the excuse that “it’s not as bad as” such and such, and name off something that we feel is worse than what we happen to be doing.

As God’s children, followers of Christ, we need to let God show us what is evil and then we need not to argue with Him or try to justify the things that we do, just because we like to do them or because we don’t think it’s bad.

He shows us what’s right and what’s wrong and He does this to help us overcome evil in our lives, so we can live free and be victorious.

And I don’t know about you, but I personally like the idea of satan being crushed under my feet!
Blessings!

Ps Mefful

3 Seasons of Mentoring

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on July 31, 2015 by kola

junior camp

Last weekend was the junior camp Kalpohin (#jckalpohin) and as per my personal goals to assist in whatever way I can to improve the level of education and state of lives of young people in Ghana, I was there as a mentor. Junior camp is one of the forward programs of @GhanaThink Foundation to mentor young people especially high school students on their career choices, way of life and general living in all aspects of their lives.

There have been several junior camps in several regions over the years but this was the third time it had come back to kalpohin senior high school. Being a mentor at all three events meant that those who had participated in the very first one when they were in first year were now in their final year and had benefited from all the three programs will know some of the mentors.

So it set me thinking, in the three years that we had mentored these young students, were there or had there been any significant changes in their lives and thinking? If there was no way of accessing the impact of these camps then truth be told there was no need wasting our time on a weekend, when we could have been elsewhere or even cozying up and spending quality time with the family.

Oh! Even before I introduced myself some of the students already knew who I was from the previous junior camp and only one old boy got more fans. Furthermore, at such events, my name usually gets the intrigue because patrons want to know if it is my actual name especially since it is a fruit of quite significant use up here in the north. Apart from Shea nut, kola nut is the next in line in popularity and the latter is my name.

This was the junior camp at the same location that had the most mentors in all the three times it had been held there. During registration I hear the organizers had to take down the site because more mentors were signing on and some of us veterans blatantly refused to sign on claiming adamantly that if they didn’t need me there, the organizers could turn me away when I got there.

You should know by now that just as my name sounds I have a rebellious streak.

There were mentors for almost every aspect of the students’ life and this year there was a direct mentor for relationships and for a moment we all feared that most of the high school boys were going to end up in her session (she looked the part of a relationship counselor all svelte and perky) and were pleasantly surprised when they went to the entrepreneurial and other classes. There was even a mentor on the techniques of learning to pass exams.

Wow! This was one packed junior camp and it was obvious that the students were going to have a difficult time choosing.

So it was decided by the organizers to do a round robin so the students stayed and the mentors moved round from room to room.

When the program started there were very few students but within the hour, more joined in. apparently they are at general inspection and had to finish before joining the program and this was mostly the girls. They were a relief addition to the program because the guys became either quieter or more vocal with the arrival of the ladies.

The power of woman!

Sessions were held on entrepreneurial skills, ICT, learning techniques, journalism and social media, relationships and general life, public speaking, leadership, gender advocacy and for all this the students sat listening attentively and interacted freely with the mentors.

Now in the three years that this program has gone on at this particular high school, I have seen a change in the trend of thoughts of these students. At the first junior camp, I was worried and pointed it out to a fellow mentor that it was disturbing that most of the students when asked what they aspired to be in future either said teachers or farmers predominantly. That is not a bad thing per se but knowing the history of the north, these students were only exposed to the status quo and wanted to follow the trend as established by their predecessors. After high school one went to either the poly or teacher training college and became a teacher and if you didn’t do too well, you found your way into the police or the army.

Note that I said history. The Gold Coast constabulary which at independence was morphed into the Ghana Police started in the Northern Territories. Just check the number of IGPs who have come from the north and ethnic background of the top hierarchy of the Ghana Police.

Three years down the line and we have students whose reasoning capacity has increased. You interact with them and they are so open minded and open to suggestions, in tune with the changing global trends especially in technology and ready to challenge the status quo. These are students who are not aiming just to go to the University of Development Studies up north but are aiming to get scholarships for further study abroad in various fields. They have embraced education, and as one student who wants to be a barrister confirmed, want to be more than their mentors.

Hearing this as compared to being through three seasons of junior camp mentorship brought tears to my eyes and I realized that this is what we were striving for. This is what makes it all worth it. Creating a thinking generation that can stand on its own and make things better.

A better youth means a better nation and being a part of it makes one giddy with happiness.

The junior camps have come to stay and kudos to all the mentors all over Ghana and especially to the Swag Volunteers based mostly in Tamale, a group of vibrant young men and women who have set themselves apart to be part of every volunteer program happening anywhere in the north.

God bless volunteers everywhere and give you the strength to brighten the corner where you are.
You can also be a volunteer. All you have to do is support a cause with your time and resources. It is not always about throwing your all in there but the little you can do will go a long way to make a difference in somebody’s life.

Like I always say it begins with YOU!!

#VolunteerismIsLife
#TamaleChronicles

After The Floods

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on July 31, 2015 by kola

flood
“Year in year out the rains come and cause the same problems, no solutions, loss of lives and property through one negligence or another. So we need to call it what it is – a nation that lacks common sense. How many times do you have to be punched in the face before you know it hurts?”

