Archive for cosmopolitan

Trends and Travel

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on January 30, 2015 by kola

It is no new phenomenon in Ghana that when one business comes up and it is successful everybody else jumps on the bandwagon and very soon it becomes ‘donkomi’. Lemme try to do a quick throwback to the most obvious ones that come to mind and I think most Ghanaians can relate to.
The first one is the business of travel and tours. When it became obvious that people wanted to explore the world outside our borders, travel and tour companies became plentiful and with it came what we call the ‘connection men’ the middlemen who could get you travel documents without the usual waiting time and the hassle. These middlemen were everywhere and they had ‘connections’ in the various offices associated with these travel procedures and indeed some came through for their ‘clients’. It was always for a fee way above what one would usually pay for the same documents going through the right channels (only to be bounced at the end). ‘Connection men’ were a sure way of getting the travel papers to go abroad.
But what brought the business into disrepute was that very soon there were too many of them and loads where swindlers and fraudsters. Gradually, it stopped being so lucrative.
Let us not forget the ‘space to space’ telephone calls too. At the turn of the century, mobile and telephone technology was getting advanced and cellphones were being introduced into the system. These were not like the cordless phones with ranges we used at home but cellular radio phones. Service providers like Spacefon and Buzz and Ghana Telecom were there to take of the market. They therefore rolled out their services to attract customers. Yeah! You remember some of the promos?
Stalls came up for those who couldn’t afford to buy one to go to these stalls and place calls to these networks at a cost and even sent text messages to call back. It was a lucrative business because one could call and get a handset holder wherever he was since he carried it with him everywhere he went. It was very easy, quick and efficient and also very lucrative. Very soon everywhere you turned there was an outdoor umbrella that became the advert for these space to space operators and this later transcended into the phone card and recharge credit sellers. Another lucrative business has died to copycat syndrome and everybody jumping on to the wagon.
The next one I can recall is the internet café boom. With the turn of the century, the world became a global village and the internet gained ground as the main form of communication and linking or hooking up businesses and business opportunity. People were therefore eager to get online and do one of several of the things the internet provided such as browsing, checking emails, looking for business opportunity amongst a host of others.
It was in this vein that the internet café boom came about. Every street corner had an internet café. Let me remind you that with the technological advancement phones were also coming up but by then they weren’t connected fully to data services and very few had that available from the service providers and very expensive. Internet cafes were cheaper. Oh yes! We had to queue at Busy Internet for well over an hour before you had you turn behind a computer console and when they were doing midnight to dawn promos, the place was still full.
But before long, the cafes became so many when service providers started giving out routers for the service and furthermore phones too became data compliant and that was the end of that boom.
Inasmuch as the copycat syndrome ruins businesses, the people who start it make a lot of money before the others jump in and for a long time they enjoy the monopoly that comes with it. For some of us who have patronized these places, it is good for us because it brings good competition and competition brings down prices.
Why am I going on about this in this article?
For a long time Linda Dor on the Kumasi highway has been the rest stop of choice where all buses stopped over for passengers to rest, have a meal and stretch their legs after being on the road for several hours. Recently there have been complaints about the prices of food and poor services at the rest stop and nobody has paid heed to lest of all the management of the outfit.
On a recent trip from Accra to Kumasi, the bus bypassed Linda Dor and some of the passengers were pissed because whenever you are travelling long distance, you factor in the rest stops so you don’t get bored or distracted. For a comfortable trouble free journey why do you have to buy food (when you are not hungry) from set off location when you can get such food halfway down the highway. So imagine the indignation when the driver just bypassed Linda Dor.
Unknown to some of us, there is a new rest stop opened just about 20minutes drive from Linda Dor which is more spacious and being new has access to the latest technology in rest stop services and management seems to take the comfort of passengers (clients) pretty seriously.
Paradise Rest Stop, so aptly named is spacious and it is an ultra-modern rest stop with fuel pumps, a mart and a food court where one can get all your favorite dishes including indomie, not forgetting the public places of convenience that is neat too. They have a mosque too for our Muslim brethren who will stop over to pray. There are times when I’ve been traveling and we have to wait for one Muslim or the other to finish his prayers before the bus continued on its way.
Paradise Rest Stop invariably is now in competition with Linda Dor.
Now the question to ask is what are the effects? Recently a friend of mine who stopped at Linda Dor noticed the visible change in prices and also the services provided at Linda Dor. The service providers are now more tolerant and are more smartly dressed than before. The washrooms haven’t been neglected for any amount of time (not that they were neglected at first) and furthermore the general atmosphere has changed. Now there is even music at the rest stop blaring through the loudspeakers to sometimes announce which bus is leaving so you can easily check your ticket to make sure that your bus doesn’t leave you behind or you don’t get on the wrong bus.
Competition is good and that is what usually copycat syndrome can do. Honestly I wish there will be more rest stops on the way so that passengers are spoilt for choice and the drivers on these roads are given incentives to motivate them to bring their passengers to these stops.
To the travelers on the roads, it is also up to us to be of utmost behavior and trust the drivers who handle us on the roads. After all for those few hours on the bus you have already entrusted him with your life and you have to assume that he will not trample on that trust you have given him.
Let us also be tolerant with each other as passengers because for the next few hours we are stuck with each other. If you don’t believe in coincidences, make an acquaintance or two and talk about how best to make Ghana our motherland stand out among the nations in Africa.

