Archive for life stories

Sunday Eclipse

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on November 6, 2013 by kola

Dear Nii Kpakpo,

 

The ‘aircrips’ (eclipse) has come and gone with its ‘hullaballoon’ and as usual Ghanaians hyped it out of proportion. Like the usual doomsayers that we are we were told not to watch it with our eyes or we go blind because of one thing or the other that is never spelt out.

 

Oh yes! As Nana Awere Damoah says in his book I Speak of Ghana, the Ghanaman’s gullibility is legendary. “Gullibility will take us only to Golgotha or even a worse place.” We just do without asking.

 

We see the sun all the time but no explanation is given as to why on the day of the eclipse alone, when you take a look at the sun directly you will go blind.

 

Is it not the same as in all adverts when we hear of Terms and Conditions but we are never told what those terms and conditions are?

 

Nii Kpakpo, I intentionally stayed off all social media so that I don’t really get to hear all the explanations for the eclipse but what I couldn’t avoid was the television news and studio discussions on the effects and perceptions of the eclipse.

 

Here are a few I have heard and compiled that I thought I should share with you;

 

The Chinese people said that when the eclipse is happening, the dragon gods are eating the sun. This means that a new dragon was taking over in the kingdom and spiritual realms.

 

The medieval English believed that the eclipse was a time when the wizards and druids had their meetings and evil magic was about to take over.

But it was the Ghana version of explaining the eclipse that bowled me over. Social media has been rife with political and economic explanations to the eclipse and some are pretty funny and interesting.

 

Politically, Ghanaians are saying that the NPP (previous government) gave us a total eclipse where there was total darkness and the NDC (current government) only managed to give us a partial eclipse mainly because the money for the full eclipse has been ‘chopped’.

 

The hardships are in 5th gear whilst the performance is in first gear thus making the engine very hot. The debate now is whether to change the driver or change the gears whilst maintaining the driver.

 

Socially, Professor Amamoo-Otchere, on the GTV forum, interpreted the eclipse to mean that, “our society is becoming too negative”, adding that “the eclipse was a sign that Ghanaians must emerge from pessimism and think positively.

 

Ghanaians are saying that the Electricity Company of Ghana has extended its lights off to the Heavens but apparently they failed since they couldn’t cause a total darkness so they had to do load shedding/sharing even with the sun.

 

Somebody’s view on the issue when invited to see a program on a television station at the same time as the eclipse: “abeg we will be watching the Partial eclipse . Due to high tariffs we are only getting a partial one and so we would not miss it for anything wai.”

 

Nii Kpakpo, listen to this conversation I read on social media;

ogyam: kwata you ready for the eclipse?

kwata: ready how?

Ogyam: with your glasses and things…

Kwata: to do what?

Ogyam: haba… to watch it!! why? won’t you see it?

Kwata: see eclipse for what? ibi him go make Mahama stop chop money? or make Woyome pay back the money? if eclipse cannot reduce the price of petrol or electricity, I beg leave me out!! Why should I spend more money watching something which won’t change anything?

Ogyam: infact you get case…

 

Don’t we just love our country Ghana, Kpakpo!

 

Somebody also made this statement on another social media site:

Knowing Ghanaians, I won’t be surprised to see a delegation going to the Flagstaff House to thank the President for giving us the eclipse”.

 

Finally the icing on the cake was applying the Ghanaian gullibility to the ‘airclips’ involving the Telcos:

If da eclipse did not happen in your area, it is due to network problem. Text Eclipse to the short code 203875646564426 on all networks. Thank you!

Is that a short code Kpakpo? Looks more like a recharge code.

Nii Kpakpo as for us in the savannah, they are saying that the ‘airclips’ was only 60% here whilst it was 80% in Accra. Even in ‘airclips’ matters the southerners have more than us in the savannah regions. This is even attributed to developmental gaps so much so that even eclipse is not distributed equally.

Oh I love my motherland Ghana!

Well Nii Kpakpo, whatever the ‘aircrips’ means to you, it has come and gone. The lessons we have learnt are there and I am sure there is more to be learnt. As for the interpretations, you know our people will always be ingenious with coming up with funny stories.

Let me end here and till we talk again, enjoy living in this country.

 

Your Cousin in law

Savannah Boy

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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.

 

 

Judgement Day!

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on September 11, 2013 by kola

I find myself in a town where random holidays are taken whenever rain clouds form.

The judgment day came and went away like the rapture. As usual journalists in Ghana were all over the place and there was a media blitz for peace to prevail in the round up to the judgment of the highest court of the land with regards to the election petition case.

Many panic buttons were pushed and the inhabitants of some parts of the country had various interpretations into the judgment day. Let me try to get into a few of those interpretations as I came across in Tamale.

At my workplace, some people were called to Accra to do biometric registrations and one of the persons who wasn’t called came to my office in confidence that he wanted to talk to me. The surreptitious manner in which he approached and entered the office got my antennae working at full alert.

He had heard a rumor that those who had been summoned to Accra to do the biometric registration were the legitimate workers of the organization and that after the judgment, the rest of us who weren’t summoned will be laid off.

This is a national organization and thirty six people from the whole of the region had been summoned. Could this 36 people do the work of the whole organization in the whole of the region?

I was dumbfounded how someone could come up with a theory like that. Moreover didn’t he realize that I also hadn’t been summoned to Accra?

Another interpretation is that when the judgment was pronounced, Nana Akufo Addo will become president of Ghana and he was going to put John Mahama in prison for usurping his office.

This meant that all the Mahama supporters in the northern region were going to be thrown into jail alongside their leader. So on the day of the judgment, a circular went round that nobody should wear any government agency tee shirt or paraphernalia with government agencies boldly emblazoned on them.

I found this quite astounding as to whether these organizations were government organizations and even if Akufo Addo took over he will be taking over the national patriotic party or take over the government of Ghana of which these various organizations fell under.

Finally in the most bizarre of incidents, my shoemaker who I have paid in full till the end of the year to produce for me one shoe every month calls me on Wednesday evening, prior to the judgment day on Thursday, to come for all the shoes he’s made for me and take my ‘balance’ on any shoes he hadn’t made if I didn’t and couldn’t choose any of the shoes he had already made in his shop.

The man hardly ever calls me but on this day he was insistent and said he will wait for me even if it was ten pm at night to come see him before he leaves his shop. This is a man who closes shop at 7pm and won’t stay open for anything.

His reason? He didn’t know what will happen after the judgment and he was putting his house in order. After several calls, I had to tell him to just go home and if anything happened, it was my loss.

Sometimes I just can’t understand these people and the way their mind works. These are a people who when you are driving will not heed to the car horns when they walk in the middle of the street.

But Oh! Let there be rain clouds and the whole town goes into panic stations. People run helter-skelter in a panic to get to their homes.

It is not even a case of finding shelter; they want to get to their own homes. Hitherto where taxis take five people, when there are rain clouds there are no taxis at the station and people will allow themselves to cram in groups of seven – two in front, five at the back. And nobody complains.

There are usually no taxis in the station because the taxis are not even allowed to get to the station as passengers waylay the cars even before they get there.

Cloudy days are the only days that people struggle for commercial cars in Tamale and others also stand by the roadside begging for lifts in the general direction of their homes.

The total chaos is pretty evident in the rush of motorbikes and bicycles and any form of transport rushing to get home. It is just amazing that accidents hardly happen at times like these.

The whole idea is to get indoors before the rains start. So you can imagine what it is like when it is raining. The whole metropolis comes to a standstill. Not much movement and activity anywhere. Even in the market most of the stalls are closed, shops closed and the banking halls are virtually empty.

So against this background imagine that the Friday after judgement day it rained from 5am in the morning. Already the judgment day had become an adhoc holiday where even in the major cities life had ground to a halt. My shoemaker amongst all the residents of Tamale and as pertained to the whole Ghana did not come to work on judgement day.

In Accra, there were signs of how the city could look like a weekend on a week day and most people have not seen the city like that in many years because of the overcrowding and traffic.

Rains on Friday in Tamale especially since it started in the wee hours of the morning meant that it was not worth getting out of bed to even think about work. The whole town was at a standstill for two days. A friend of mine at the Tamale branch of a busy bank relays that only 5 people came into the banking hall the whole day Friday and on Thursday only 6 people.

What it invariably means is that even on judgment day, the number of people in the bank exceeded the day of the rain by one person.

Tamale people just do not go out in the rain and especially on a Friday where officially the town thrives on half day because of Muslim prayers in the afternoon.

Living in a community like this is sometimes fun and sometimes difficult. It takes understanding the mindset of the people and the cultural systems that form this mindset.

The community is quickly developing especially with the fast influx of more southerners, like me, coming to settle and doing business in Tamale.

This I believe will also speed up the development of the savannah region as it is part of the government policy in the Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA) program.

Ghana my Motherland!
Long live Ghana!

#TamaleChronicles

Late Night Thoughts: A Poem?

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on July 29, 2013 by kola

Late at night

It’s even early morning

Because the night crawls to meet the dawn

I sit pondering why I’m awake

What is the point of being wakeful

Whilst life slips me by

When my friends and colleagues lie in slumber

I sit pondering  upon the empty silence.

 

What is life all about

We strive hard yet we cannot boast

work hard yet we cannot say we gain

Where is evidence to show our struggles

Where is the evidence to show our pain

Where is the evidence to show that we stay awake

 

Day in day out

There is nothing to show.

 

But life persists

It is not ours to call

For the Maker above assures us

That all life is transient

All is vanity anyways

So why strive so hard

Only to leave it all behind

 

So let’s have fun

Let’s make the best of this life

Life they say is what you make it

Cliché

But appropriate

What is this life

I’m still pondering…

 

Religious Musings

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 3, 2013 by kola

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It is noteworthy how the various religious books, the Koran and the Bible, included always make clear the differences between light and darkness, righteousness and wickedness, good and evil. A careful study of all the accounts of people in these books, their social status notwithstanding, their good or evil deeds were not covered up or described in fashionable words. It is also noteworthy that some of the virtues and good deeds are likened to righteousness. For instance, a righteous man would love to please God in all his dealings. He gains abundant wisdom through humility. He is delivered from troubles at all times when living and doing right and he affects his society with his life.

However the wicked are very different. They may be wealthy but their wealth does not save them. They perish with their hopes. The choice is often ours.

Some years ago in a part of Africa the manufacturers of 7Up made their bottles bigger than any other with the slogan: The Difference is Clear! Today the difference is no longer clear as other manufacturers of soda/soft drinks have come up with a equal and even bigger sizes of bottles. Is this the same with righteousness in our societies today?

There are calculated and deliberate efforts to muddle the clear differences between righteousness and wickedness. Modern day society can be likened to a society described by the prophet Isaiah in the Bible which called evil good and good evil. Many people dwell on sexual promiscuity as the most fashionable thing to do and a person is considered an outcast if you are not part of this sexual revolution. Today we package sin and evil deeds as human weaknesses and justify the wicked for deeds that should be condemned.

It is important in these last days to watch out for people who come to us with high sounding words. They may not be sincere in their actions and their kindest acts may end up in an experience that is cruel to the upright. God endowed us with the right to choose whatever we want to become and He hopes we choose to live right so that it may be well with us although we are tempted to do otherwise. The freewill to choose although is an advantage also doubles as a millstone around our necks. Every man is responsible for his own choices in this life.

‘To live is choosing’ they say and indeed life is characterized by the necessity to all to a person or adopt a certain attitude or undertake a certain action and not another. Constantly with every step in life, we are confronted with dilemmas. Should I turn to the left or should I leave or stay? Whatever the decision, we have to choose. Even when one says ‘I don’t have a choice’ or decides not to make any decision, it is still a choice. Besides, all choices entail happy or troublesome consequences, sometimes both. Finally to choose is also to limit ourselves and to give up on doing something.

The various religious books, like the Bible, outflows with stories about choices made by individuals or groups of people throughout the centuries. Not only are the stories related to our situation but these stories also reflect the consequences and effects of those choices on the particular individual or particular communities.

There are three major choices in life. Expressing our gratitude is a choice. Together with all creatures, we need to glorify our Creator. It takes nothing from us to say ‘Thank you God’ for providing our multiple needs in food, protection, medicine and clothes – the basic requirements for human existence. It’s actually a simple prayer.

Protection of the environment is a choice. There is an African proverb that says that ‘we have not inherited the land but that it has been given to us in trust by our children’. We need to choose to adopt an attitude towards the whole of creation. We need to take care of it and strive for the preservation of nature so that future generations would not be deprived.

Indifference or silence are not acceptable options today as more and more species are being threatened with extinction due to large scale pollution, soil erosion and climatic changes. We have to cultivate fields and gardens, and participate in the communal protection of the soil, air and waters. Also there is the need to support the policies and laws that recommend the protection of the environment and a better use of natural resources.

Maintaining the hope of salvation is a choice. Each engagement in preserving the entire creation receives its reason and strength from the hope of the final salvation of the whole creation, seriously damaged by man. Only God can provide that salvation and it is to Him we must turn for the strength and wisdom to be good stewards of the earth and its resources as carriers and witnesses of this living hope.

Let us strive to be righteous in the sight of God and in the sight of man no matter what religion we belong to whilst we protect our environment. The Earth is all we have so let’s protect it.

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*Culled from Daily Devotional Guide for Adults 2013