Archive for environment

Pantang Chronicles

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on February 10, 2017 by kola

It is interesting how any time we hear of Pantang the first thing that comes of mind when  you are a resident in Accra is madness. well, asylum used to have the monopoly on madness in Accra and Ankaful nationwide but now there are several mental institutions dotted around the country.

For a long time the mental institution was placed out of the center of Accra so that residents basically had the whole area all the way up to Abokobi to themselves. however, with the recent expansion in Accra the place that used to be isolated from the center of town has gradually been merged into the area and beyond. This therefore comes with the attendant merging to the society and beyond in those parts. This means that the people who are now resident in the areas mingling freely with the inhabitants of the mental institution.

The story was narrated to me by a friend, a  resident, who was waiting at the taxi rank just at the hospital premises to get to town and took a seat on a bench. there was already a well dressed man sitting on the bench and thinking that it was probably a queue he greeted and sat with the man to wait for the taxi. After sitting there a while he noticed that taxis were coming and going and other people were getting on and leaving for town but the both of them just sat there.

Not long afterwards another man joined them and then another lady came too and they all sat on the bench and soon animated conversation started on the bench. The conversation really made no sense to my friend but he still sat there waiting for a taxi and even though several taxis came to the station they all went to the other side but none came to the side where they were sitting. he also noticed that people who came to the other side of the station kind of looked at him strangely sitting among the other three people but they just went ahead to sit in the taxis and left.

After having sat there for over an hour and several taxis coming to the other side, this man finally decided to heed to that my phone credit seller sitting a few yards across who had been beckoning to him for almost  the whole time he had sat there. apparently the phone credits seller had noticed that he had been there a while and wanted to draw his attention that he was in the wrong part of the taxi station. But he had wondered what a mere phone credit seller will talk to him about so he had ignored the beckons and just sat down. finally when his ‘bench mates’ all burst out in laughter at the same time for no apparent reason, he had heeded the phone credit sellers insistent and adamant beckons and just went over to listen to what the young boy had to say.

The first thing the boy asked him was if he had been waiting for a car all this time or was waiting for somebody to join him on the bench. It was then that he confessed that he had joined the queue on the bench waiting for a taxi so he could get to town but all the taxis seem to come to the other side of the taxi rank and not to where they were sitting for the past hour and he has been wondering why.

The young boy had a couple of his age mates seated by him and they all burst out laughing at him at his explanation and with an incredulous look on his face he asked why they were laughing at him. it was then that they told him that hitherto the patients of the mental hospital came to the station and worried the taxi drivers that they wanted to go to town and after a few incidents the drivers realized that they needed to take action with regards to how they got to the station. The solution was that bench was created  and became the particular favorite of the mental patients from the hospital and they usually sat there and made people think that they were also waiting for taxis.

Oh Joe! the people really had a good laugh at my expense” he narrated.

Finally he went to the other side of the station and whilst entering the taxi looked at his former bench mates talking animatedly and laughing hysterically and somehow it all fell into place. These people made him realize that the saying that we all have some madness in us is true and indeed after witnessing a road rage incident in town that same day, confirmed the statement that many are mad but few are walking the streets.

Furthermore, this narration has its own lessons for me when i heard it. this is that we relate to everybody with respect and treat people as human beings that they are and not stigmatize them at all. The well dressed people on the bench had conversations that were reasonable and apart from a few off key mannerisms, they looked as sane as anybody else and that is why my friend could sit with them for over an hour.

In the same way that the city has expanded, the world has become a global village and people and places are much more closer to each other. It is important that we as humans also adjust to these changes for benefits and personal development. It behooves on the individual to determine how to adjust. we all have a bit of madness in us but it is up to us on how best to use this madness to suit our lives and how best it will affect our relationships.

Like i always say it begins with YOU!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mentally Green

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on November 10, 2014 by kola
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Ghana landscape

Recently it has become kind of fashionable for people in high society to be associated with green issues. Interestingly some people haven’t even grabbed the green concept and this is especially true of Africa.