Safe Travel.
Like I always say
It begins with YOU!

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The Global Management Challenge

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on May 28, 2014 by kola

globalIt was a curious time when the Global Management Challenge rolled into Tamale this week. The challenge, sponsored by the US Embassy  is a management simulator that seeks to project how companies fare in a market given similar conditions and similar markets in which to operate.

Six teams come together and then enter into a competition given similar company histories and they are to operate in the same market and under the same conditions.

The companies are run by a management board which decides on every aspect of running the various facets of the company. There is a CEO, The Financial Director, The Human Resource and Marketing Managers and finally a Production Manager.

This implies that a team comprises of 5 people and there are groups of 6 in a competition. These individuals come together to exhibit talents that they each bring to the table to move a company forward.

There are important lessons learnt from this exercise. The first one is teamwork. For a company to move on all the sector heads, in essence, the five persons at the table need to put their heads together to take critical decisions that affect the company. Before a decision is inputted into the decision form, the members all agree on the decision that has been made.

Another importance of the global simulator is that it grants a hands-on experience on how to run a real life company without the internship hustle that usually applies to working on a daily basis in a real live company. It is also based on the premise that the simulator is an actual representation of what happens in the real world and this can be translated via the company reports, etc that are generated by the simulator from the decisions made.

The global simulator is a very important exercise in the sense that it can be used in institutions for management training and to give hands-on experience to management trainees and practitioners to take decisions in a firm in a simulated environment.

Well, found myself in the  Tamale edition with a couple of my friends and it was worth the experience.

It is my suggestion that folk read more about the management challenge and if it’s available try their hands on it. The experience is worth it.

As Africans we are already lagging behind The West when it comes to technologies like this and it is important that in a bid to catch up we train ourselves to keep abreast with the technologies of the times. It is not usually a collective effort but an individual effort that spreads out into the collective.

I have done mine and I’d keep following up on such technology around the world. It is up to you reader to do yours.

Like i always say, it begins with YOU!

Accra City Blues

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 2, 2013 by kola

So much is going on in the capital city that we in the periphery, especially in the savannah, are wondering what is going on and why some people have to think that Accra and its sentiments express the views of the other millions of Ghanaians spread all over ythe country’.

Damn! We are rocked by political scandals, not to mention the looting of state funds as evident by the Public Accounts Comittee hearings.

What is really going on I wonder.

GYEEDA, SADA, etc have all made ghanaians proud to beat the title theirs corrupt nation in the world.

Well what can I say but that we have been given fair warning by one presidential staffer, is he former, that if you can’t stand the corruption and the stomach politics aka chop chop, you can pack your bags, find your passport and just leave.

Maybe Nunnoo Travel and Relocations will facilitate it. After all he could afford to relocate a whole school when even the government could not.

as for the AMA and its Toilet Chronicles, the less said about them the better. In the savannah, most things are free range and that goes for shitting too without saying. The savannah metropole assemblies have almost no problems in that department at all, I think.