People die out here (referring to Europe) too but mostly through their own negligence or it is preventable. In this situation it was the responsibility of city planners and government. Why the same problems every damn year. At what point do we say enough is enough. We need to hold the people accountable.”

These were the sentiments made by a Ghanaian living abroad when he read of the events of the flooding of June 3 into the early hours of June 4, 2015. I have already written about the Accra floods and I took some flak for the picture that was attached to the article because it was a year old. People didn’t even notice the insert photo that was taken three hours before the article was written and published.

Little did we know that a worse set of photos were about to invade social media circles barely 24 hours later.

This year that the mayor of Accra has won a very prestigious award as the Best Mayor in Africa and as such he is hosting the World Mayors Conference, it is as if the gods are angry with him for one violation or the other and are pissing on his shaggy captain Haddock beard.

The usual spots that I mentioned in the other article to be watched for flooding aka the usual suspects and this time the so called drains that they said were refurbished were taking away the water have now been clogged by the motor vehicles because they didn’t plan to channel the water into the drain but just built the drain.

Today is a sad day for the country for as if by design, there was an explosion at a filling station when a tanker was offloading in the rain and a spark ignited the fuel killing several people. Apart from the floods drowning people, this unlikely accident has overshadowed all else.

Now the question to ask is who is to blame? Where is the huge amount of money that was secured to build the drainage systems in the capital? Where did the money go? And now let’s listen to our president then and now.
In 2014 he said “ I have directed the Finance Minister to release funds immediately for the construction of storm drains in Accra. There will be no flooding in Accra again”.
Now he made another promise that this sad event will be looked into and will not happen again.

Wow!

If we are to take our politicians word for it then we know that we are not going to move forward as a nation because it has become obvious time and time again that they only make ‘honorable political promises’ and then forget about them when they get the votes that secure them in the position of the people’s representatives.

Remember when a disaster happened and the same mayor of Accra in bravado resembling his lookalike Captain Haddock of Tintin fame fired the metropolitan works engineer in camera at a press conference. How many people died in that disaster and how many people died when the gods took piss in his beard and per some mischief a messenger lighted a candle to the piss. In all fairness to the former, he should just have fired himself in camera too by holding a press conference and tending in his resignation but alas it is not to happen. This is Africa.

Even whilst they inspect the damage of the floods somebody has to carry his umbrella so he doesn’t get his grey political suit wet. Reminds me of a photo by the Black Narrator of the mayors meeting with the president where they toast to a glass of bubbly whilst the president congratulates him on his award.
narrator

Furthermore, if we embrace the mediocrity and we don’t hold our leaders accountable then there is no need complaining as we do going on radio stations to shout our voices hoarse over what is wrong with this nation. Now everybody gets up and strikes are the other of the day. The only people whose salaries are constant are the politicians and the parliamentarians will only go against each other on anything else but money that is going into their pockets.

I have got to be careful before I am summoned before a parliamentary committee for libel. I can always say I was on heat in the spur of the moment so just venting.

It is about time Ghanaians woke up and realized that the real power is in their hands and they cede this power to the elected representatives and so when these representatives are not responsibly representing, they must be changed like diapers.

It just takes resetting the mindset one person at a time and making the Ghanaian a discerning voter.

Like I always say it begins with YOU!!

Open letter to Dr. Nkrumah

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on July 13, 2015 by kola

This past weekend I spent in one of the coolest spots in the world and one of my colleagues, inspired by the beauty of the place wrote an open letter to the first president of Ghana, for which reasons will be revealed by the end of the letter.
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Read on!

Dear Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah,

It’s fulfilling to send you warmest greetings from the breezes of the Gambaga Escarpments. Wherever you may be, I send you prayers for the opportunity to enjoy the best hospitality in an environment I least expected to be treated to an executive bed. Truly, you never die!

I must be sincere to convey my excitement through this piece. Despite the open reality,that you may never read this letter, I am burdened by the necessity to strip bare to you my experience here in Nakpanduri. Sir, I am overwhelmed with joy and convinced that, if for nothing else, your name will be honored by this letter.

Today marks my first day here in Nakpanduri and I am writing you from a bed that was decorated for you in the mountains here. It’s an executive bed and I can feel myself treated as a President. It’s my prayer to wear this title someday, in order to continue your dreams.

I am here with a team of volunteers; with a mission to impact lives and shift the minds of the youth from bad to good.
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Sir, I know you’ll be sad! The once peaceful Nakpanduri is now a conflict prone area and has been in the news for reasons of war. Sadly, these wars differ from the “wars” you fought against the British colonial masters. These are wars fought among the tribes of this beautiful land. As I write to you, there’s a curfew that has been imposed on the people. We’re mandated to stay indoors: Starting from 4:00pm to 6:00am. Though there’s some level of calm here, the people here still feel threatened.

