Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Being on a waiting list...and it's not to get the latest designer shoes or handbag...

Ghanaians ( and I think a lot of other people all over Africa and in the world) have an attitude of either rejecting anything they don't understand [with force and hostility] or making fun of it. I do it too, it's quite normal. Instead of trying to understand it or ask questions ,our first reaction (prompted by surprise, shock or ignorance or just sheer meanness) is to be silly.
That said, I don't understand something about the health care system in the UK and I want to poke a bit of fun at it .
I was sick last week, if i was back home I would have gone to see the doctor (ok, not true, I would have self-medicated, but I would have had the option to go. Even better my mother can diagnose by sight and temperature). Now when I actually wanted to see the doctor (because I was afraid someone had given me swine flu or whatever new disease they're contracting these days) I had to book an appointment. that wasn't the problem, the issue was the by the time the date came by for me to see the doctor I was fine!! I felt quite silly going to see the doctor that day, but I had some other non-urgent health matters, so I choose to discuss them
Now a friend is sick, and he might be gone before the appointment; I am considering calling an ambulance (ok , now i am exaggerating : ). funny how the doctors there are swamped with hundreds of patients everyday; and here by the time you get there you'll be fine, so not a lot for them to
I think it's great that the system is so organized; and of course everyone thinks his or her illness is the most serious, so it makes sense....but the wait time can be very long. too bad you cant book a date and postpone until u actually need it,huh? :) Should an emergency be the only way to get seen quickly by a doctor???
 hmm, but obi manso die [translation: (what say do i have) in someone's land]
ok, now i'm hitting the books...that's what i should be doing but procrastinating is so much more not follow my example

.... and on a promotional note :D

I would also like to say congrats to my friend Abena Sekyiamah [and Nana too] on her amazing line : it just launched (on the 27th of November,2009) with a sensational fashion show. (unfortunately I couldn't attend because the private jet that was charted to pick me up developed a fault. I will sue.)

MAKASI Clothing

so if you're looking for a Christmas present, that should be something original to get... also check out 
find them at WINGLOW Clothes & Textiles, 34 Mensah Wood Road, East Legon, Accra (Near Galaxy International School), that's also the address for a party that i will be missing on Satuday. There's a party there this Saturday 5th December,from 2pm - 5pm to celebrate being stocked there. 
Directions to WINGLOW, 34 Mensah Wood Road, East Legon are below:

1. From Shiashie head in the direction of America House
2. After Glalaxy International, take the next turning on your left
3. That road is Mensah Wood Road, go over the speed ramps and look out for WINGLOW on your left hand side.
All are welcome. 

I am very proud of people who strike out on their own,especially in these times when most people want to be sppon fed; so and I think the entire Makasi crew deserves appluase. [I may be biased because i'm her friend but...] I think this is the attitude to have, and I wish her success. 
cheers for Makasi.. and all other entrepreneurs out there!

And also a huge congrats to my cousin [yes, he's successful and I say he is my cousin..any problem??], pasting a link to an article about him:

Contract phones????

A little bird says that zain is introducing contract phones soon...this should be interesting....will keep u updated as soon as I know the terms

Anyway, I have decided to publicize my blog. [you may be scratching your head at this point..let me explain, I began this blog because a friend on facebook thought I should. and it stayed between the two of us, now I think I should expand my 'readership' :) 
details will follow... 

Monday, 16 November 2009

Wikipedia & Music

Today I was [surprisingly] totally ecstatic because I found a Twi article on Wikipedia: (i must really miss home). I was very impressed though...not a lot of people consider twi to be an internationally important language. I say look at China [yes they do have slightly a few more people in their country than we do..but] I think Chinese people have such a sense of worth concerning their country and apply it in all aspects of their lives. So do Americans. and I have realized that, in life, showing confidence usually inspires others to follow...even if whatever you're showing confidence about is a load of rubbish. Still readin the article and trying to fully translate it, ma twi has gotten rusty of late..proud to read and write it though [if I could only say that confidently about French]
Anyway, I am digressing. meant to talk about music and the amazingly commendable job that the Gh artistes are doing and stations like Yfm for promoting them.
Anyone who listens to Gh music especially hip-life can attest to the amazing progress made. I salute Mr Rockstone for starting a revolution, and all those after him for following... NFL,Obrafuor,Lord Kenya,Akyeame,Nananom and others [my brain has only about 64mb storage, sorry] and others after them for keeping it alive and improving it. [Rber this song??? ]
[still think Reggie's better than a lot of new guys though :) ]