Various organizations have sprung up to deal with the fast paced global environmental degradation and global warming which is precipitated by human actions. Our environment is at peril and yet people turn a blind eye at it.

So I took a road trip from Tamale all the way to the border town of Paga and the lush greenery on the side of the road is one just for the eyes. Later took another trip to the Volta region border town of Aflao to the same effect.

There is a large expanse of land on the sides of the road throughout the drive and I found myself not only praising the Maker of the Universe but also being fortunate that this is the savanna and there are not visible trees to pick by loggers.

This year I have traveled extensively all over the country and I can attest that green is beautiful. It’s very important that the way we see the greens physically is what we strive for to keep it that way. Now it’s hardly a sight to see any green when in the urban areas especially in the capital. Have stood on some high rise buildings and all you see for miles around is corrugated roofs and glass.

Where are the green parks and gardens that are supposed to be part of the landscape of the capital city?

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Dawn on Sogakope bridge

Well, it’s all up to us as individuals to just have the mental attitude to keep the environment green. This we can all do by keeping abreast with whatever schemes exist to protect the environment.  A clean environment means a healthy people.

Like I always say it begins with YOU!!

Thinking of Ghana!

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on October 30, 2013 by kola

 

So a good friend of mine Selorm Branttie, on a visit to Kigali in Rwanda, put this observation up on his Facebook wall and the discussion that followed was like a seminar session I will like to share.

I have made editions to make it readable and I agree with most of the sentiments expressed in the discussion although they are not mine.

 

Hmmm Ghanaians and their mouth-mouth…

The streets of Kigali are so clean and orderly, even the traffic lights have timers everywhere, streetlights working, not even a single polythene bag on the street…

Tiny Rwanda… producing Tea and coffee…. 

Ghana: Cocoa, Gold, plenty PhDs, plenty planners, plenty civil service people… One Ghanaboy with me was commenting about the fact that we city people pay 5% of our bloated electricity bill on streetlights….

 

“You know you are in Ghana when street lights are visible decorations by day and invisible shadows by night.” 

– Nana Awere Damoah in his latest book #ISpeakofGhana

 (Then the discussion starts)

Well, I said it and will say it again, give Rwanda five years and Ghana would have to go study development there. I am really concerned about how we practice development. No one (leadership) seems to listen around here (Ghana).

(sigh) Concert Ghana! The Rwandan story is a modern example of the possibility of an African nation to develop if they put their minds to it.

I am telling you, I am so impressed. The nation seems to have some character and you only need to be there for an hour to see it all. This is a nation going forward. You won’t believe this was a nation that only in the 90s was a disaster country.

 It is the cleanest city I’ve ever visited in Africa. 

Check out their boda boda aka okada (motorbike taxis) and you will love a ride at the back of one. Even their Bodas have one thing in common, even the helmets are all green or blue, with sun visors which are even uniform. Unbelievable really!

It’s amazing. Every rider has a helmet for the passenger and they have the same colors!

This is a country with a visa on arrival for all Africans. They make regional integration begin to make sense. It’s a mindset that Ghana must get.

 Yeah! It’s true the streets of Kigali are clean. They have a no litter policy that’s ingrained in the citizenry unlike in Ghana where even the ‘educated’ litter indiscriminately, it’s even mind boggling.

It is very obvious that until we get the filth out of the minds of our people, we will still be stagnant and we are all aware of what happens when there is stagnation.

‘We’ can’t get the filth out of the minds of ‘our’ people since it has to be a conscious effort on their part -of course plus fines and public education.

But really maybe what Ghana needs is to make the punishment for littering so expensive that people will think twice. 

Honestly don’t know what else can be done about the current breed of Ghanaians because find it interesting that when we move out of Accra to other smaller towns the amount of littering is either less or even non-existent but come to Accra and it is like stepping into the capital of a rubbish heap! 

Everyday as we pass by the Korle lagoon and the Kpeshie lagoon, the level of rubbish in there and the stench is just so overpowering.  As far back as 1998, remember seeing fishermen at work in those lagoons and it wasn’t degraded but then what happened? 