We the volunteers, through the mind shift program, organized by the MindShift Foundation and supported by GhanaThink finds it very necessary to mentor the youth to shy away from acts of war and think forward towards developing the community.

Sir, you can count on me! With the numerous inspirations drawn from your works and books, I can change the society. In Shaa Allah!

The histories behind this very building is intriguing and mind boggling. I am told, which has been confirmed to be true, that this building was suppose to house you, following your plans to make a stopover in Nakpanduri after commissioning the kulungungu projects. Sadly, the treacherous bombing by the bourgeoisie elements in our country posed a greater security challenge. Though you’re gone, your name still ring bells and can never die!

The escarpments leading to this beautiful building is one of the best tourist attractions I’ve ever set eyes on in the North. Happily, the place has ben named after you. It’s called “Nkrumah House” and used as a guest house to generate revenue for the District Assembly.
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You never die!

What I’ve realized strangely here is that whilst the authorities named the place a “Rest House”, the people refused to recognize it as such but rather as “Nkrumah House”. Your name shall continue to ring bells!

Sir, I am convinced if we did not have a dark day in Ghana, you would’ve chosen th
>is place as a permanent rest point after your retirement. I am honored to be a guest in the Presidential lodge. I shall forever remain a believer and subscriber to your dreams for Ghana.
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Wherever you’re, rest in peace.

Yours sincerely
Abdul-Mumin Sofo Yumzaa

Thank you Sofo for this powerful letter and I must add that during my interview and conversation with the father of founder of the MindShift Foundation, the octogenarian, a Young Pioneer at the time, intimated that they were made to go stand in the streets in their school uniforms chanting and singing “Nkrumah songs”.

He also said that even though the house had been put up hastily and purposefully for the president’s arrival, Nkrumah only rested in the house for a short time and he went on his way towards the capital. It was later that they heard about the assassination attempt.

We’re doing our own bit as volunteers to make Ghana a better nation and you can also do it too by supporting a worthy cause.
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The sky is the new foundation and not the limit.

Like I always say it begins with YOU!!

Blue Gate

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on July 6, 2015 by kola

Those of us who grew up in the Mamprobi – KorleBu – Chorkor and even the Banana Inn area will remember the Blue Gate video centre and its patronage. It was the only video centre where we were assured of the latest music videos in an era when the videos sold the songs. Seeing the music video is what convinced you that the music was dope. 

The music video is what sold the songs and not even the CDs. 

We had fond memories of banal groups like the 2 Live Crew from USA with their I Wanna Rock track with women clad in Brazilian bikinis shaking their tush like it was nobody’s biz and the emergence of the dancehall genre with shabba ranks and his trail load of gals, shaka demmus & pliers and a whole host of others.

Let’s not forget the ladies too Queen Latifa with her Weekend Luv collaboration and Lady Patra’s One Minute Man.  Mc Lyte, Salt N Pepa and many more.

But inasmuch as these videos were what drew us there, it is not what my focus is on with this article. My focus is on our choices in life and how we Let a venture like that just didn’t out.

Although the videos were current and latent, there were used as the prelude to the main movies that were shown at the BlueGate. Some people just came to watch the music videos and then moved on to other cinema or video centres around to watch other videos especially at Plaza Cinema on the big screen or some other centres showing other movies usually more pornographic especially on weekends.

Not only was the video centre a place of entertainment but we made some of the craziest friends and sometimes boys went there in groups as in we were able to plan that after soccer in the evening we were all going to be at the video centre that evening. Some of the best laid plans were made at this video centre and bonds were forged. There was always something to discuss at the next sitting after watching a particularly interesting music video or movie.

So what happened to BlueGate as a centre? With the number of people that it drew per night to patronize the place, it is very surprising that it didn’t develop into an ultra modern centre with the latest gadgets maybe graduate to a projector on a white screen or a flat screen television or a place where people could hang out the whole day instead of just evening entertainment.

In an era before all this DSTV football watching caught on, BlueGate was a pacesetter and should have been ahead of the pack with serialized food joints (remember the kelewele/fried yam/potatoes seller across the street), maybe a barber’s shop plus boutique and other shops to cater for the needs of patrons round the clock. 

As somebody suggested, we really don’t have foresight as Ghanaians and we live for today and not the future. With a venture like that it is such a shame that the place has been laid waste and even though the internet has made it possible to have access to videos even on your phone, places like BlueGate video centre could still be relevant if proprietors had vision and rebranded their services and also roped in all the parties that will benefit from from the human traffic passing through everyday.

Makes strong business sense to just pool it all together and then rake in as much as possible. 

Ventures like BlueGate has shaped some of us and opened us up to events as they enfolded in the rest of the world and once human beings are curious, such businesses will always thrive if only proprietors will think of a way to provide what the customers want.

As for us the consumers we will always have choice and with so much to choose from we are the ones to make such ventures grow from a cottage biz to a multi million cedi business. We make the difference.

Long live the BlueGates of this world and you could start your own BlueGate in your own corner.

Best wishes from me as you find your BlueGate.

Like I always say it begins with YOU!!