I really remember how generally lame the songs were at first [will not mention any names] I wasn't a fan, in fact I avoided most, cos they could be hazardous to one's ears and common sense! They were just for a laugh, but maybe would grow on you, but no one really took it seriously. Try telling your parents your boyfriend was a rapper, then it was outright they might not immediately cry and gnash their teeth :)
Now it's entirely different, the quality of music now is just extraordinary compared to the situation before. I love hip life or gh rap or twi pop, or whatever they're calling it now and most people enjoy it too. Even the crap songs have gotten better. "Anything worth doing is worth doing well" and the artistes now are definitely doing things well. It's definitely not perfect, but in my unsolicited opinion it's so much better than it was; and it seems set to continue that way.
I was going to conclude by roll calling all the really good artistes now, but I'm dreading leaving someone out,lest they feel slighted [like they can even see this]
Big ups to Okyeame Kwame and Sarkodie! and in no particular order:[please remember it is in no order at all]to Trigmatic, Ayigbe Edem, 4x4, Richie, Tic Tac, Asem, Eazzy, Mzbel,VIP,Scientific, Oj Blaq, Samini,Jane, Sydney,Kubolor, A plus, Skillions,Wuta,Irene, Mensa, Kwaku t & D- black, Castro,Tiffany, Kwaw Kese,Chemphe,Obuour, Praye, kwabena Kwabena, some of the mentor products are doing well too, R2Bees,(sexy) Tinny, Bradez, Becca, Echo...
.....honestly now I'm tired and I still won't get the full list because so many hot new tracks and artistes come out daily. Their Producers and Record Labels are doing great work; the sound engineers (remember the time when almost every track had Apietus mentioned??), the video directors, as well as the DJs and Radio stations.
keep it coming, because we're enjoying it!
I've used 'amazing' a lot haven't I?

Saturday, 14 November 2009

Blame it...

...the other part of my excuse can be split between a few parties. notably among them the British High Commission and the University of Aberdeen.
The British High C'sion in their bid to prevent anyone they think is unworthy and unsuitable from entering their lovely country...sorry, my mistake, i think the rationale is to simplify the process and ensure the quality of the candidates chosen...have developed a new system of visa applications. I encountered one called the TIER 4 General Student and I have never been the same since then. I can understand a State's need to ensure that they have control over their immigration processes, especially a State that receives millions of visitors each year. I can even,by a stretch of my imagination, understand the high visa fees charged...but I cannot understand a system that seems designed to frustrate and thwart its applicants with its twists and turns. There were simply so many requirements that an average person cannot satisfy them satisfactorily enough to be granted the passmark of 40 points.

In fact, by the time the decision came out, both my dad and I had been losing sleep and were thoroughly exhausted. In fact, I remember his words when I called him that afternoon to tell him I got the visa, "......ok, I am going to bed, I need my rest, I think I deserve it after all we have been put through..."

I have been blessed enough to be approved. But as usual, as the unasked and unpaid campaigner for other people; I can't help but wonder how many people have been denied the chance to pursue their dream education because of this constrictive system of rules. Or scared away just looking at the tall list. I quite remember a very upset man taking his frustration on the security guards. Suddenly he seemed to remember they were lowly guards who have no control over the process, and probably had no idea what he was talking about and he walked off mumbling to himself. I am tempted to look for statistics on mental imbalances caused by being 'bounced' by an embassy. I really think something should be done about the fact that the [arm-and- leg, plus small organ] fees involved are not refundable. At the very least, there should be a non-refundable administrative fee. I think it's terrible that all the European/western countries would not dare impose such measures lightly in their own countries but get away with it elsewhere because their visas are in such demand.

Well, the university of Aberdeen is partly to blame because they are giving me so much 'exciting' course work that I find other exciting diversions, for example ones that don't involve writing, research or computer screens [unless gossip girl is on]. I actually don't mind doing my research because one can actually find a wealth of resources readily available. I do miss the well-loved and chorused excuse we would sometimes give in class [in Tech] that we didn't find the material. Oh don't get me wrong, we would eventually locate the material, definitely before or around exams, or the date the course work is due...just usually not at the time we were required to. In our defence we were under grads, and are allowed some leeway.
Not now though, when tempted to slack some more, I remind myself of the zeros on the cheque my dad sent, and the [increasing] exchange rate of cedis to pounds and I sit up straighter. Now I joke that if looking for material had been this easy in university I would have graduated with a first class. Though I jest, it would be lovely, if even one Ghanaian public university's library and IT access network could be brought up to par with that of the 'worst' American or British university's. Students and lecturers would find things quite easy, maybe even enjoyable [...and if,like here, all lectures are posted on the network, missing class might not be so bad ;)]
One of my flatmates is training to be a primary school teacher and mentioned how excited her pupils were when she did something new in windows power point. "Power point??" I echoed, thinking of my candles-n-hope ayeduase kids, most of whom, saw a PC up close for the first time thanks to us...Oh Africa...when???

The Excuse

Ok, ok... I know I said I wouldn't make excuses but I have to try and offer at least some form of explanation for my behaviour...
Part of the reason is that I got a new laptop and -contrary to my opinion of myself - I am not quite the tech expert that I thought I was. I lost a lot of my documents attempting to transfer them..including stuff I had written for the blog. It was quite a bit of stuff, and I just haven't gotten around to writing new posts...
and that is my story

Sunday, 4 October 2009

1000 apologies

I have not quit writing.
I'm very sorry for the unexplained delay. i could be very Ghanaian and human for that matter and explain all the things that have gone on with me which have prevented me from writing. but they will sound like excuses. I simply must lay myself at your feet and beg for mercy.

