Archive for education

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!

The Nutty Family

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on November 13, 2014 by kola

Family is a people who come together to bond as one unit related by a common cause and not necessarily by blood.  In Africa there are two types of family:

Nuclear family: usually very popular with the returnees who’ve lived in Europe and The West coming back home to settle down in plush areas such as high market estate houses and apartments. For them it’s the man, his wife and their children. The men have high end jobs, women very corporate and children go to private schools.

The Extended Family is the whole family tree of blood related siblings tied by a common ancestor and this is the whole caboodle that can go as far as a people related by kinship.

In recent times however many families have developed and this has been because of one thing or the other. There are social media families, whatsapp families that could be made up of old school mates or just people with a common interest come together to fulfill the human basic need of a sense of belonging. 

This article will talk of 2 of such families that have made an impact in this writer’s life.

The first one is The Dummy Family known to the rest of the world as DGG. When I first discovered this group on Facebook I recognized a few people I had known from school as members of the group and sent in a request to join. Over the years the group has expanded, people have come and gone and the group dynamics have constantly evolved into one that now undertakes social responsibilities as a philanthropic entity.
Case in point is the Apagya Project. http://www.graphic.com.gh/November-12

From being an online group, members started meeting each other and social meets became a part of everyday events and gradually a member didn’t have to look far for anything one needed be it professionally, physically or even spiritually. 

With members from all walks of life and in almost every corner of the world, the DGG family has become a family that is alive and breathing and anything that one has to do catches on very fast when the “dummy machinery” is brought into play. It grinds to a paste to achieve results.
Case in point the WearGhana story.

In this group I have met people who became more than family physically and professionally and who would sacrifice their comfort just so you can be more comfortable. Any time you wanted somebody to count on there was no need to look any farther than to look into the members of the group and you found what you wanted. It’s been a singular honor to know and have met physically two thirds of the over 200 members of the group, a fact which I’m sure I keep reiterating to anybody who has ears to listen.

It’s a wonderful family.

Now there is another family which I have found but this family is one that I’m the patriarch of and as such the family bears my name. This family is The Nutty Family.

Over the years I have come into contact with people who I’ve been drawn to one way or the other or who needed my help at a particular point in their lives and I have come to have a kind of older brother relationship or even sometimes a father figure type of relationship.

This relationships started in graduate school when during sports tournaments both local and international colleagues and juniors started coming to me to offer advice and opinion on issues both academic and even personal, mostly with the guys.

Along the years I came to realize that it was a blessing and a privilege or even call it a “calling” to help others and be there for them. Little did I know that my best friend and current partner also had the same spirit of helping other people.

So when we came together we decided to bring together all the people we have “helped” along the line so that the older ones could act as mentors to the junior ones in a teenage mentor program we started. Not only did we just “adopt” teenagers to try to “guide” them through life but also make sure they are provided for in terms of their education and upkeep for those in school.

Education is very important to us in the Nutty Family and especially for the girl child we made sure that our “daughters” in the university completed by providing their needs to the best of our abilities and the “sons” are also well catered for in various ways.

The Nutty Family is closely knit and there is constant communication between members of the family. At the end of every year, there is a family gathering where as many as can be present are around and each member gives a detailed report of what they have been up to in the past year and what they intend to do in the next year and how the members of the family can help each other in various aspects of their lives.

It is a time for sharing dreams and aspirations and for setting goals too. Family members share what they love about their jobs and what they hate too, give advise on what to like and what to avoid, play games, banter and tease each other and generally just talk about everything.

These gatherings are the highlights of being a Nutty family member. This is the time to introduce potential boyfriends and girlfriends and also new members of the family who have joined during the year. The family keeps growing everyday and it is amazing how no matter how crazy we get as a family it is still so much fun to be together.

One time we went to a wedding of a “daughter” which we streamed live online for those who weren’t around and the groom confessed that meeting the Nutty family had kept him on his toes because he’s heard that the head of the family was one crazy dude who took family seriously. He also said having been impressed, he was pledging to start a family of his own with his “Nutty wife”. That attracted loud laughter even though most people didn’t get the true import of what he was saying.

There have been other events where the family has prominently featured such as graduations of family members and there will be more as we celebrate the achievements of members of the Nutty family.

So in essence these two families, with pretty weird names: The Dummy family and The Nutty family are the family I have found aside from my kindred and blood ties and they,.together with the others, shape and dictate who I am as a person lately.

Family helps to fulfill the basic human need of belonging because no man is created to be an island onto himself. Everybody needs family but it takes one to take a step to reach out so others can reach out to you.

Like I always say
It begins with YOU!!

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!