Reently the President commissioned the Nkrumah Interchange and whilst it was going on, sellers were barred from making a living, for security reasons? Like all projects in Ghana we are waiting too see how long this project will take and in the trend we are going , how much chop chop before the project is completed.

i keep saying for this land of our birth to work and move forward, it doesn’t only depend on the quality of leaders we have (so far quality is whack) but also the collective effort of the citizenry.

Accra is just a small part of GHANA and sentiments expressed in Accra may not be the sentiments of the majority of the people in Ghana. But still let us be circumspect with what we say about or whatever happens in any part of the country.

like I always say, it begins with YOU!

 

 

 

 

Revolving Doors

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 28, 2013 by kola

As I sat in the banking hall in Unibank Kumasi, I observed clients come in through their revolving doors and it was interesting to relate the different ways people approached and came into the banking hall through those doors, to life.

We all have different approaches to life and that tells on how we live life. Our hopes, dreams, mannerisms and behaviors are all tied to the way we see life. Life can be heaven or hell or a mixture of both, a pleasure or pain, a mixture of both again, but one thing I know is that we all as human beings want to live life to the fullest.

Our various experiences shape our reactions to other experiences that might not be necessarily hinged on a particular experience but then there is the need to recognize that the various aspects of our life and the lives of other human beings in so interwoven to each other. This brings to mind the philosophical saying by Descartes and his humanitarian contemporaries that ‘man is not an island unto himself’.

In walking through those revolving doors, people were going in one at a time. This made me realize that no matter what situation and how rich or poor you are, you are responsible for your own actions. A person has to choose when to walk into the revolving doors to get to the other side and this you do alone. Whatever and however you do that is up to you.

When I tried entering the revolving doors with another person, I came to the realization that inasmuch as there were two people, it was quite uncomfortable since the other person kept clipping at the heels of the other in the partitioning.

Furthermore, whatever goes on in that short time that the door revolves from outside to inside the banking hall is entirely an individual thing. Well, I didn’t fart to test this assertion but then it was imperative that one had to get into the doors to get inside the banking hall.

This applies in life that it needed an action to move from one phase to another. To move from outside in the sun, to the cool air-conditioned interiors of the bank for a transaction, there needed to be an action and that was to step into the revolving doors to take one to the other side.

Whenever we pray to God to change our situation and then sit back and fold our arms, how then do we expect the prayers to be answered? There is the need for an action to be taken and then the prayer can be achieved.

Some people were afraid to even walk through the revolving doors whilst others just did not know how to stop when it got to the banking hall and just kept going on and ended up outside again. There was this one guy who only ended up in the bank after a third attempt. No! He wasn’t dumb. He just did not understand how revolving doors worked.

And that is life. Perseverance and faith will get you through a lot of revolving doors but you need to take the first step.

Like I always say it begins with YOU.

God be with you.

 

 

Random Thoughts

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 28, 2013 by kola

 

The other day I sat under the bridge at the Ofankor barrier in the capital city. Whenever I had walked past the new overhead, I had seen people lying under the bridge and wondered what it will be like and who they were. The breeze under the bridge is unparallel and compared to the heat in the city, it is a refreshing rest.

So I ask myself, is the stereotype of people lying under the bridges and streets true especially that they are homeless? Well, did I prove the theory wrong?

But then what is it also with the stigma that comes with the stereotype. Do you see anybody lying under the bridge no matter their condition as a homeless person?

Even when I lay there with my laptop between my legs and my travelling case by my side?

Of all the days I spent in the capital, apart from being at home, this was my most enjoyable solitary time. Time under the bridge gave me ample time to meditate on the socio-economic systems that exist in our country. It also gave me time to reflect on life in the capital as compared to life in the periphery.

I came to the realization that life in the capital is so rushed and usually monotonous. Leave home early in order to avoid traffic, get to the office, stay and work in the office till very late sometimes, back home to watch television, if there is time, then off to bed.

Then it all begins again the next morning.

Apart from on weekends when there is time for social gatherings like weddings usually, few funerals and plenty naming ceremonies.  Does the baby boom mean that these days the only recreation for young adults is sex and just plenty sex?

But as I leave the city behind on my journey back home, I leave all the stress and the frustrations behind me gladly.