A lot has happened, even the Creamy Inn people stepped on my sore toes again! i went there about 30 minutes to closing time and they told me that they were closed.
Eh? I was with two of my friends, who eventually had to restrain me from launching myself at the girls. Ok, i am exaggerating, but i was pretty upset. As a result, on personal principle, i have refused to go there. As usual, the elusive-when-needed manager was no where to be found.
I have further developed my personal vendetta against all motor cycle riders.
I now have a beef with the British High Commission; as well as KLM check in staff at the airport...among other things, and i'll be telling you all about it.....

Thursday, 13 August 2009

I’m watching you...

I don’t have a sweet tooth, mine is a whole set of sweet teeth; and the strawberry milkshake made at Creamy Fiesta, inside Barcelos at the Mall has become one of my favourite sweets. I can’t go to the Mall without getting one. I go there quite a bit, so I have gotten acquainted with the sales people. I have also noticed a white, busybody supervisor, or manager (who sometimes talks to her employees quite rudely; but I know how annoying Ghanaian employees can be).
I was painfully denied my indulgence on three separate occasions with the silly, flimsy excuse that their Milk was finished. (Hello, is Shoprite no longer in the building???) I was very upset, like an addict craving her sugar high. Surprisingly, each time that they run out of milk, madam was nowhere to be found. So I asked of her and her employees had nothing nice to say.
This weekend I finally got a hold of her, and we had a chat. I’m still not sure if she was patronizing me, but she was very polite; promised to look into it, assuring me that she would try to make sure (and revealed that they have their own suppliers of milk, not Shoprite). So far so good...but I’m keeping my eye on them all

Creation of Employment opportunities: Proof readers NEEDED

Dot your ‘I’ and cross you ‘T’s was simply how kids were taught to pay meticulous attention to detail. I think a hiplifer should be encouraged to make this into a song, because even adults have forgotten it.

I have a very long list of published avoidable mistakes; seems journalists have been given poetic licence (that is a justifiable departure from conventional rules of form, fact, logic, etc., as in poetry) Imagine the Ghanaian Times misspelling ‘CANAL’ as ‘CARNAL’ in a headline. That word is not used lightly. On TV the presenters use wrong expressions and constructions. Road signs and adverts are full of mistakes. There’s a sign at the Opeibea House traffic light, atop a Sony advert which reads ‘LIBRATION RD’. It is left to you to assume its meaning. Most probably ‘LIBERATION RD’, or perhaps, as a friend suggested ‘LIBATION RD’. Even on facebook, people’s posts and status messages are full of mistakes. Avoidable ones. It seems the standard of written (and spoken, for that matter) English is just going down the drain. The Nigerians will soon be able to make fun of us (lol). I’m not an English princess, but since Ghana has...had a reputation for correct use of the English language, I think it is cause for concern. If we have decided we don’t want a foreign language anymore, we might as well choose a local one and inform the international community of our decision instead of crucifying this one.


This heading is misleading, because I am thinking along the lines of a decorated donkey is still an ass...let me explain.
I have been wondering if Ghana Telecom was equivalent to Twi, and has merely been translated into English, that is Vodafone. I am wondering because their service is pretty much the same. Or is it expectations that are getting in the way?? Honestly with GT, we learnt not to expect much so we wouldn’t be disappointed, but with the arrival of (trumpeting and fanfare, please) Vodafone (applause) we expected...well, much better service.
I do not use their mobile service. I remember the price my father had to pay for his number when they started and I have kept that impression since then...for the Big Boys only. I do however, live in a house with a GT landline. I have been forcibly appointed as the custodian of this line [my dad’s ‘ingenious’ ploy to lower his bills]. So when our landline went out of order it fell on me to report it.
I drove to the GT office, after calling directory assistance (bet you didn’t know it was there) for a number where I could report a fault, and no one picked up. On the first day, a Friday, a very nice lady reported the fault for me. I remember thinking how nice the office looked, and how committed they all seemed. I felt bad about the 900 or 950 who were being laid off too. They promised that the fault would be fixed that very day.
It wasn’t. The weekend was spent landline-less. My parents’ relatives who live abroad expressed their displeasure about having to call cell phones.
On the Monday, I made my second trip. That day I paid my bill too, hoping it would motivate them to fix the line faster. At the office the two young men at that desk had fun flirting with me, and asking me why I didn’t use their mobile phone network. I pouted, smiled...we all played a nice game. Naive me, for thinking that after the good time I showed them, they would follow up for me. They merely used me for their pleasure :(
The third time, I was no longer in the mood for games. With a very straight face I reported my problem, indicating that this was the third time I was being assured that it would be fixed that day. A man, I assumed was a supervisor, came over and did I check only to tell me that the problem had been recorded as resolved. I started to ‘charge’. Quickly, he directed me to another office, dedicated to faults. I marched over there to the manager of that division’s office. Very curtly I stated my problem. [The whole time he was playing with his phone, proceeded to make a call, share a joke, and have some laughs, before asking me to restate my problem]. I sighed dramatically; about to launch my speech, again I was interrupted. This man seemed to be a supervisor of sorts. He called the manager to a back office, where they checked the number of faults that had been reported since morning. The supervisor got very upset, and asked all the technicians to be called back and ordered that all 90 faults should be fixed before the end of the day (It was 3o’clock.)
The manager returned, finally listened to me, and assured me that the fault would be fixed. [Heard it all before...I sang in my head]
Miraculously that evening the phone was working. Three cheers, hip, hip, hip....
Ah but me bre ye. I wonder if I could ask for compensation or my fuel back. There doesn’t seem to be so much difference between Vodafone and GT. At least not yet, so maybe it is just a translation from local Ghanaian inefficiency to foreign Ghanian-like inefficiency...

Waakye blues aka Classic Ghanaian Moment

This is dedicated to all who have experienced it.

I woke up ravenously hungry one morning, craving waakye. The venerable house-help had left for work already, so there was no one to send. I set out to go and buy my food. I had not had a bath, I just wanted to get my food, come back home and eat it, all things would follow after that.
On the face of it, there were six people in front of me. In Ghana, meeting six people in front of you doesn’t mean anything. There are usually ghost names on the register, easily numbering twice as much. They materialize when it is their turn. No problem.
At the front of the queue, a woman was buying. In my opinion she was taking long, but the veterans in the queue hadn’t complained, how could I, Johnny Just Come, complain? No problem
After buying (and changing her order a few times), she took out a list. Aha! That got the members worried, and they started to grumble. Problem! She ignored everyone and continued buying. My tummy rumbled in protest, but no one heard because they were grumbling. Why did this happen so often to me kraa? A number of orders later, she turned the paper, and requested that these ones should be in packs. ‘Kai’ exclaimed one ‘Alhaji’ and he stomped off in a huff, into his 4x4 Lexus and sped off, ignoring the waakye seller’s pleas to stay. She didn’t take a cue to institute a bulk buying queue there and then oh. The wholesaler had the good grace to be embarrassed, but she didn’t stop buying. Instead she justified it saying she has gotten there first, besides it wasn’t her fault; she was buying it for her office colleagues who were in a training session and couldn’t leave the office.
Two men, discouraged, left. Ok, 3 down. My patience amazed me; I must have been very hungry. Finally she finished buying and left. 2 people in front of me were served. Yipee, my turn. Not so fast! A man appeared out of nowhere saying he was ‘in front’ of me, but he wasn’t alone. He places his orders. My tummy protesting loudly; but my mouth was saving its energy for better things.
The waakye seller then announced that her rice was finished.

picture credit: waakye group on facebook

Sunday, 12 July 2009

So he's gone

Ghana had the opportunity to host the biggest personality in the World at the moment and arguably (because some people will want to argue) the most powerful man on earth, along with his family. With his arrival was accompanied by euphoria and excitement – Obama fever or Obamamania. Obama came here ‘some’! [And President Mills came through for us by speaking very carefully, hurray!!]
But now that he has gone I want to say something...
Before that, I hope we all heard what Barack Obama said oooh. One of the things that I felt was most poignant was what he said about Africa’s future depending on Africans! [Amazing how he had to come all that way to tell us that, huh?] I’m sure those who were expecting millions of dollars to be carried out of Air Force One and shared were quite disappointed at that. Guess we have to quit looking for a saviour now, because we have to look to ourselves. He did promise the US would partner us in our efforts though, and I have no doubt Mr. Obama will honour his promise. Ghana has been given a great assignment, and we have a lot to do to make sure that we can help to point the way forward for other countries. The four key areas he mentioned in his address were democracy; (creation of) opportunity; health and peaceful resolution of conflict...enough about that.
I was already very embarrassed by the state officials who behaved like toddlers about to meet Father Christmas at the Airport. I didn’t feel better watching the parliamentarians clamour to shake Obama’s hand. The front row suddenly quadrupled in number as they virtually climbed over each other, stretching from many feet away and shaking vigorously when they got hold of him. It’s true though that he is such an inspirational and charismatic leader that he inspires such responses from people. I do wish they, dignified members of such an august house, had exercised some restraint...or should I say decorum. But I’ll forgive them because it is Obama, but if they do that again, they will see. After all even JJ had a camera and was taking pictures, though he didn’t seem amused. I’m sure he didn’t like what the MPs were doing either.
The people who upset me the most though were GTV, station of the nation with their coverage. Their angles were terrible and the picture would shake at times. Was is my TV or would the colour lose its temper and leave? Hmm. The commentary was horrible; I don’t know where the commentators/panellists came from. Some of the topics the commentators chose to talk about were simply baffling. [I would like to say kudos to Metro TV, for empanelling the best panel on TV the night that Obama landed on Good Evening Ghana]. We kept hearing people talking in the studio background “Look at JJ” “Kuffour is giving an interview”. Oh! Asem ben kraa ni? Did this have to happen while the whole world was watching? I hope after this they are given new equipment and some training sessions. Who knows who will decide to come next now that Obama has come and we were mentioned at Michael Jackson’s memorial?? Madonna might decide to come and adopt from here too. Ghana Police too will have to be given lessons in super-security measures for super stars and world leaders, in case they don't bring as many of their security personnel like Mr. Obama.
I also wondered if blocking so many roads was the best way to ensure Mr. Obama’s safety and security. I am almost 100% sure that no Ghanaian wants to kill him. The road blocks caused such a wide array of inconvenience for so many people. One woman interviewed on TV3 said she had left the house early but still ended up being late for her exam; one man had to carry his sick daughter to a hospital. I guess some things cannot be helped though. It's good to be important oh.
Well, so he's gone...a few roads have been given facelifts [he should have been given a tour round Accra, that would have fixed a lot of roads oh; some hawkers were ejected and some rubbish cleared. A few places in Cape Coast are looking great and Cape Coasters are happy.
So now what???

