Archive for Afropolitan

Count Your Blessings

Posted in General Blogs, Tamale chronicles with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 22, 2022 by kola

The songwriter says count your blessings, name them one by one, see what glorious mercies the lord has done.

More often than not we look outward and count the bigger blessings like having a house, a car, and the material things in life. Have we ever stopped to think that the most important blessings are the little ones?


First and foremost, we have life. How many funerals were there this past weekend alone? Yet we are alive and kicking. The greatest gift God has given us is the gift of another day and we need to be grateful.


Now you saw today huh. Yes the gift of sight. That’s another blessing on its own. It is part of the gift of all the senses. I remember during the pandemic how people were eager just to smell the things that hitherto they considered pungent like the smell at that korle area or Odawna in Accra or the forest in front of Modern City Hotel during the heat season or the various open defecation places in Tamale, and I remember how it gave me the freedom to fart freely at seminars and workshops and if you could smell it through your nose mask it was considered albeit jokingly that you were covid free. 😂😂


Heh! This world. Something that was socially inappropriate now becomes accepted because it becomes a marker for something serious.


If you want to understand the magnitude of the gift of life and the many blessings one enjoys daily just spend a few hours at any hospital emergency or OPD. One time I was in the hospital and the orderlies sent to collect the oxygen tank ended up engaging in an auction for the tank since there was only one tank and three people wanted it. It became a haggle for who could pay more for the tank right there and then. The haggling went on for a while and then the highest bidder paid 80 cedis an hour for the oxygen.


I felt water tricking down the front of my shirt and apparently whilst the haggling was going on it had dawned on me the implication of what was happening right in front of me. Somebody was going to pay 80 cedis an hour to live for the air that I could breathe freely and if I didn’t want it could just fart it out freely too.


Now let me do a little Bawumiaconomics here..  If I am 40 years old plus, and for every hour that I have been on this earth I was paying even one Ghana per hour on the oxygen that I was breathing, how much will that be? That will be One Ghana multiplied by 24, multiplied by 7 days a week, multiplied by 30 days a month, multiplied by 365 days a year and finally multiplied by my age. That’s how much gratefulness I owed to God.

Indeed when the songwriter said count your blessings, I truly didn’t consider this as much of a blessing but more like an entitlement as a human, since I was living. Until this haggling /auction incident.


Today as I write this, I have gone to play soccer, yeah, my first soccer game after my knee accident, and again I have pulled a hamstring. I really need to consider my age when doing some things and not overdo it since I’m no spring chicken anymore as most of my friends will be quick to point out to me.  But the thing is that, that little muscle that I have pulled hurts like hmm and when I walk it is like I am walking on pines and needles. It is a little muscle just under my butt cheek but with the pain it makes sitting pretty difficult and walking is as awkward as can be.


What I take from all this is to give glory to God because in His perfect wisdom He created the human body and every sinew, muscle or bone is important in its place in the body structure. It shows the magnificence of God. If you don’t believe it just stick your thumb in your palm and try to pick anything up. See if you can.

Another thing is that small part of the ear that controls the whole balance in your body. That explains why when one is slapped so hard the person just falls flat.


In essence all I am saying is let us just appreciate the little things in life. I do appreciate a lot, even the fact that you are the one reading this. If it wasn’t for you, who would I be expressing my thoughts to.

Appreciate the everyday things around you and the everyday people too. The little things that you see around are the same things that come together to constitute the big thing you call life.

The more appreciative we are in life, the easier life gets for us and God Himself inhabits the praise of His creation. Let’s be grateful to God and give glory for his blessings in our life.

Thank God for a new day each day.


Like I always say it begins with YOU!

Salute!

Oral History

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

 

“Oral histories are a dying art, which is sad indeed, for they show the appropriate respect for the lives and experiences of those who have come before. And, just as important, they document those remembrances, for once those lives are over, that personal knowledge is lost forever. Unfortunately we live in a time now where everyone seems to be solely looking ahead, as though we deem nothing in the past worthy of our attention.”

–          Bestselling Author David Baldacci in his Author’s Note as prelude to his book Wish You Well ©2000

 

Is it a coincidence that this Virginia born author will relate to the importance of oral history in his novels? Did you know that there is a Jamestown in the state of Virginia that was created around the same time that Jamestown was created in Accra? Both have a parallel history.

The Pocahontas story comes from the Jamestown, Virginia when the British sailors met with the native Indians and the Indian princess had the desire to learn of the culture of the foreigner and ended up marrying one of them.

Jamestown in Accra was the main colonial harbor of the Gold Coast and a fishing community developed around it. It was a busting industrial town during the colonial days.

Now compare what has become of both Jamestowns. One is a very well developed tourist attraction whilst the other is still an overpopulated fishing community, almost a slum. Your guess is as good as mine which is which.

Fast forward years on and what has happened to Africa. We who used to solely depend on oral traditions to pass down lessons and history down the generations, to the extent that Trevor Roper contends that Africa had no history prior to the coming of the Europeans because Europeans brought reading and writing to Africa.

What happened to our rites of passage where youth learnt to be adults, what happened to apprenticeship, what happened to drum language, what happened to our tradition and culture?

What happened to our traditional folklore, taboos and myths, our songs that we sing, the tunes we even used to whistle and all that late night under the moonlight By The Fireside tales?

Did we give them all up for ‘modern technology’?

Have we chosen the ‘whiteman’s education over ours?

What happened to sitting at the feet of the elderly to learn words of wisdom?

Oh Africa! What happened to our traditional griots and praise singers, who sang the history of our societies and kingdoms? They sang of great men in our societies worth emulating. They sang of sacrifices made so we the descendants can live the life that we do today.

Now it is all left to just a week in the year, when we ‘celebrate’ our festivals. Festivals are the last vestiges of our identity and culture. And now gradually we are losing that too because these occasions have become occasions not only of grandeur but political platforms to lure people for the ultimate sacrifice of the thumb in the name of democracy.

I won’t belabor this point. Let us do our own bit in learning from the elderly. Their experiences matter. There is an African proverb that says that what an old man sees sitting, a younger person will not see sitting atop the tallest of trees.

Our aged folk have been neglected because we don’t see the essence in learning from them and deferring to them the necessary respect. They are living encyclopedias on the African condition and when they pass on, those libraries are lost if not tapped into.

Unfortunately, we are culprits of the second part of the quote. We live on like we have no past. But Bob Marley (reggae icon) reminds us that ‘in this great future you can’t forget your past’ (if you do not know your past how do you know where you are going (your future).

History is needed so we can learn from the past and correct the mistakes our forefathers made. In every aspect of our lives, there has been a precedent. Why do you think the Old Testament in the Bible is still relevant in The Book even with a new covenant in Christ?

Everybody else is looking into their history apart from those whose future lies in their history – Africans.

 Nana Awere Damoah asks in his new book I Speak of Ghana:  “why is our history looking and sounding more glorious than our future?”

There must be something wrong somewhere. Let us find it together. Sankofa! Let us go back to our history, embedded in our oral traditions and find solutions to our African problems and move on.

The Chinese have done it, the Jews have done it, Europe has done it, the rest of the world has done it, what are Africans waiting for?

Ask the next older person you meet about the past and let’s shape our future.

Like I always say, it begins with YOU!