Archive for Ghana travels

Oseikrom Conversations

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on May 31, 2016 by kola

It’s always interesting conversations with all sorts of people when I’m in Kumasi. Granted the best place to hear the latest gossip is riding the trotro or in a taxi with the taxi driver.

So on this morning when Johnny Depp is in the news for wife battery I’m taking an adventure trip with the cutest missy  Abena Peprah doing a “Yewo Krom Adventures”, had this interesting conversation with a taxi driver on the state of social development in Ghana especially Ksi:

On taking a bypass

Me:  Oh nice! So they made a bypass to the cultural centre so you can avoid all the Kejetia traffic.

Taxi Driver:  Apuu! Which bypass? They just blocked te road and you don’t know what they’re doing there. As for this government it is the only one we wont understand ever. They keep increasing petrol when prices are down, looks like government officials are just greedy and chopping government money nyafu nyafu.

Me: But pro government people say they’re doing well oh. They got a green book outlining projects and are even doing adverts to show their achievements..

Taxi Driver: Apuu! As for that Mahama even urinal if he gets he’d cut the tape (literal translation), taking over jobs of even assembly men.  Wonder if we even have a vice president and what does he do everyday?

Me: (trying to move away from the politics) so you mean you don’t like this bypass? But I think its very necessary.

Taxi Driver: Oh nonsense! Boss, is it tarred? Yet they take money and you wonder whose pockets the money is going into. You’ll see them when we get ahead taking one Ghana from every car that passes here like a toll and still nothing

Me: Oh really?

Taxi Driver: Boss! See here. They’ve blocked the road and taking money yet nothing. As for this our mayor and his party they’re doing it too much and too blatantly. He’s outlined two projects and when they mentioned the cost you wonder if they take us for fools.

There was a siren in Adum near the post office that he says he wants to replace and the total cost of the project is 8 billion old Ghana cedis. Why? When the siren sounds is it going to sound for the whole Ghana to hear or just Kumasi here.

Me: Oh wow! That much?

Taxi Driver:  you think thats small he says he’s gonna refurbish the Prempeh Hall, thats just do some new external body works and the total cost is over 15 billion.
Masa why? Do we wash our faces upwards.
It is all a money grabbing venture..

Me: Hmmm

Taxi Driver: (going back to politics) And as for our president they say he’s a good communicator but how can he say that as for us Kumasi people even if he paves our streets with gold we wont ever be pleased with him. And he says Ghanaians have short memories so we’ll vote for him again. Indeed he’s a dead goat. How could he  say that?

Me:  (uncomfortable about the politics) So lets wait and see at the end of this year what happens..

Then we got off to go see the other symbol of Asante unity,  the buried sword of Komfo Anokye.

(Oh! The taxi driver mentioned that the mayor wants to glass it for 4 billion cedis)

The rest of the conversation is more social and I’d feel uncomfortable transcribing it here..

#GhanaTravels
#YewoKromAdventures
#OseikromChronicles

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Comedy Weekend

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on April 19, 2016 by kola

Sometimes it is very important to take things easy and relax from the busy schedules and the daily routines of daily life. Based on how Ghana living has become so fast paced everywhere in the country, there is the need to find an outlet for all the stress and hustle we go through daily. Most Ghanaian residents therefore use weekends to rest and attend social events such as birthdays, weddings, funerals, outdoorings etc because thats usually a welcome relief from the monotonous routine of daily life.

But what if this also becomes monotonous and boring then people further need to find other outlets. It is these outlets that the entertainment industry in Ghana provides. Musical concerts, live shows, movie premieres, food festivals, and just general meet ups all fall under this category and sometimes they prove more fun than the usual hangouts at social gatherings during weekends.

Over the years I’ve made it a point of making sure that in every month I’d attend one such show so I’m kept in the loop. This also falls in tandem with my resolute resolve to spend a weekend in every other month traveling to see a part of Ghana that I’m yet to see.

So this past weekend two of my passions unified when I had to travel to Kumasi to see the Pure Comedy show organized by SwitchLine productions which featured Ghanaian comedians like DKB, Foster Romanus, Empress Jacinta, Khemical, OB and others, with David Aglah as emcee.

With an array of comedians like this I find it pretty interesting that some Ghanaians say there are no comedy acts in Ghana and personally I think such people should rather check their sense of humor.

Patrons were served with jokes from everyday events and situations, entertainment and current fashion,  women and relationship issues, the political cacophony of an election year but the most jokes featured on the “angelic” and transformational abilities of Bishop Obinim. Almost every comedian took a crack at him and it worked.

