Archive for family

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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Invincible or Invisible

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on February 8, 2017 by kola

in recent times some of us have complained about the politicizing of everything in this country. i have said time and again to anybody who can read or hear that in this land of our birth even as natural an act as sneezing could betray your supposed political affiliation. you know how we sneeze and then instead of ‘bless you’ we say a few words? somebody might say ‘bless nana’ or another might say ‘i told you so’ and these sayings might be interpreted depending on who’s standing by to be political insinuations with reference to the occupant of the flagstaff house or the economic hardships still prevailing.

anyways that is the Ghana we have come to love with its nuance and all its unconventional methods and red tape only when it suits some people. but who am i to say.

so we all say change has come and then right off the bat we start hearing of the winning party supporters attacking supporters of the losing party. reports in the media indicate that known NDC supporters were attacked at home and beaten up.

further reports also indicate that some armed and rioting forces have started and it is still an ongoing process, are seizing public toilets, toll booths, government offices and all in the name of a popular slogan in akan ‘ma aban na aba so‘ to wit ‘my government is in power.

the group that has claimed responsibility for perpetrating these acts calls themselves INVINCIBLE (or is it INVISIBLE) FORCES.

back in school studying traditional religion and a host of other subjects, we always were asked ‘what is in a name?” this has always made me associate names with occurrences and try to delve into how a group chooses a name. there have been several political associations and just hear their names and you know what they are about even if they dont spell it out explicitly to you the name should give you a clue to their objective.

but here is one group perpetrating acts bothering on vandalism of state property and abusing the rights of people and nobody seems to do anything about it except that the ruling party now came out with a press statement to effect that the group was not a part of its machinery and that they were acting on their own. really?? so if they were acting on their own why hasn’t the law taken action against them and have them arrested thus setting a few culprits as examples to deter the others.

in Tamale i had my former office locked up when this group numbering about forty on motorbikes just stormed the district office of National Disaster Management Organization (NADMO) and Youth Employment Program (YEP) and asked the workers out only to produce locks they had brought themselves to lock up these offices.

the regional National Health Insurance office suffered the same fate and people who were  trying to register and do transactions who tried to protest were whipped physically leading to a stampede for everybody to rush out of the offices. i hear the same thing happened at the metro office of NADMO and before the police could get there to intervene these people are gone. sometimes they brazenly wait for the police and exchange words with them until the police drag them off the premises.

a typical Ghanaian will ask, what is all this? can we just not tolerate each other and live peacefully. the fact that your government is in power doesn’t give you the right to vandalize government offices and attack government institutions asking for the resignation of executive officers to be replaced by party loyalists.

this is where the issue is. if really we were thinking Ghana first, then the civil service will not have to be politicized and its machinery can run effectively devoid of political affiliation. but in the system where the winner takes all, it has become imperative to use Machiavellian principles in a democracy thus ensuring that all the heads of the civil service are loyalists of the ruling government so as to secure an agenda not contrary to the principles of the ruling party. in some jurisdictions, when government policy does not tie in with the civil service then you know there is a standoff.

all the ducks have to be in tow for a ruling government as we see happening in parliament but that is another story for another day.

so back to the invincible forces. i really dont want to speculate here but the question still stands as to what is in a name? what is the law doing about them and are they as invincible as they seem to be because people in civil service office are feeling their actions visibly.

what i can do as admonished in the ‘plagiarized speech’ is to be a citizen not a participant and do my duty to uphold and defend the good name of Ghana as per our anthem. to be a Ghanaian is a mindset that involves every individual that it is this individual mindset that will evolve into the collective.

mine is to raise the issues and set you thinking but then what to do is up to you.

so like i always say IT BEGINS WITH YOU!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Somewhere To Go

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

Several weeks ago I planned a trip out of my residence in Tamale and intended to spend a quiet weekend with my twin and roommate out of town so she could have a quiet weekend to ourselves out of the familiar settings and also she needed and deserved the rest. Few days to the trip we get news that a young man whom we had met and become acquainted to in church had passed on.

The circumstances are still bizarre as to how he died but suffice it to say it was shocking and very unexpected. Dude was driving in traffic approaching a checkpoint, gets to the checkpoint, is checked, asked to drive on and puts his head on the steering wheel and just passes out. Policeman had to drive him to the hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival. Cause of death unknown.

Well so now I had to factor attending a funeral into our itinerary of events for the quiet weekend since it will be held in same town we’d be in.

So here I am sitting in a funeral and I see tears in my eyes. True this dry weather is bad for my eyes and it has to lubricate itself but I’m genuinely sad. The youngman left a young wife and a 3 little children, his brothers and sisters are aghast with grief and his mother is beyond livid. She’s been struck dumb, letting out voiceless shreaks but the grief is all over almost everybody here.

The height of grief is when his oldest son barely 5 read the tribute to his daddy so eloquently and in other circumstances it would’ve been worth clapping for because this is an obviously intelligent boy but his tribute rather brought out more grief and set almost half the women at the funeral grounds wailing uncontrollably. Same thing happened during the tribute of the wife who couldn’t even get up to read it but was read for her, by her sister, in the local twi dialect.

Throughout the funeral ceremony one thing kept striking me and as the emcee kept reiterating, that we all have somewhere to go. The emcee kept emphasizing that the deceased was a driver but being Christian his funeral ceremony was quiet and solemn because his loved ones had come to pay their last respects deservedly. In other funerals with deceased of that profession, drunken and rowdy men have usually taken over and done as they pleased disrupting the ceremony.

We all have somewhere to go. The Good Book says that it is appointed onto man once to die and afterwards judgement.

What legacy are we leaving on this earth whilst we are here. It is hardly a matter of religion at times but then a matter more of who we are and what we are contributing to this earth whilst we are here.  As for the religious aspect it is between the individual and his Maker. We need to ask The Creator what His purpose for us is on this earth and PRAY that He gives us the strength to achieve it and when it is time calls us to Himself.

Many of us have a calling to do something for others but we’re holding back because of one reason or the other. You know what it is but I tell you, sitting in at a funeral of a 35 year old man who died in his prime, in bizarre circumstances has a way of putting life in perspective and becoming a wake up prodding iron to put your house in order, for no one knows the time or day..

We all have somewhere to go but like every journey you’ve got to prepare one way or the other. The journey of a million leagues begins with just one step but that step is taken by you.

Like I always say it begins with YOU!!

Life is a Fart

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on January 17, 2015 by kola

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The story is told of me when I was a little boy who usually went prancing in front of the mirror every time  I took a bath. It is said that I stood in front of the mirror and until my other brothers finished taking their baths and join me, I will just be dancing and doing stunts in front of my mom’s dressing mirror.

The fun part was that this little boy could be anybody he wanted to be in front of the mirror and at times he tried out several role plays – from being a universal soldier, a martial arts grandmaster (maybe from watching too many Chinese movies at midday), a doctor, a lawyer, a teacher, even a painter sometimes.

But now the real story comes in the one episode that had the whole family talking about it at family gathering for years. One day the little boy got too curious and wanted to see what his little ass looked like when he farted.  He knew farts were hot and when he pushed hard enough, the fart sounds changed according to how you let the air out. 

So on this Boxing Day, with his clothes ironed out and having been privy to being the first to use that big bar of yellow Sunlight soap, he paddles barefoot and stark naked into the bedroom to go use the Shea butter on his skin but as usual he had to first do his role plays prancing in front of the dresser.

With the extended family waiting outside he still prances about in his role playing charades as his grandfather the patriarch of the family. Mother hears him and shouts “Kofi! Stop it and get dressed!” He staggers but not before he lets rip one loud open ended fart – no holes barred.

Wow! That felt good!

Tries another one and with a new grimace and a slight shimmy of the hips and the rushing of wind takes the form of a whistle. It is an exciting adventure and very soon he’s lost in the fun of it. He tries several positions and then he goes for the grand finale.

He feels an urge of a big gush of air coming out and he would give anything to see how that comes out full blast.

So he turns his small tush towards the mirror, spreads it out with two hands and looks over his shoulder to see what the air will look coming out and then with one clench of his tummy muscles and one huge breath he lets it rip. 

But instead of the expected air out comes a splash of poop that slashes on most of the items the dresser including mom’s perfumes and make up set, hair brushes and dad’s watches all on the dresser. 

That moment of confusion as to what to do sets in.

And just at that moment mom walks in with his kid brother.

This is a story that was told by the whole family for years on end, even when somebody much as mentioned farting at any family gathering.  Even when the smell of a fart permeated the atmosphere and the culprit couldn’t be found, there was one person who was always the suspect no matter what.

There are lessons to be learnt in this little story though. As children we are free to dream as to what we want in life and what and where we want to be. But it takes pretty hard work to get what you want whether it is as simple as a fart or to be the CEO of a multinational company.

Hard work is the watchword in this case even if it means the end products will be soft and brown all over a lot of important stuff. No matter how gooey it may look it’s up to you to keep trying over and over again to get it right.

The little boy who pooped in front of that mirror became a man who not learnt about the different kinds of farts and even how farts diffuse in the atmosphere depending on what you eat (high school biological science with Mr Maddy) and how farts could be used for friendly competition and also as a weapon.

Well, that little attempted fart became a springboard to what the man will become. Today as you finish reading this, let out a relieving fart and think of it going away with ail your burdens. 

Mind you some are smelly some are just heavy.

Remember! It all begins with YOU!!

Fart away!

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!