What the hell is wrong with us in this country?!! 

Must there be a gun to our head before we do the right thing??

What is seriously wrong with us?!

Where is our sense of discipline or what ingredient is it that we lack to make these work?

Tough questions lie behind the Rwandan “miracle” which Ghana’s elites will suffer hallucinations from just imagining. Maybe we have too many intellectual idiots in this country. (emphasis mine)

‘We see Ghanaians aspiring to great things on TV and read about them on the Internet, encounter intellectuals on social media and I feel this pride and I tell myself really Ghana is making it. But then I step out to into town or travel outside Accra and see the filth, degradation and poverty and ask myself where are these same Ghanaians to make an impact??’

It is hard to believe we are a country full of stupid people (pardon my harsh language) but I see everything that goes and I wonder if maybe we’ve all lost our sense of reasoning because the really stupid things that go on in this country just makes you want to pack baggage and leave (cc: Brigadier Nunoo).

We were already on our way out but choose to stay here. That’s a sacrifice if you didn’t know. The ultimate sacrifice some of us made was to stay in Ghana and try to make this work.

In Rwanda, they have a 7 year term of office but that alone is not enough. The quality of their leadership makes it happen. It is high time we started asking very pertinent questions such as what good is this democracy in Ghana.

Would a visionary autocracy perhaps been a good thing to first set the precedence for Ghana? Is Kigali’s semi-dictatorship a model for Ghana to copy? Do we need a ‘benevolent’ dictator in Ghana?

Paul Kagame doesn’t take nonsense and he kicks ass! Our leaders are a bunch of sissies who only look for the next pile of cash to steal!

When drivers are arrested and fined in some cases for offences they had committed, a political meal is made. Okada owners have had a field day because they squeezed the balls of the politicians and they were given the green light because it was around elections. This is the type of leadership we are endowed with.

The question is whether even some of the top civil servants undergo any performance reviews themselves. If they did, it will solve some of these problems

It is obvious from spending time in Kigali that everything looks fine but there are also lots of interesting political problems that the visitor doesn’t have to engage with. The cracks could be revealed once you go below the surface, that there is quite a bit of anxiety.

 It’s like the usual thing we do in Ghana, talk about democracy and praise Malaysia for economic strides.

Some of us are tired of the talk, we need action. Is it not obvious we all know what the problem is and have ideas how to solve it but have the ‘ostrich syndrome’. So the question is: what do we do about it?

It truly is an individual resolve and we need to stop the frigging intellectual discourse and descend to the grassroots. But then, even the so called intellectuals are the worst culprits so where does that leave us? 

The grassroots is all about grit and independent thought that has all but abandoned us. However let’s not forget that Ghana’s soldiers did a great job in Kigali in her darkest hour.

It will be nice to look out for each other and to champion a new leadership agenda offering another perspective to how leadership must be practiced. Hopefully, it is proposed that it will have a curriculum of studies which if followed through, will go a long way to give us the progress we need. The solution is simple. It offers different perspective in conscious education, helping to take care of the mind.

Feel free to join the cause by following The Africa Leadership Agenda on Facebook.

It is high time we roll up our sleeves and get some work done and it must begin at the grassroots. It’s important also that we have this kind of discourse to bring like minds and other stakeholders on board to find solutions.

We talk of change so longingly but we as a people don’t have the commitment, the dedication and the preparedness to shut up for a minute to think and work – always yapping about nothing.

Note: Kigali is in Africa, not Europe.

Some of us are forced to think that maybe war is a positive transformation tool. Japan, Germany, Europe in general and ultimately the USA all had a great transformation after years of war and guess Rwanda is naturally following suit. The toughest political decisions and developmental policies can easily be implemented under such conditions.

People sit in Ghana and titillate themselves that “Ghana is the gateway to Africa.” Obviously, the sayers of the above statement have NEVER travelled anywhere else in Africa.  

For Ghana to work, it depends on YOU.

Like I always say, it begins with YOU!

 

 For the full discussion: