Category Archives: Ghana
Walking through the streets of Jamestown was so different on April 14. It wasn’t a normal Saturday afternoon for me. It was one that gave me a lot of inspiration. It was the second edition of the Chale Wote Street Art Festival.
The festival celebrates the vibrant art traditions of urban life from visual media, experimental theater, and dance installations to extreme sports. It’s a very “young” festival since most people in the country aren’t aware of it.
For those of you who don’t know, chale simply means “friend” in Ghana and “wote” is a Ga word meaning “let’s go.” When you put both words together, you have “friend, let’s go” and that’s certainly what happened when I decided to go to the festival with some friends.
The Chale Wote street art festival taught me a few things….
#1 Chale, there are talented people in Ghana.
It was very easy to see talent all around. I was astonished at how some young guys could paint. Did I say guys? Maybe I am supposed to say boys. The streets of Jamestown were painted. Some were done on wood and hung along the roadside. There were guys on skates doing dangerous tricks and they were incredible even though I feared for them most of the time. Don’t mind me…. I am just like that when it comes to people’s safety and health. There was a musical concert in the evening. There were some technical hitches but that didn’t stop the event.
#2 It’s time for Ghanaians to embrace Ghanaian stuff
I am a huge fan of African fabrics, bracelets, shoes etc. I find it astonishing when people ask me sometimes why I wear them. You will never find me going “Britain” throughout the week. A few weeks ago, I was working at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital and decided to pass by the Cultural Centre to get a new African-printed bag. There was an exhibition so the stuff was pretty affordable. Unsurprisingly, I met more foreigners than Africans or Ghanaians. I really don’t know why we don’t like our own stuff. I don’t know why we don’t write our own stories. I don’t know why we don’t promote our own culture. I don’t know why we don’t love ourselves enough to love our own things.
At the Chale Wote Street Art Festival, you could see foreigners more enthused about Ghanaian dresses, bracelets, anklets, necklaces than the citizens. They love stuff made in Ghana… while we cherish those made in China. I just implore my fellow Ghanaians to love Ghanaian stuff a bit. Chale, the country is for us oo…. We are the only ones who can make it better.
#3 There’s another fun thing in Ghana and this time…. It’s free.
Christmas, Easter, Independence Day… oh let me take out Independence Day. It’s really celebrated by the Ghanaians abroad. Those of us over here don’t care about it, right? If yes, I believe there is only one thing that gets Ghanaians excited…. Football or let me say “The Black Stars.” That’s the only time the nation goes agog especially after a victory. The Chale Wote festival is another opportunity for many Ghanaians who want to have fun but have limited options.
#4 Chale, we are gradually placing Ghana on the world map.
Ever heard of the group, Generik Vapeur from France? Yeah, they were there and that was the climax of the festival for me. They are usually called the “Blue Men” and they brought more fun to the festival. Having such a group at the festival meant a lot to Ghana and the organizers. Tourists visit the country each and every day. Soon, Ghana will be on the list of Lonely Planet’s top 10 countries to visit. We can do it and we must. Check out more incredible photos by Nana Kofi Acquah on his blog.
Big ups again to Accra [dot] Alt and the French Embassy for making it happen this year too.
I hope to see you next year at the festival. Can Ghana be the top country to visit? Let’s hear from you.
I can’t apologize enough for not blogging for so long. I just needed to get myself a new laptop since the old one was giving me some unbearable problems. I could have blogged from my phone but I prefer blogging using my laptop. Nonetheless, I am happy to be back and I have so many things to share starting with the African Cup of Nations (AFCON/CAN 2012.)
Lesson 1: You can always prove people wrong
Have people written you off? Are they saying you can’t make it in life? Do you feel let down and can’t continue because all you hear are negative statements about your inability to be great? Do you remember the favorites for this year’s African Cup of Nations tournament? People expected Cote D’Ivoire or Ghana to lift the trophy. Nobody, I mean nobody, ever imagined Zambia lifting the trophy in Gabon but they proved everyone wrong. They didn’t get discouraged for not being regarded as one of the favorites. They stood their ground, fought and conquered. You can do the same. You might have been ruled out. You might have been discouraged but never lose faith in yourself. Never make your enemies happy…. Persevere.
Lesson 2: Never underestimate an opponent
We live in a world where people are overconfident and take things for granted. They find themselves wanting when the very foundations they boast of get shaken by the storms of life. Zambia defeated both favorites of the tournament on their way to lifting the trophy. They did so well…. They fought well but in their match against Ghana, it was so obvious that the Ghanaians underestimated them. The Ghanaians thought it was going to be a walkover and were really shocked at the end of the day. Never underestimate any opponent in your life no matter how strong you feel.
Lesson 3: Missed that spot kick? Rise and move on!
Missing a spot kick is like missing an opportunity in your life. For those who don’t know, a spot kick is a free kick at the goal from a point (penalty spot) within the penalty area and 12 yards (about 11 m) from the goal, with only the goalkeeper allowed to defend it: awarded to the attacking team after a foul within the penalty area by a member of the defending team. We sometimes miss opportunities in our lives but that shouldn’t put us down. That should rather lift us and make us aware that there will be other opportunities in the future. Renowned forwards like Asamoah Gyan and Didier Drogba missed penalty kicks in the tournament. Even in the final, the latter missed a penalty kick but that didn’t stop him from fighting for his country. He battled till the final whistle. We are bound to miss some opportunities in life but we must learn to keep a cool head, learn the lesson and move on. Making mistakes doesn’t mean you’re a failure. It just means you’re trying and learning in life.
Lesson 4: Unity is Key!
Some of the powerhouses of African football were absent at the tournament. Countries like Egypt, Nigeria, South Africa and Cameroon could not make it to Equatorial Guinea/Gabon. It was however expected that, either Ghana or Ivory Coast stood a greater chance of annexing the trophy but that didn’t happen. Before the tournament, people were so concerned with the confidence in the Ghana camp. I saw that to be overconfidence. Others protested it wasn’t. At the end of the tournament, we all heard what the ex-coach of Ghana said. “When spider webs unite, we can tie up the lion.” – Asante Proverb.
There was little or no unity in the Black Stars camp as that missed penalty kick by Gyan evidenced. Ayew was the one going to take the shot by Gyan went and took the ball from him. We heard of misunderstandings in the changing room etc. Together, we are better!
Lesson 5: After every good fight, there is a reward.
All the battles in your life will end with a trophy in your hands. When Christopher Katongo lifted the trophy for Zambia, it was a joy to behold. The 30 year old who was crowned Best Player at the AFCON2012 was a symbol of patriotism, perseverance and wisdom. There were matches that he couldn’t even play the whole 90 minutes but he did so well anytime he was on the field. He led his country with pride. He made the players know the essence of the tournament. In the final, the Zambians really struggled against the Ivorians but fought really hard. You may be going through a difficult time in your life. Just fight on because at the end of the battle, there is always a greater reward. You will surely make it!
Stop waiting for something to happen, go out and make it happen.
Christmas is over… everything is back to normal. I don’t get suffocated in traffics like the days preceding the holidays. Yeah… I hate traffic… both vehicular and human. I doubt if there is anyone out there who cherishes them but you never know because we are all different.
Before the holidays, people went shopping for clothes, shoes, bags and any other thing you can possibly think of. I got myself some African shirts. Oh yeah, I love African shirts, shoes, bags, sandals and anything made in Africa by an African since they are unique, simple and define me better. I have been a fan of African dresses ever since I was born. Why? Because my parents made me wear them all the time and I am more proud of them for that. I have come to love African dresses and I know the best from the rest when I see them.
“The finest clothing made is a person’s skin, but, of course, society demands something more than this,” said Mark Twain. I always tell people that a person’s self-esteem is sometimes directly proportional to the clothes he wears. As I was shopping before the holidays, I saw samples of the dresses of Alikoto Clothing online. They are on facebook, twitter and tumblr. Seeing an item online is different from seeing it in person so I called and booked an appointment. Nothing comes close to the service and hospitality they deliver when you call them.
I saw the clothes… different designs, different colors, different shades and different sizes. Gentlemen, you are going to be surprised by how unique these shirts are. The quality and naturalness are unrivaled.
Let me state five reasons why I love them:
- They are 100% natural be them cotton, nylon, silk or polyester.
- They are comfortable.
- They are reasonably priced.
- They look very hip.
- They can be washed with the hand or machine.
I must say that Alikoto clothing connotes uniqueness, quality and timeless beauty. I am covered for the first quarter of the New Year. I will surely go back for more as they keep on making new and cool dresses for men and women. Did I tell you that, I got compliments from a lot of ladies when I wore one to church on Christmas Day? I was the envy of most of the guys.
Alikoto Clothing can be found on facebook, twitter and tumblr. Talk about a clothing line that’s also tech-savvy and loves social media. You can also call them on (233) 269-138-021. As I celebrate the New Year, I am going to do that in style…… thanks to Alikoto Clothing. Don’t be left out, guys!
“Know, first, who you are; and then adorn yourself accordingly.” – Epictetus
The Christmas holidays are over. This time of the year is one I sometimes loathe because of the human and vehicular traffic. I know I am not the only one. Welcome to the life if you share my sentiments. Anyways, before the holidays, I got the opportunity to learn so many things in a day when young men and women from all walks of life met at the Ghana-India Kofi Annan Centre of Excellence in ICT on December 17.
The event was to highlight the importance of appropriate partnerships and corporate engagements in ensuring the success of projects, spurring wealth creation and economic growth. It featured mentors who shed light on how attendees could use successful partnerships and mentor support to scale up projects and businesses. I get people asking what BarCamp is, anytime I’m seen in a Barcamp T-shirt (Too bad I didn’t get one on Dec 17.)
BarCamp is simply an ‘unconference’ – an ad-hoc gathering of people with the simple desire to share and learn in an open environment. Unlike a conference, at a BarCamp everyone is both a speaker and a participant. The content is provided by all attendees based on their interests. Barcamps in Ghana bring people interested in Ghana together for an informal networking forum where attendees share ideas, discuss interests, network and learn how to add value to their lives and make impact in their communities. Since you now know what it means, here are the five things I learned from the event.
Iron sharpeneth Iron
The Bible says in the book of Proverbs that, “iron sharpeneth iron.” There is no better way to understand this than to attend a BarCamp event. If you thought you knew something, you go for the event, listen to other people and realize that you need to know more. Most often than not, you get some extra points and add to yours. In the “Art of Leadership” session, I met some vibrant leaders who shared a lot about leadership. I got the chance to be sharpened since leadership is a “skill.” Writers who went through the “Creative Writing” session would also testify to the fact that they got sharpened after the event. It’s better to be sharpened once in a while like a knife so you would cut through pieces of bread, materials etc so easily. Don’t wait to corrode before you act.
Mentorship is the way to go
One question was raised which caused a lot of debate. The question was “why are there few women in ICT?” I remember sharing ideas on this with a host of my friends including Kwabena, Ato, Prince, MacJordan and Amma Baffoe. I kept wondering even after leaving the premises. One answer I found was that, there are few mentors for the women in ICT. I know some of our women are in the field and very soon, Ghana is going to have a lot of prominent women who would serve as mentors. Enough of that and back to the mentorship part…. There was speed mentorship earlier in the morning. Nothing beats sitting beneath an elderly person and getting all the knowledge you can. We learn more from our elders than we do in a classroom. They have been in that position before and certainly know better so it’s so easy to tap into their knowledge and make good use of them. Creative Writing, Acting, Fashion, Banking to mention but a few were some of the knowledge imparted. One could easily get a business card from a mentor and bingo… you get the chance to forge a relationship for the future. Ghana has mentors and the young ones must realize this and make good use of them before all the knowledge is sent to the grave.
Ghana is equally greener
We keep on talking about brain drain. I know very well that it isn’t going to stop today but here is the catch: even if it’s greener at the other side, you would still have to mow the grass and also take care of the weeds. The same applies to the grass in Ghana. There are so many opportunities in Ghana. They are just wearing work clothes and seem so gargantuan. We refuse to see these opportunities. The likes of NandiMobile makes you believe that, Ghana is indeed a land of opportunities if you can see beyond the horizon. Success stories from various people who started from nowhere tend to uplift the spirits of others and that is exactly what BarCamp Ghana served. The motivation, the vim, the spirit was there and I tapped into that. Let’s mow our own grasses. Let’s make Ghana a better place to live. We can do it!
We already have the future think-tanks, Gates, Zuckerberg and Jobs of Africa
I wrote an article on the 5 lessons we could learn from the legacy of Steve Jobs (May he rest in peace) some few months ago. I must say that, there are some Ghanaians who could rise in this world and be the Jobs and Zuckerbergs of this world. The kind of ideas that are in people’s minds beats my imagination. At Barcamps, you realize how great some people think and that is contagious. Even if you have nothing on your mind, an idea suddenly pops up when someone is sharing a story. Yeah…. People started with nothing and are making something. I know very well that those people won’t rest but will aim for the stars.
I got to meet a host of these men and women. When I was young, I had a friend who would say, “Take me as a friend now because if you don’t, one day, you will join a queue just to see me.” Since our words are very powerful, he is the pastor of an Assemblies of God church in Accra and of course, you have to book an appointment if you want to see him except some of us who took him as a “friend” and can now call him to meet us anywhere when we need him. Networking is very important. It opens doors and BarCamp offers such an opportunity.
Our children/grandchildren will have the coolest of mothers.
“The surest way to keep people down is to educate the men and neglect the women. If you educate a man you simply educate an individual, but if you educate a woman, you educate a family” said Dr. Kwegyir Aggrey. At Barcamps, you see women exchanging ideas. The days where the woman’s place was the kitchen in Ghana are over. The days where women were so scared to stand for their rights are over. We are in the days where women are conscious of their environment, tech-savvy and are determined to make waves in the society. I am told BarCamp Tamale had a lot of women attendees than all the other Barcamps this year. It is a step in the right direction. I only hope there would be as many women as men next year and the years after. BarCamp isn’t for men. It isn’t a tech event. It’s an event where people choose their own topics so we can share ideas on them. I therefore entreat women out there to discard that notion of a tech event and embrace BarCamp. Even if it’s a tech event, the women are supposed to be there since we live in a tech world and one cannot afford to miss out. Nonetheless it isn’t a tech event as it encompasses a host of topics that arise from the attendees.
We can all make Ghana a better place. This nation belongs to the youth. Africa belongs to Africans. I learned a lot from BarCamp but have shared five of them. Let’s hear what you also learned. God bless you and see you at the next BarCamp event.
It has been a month of weddings for me. I attend one every week. I have observed how my boys are picking their wives now. It isn’t about beauty anymore. Conversations have been about how great the women are and not how beautiful they are. I am not a fan of weddings because I prefer a simple yet magnificent traditional marriage ceremony with a pastor present to bless it as it’s done in the church. Anyways that is me.
Guys, have you ever dated a girl you were crazy about but wished you could change that one little thing about her? What was it? Have you kicked yourself afterwards because you and your honey shared almost everything in common, yet you still broke up? So what do you really need to look for in a woman in order to build a successful marriage when ‘Miss Right’ comes along? And what does a lady need to be a ‘Miss Right’ in this computer world? I see myself talking to both sexes now. Do I change the title of the article then? Oh it doesn’t matter so let’s move on.
The faith of a lady is important to guys. You ask a million ladies what they want in their ideal man and most of them will talk about a God fearing person. The same goes for the men though they don’t talk about it that much. Every guy wants a lady who knows her Creator, who believes in God and who will help his children follow the same steps. Whether the guy is a Christian or Muslim, he expects the lady to have faith in her Maker. A sense of self you might call it; a reason for living. It also includes beliefs about ethics, the importance of family, stability and, religion. For example, a purpose for life, optimism, an acceptance of others, integrity, honesty, responsibility and other similar social values. Guys don’t marry the “club girls.” They just “use” them and dump them when it’s time to settle down. Trust me, it’s the truth. Have faith. Stand for something so that you don’t fall for anything.
Physical and sexual compatibility mean different things to different people. For some, it means the physical act itself, perhaps something kinky and wild, while for others romance and intimacy play an important part. A few traits to keep in mind when looking for a missus might be her level of interest in sex, romance, foreplay, love, sexual variations and assertiveness, monogamy, communication, risk taking, playfulness, awareness of STDs and physical appearance. Every man will look for that sexual chemistry before he marries a lady. I have seen my father counsel a lot of people and he doesn’t mince words when it comes to sex. It is the engine of every marriage. Ladies, be attractive and that does not mean put on excessive make up and wear skimpy dresses. No. That turns men off because you look like a clown when you do that. Emphasis on excessive!
If you are talking about marriage, then there will be the topic of babies most often than not. It comes with it. Guys want to see if the ladies they want to marry will be good mothers. The way you treat your siblings or your neighbor’s wards will speak volumes to your guy. He wants to know that children love you and they want to come to you. Every guy wants a lady who can be strict when need be. One who can tell children or siblings to stop doing something that is wrong. One who can motivate siblings to do something positive when they don’t have the urge to do it. Simply demonstrate that you can be a good mother.
Every guy wants a woman who cares for her body: a woman who prepares healthy food for her family. One who would not be sick always or most of the time because she doesn’t care about her health. Health is wealth. If you are always sick, it means the finances of the family would be drained. Ladies, start taking good care of your body. Exercise, eat healthy food and avoid a lot of junk. Visit the doctor every now and then. It will amaze you to know that most ladies do not know the way to the gynecologist. It’s imperative that you see the gynecologist at least once a year. I can talk about health the whole day so let’s move on. We will visit this some other time.
Men want women who can serve their family, friends and neighbors with a gentle and loving spirit. A lady who is charitable in everything she does. We are in a generation where most ladies do not even know how to cook. Most men are fans of food. They love food and they love good food for that matter. Also, we are in a generation where service by women is frowned upon. If a woman is able to serve her family and friends or the guy’s family and friends when they are around, she is perfect marriage material. You win guys over when they are watching football and you bring them water or biscuits or food. Your boyfriend will be so proud of you and his friends will constantly tell him how awesome you are. Service is really vital.
The best wife seeks her husband’s approval before making big purchases and spends money wisely. She is careful to purchase quality items that her family needs and not any junk. I know most ladies will fight what I just said but it is very important. If you want to be the one that every guy would want to marry, take note. How a lady spends her money speaks volumes about her. We are in a generation where most ladies do not know the meaning of an investment. Every dime is spent on clothes, shoes and expensive weave-on. If the way you handle money is nothing to write home about then you are in big trouble because those little papers make a lot of difference to every man under the sun. I remember asking some ladies if they had EPACK or MFUND accounts and they had no knowledge about them yet they were looking for husbands. Some didn’t even have bank accounts and they are graduates. Money matters affect everyone. How a woman handles money can tell a lot about her and could make the difference between a comfortable life and an existence in poverty, so it’s important to be compatible in this area too. Pay attention to spending style, lifestyle, personal and professional goals, retirement plans, savings and ideas about money and debt in general.
Every guy wants a woman who works willingly with her hands. We are no more in the times of “housewives.” I know some guys still cherish that especially the rich ones but that is just an exception to the rule. Nothing that makes you better marriage material than having a job. Don’t be lazy. Find a decent job. If you are in school, make sure you give it your best. It’s important you become your own woman not someone who will depend on a guy for even sanitary pads at the end of the month. Be confident because confidence is sexy and study all the time. Ladies who learn how to make pastries, interior decor etc aside their careers are awesome. You can be one of them. I have been the “best man” for four weddings and I must confess I have seen a lot. Be an industrious lady and most men will fall at your feet but never let work overcome your duty to your home and family. Family comes first!
A lady who is perfect marriage material creates an inviting atmosphere of warmth and love for her family and guests. She uses hospitality to minister to those around her. She is sociable and people love her. That’s the kind of woman every gentleman wants to marry. That is inner beauty. Outer beauty is great but not all that important when it comes to marriage. It’s all about what you are going to live with for the rest of your life. How a woman thinks about the world she inhabits and how she interacts day to day are important signs of long-term mutual compatibility. Some women are casual observers of life while others thrive on being aggressive personalities. Most men want the lady who would make a home lively and fun. No added stress to that which comes with work.
If you want to avoid any neurological or/and cardiovascular disease, you go for what will give you the greatest peace of mind. These are just my opinions. Please let us hear about yours.
On the nationally observed Founders Day in honor of Dr. Kwame Nkrumah who helped Ghana gain independence, take a second to learn a little bit about the man and his mission. There are bits of wisdom you can take from a quick look at an amazing life.
I would like us to throw away any partisan sentiments and learn from the man whose handwriting is seen on all the state institutions in the country.
5. Sometimes things don’t always go as planned
Dr. Nkrumah was an excellent leader yet he had his shortcomings as a leader. Some people downplay the achievements of this man because of these shortcomings. No man is perfect. We all make mistakes. Dr. Nkrumah saw a broader picture of a United Africa. He went after that dream. He chased the vision but it could not be materialized. Sometimes things don’t go as planned but that doesn’t mean you should give up in life. We hit the wall most times. We fail in certain things that we do but we must still strive. True strength is being able to hold it together when everyone is expecting you to fall apart.
“We face neither East nor West. We face forward” – Dr. Kwame Nkrumah
4. Passion is paramount
Dr. Kwame Nkrumah believed in justice, equality, philanthropy and non-violent protest. He was a scholar and a revolutionary. He was a husband, a father, a friend and a leader. He was a brilliant orator. He had the passion to do whatever he wanted to do. With passion, you can do all that you dream of. One very important thing about life is passion or enthusiasm. Nelson Mandela once said “there is no passion to be found playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.” If you have the enthusiasm to do something, you can get that thing done. He had the passion to lead Ghana to independence. He went to jail for that. He was oppressed and yet never gave up. That’s the kind of spirit we need. The never-dying spirit that works in us because we have the passion to succeed regardless of what life throws at us.
“Revolutions are brought about by men, by men who think as men of action and act as men of thought.” – Dr. Kwame Nkrumah
3. You have to be ready to stand by your standards
What are your standards? What do you believe in? “Countrymen, the task ahead is great indeed, and heavy is the responsibility; and yet it is a noble and glorious challenge – a challenge which calls for the courage to dream, the courage to believe, the courage to dare, the courage to do, the courage to envision, the courage to fight, the courage to work, the courage to achieve – to achieve the highest excellencies and the fullest greatness of man. Dare we ask for more in life?” – Dr. Kwame Nkrumah. The founder of Ghana had his ideals. He stood for something. He believed in something. If you don’t have any standards in life, then it’s high time you checked yourself.
“The best way of learning to be an independent sovereign state is to be an independent sovereign state.”
Dr. Kwame Nkrumah
Dr. Kwame Nkrumah believed that each of us is special. Each of us is here for a purpose and that the main purpose for all of us is to make Africa and the world a better place. No matter what color you are, what religion you are, what you look like, what you sound like and no matter where you’re from you belong here. You have an assignment. You have a mission. You weren’t born by accident. There is a reason you are breathing today. There is a reason you are reading this post. Never look down on yourself. Be yourself because you are unique. Don’t try to be like someone else because no one will be you if you discard being yourself. Make your life on earth count!
“It is far better to be free to govern or misgovern yourself than to be governed by anybody else” – Dr. Kwame Nkrumah
1. Believe in yourself
“Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase” said Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Do you believe in yourself? Do you believe in your abilities to succeed in life? Just have faith in yourself, in your future and in your family. Dr. Nkrumah just believed. He believed that he could wrestle power for the people of the Gold Coast. He had a dream and he had the faith to propel that dream. He believed Ghana could be a sovereign state. He believed we could manage our own affairs. He cried for self governance because he believed we could govern ourselves. What was the outcome?
The dream became a reality! His belief gave birth to the following:
Bank of Ghana, Bonsa Tyre Manufacturing, Cape Coast University, Cocoa Marketing Board (now Cocobod), Cocoa research Institute, Tafo , Ghana Commercial Bank, Ghana Film Industries, Ghana Housing Corporation, Ghana Law School, Ghana Medical School, Gold Processing Factory, Prestea, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, National Cultural Center, National Investment Bank, National Research Council, Nsawam Prison, Komfo Anokye Hospital, Social Security Bank (SSB, now SG-SSB), State Transport Corporation, Trade Fair Center and the University of Ghana (Legon).
Once again the words of our great leader:
“We have the blessing of the wealth of our vast resources, the power of our talents and the potentialities of our people. Let us grasp now the opportunities before us and meet the challenge to our survival. “– Dr. Kwame Nkrumah
When I was told to be in Sunyani, I was so excited….excited because the city is one that makes me feel at home. I arrived early in the morning. One of the missions was to talk to some students at the Sunyani Polytechnic. Students who want to soar like the eagle …who want to make an impact in life and who want to make Mother Ghana proud. There is also a funeral I am to attend on Saturday to celebrate the life of a mother who has grown past 100 years. Something that is uncommon in these modern times. It’s so difficult to find the Methuselahs of this generation. Sin, eating habits, accidents to mention but a few make us leave the face of the earth so early lately. Enough of that! Sunyani is the city: the place where Kwabena, my brother from another mother was raised. When I told him I was going to his hometown, he was a little bit jealous. LOL… Anyways, the city has endeared me a lot. I therefore decided to write this post.
1. Women of NATURAL beauty!
It is very rare to see “artificial” women in this city. Yeah I have to say it. In Accra and Kumasi, I see women who paint their faces blue, pink, indigo, violet and even magenta all the time. I have visited this city like 7 times and it is so rare to see these colors on the faces of the women. It is all about the natural beauty. Do not be tempted to say that, they are colloquial. They are not…. They are simply beautiful and proud of their skin. I see a lot of people with natural hair and yes I love natural hair. One feature of the human body that is also in abundance and something that most young men love is the bum. You look at some of the ladies and you know why Castro and Asamoah Gyan went with the phrase… “Ghanaian women are sexy as cheese.” Erm…. Let me move on.
2. No trotros but taxi fares are super cheap.
There is one tradition in this city. You don’t see any Trotro. In Accra, the rich take Trotro and the super rich board taxis. I say this because the fares are gargantuan. When I am moving from Dansoman to Circle with a taxi, I pay ₵1.50. That’s the price when you take a ‘dropping’ in this city. The taxi drivers are also very friendly. Ok….. Ghanaians are generally hospitable but the people of Sunyani are more than hospitable. They tell you stories upon stories when you board their cars. It’s simply lovely.
3. The place is neat and not densely populated
As greenghanaian stated when she wrote about the state of the environment in Ghana, the number of people in Accra and Kumasi outnumbers the infrastructure or facilities in place. There is dirt everywhere because “we eat our shit” in this country as Greenghanaian would say. Sunyani is different. This place is just like Takoradi where rubbish is controlled. In Accra, you don’t even find a dustbin when you are walking through the streets of Osu and East Legon; the places that are noted for inhabiting the rich in the society. This place is neat and homely. There is no problem with accommodation as well. If you want a room to rent, you would never suffer like it happens in Accra and Kumasi.
4. The city is well segmented…. no floods.
Suburbs are named in an interesting way. They have Berlin Top, South Ridge, SSNIT Flat and Airport Residential Area. The city is nice and there is no problem when it rains. Accra floods anytime it rains. The Kwame Nkrumah Circle is a swimming pool when it pours. It’s horrible. All the banks you can think of in Ghana have branches in Sunyani. It isn’t a village if someone told you so. It’s a safe haven. A place where you can escape the armed robbery and murder attempts that we experience each day in the capital city.
5. There is NO TRAFFIC!
Don’t you just hate traffic? If you don’t, I do. I hate sitting in a car for 2 to 3 hours and the car will just move 1 kilometer. A trip from Dansoman or Korle Bu to Legon will take you close to 3 hours. The same trip can be made in less than 30 minutes on a Sunday when there is no traffic. Just think about it.
I have made an inquiry on a plot of land at Berlin Top. I encourage you to make a trip down here and do likewise if you cherish a place with a low cost of living. I don’t even want to talk about how peaceful and green the city is. There is an airport….awesome hospitals…. What more can you ask for? The city dey be kɛkɛ!
I am at it again. I always pick positives from the worst of situations. Here are 6 things I learned from the UK riots.
#1 When a neighbor’s beard is burning, fetch water and protect yours
Ok, do you remember what the British press said before the world cup in South Africa? Africa was deemed a jungle… where people eat each other. A place where civilization is nothing to write home about….. a place where no football match could be held. Some people even still think Africa is a country. Hmmm…. South Africa was lambasted for all the wrong reasons. In less than a year, the London Olympic Games start. Need I say more? When your neighbor is down, don’t kick him but rather help lift him up. The UK press should take a cue from this. It’s a lesson. A very important one!
#2 Nothing is as it seems
Do you also remember the Royal wedding? It drew the attention of people far and near. The whole world was glued to television sets. Everyone, especially ladies, marveled at the sight of the wedding. My timeline was blazing hot on that very day. You would have thought that everything was perfect in London and in the UK as a whole. A glamorous wedding and one of the most watched in the history of the world. Then there was the phone scandal. That dominated the newspapers and television stations for a while. As soon as that ended…. BOOOOM…. a riot in Tottenham spread to Manchester and many parts of Britain. The bottom line is, accept who you are. Don’t wish to be like any other because nothing is as it seems. We all have our fair share of skeletons and problems.
#3 Quest for money + web 2.0 = Virtual communities!
Bills + Taxes = Hustling! Parents have a lot of bills to pay. As a result they leave the house very early in the morning and forget about their children. Children do not get the best of upbringing. They don’t learn anything that would benefit the society from their parents. The family system is almost dead. Facebook, twitter and Blackberry messenger are the lecturers of the modern generation. The internet teaches a lot. Time is spent on the web more than with parents or family. Our traditional communities are fading away giving room to the VIRTUAL. I could have 5000 friends on facebook but would really know about 500 of them personally. Attitudes are picked. Most of the people who rioted were children, teenagers and young adults. By 2020, there will be more virtual communities in the world than real ones with the advent of web 2.0 so your guess is as good as mine. Social media is awesome but it is about time parents and governments also joined in. E-government and I think e-parenting will go a long way to help curb certain situations. We must be responsible.
#4 Be prepared always because anything can happen
Life is full of surprises. No one knew this was going to happen. London is regarded as one of the most civilized cities in the world. You don’t expect people to be looting shoes and flat screens. Why on earth would someone loot a TV in London? But it happened. People whose shops have been looted are crying. I heard one man who said he doesn’t know how his family is going to survive because his shop is their only source of income. You never know what will strike so it’s imperative to prepare wherever you find yourself. I have this friend who always carries a toilet roll in his bag. Hope you understand what it means. He is always prepared because he has a very delicate stomach. Diarrhea is his friend.
#5 What happens at the North Pole affects those at the South
I was really sad when I read tweets from some people on my timeline. They didn’t care about what was happening in the UK. These people claim they don’t have families over there. You shouldn’t have a family before you know it’s going to affect you. Football fans were “rocked” last week. No EPL matches. I bet some of these unconcerned people on my timeline are football lovers. Ghana vs. Nigeria match was cancelled. Again, we never got to see the greatest rivals on the African continent “slaughter” each other.
Radio presenters, fans and footballers who left Ghana and Nigeria to witness the match lost a great deal. How much is the air fare again? Anyone? Now let me talk about this: Immigration is a political hot potato in British public discourse and always an important and sensitive election issue. These riots, which many allege were carried out mainly by young black men, clearly will feed into this narrative, with dire implications for race relations in the future. There will be extra security in the country now. Police would be vigilant on the documentation of foreigners. Ghanaians who live in the UK illegally will be in trouble.
#6 Rise when you fall
After the riots, some volunteers have come together to clean up. It portrays a sense of togetherness. Life will throw things at you. Some of them could be insipid but your reaction matters more than anything. Don’t just stay on the ground when you fall, rise…. You are a star. Your downfall is not the end of your life. Rise and clean up!
Let’s keep on sharing. Tell us what you learned from the London/UK riots.
When my dad called all his children to his room, I was a little bit perturbed. Why? Because I hadn’t finished reading the book he gave me. Once in a while the old man will give his children books to read. When you are done reading, he will ask you questions on what you have read. I thought it was going to be a similar experience. I have been playing FIFA 11 with my younger brothers and a friend all day.
We went to his room, made ourselves comfortable and that was when I started making up all the excuses I was going to give should he ask about the book. My mom was seated on his left. I have three other siblings now (the eldest went into Abraham’s bosom some years ago. May he R.I.P)
My dad started off his speech by holding up a ₵20 note. He asked: “Who would like this ₵20 note. This is a real Kufuor dollar?”
Hands started going up. He said: “I am going to give this ₵20 to one of you but first, let me do this.”
He proceeded to crumple the cedi note up. He then asked: “Who still wants it?”
Still the hands were up in the air. “Well,” he replied, “what if I do this?”
He dropped it on the ground and started to grind it into the floor with his shoe. He picked it up, now crumpled and dirty.