Saturday, 11 July 2009


Obama has landed and I’m star struck. My mother chose to watch the GTV [station of the nation]’s coverage of the event. The commentator [whose name I unfortunately didn’t catch] almost quenched my fire with his droning voice and irksome commentary. Anyway, Air Force One touched down and we were left in suspense for some time. I couldn’t wait to see what Michelle was wearing. The [mostly white, American] security personnel were in position [I didn’t see many of the 10,000 Ghanaian police officers though; I guess the Americans only trust their security].
The President walked with his wife to meet him [was it me or was his walk a little wobbly?] with an entourage of high ranking officials and important Ghanaians. Finally the man and his family came out [was his elder daughter wearing flip-flops? Ei, she too?] I was pleasantly surprised to see how he greeted everyone, actually chatting for a while and even cracking jokes with some people. It was very refreshing to watch, he seemed genuinely interested in the people he was meeting. That was when I noticed it...was that a phone?? Oh my!! One of the people in the line-up to meet him was actually filming it all...and another, taking pictures>>>> what would the ordinary pedestrian do? Did i almost forget to mention that they had to be kept in line and kept sneaking peeks, as if he wouldn't talk to them in just a few minutes. I do understand that the visit is historic and that they were as star struck as I am, but ebei!!! Ah ba!!!
The Obamas were also interested in the cultural display, and even nearly made an attempt to dance. I say nearly because I couldn’t see much because of the awful camera angle, I could only tell because bothe Barack and Michelle were taller than most people standing around them. Suddenly, as soon as the magic began, it ended. The security personnel [who didn’t seem too happy with all the fraternizing] whisked their president and his family away, and left the gathering surely thinking or exclaiming to themselves “ei menso mehyia Obama!”

Friday, 10 July 2009

this??? again!??

I noticed the shortage on the 4th of July, and now petrol queues have appeared all over...i don't want to talk. not yet


Obama is fact he is almost here...and obama fever is on!! I love it!! Nigerians are boiling but there’s nothing to be done. His biography has been shown on TV so many times, I’m beginning to know the scenes by rote; roads are being blocked; musicians composing songs ; from t-shirts to biscuits with Obama on it; an Obama lookalike has even been found, complete with his ears!...Obama mania is here!!! Obama and his family are coming! Several gold-digging boys I know have mapped out strategies to get Malia and Sasha to marry them as soon as they are of age. Isn’t it good to see a black American famous worldwide for something other than entertainment? And not just anything but as ‘the whole’ American president...whaaaat!
I have refused to interest myself with whatever reason he gave for coming [because I know it is oil] but I’m glad that he is. Unfortunately for me I’m not well this weekend so I will not be privileged to catch a glance of him [or even his motorcade as it passes by ‘whiiiim’] anywhere this weekend.
But what are we going to say? Obama give as money?? Taking for granted that the name Obama will come out flawlessly from our Excellency’s lips. I for one won’t forgive him if he repeats any ecominy or ofumtuo or coursety this weekend, at all. Daabi daabi. I wish we could show him something progressive, that yes, we too we can...let’s wait and see.
And what are we going to show him? La Poly clinic? I hope that road has been fixed because even his beast of a limo can be derailed by those monster potholes. Cape Coast? Not bad, after all he’s a tourist and it’s not too far away. I hope on the way he doesn’t see our petrol queues. I also hope we don’t force Malia and Sasha to experience light-off or water shortage. No doubt, having been to Kenya, Obama has experienced both.
I hear that about 10,000 police personnel have been dispatched to protect Barack and his Family, but I have a feeling there are enough people and fire power in that American fortress at Cantonments to guard them. Who is protecting us Ghanaians from armed robbery in the mean time?? Let’s hope the armed robbers too will want to see Obama, and forget their plans for the weekend....
More to come..

The Hoax that never was

The news of Michael Jackson’s death was received with disbelief by many people. As someone’s facebook status said “How can a whole Michael JACKSON DIE??” We all hoped it would turn out to be a stunt or hoax, so we could suck our teeth or sigh in relief or say “Ah, Michael paa”. It is always difficult to accept the sudden death of a person dear to you, especially when there was no warning, such as sickness...and that’s how it felt for Michael Jackson fans
For me the sight of the hearse carrying Michael Jackson’s remains in the beautiful coffin made it all very real. Even the King of Pop had to answer when the King of Kings called. His memorial service was the most beautiful and touching service that I’ve ever had the privilege to witness. I really admired the strength and love of the Jackson family. That’s what family should be about, supporting each other when it matters. The performances were heartfelt and respectful; and the crowd was solemnly appreciative. Maya Angelou’s ‘We had him’, read by Queen Latifah summed up all the feelings and emotions we felt. Usher and Stevie Wonder were amazing, and yet conveyed such profound feelings of loss. Al Sharpton’s speech got thumbs up and a cheer from me, ‘Bo ho biom’.
The man himself was enigmatic and there were many controversies surrounding him but he was without question one of the most iconic people on the planet. Who doesn’t [didn’t] know Michael Jackson? Or had never heard his name? His brother Marlon said some heartfelt words, wondering if in death Michael would now be left alone. Uri Geller, at whose 2001 wedding Michael acted as best man, is quoted as saying, “The great tragedy is that Michael was not permitted to be the simple, humble man he always was”.
My heart goes out to his children, and I cried when his daughter, Paris Michael declared the King of Pop as “the best father you could ever imagine”. At the end of the day Michael Jackson –son, brother, uncle, friend, humanitarian, musician, entertainer...whatever; whether you’re a lover or hater, critic or fan, believer or sceptic, passionate or indifferent; the man whose presence and impact worldwide cannot be denied or undermined, he was just a regular dad who meant the world to his heartbroken kids.