You should see the smile on my face as I sit in the front seat of this car.

Goodbye Accra, till we meet again.

JUDGE DREAD

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 28, 2013 by kola

As I left Tamale for Accra one early morning I was dreading what I was going to meet in the city. Urban life has taken a new dimension for me since I relocated to Tamale and I have always felt a sense of dread when I was heading back into Accra especially.

I have discussed this with friends and I have realized that it isn’t just me who is feeling that way but then it’s a general feeling that pervades an individual who has lived in the city for a long time and now experienced what is like to live outside the main capital of Ghana.

I have met individuals and couples who hardly ever come back to Accra even though they were brought up in Accra and some even attended all their schools in Accra. By a twist of fate they now live in Tamale or elsewhere outside Accra but hardly visit Accra unless on work visits which for the longest time last about a fortnight. I met this couple in Tamale who were both brought up in Accra and came to Tamale to work, met here and got married and for about 12 years have only been to Accra just a few times, only to visit family.

They will not relocate back to Accra especially now that it is almost choked they say.

So on this fine breezy dawn as I head towards the hotel where I am going to meet my friends to head out to Accra, various thoughts run through my mind.

I am happy about one thing though. Having gone on a social media hiatus, I am guaranteed anonymity. My whole life has been on social media as per almost minute by minute updates on one social media or another as to my whereabouts in this country. Facebook updates, Twitter tweets and mentions, Instagram pictures, Foursquare locations with Whatsapp and Viber whilst I answer emails always ensure that my body can be located within a hundred meters of the last post.

All these media are also linked up so that a post on Instagram automatically updates to Facebook and Twitter same as Foursquare location and Whatsapp which constantly keep tabs on me.

So being off social media has been a great plus to my anonymity and also getting closer to my real friends via text messages and somehow I couldn’t bring myself to deactivate my Facebook account so the messenger works even though when i choose not to update my status I still remain anonymous to some extent.

Before I embarked on the journey I took the night off to read Nana Awere Damoah’s I Speak of Ghana, his latest book on his essays on the Ghanaian situation. He truly delves into the situation of the Ghanaman and amidst anecdotes and ribald truthfulness, the Ghanaian situation is pointed out so aptly that once you are a Ghanaian you can identify yourself as the one he is referring to. The book is a handy manual to what we mean when we say we are proud Ghanaians.

This is the only review I will give of the book anywhere. The reviews are plentiful and I suggest you go get a copy for yourself. It is available online at http://www.smashwords.com or contact Nana Awere Damoah at ndamoah@yahoo.co.uk. Have a good read.

The first dread that comes to mind as I leave Tamale for Accra is the rate of ‘dumsor’ in Accra. In Tamale, you hardly hear of long hours of lights out such as is experienced in Accra and having heard that the ‘load shedding’ has now become ‘load sharing’ (semantics) it is obvious that I will dread heading into a place with such irregularity of electricity.

Not to mention the increase in the electricity tariffs affecting how much I buy for my prepaid meter for my apartment in the city.

The next dread is the transport fares that exist in the city. Transport fares are the number one money drainer in city life ahead of food and utility bills. It is even worse if you have a car and company does not provide a fuel subsidy. Fuel prices having gone up means that it costs more to travel around town, at your own convenience, even if you have to hire a taxi or just take a trotro (cheapest).

How was I going to survive in a city with so much traffic everywhere and with such polluted air? In my various travels throughout Ghana, I have come to realize that the only place where the air has a smell is in Accra. The only time you get fresh air in Accra is after 10pm in some selected areas (of course not places like Korle Gonno or Agbogbloshie which have permanent smells) such as Ridge and in the outskirts mostly, if they don’t have dusty roads. Or on some high-rise building rooftops.

Accra people are gradually becoming so used to the recycled air-conditioned office air and it is not surprising that respiratory diseases have gone up. When I got home, every member of my family had a cough. How interesting is that!

Another dread as I head into Accra is the fear that I will get back into my lifestyle as a party animal. There is so much stress in Accra that partying is used by some people to totally de-stress and the more rave the party (with brownies) the better.

This is one of the main reasons why I had relocated to the north. Partying was gradually becoming a part of me and being the life of every party meant that I was socially required to be at almost every function. So I dread being in the capital for a week or more because then if any of my social circles had a party then you know I would be there.

Well this dread really had foundation when on the very evening of getting into the capital there was an all night party by no other than my Party Crew circle. It was a blast too but I decided then that I would have to be careful not to fall into the habit of partying hard on this trip.
It was especially nice to know that some die hard party friends even in Accra had taken the same stance since it was not a friendly venture on their pockets.

Partying costs money.

The greatest dread of all was leaving my twin all alone in Tamale. I have come to grow very fond of spending time with her and the jokes we share. There are ups and down in the relationship but it is always fun to have her around.

Lately, we are becoming the best friends that we have always been and leaving her alone makes me dread how I was going to miss her for a whole week.
There are decisions to be made and plans to undertake. Also there are spiritual exercises to take and all these we do together. To be away for a week was going to be dreadful but some things had to be done.

On the drive to Accra all this go on in my mind and this dread is founded on logic and reasoning. Inasmuch as I miss folk in Accra, I don’t miss the city one bit. The city is choked and still more people keep arriving in the city thinking it is the land of their dreams.

Unfortunately all these people do is to put more pressure on the social amenities in the city and government can only do so much to cater for everybody. Moreover businesses are there to make profit and as such especially the Telcos, are making money off the city dwellers. This is making the city very expensive to live in and the world index for most expensive habitats to live in now include Accra as one of the cities.

Well, my time spent in Accra albeit being frustrating, largely was fun seeing some of the people I have missed. They made up for the dread I had felt heading into town. I was right about the frustrations and having a few holidays during the days spent in the city boosted the fun.

Kudos to all city dwellers and I say Ayekoo! You guys are pretty amazing and doing well living under the conditions you live in.
Please don’t misconstrue this piece as casting aspersions on your lifestyle. Remember I used to be one of you too until recently.

God be with you!

Cursing the Tree

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on October 14, 2013 by kola

In the Solomon Islands, when the people want to clear the forest for planting or development, they just gather around the big tree, stand around it holding hands and hurl abuses at it the tree – they curse it.

Slowly and surely the tree begins to wither and it dies on its own.

This is a story that I heard from the movie ‘Like Stars in the Sky’ and it set me thinking about our environment.  The way we leave our environment to go to ground (no pun intended) is rather appalling.

In the wisdom of nature, the environment itself has systems in place to forestall any disaster and replenish itself in case there are any such things.

The story is told of a particular island when a tsunami was about to happen, the animals sensed it first and the people realized that the animals were all moving in a particular direction and therefore followed them to a particular mountain top. All the people of that particular island were saved by following the animals to that particular place.

Have we really noticed how the environment itself has indicators when a disaster is about to occur. When dark clouds form the birds circle around the trees one and all and you know whether it will rain or not when they don’t settle down pretty soon.

Took a trip to Jasikan recently and noticed that logging has taken alarming new forms where large trees are cut down and not replaced. Even the cutting down of the trees destroys the vegetation around it because the trees are felled illegally and not by experts so the trees just fall on other trees. Gradually the trees in the forest are all destroyed and then the land is exposed to the vagaries of the weather. Erosion and land degradation set in and mud slides are a common occurrence on vegetation without cover.

Civil society organizations such as National Disaster Management Organization, Water Resources and Environmental Protection Agency advocate for measures against environmental degradation. These include creating buffer zones and planting trees and also taking care of water bodies within the communities.

Somehow we find ourselves cursing ourselves just like the people of the Solomon Islands curse the tree.

The cliché that, when the last tree dies the last man dies, is very profound because trees account for the human existence.

As we curse the tree and we curse the environment we hurt ourselves by our very own actions and that is detrimental to our human existence.

Now let’s relate this to our existence. It is important that we all come together to agree on what is good for our environment and just not leave it to civil society to take the responsibility for us.

Just as the people come together to hold hands to curse the tree, they do it together. There is total agreement that it is what they want.

Trees are important for our existence. Plant a tree today and prevent or report it if you think people are destroying trees in your community.

Let’s do our bit to keep Ghana green.

A Green Ghana is a healthy Ghana.

 

Like I always say, it begins with YOU!!