Comedians had us laughing so hard some people ended up literally rolling on the floor. It was such a good night and worth the trip.

Being a social media freak too has its benefits cos met online friends for the first time at the event and it also became partly a social hangout obviously with lots of groupfies.

The amazing thing about social media is that it keeps you in the loop and one friend had a birthday party that was to span the whole weekend so after the comedy event, just switched into party mode. Itinerary for the party included seeing the movie premiere of the latest Ghanaian movie Amakye and Dede at one of the conference halls of KNUST.

it was a crowded space when the five of us got there and movie was billed to show 3 times (5pm, 7pm, 9pm) but organizers had to add 11pm cos of the crowds.  Being a hot movie tickets were selling at the gate at inflated prices with even security detail selling tickets or acting as middlemen (event organizers really need to check this in Ghana).

We managed to get in and the hall was crowded with people standing but boys just walked straight to the front of the screen and sat right there on the floor with the justification that after all when we watch movies at home don’t we sit on the floor. Lol

The movie is great with a beautiful story line and production quality pretty good. Actors and actresses acquitted themselves pretty well and it is a successful blend of those who act in Accra and some of those in  kumahood. Very hilarious at some points.

Having to laugh two days in a row is a blessing especially considering how much people in other places spend to be entertained. The cathartic effect of just enjoying these shows whilst meeting and making new friends is priceless.

Ghanaians need to find outlets for their pent up emotions and take time off their busy schedules to relax and just enjoy life. You see obituaries lately and many young people are dying and the life expectancy just keeps dropping. The human body needs to be content and loose at the same time and it’s not only exercise that will help but the feeling of a general well being.

However for a person to achieve a general well-being it takes a conscious effort to want to live right and live free. It’s a personal decision.

Like I always say it begins with YOU!

Wa Travelogues

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on April 5, 2016 by kola

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Whilst waiting for my Tamale bound bus to get full I decide to sit at the lorry station of the big buses from Accra as they arrive and let off passengers who have travelled over half a day through the night to get to their destination.  The task is to try to put the different passengers into who they are:  business travelers, students, people coming back from holiday, general visitors and the most fascinating group of all the Johnny Just Comes (those who are coming to Wa for the first time)

The last group of passengers are so interestin to observe cos they don’t want to seem as green as they really are and are on their phones trying to get to their contacts that they are here. They have all sorts of perceptions about visiting up north and are on a look out for the young boys who are always around the station ready to carry load or the taxi, and quite recently, the “mahama kambuu” boys.

Not too long ago I was one of these people..

Contrary to these group are the familiars who get down and have this look on their faces of being pissed if the person supposed to meet them is not here waiting. After that many hours on the bus they’re not ready to smile until they get out of their clothes, take a shower and get some real sleep in their comfy beds.

There are also those who are meeting the drivers of the bus to collect parcels of one thing or the other sent from the capital. These ones have various looks on their faces that indicates that they know what is in the parcel or whether they don’t know. Sometimes money changes hands and you see smiles.

Well, very soon all the passengers are gone and left with the loading boys who take the out the load sent to people to be received from the office later. 

If you’re reading this know that no matter who you are you will be one of these people every time you travel. Safe journey and welcome wherever you go. Ghana is beautiful and the people are very hospitable. Make the best of it..

OK time to go check on my bus. Whilst others are coming some of us are leaving and the cycle of life continues.

Goodbye Wa till later..

#WaChronicles
#GhanaTravels

The Photographer

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on January 26, 2016 by kola

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We all take pictures but some people take pictures and you wonder what is it they see that you don’t see when they capture the images so close to whats on your mind’s eye. These days with the availability of high resolution camera lenses and photo editing it has become how abundantly clear that God is wonderful in creating the human being and how we process our sensory functions.

But yes that aside, photography has taken a new trend especially in Ghana where several people have taken up photography not only as a hobby but also a profession. There are several names I can mention here and these are my friends. Percy Osei aka Mutombo and his Fotombo, Kobe Subraiman, Theo Ofoli-Kwei, Nii Kwei, Yooku Ata-Bedu, Yaw Pare, Qwarme Erzuah, Kwame Genesiz, Nii Kpakpo Thompson, Sena Mr Two, and several others. These people are taking Ghana places with the photos they take of several locations in this country.