As sad as I, I could not help but preen my feathers proudly as Ghana was mentioned three times during the CNN coverage of events and once in Maya Angelou’s poem, for the whole world to hear [Obama coming here must have helped too]. I intend to rub it in the face of any Nigerian friend I meet for a long time to come.

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Emergency 111 calls

I was one of the numerous Ghanaians complaining about the service I was getting from MTN (once Areeba/Spacefon). I also owned a Onetouch (now Vodafone) and Tigo chip and switched a lot, in order to get the best possible service – earlier free night calls from Onetouch; and tigo for their international call rates. I’ve also had a Kasapa phone [their service could be the best, but that’s another story]
I remember the countless number of times I tried calling 111, the MTN “helpline” to request one form of assistance or another...only for a rude ‘Network busy’ to dash my hopes; or to have the call go through and cut the very minute I get to speak to the operator. Sometimes I would be toyed with; the call would cut, but only after I had painstakingly explained my problem to the operator. The most frustrating one, which killed me kraa was that ‘piniiniii’ sound.
Hmmm, MTN!
Sometime last year, I simply got fed up, not for any particular reason, more of a culmination of reasons and I signed on to Zain. It was not for any particular was a new network and I wanted a fresh start. After all it couldn’t possibly be much worse than what I was getting, could it? So I got a Zain chip, and made the switch and I have loved it!
Now when I call 111, I get to talk to real live human operators with names, who genuinely seem to want to help me (with a few exceptions...and I know their names!) But even roses have thorns. As one credit vendor aptly stated: “Zain die, mframa kraa bo a na network no ati ko”. This means that even a slight wind can cause the Zain network to go off. This is true to an extent, their network can be unstable. I felt very important, like a truly valued customer, one day when I received a call from them asking what I didn’t like about their service, and I did tell them. They have promised to improve, so I’m watching.
Their internet service, though more expensive, is fast and usually reliable. I can also sign up to receive texts informing me of calls I missed when my phone is off (which reminds me of T-mobile in the UK). What I currently love most as the You pay, Zain pays promotion (which will sadly end at the end of this year, sniff) I no longer consider buying credit a chore or expense now it’s an investment! And I’ll get a full return on it the following month.
I am not advertising for anyone, not at all. I am just in love with my network and it’s a wonderful feeling!

Tuesday, 30 June 2009


When I was much younger, I had dreams of becoming a professional formula one driver, or at least racing cars as a hobby. Recently I have been forced to develop a new hobby; it’s kind of like dodge ball...let’s call it dodge-hole...potholes, that is. Welcome to Ghanaian roads, Obstacle Course 101. Beginner, intermediate or expert all take the same test, your success rate determines your expertise.
A Nigerian friend of mine once told me about potholes in Abuja which can cause accidents on their own. I remember having a good laugh. But I’m not laughing now.
Our roads are fraught with enough danger as it is, and now with the rains come extra pot holes.
A short time ago I came across one and I could swear it had been dug on purpose. It had design,contours and style; the sheer size and depth of the hole was awe-inspiring [in hindsight I should have taken photos]. But I was disillusioned to find that I hadn’t made a discovery worth an entry in the Guinness Book of Records, as there are some all around; but probably not as ‘wonderful’.
Potholes - great and small.
Their effects are varied, but all unpleasant both for the car and the driver. I am now sure they are unpleasant for pedestrians as well: On the Spintex road, I witnessed a tro-tro driver, in an attempt to dodge a pot hole, create a tsunami wave which completely drenched an unfortunate passerby in muddy water. Of course he sped off to escape the insults and curses that would surely follow.
Maybe I’m silly, or just fussy about having smooth roads so I can play Rick Ross’ Speeding and imagine I am Lewis Hamilton; but while other drivers seem to have accepted life with potholes and simply dodge them, others all the while complaining. Some neighbourhoods are enterprising, they fill theirs with stones, but if you drive a low suspended car this won’t be good news for you either.
Who is in charge of potholes? [I think they are worth having their own ministerial portfolio, don’t you?] Or will we wait until a spectacularly horrifying accident occurs as a result of a predatory pot hole, before we take up arms? Some may even argue that action now is pointless as the rainy season is ongoing, but doesn’t a stitch in time save nine? and I don't mean the patching we're so fond of.