“Now who still wants it?” Still the hands went into the air. “My children, you have all learned a very valuable lesson. No matter what I did to the money, you still wanted it because it did not decrease in value. It was still worth ₵20.
Many times in our lives, we are dropped, crumpled and ground into the dirt by the decisions we make and the circumstances that come our way. We feel as though we are worthless but no matter what have happened or what will happen, you will never lose your value. To those who love you, you are priceless.
The worth of our lives comes not in what we do or who we know but by who we are. You are somebody. You really are. Do not let anyone make you think otherwise. Yes…. there are times you will feel depressed, repressed and oppressed but stay true to yourself. See yourself as that “Kufuor dollar” that was handled badly by my dad yet all his children craved for it.
It was a turning point in my life. Don’t be intimidated. Don’t give up. Press on because victory is assured!
There once was a very poor man living in a village who had a very fine horse. So fine, in fact, that the lord of the castle wanted to buy it but the old man always refused.
“To me this horse is not merely an animal. He’s a friend. How could I sell you my friend?”
One morning he went to the stable and found his horse gone. All the villagers said, “We told you! You should have sold your horse. Now he’s been stolen instead. What terrible luck.”
“Bad luck or good luck,” the old man said. “Who can say?”
Everyone laughed at him but 15 days later the horse returned, followed by a whole herd of wild horses. He had escaped from the stable, courted a young mare and returned with the rest of the herd following behind!
“What luck!” the villagers cried.
The old man and his son began training the wild horses but a week later the man’s son broke his leg trying to train one of the horses.
“Bad luck,” said his friends. “What are you going to do now without your son to help you? You who are already so poor.”
“Bad luck, good luck, who can say?” the old man replied. A few days later an army belonging to the lord of the land passed through the village and forced all the young men to become soldiers. All…… except the old man’s son because of his broken leg.
“How lucky you are,” the villagers cried. “All our children gone to war, but you’ve been able to keep your son. Our sons will probably be killed…”
The old man replied, “Bad luck, good luck… who can say?”
People ask me why I love the Chorkor Trotro TV series on TV3 in Ghana. I always tell them I learn from the awkward situations and not only from the best of situations. On the front of the Chorkor Trotro bus in the TV series is written “Let them say.” Let them say speaks volumes.
One day I will blog about that but what it simply means is that, let the people talk all they want but do your own talking. Never be misguided or misled or discouraged by what people say about you. The best way is to prove them wrong. Who can say? I bet no one. There are just three things I would like to talk about from the story…..not to bore you.
#1 What people say about you should not affect you negatively
I was at the airport yesterday and engaged myself in a conversation with a lady. She had come to wait for a friend who was coming to Ghana from Italy in a very beautiful dress. As we started talking I said something about friends that made her speak as if she was on drugs. She was talking like one controlled by a remote. Eddie Murphy could not have even spoken faster than her. She was coming from a wedding with the same dress. This lady buys clothes from a woman (Shop 1) in her neighborhood but a friend of hers advised her to buy from a different shop (Shop 2) because that shop had exotic clothes.
She listened and spent her savings on the new dress from the Shop 2. She went to the wedding and realized that she was the “lady gaga” of the event. Everyone including the couple had dressed in a simple but awesome way. She was telling me how her friend’s words made her lose money and also made her a laughing jackal at the wedding. If you listen to people all the time, you are bound for disgrace.
#2 Be who you are!
The man never changed who he was. He was a poor man…yes… but he knew who he was. He didn’t change because of what people said to him. He did not even sell his horse to the lord of the land. He valued the horse. We must value our integrity. Dignity is something thrown to the dogs lately. People don all sorts of things because of money. People sell their bodies, kill other human beings because of money but this man knew what it was to value something.
We have two ears. One is to listen and the other is to let the negative you hear out. All the negative things he heard entered in one ear and out in the other. He was not ready to be a different person. He was not ready to be ungrateful. He was still the man he used be. He carved a niche for himself as the man who was ever grateful. Bad luck or good luck….he was grateful.
#3 Don’t let circumstances change you!
I always say “this too shall pass” when I go through a difficult period. I have lived with this maxim for a long time. When I go through a bad phase of my life, I know it will surely end. No condition is permanent. When you are hungry, don’t kill yourself because eventually you will get food to eat.
When you are satisfied, don’t fool about because eventually you will go hungry.
Life is all about ups and downs. We just have to make an effort to stand the test of time. The poor man never made any circumstance change his belief. He believed in the fact that bad luck or good luck isn’t his to say. Even when his favorite horse left, it didn’t change him. When the son got hurt, it didn’t change him as well.
The future comes to us in bits and pieces. We never know what lies in store for us but if you always maintain a positive attitude the doors of chance remain open, and you will be a happier person.
Who can say? No one can say so don’t lose hope. Live by the Chorkor Trotro mantra.