It is not usually about location but then even though some of the photographers have a specialization, based on their interests, the social collectivity of what they do explores what it feels like to be Ghanaian.

Now with all these people doing what they do and with the proliferation and availability of high resolution camera phones so anybody can take a photo, you’d ask yourself what would one more photographer change or what impact would one more make?

But immediately I saw her taking a photograph and I could easily recognize the passion for photography and set me wondering how she framed the photos in her mind and tried to get it just as it was in her mind. I must confess this was the first time I was seeing a photographer carrying her own torch for added light so she can get a scene right when it was just a normal photo and not a photo shoot in a studio. I had to meet this photographer by all means and then we were introduced.

Usually when people shift from foot to foot it is because they were nervous but here was this calm young woman, yes she’s a pretty young woman who could pass for a model herself. But this pretty long legged young woman is a photographer.

When she heard that I lived in Tamale she screamed in excitement and started bombarding me with questions. What is the place like, what is there to see, any things of interest, all in rapid succession. Then she said she had a gig in Bolga but was thinking of stopping over in Mole Game Reserve before she headed out.

Wow! The excitement. I was smitten!

Oh indeed I was smitten indeed and done everything possible to make that dream come true. One thing that kept coming to mind in all this is that the turn of the new year we all prayed that God help us meet our destiny changers but do we even think that we could be somebody’s destiny changer.

So now Kafui Praise if you’re reading this you now know my motivation for doing what I do. Seeing her passion for photos is unlike any I have seen in all my photographer friends that I mentioned earlier and something just drives me to try to help out with that dream and like being a part of something big doesn’t really count.

So now that we know let’s all keep an eye on @kafui praise (Facebook and instagram) and feel free to drop any comments on any of her social media pages. She’s also available for booking for events. Let her capture your fondest moments and memories in photos that will match your mental images.

Passion will definitely take you far and with God as your helper, you know you will make it.

Identifying that passion like I always say begins wit 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!!

CHASS Conference

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on September 10, 2015 by kola

The 53rd edition of the conference of heads of assisted secondary schools (CHASS) was held in Tamale Senior High School auditorium and I happened to be around since it is in my district and directly on my way to work. Seeing the buses parked everyday like that I even thought that the headmasters had individually driven the various buses from their school and I could picture one headmaster per bus and driving all the way to the venue from their various locations. However I was put right that it wasn’t the case but that some of the headmasters had done car pools and some had even come by public transport.

Our headmasters are responsible for shaping the nation’s youth at the high school level which forms an integral part of growth and development of the youth.

One thing is very obvious too that these headmasters are enjoying by virtue of their positions and roles.  Until I went to the venue it had never occurred to me that an event like that will be such a fanfare with sellers of various products such as smocks, shoes and sandals, technological stuff like copiers and office equipment and even insurance and microfinance people soliciting for clients. Let’s not forget the most obvious group being those into the publishing and the sale of books.

My most profound discovery  was the levels of investment book writers and publishing houses were prepared to make to lobby these headmasters to accept their books. Various writers /authors of books were personally around to present copies of books freely as samples to the headmasters so they could endorse and probably recommend to the Ghana Education Service and the Ministry of Education to be adopted in the curricular or syllabus. Heads of schools could be sighted walking around weighted down by the number of books making it seem like they’d been to a book fair and gotten books when all these were free books for their personal libraries.

Thats where the real money is, I was told by the writers and publishers I spoke to.

The maths really makes sense if you ask me.

Furthermore there were companies sponsoring various aspects of the conference but the most noticeable was the Macmillan Publishing Company that was declared the official sponsor of the whole conference by their generous donations to the organization in lieu of the organization of the conference.

There were various speeches by various speakers on various topics ranging from child psychology through to personal development and covering a wide range of the headmasters role as the head of an institution. Sitting at the back listening to these speeches it looked as if very few of the participants were paying attention and that was not so surprising since even in our national parliament such attitudes are displayed with even some members dozing off.

However it was really a relief for me to hear that the presentations were all written in ‘the yellow book’ (the conference program)that each participant was given so at least there was an assurance that they could get to read it later.

That was really assuring.

One of the speeches that caught my attention was by Dr Agambila, Deputy National President for the Ghana Association of Writers (GAW), when various stakeholders were invited to the podium to give solidarity messages whose speech so tallied with what my #iBelieveInReading project stands for.

Dr Agambila mentioned that GAW has identified the promotion of reading and writing culture as very critical to national development and that it is the interest of every writer to have readers for their works. He went further to stress the role of the headmasters as the molders of tomorrow’s leaders and how some of them could share their inspiring stories by writing their memoirs. Finally, he stressed the need for collaboration between the various stakeholders GAW, GES and CHASS to make Ghana a nation of readers and writers because this will lead to an emergence of a Ghanaian able to manage his own affairs.

Found myself asking doesn’t this reiterate my constant mantra that a reading nation is a leading nation?

Anyways I am glad I sat in this conference to see how these heads of schools take their work seriously and how they are motivated to go out there and push for the development of Ghana through education. We all have our individual roles to play in national development and they are embracing theirs.

It is time we all put our shoulders to the till and put in our bit to develop Ghana our motherland. 

Some are doing our bit but the onus lies on us to draw attention to others to also pitch in and let’s move Ghana forward together.

Like I always say, it begins with YOU!!

Open letter to Dr. Nkrumah

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on July 13, 2015 by kola

This past weekend I spent in one of the coolest spots in the world and one of my colleagues, inspired by the beauty of the place wrote an open letter to the first president of Ghana, for which reasons will be revealed by the end of the letter.
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Read on!

Dear Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah,

It’s fulfilling to send you warmest greetings from the breezes of the Gambaga Escarpments. Wherever you may be, I send you prayers for the opportunity to enjoy the best hospitality in an environment I least expected to be treated to an executive bed. Truly, you never die!

I must be sincere to convey my excitement through this piece. Despite the open reality,that you may never read this letter, I am burdened by the necessity to strip bare to you my experience here in Nakpanduri. Sir, I am overwhelmed with joy and convinced that, if for nothing else, your name will be honored by this letter.

Today marks my first day here in Nakpanduri and I am writing you from a bed that was decorated for you in the mountains here. It’s an executive bed and I can feel myself treated as a President. It’s my prayer to wear this title someday, in order to continue your dreams.

I am here with a team of volunteers; with a mission to impact lives and shift the minds of the youth from bad to good.
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Sir, I know you’ll be sad! The once peaceful Nakpanduri is now a conflict prone area and has been in the news for reasons of war. Sadly, these wars differ from the “wars” you fought against the British colonial masters. These are wars fought among the tribes of this beautiful land. As I write to you, there’s a curfew that has been imposed on the people. We’re mandated to stay indoors: Starting from 4:00pm to 6:00am. Though there’s some level of calm here, the people here still feel threatened.

We the volunteers, through the mind shift program, organized by the MindShift Foundation and supported by GhanaThink finds it very necessary to mentor the youth to shy away from acts of war and think forward towards developing the community.

Sir, you can count on me! With the numerous inspirations drawn from your works and books, I can change the society. In Shaa Allah!

The histories behind this very building is intriguing and mind boggling. I am told, which has been confirmed to be true, that this building was suppose to house you, following your plans to make a stopover in Nakpanduri after commissioning the kulungungu projects. Sadly, the treacherous bombing by the bourgeoisie elements in our country posed a greater security challenge. Though you’re gone, your name still ring bells and can never die!

The escarpments leading to this beautiful building is one of the best tourist attractions I’ve ever set eyes on in the North. Happily, the place has ben named after you. It’s called “Nkrumah House” and used as a guest house to generate revenue for the District Assembly.
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You never die!

What I’ve realized strangely here is that whilst the authorities named the place a “Rest House”, the people refused to recognize it as such but rather as “Nkrumah House”. Your name shall continue to ring bells!

Sir, I am convinced if we did not have a dark day in Ghana, you would’ve chosen th
>is place as a permanent rest point after your retirement. I am honored to be a guest in the Presidential lodge. I shall forever remain a believer and subscriber to your dreams for Ghana.
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Wherever you’re, rest in peace.

Yours sincerely
Abdul-Mumin Sofo Yumzaa

Thank you Sofo for this powerful letter and I must add that during my interview and conversation with the father of founder of the MindShift Foundation, the octogenarian, a Young Pioneer at the time, intimated that they were made to go stand in the streets in their school uniforms chanting and singing “Nkrumah songs”.

He also said that even though the house had been put up hastily and purposefully for the president’s arrival, Nkrumah only rested in the house for a short time and he went on his way towards the capital. It was later that they heard about the assassination attempt.

We’re doing our own bit as volunteers to make Ghana a better nation and you can also do it too by supporting a worthy cause.
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The sky is the new foundation and not the limit.

Like I always say it begins with YOU!!