I am beginning to wonder why we shoo vultures away on sight, when they are our cousins. We Ghanaians have such vulture-like tendencies, that is it a wonder we have not grown feathered wings.
(Why Vultures? Because it is said that they don't build nests, but perch where they can while the sun is out. But suffer during the rainy season because they don't have a prepared place to shelter)
The rains are here again, and as usual we seem surprised. As if we didn’t know that they would come. The papers are full of complaints ...loss of property, loss of life, general disorder caused by flood waters.
Is it déjà vu? Or were the headlines the same just last year?

Ah, let me ask a question...didn’t we know or haven’t we learnt that stuffing the drains with rubbish during the dry season would worry us when the rains come [as they do every year?].
Didn’t you know when you were building on a waterway that there is a rainy season? Or the price was just right? Oh, did you say you didn’t know it was a waterway? That responsibility squarely falls on the officials who issue building permits. [Is that the town and city planning officials?] But then again, did you ask? Let us be man/woman enough to admit our folly.
But no, as usual, we’re playing out favourite game – the blame game. Which government caused it? Which agency did it? Let us blame it permanently on Kwame Nkrumah, who is dead and cannot answer and on [ pe, setin pe...] the Ministry of Women’s and Children affairs.
Sound absurd?
Not more so than the blame game.

When the sun was scorching and the heat was sweltering we had no problems, so we didn’t search for solutions. Now it’s pouring and our tears are mixed with the rain.
I don’t want to sound mean but ‘ese moara’. If you continue to live in a flood prone area year after year in the same house, then ese woara. It is true that finding accommodation is a problem, but think about the cost of continuing to live there. What if you lose your life? [or your child’s who has no choice but to live with the silly adults]. I do not have figures to back this, but I am sure the cost of damage to property is huge; and damage not easily be erased. I am picturing broken walls; destroyed furniture [that is if it was not swept away]; stained and smelly mattresses; walls, now two-toned, the bottom half brown; carpets now trays for stones, mud, sand and whatever else the receding flood waters will leave behind.
If you dry it out or buy new ones and do nothing about your situation, ese woara.
Demolition exercises have been proposed, so maybe that will be some relief. But it will probably be short lived. I’m sure next year by this time, we will be tuned in [again] to our favourite programme, ‘what the rain has done’
Am I a doom monger?
Me, I live in a flat, on the second floor, nti ese moara.

Generally Chaotic Banking

The day after the shocking death of music deity and icon, oburoni/obibini Michael Jackson I was sent on an unfortunate errand. [unfortunate, as used here means unhappy]

I was sent to Ghana Commercial Bank :(

Let me tell you a bit about my history with that bank. Before starting university, it is almost required to have a bank account, so quite excitedly my friend Phyllis and I went to GCB to open bank accounts. This enthusiasm was short lived, because getting money from GCB – ATM or banking hall is usually like trying to pry open a tortoise shell. Soon we abandoned the campus branch for the one at Prempeh II Street in search of better service. The straw that broke this camel’s back was minor, but I had just had enough. I was broke [first prerequisite to be a student] and was heading to Mecca [Accra- to my benevolent money- earning parents]. I had dutifully kept just enough money for my pilgrimage, and any encounter with a ground nut or water seller, for example, causing any spillage of goods would ground me. After waiting in line forever, the teller, stoically informed me that I could not be given the amount because I had insufficient funds.


Almost in tears, I explained, that it was simply not possible. Try as I might, they insisted I had withdrawn the money and forgotten that I had. There was nothing that could be done.


The rest is not important but I will forever be grateful to my friends who made my pilgrimage possible. As soon as I returned to Kumasi I opened an account with Barclays, and another with Ecobank as insurance. Never again.

So I cringed when I had to do my father’s bidding. It sounded simple enough: He had deposited money into my account from a branch outside Accra. All I had to do was go to the bank, and withdraw it for the benefit of another person.

Michael’s passing has reminded us all of the fleetingliness of the fraility called life, and I didn’t intend to waste mine at GCB. At the GCB branch at Osu, I was assisted by a wonderful security man who was immensely helpful; he really sped up the process for me; and I am very grateful. [I wonder if it was because he assumed I was a relation of a member of staff, who I asked to speak to...hmmm].

Most banks utilize a system called networking; it connotes speed, convenience, and ease of transactions. Not at GCB. The money had not arrived in my account – ‘insufficient balance’. The teller, several times, insisted that I check to make sure the money had been deposited. So I called my father. I was then informed that the network had been down earlier (as usual), but since been restored; and an assurance was given that the transaction would go through.

I sighed. I was not surprised, nor disappointed. In fact, they had lived up to my expectations. My father’s text summed it all up for me: ‘You tried. GCB inefficient’

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

City life v town life

I am a ‘city girl’; not excited about peace and quiet or birds singing. I am very used to ‘city living’ with its cosmopolitan things – like cappuccino; jazz, sushi; boutiques, Vietnamese cuisine, cheese shop, milkshakes, a mall can now be added and more. All equal more expense, the sacrifice for being in the capital. But this is the general way of life I could say I knew.
...until I moved to Kumasi to attend university. I heard ‘horror’ stories about burgers, and fufu being the only meal served in eating places. I swore never to change, and resolutely returned to Accra at regular intervals to re-immerse myself in ‘civilisation’. Somewhere along the line the 4 – 6 hour journey wore me out and I began to spend more and more and more time in Kumasi. Soon enough twi became my preferred language and I began to enjoy many aspects of living in Oseikrom.
Four years after, I must admit that Kumasi grew on me. Don’t get me wrong, I don't think i'll trade Accra for it, but I won’t mind semi-long stays. Unfortunately, I have noticed one effect of living there that is affecting my way of life in Accra. I have become a very ‘cheap girl’!!
Let me explain, the standard of living in Kumasi is superb for student life. A little can go far. A lot has u living the life! There is a price for everyone, billionaire right down to the beggar. Food, transport, entertainment [though limited] is all cheaper. What else does a student need? I discovered shops, salons and braid centres with marvellous talent at amazing prices. After enjoying this for four years, I find myself becoming very upset in Accra. For example, to go club-hopping in Accra I am required [actually, my date, but...] to shell out [sums I now view as huge] for a girl to have a good time. I now have the notion that boutique and shop owners are highway robbers, out to get me; food sellers are trying to rip me off; and all taxi drivers are thieves. Even salons are against me, some giving me sleepless nights by charging 428.6% more than some of their counterparts in Kumasi for the same styles.
It’s not that I cannot afford it, but it kills me to think that even if I add my transport to the amount I’ll be charged in Kumasi I’ll still make a small savings!
There are very expensive places in Kumasi, don’t get me wrong, no one can waltz in with coins and buy out the high street but it’s easier to make some savings. It is however true that a lot of items and products a cosmo girl is used to cant be found on the market least not easily; and when found usually at a cutthroat price. But hope Kumasi business owners won’t act like typical Ghanaians and increase, across board, prices by 1000%.
Never thought I’d say this but I’m so going to miss Kumasi.

Announcing My 2012 Presidential Bid

Very recently I read in one of the dailies that 10% of all road accidents are caused by drunk driving. 10%!
I was very alarmed, but not for the reasons that you think.
Allow me to digress. I attended Secondary School in Cape Coast and University in Kumasi, whilst living in Accra. Not to mention excursions, visits and occasional funerals. So I have done my fair share of travelling by road around the lower part of Ghana. Naturally, I am concerned that the roads I regularly ply are apparently disguised death traps; and thanks are given to God each time a trip is completed successfully.
Now, I was alarmed because only 10% were caused by drunkenness. Think about it, there are thousands of accidents yearly, some fatal, some more horrific than others – but statistics none the less. I thought of it this way if there were 2000 accidents, for example, 200 were caused by drunk driving. So what caused the others?? If 10% of those drivers were drunk, then 90% of them were sober and in their right mind [the latter is a mere assumption]. Try drawing a mental pie chart to assign percentages.
I realized that drastic, unfeeling, measures must be put in place. 
So maybe I should run for president, win, implement my scheme, and then step down.
First I will order all drivers off the road. [In my perfect Ghana, the rail, river and other forms of public transport will be available and running, so the economy doesn’t shut down] I will then declare all of them guilty! ...Guilty until proven innocent...To hell with human rights and procedure. Every driver would be required, at an inquest, to prove him or herself ‘roadworthy’.
Under my rule, all trotro drivers will automatically be disqualified. They would have to submit themselves to intensive brainwashing and concentrated driving school programs. They would only be let back on the road after writing and passing a test. Forgive my silliness but it seems to me that the following categories of drivers are usually picked for trotros.
A. Those who cannot judge distances; resulting in indiscriminate crossing or rudely lurching into the lanes of other vehicles.
B. Those with no regard for traffic regulations; for example stopping right in the middle of the road, used by other vehicles, to pick up and drop of passengers.
C. Miscellaneous for example, rude; uncouth; mentally challenged; retarded; stupid; imbeciles et cetera
D. All the above
Taxi drivers would be put under the microscope, as they tend to exhibit trotro like behaviour at times and  often lapse into craziness.
As for articulators and all those heavy truck drivers they will straightaway be arrested, because they are likely to be arrested anyway, if not for one offence, then another. Their cars will give them away. If they do not look roadworthy enough or look  likely to break down and obstruct the main Accra-Kumasi highway, especially the road to into town, Adum – Guilty! Overload – Guilty! Too much smoke – Guilty! Signs of hitting another vehicle or person – Guilty!
Private users too are very troublesome, especially younger drivers who enjoy games like Need for Speed and Grand Theft Auto.
My harsh and radical procedures, if left alone by corruption and who-you-know will definitely clean up our roads. Only innocent drivers with good eye sight; validly and properly obtained drivers’ licences; road worthy, non-polluting vehicles (at least not excessive); load-within-limits; driving within speed limits and observing all road regulations can drive.
But I realize this policy, when announced will alienate about 98.87% of the voters I need to win, probably including you...and my political opponents will floor me on the campaign trail with my own offences, no matter how minor
So how’ll this problem be solved??? Campaign manager needed!

Saturday, 13 June 2009

? blog??

I change my facebook status a lot...the question is "What is on you mind?" and quite a lot goes thru there; anyway my friend eljefe suggested that I should start a blog. He is usually full of good ideas, so i decided to actually take his teasingly handed out advice.

Gripe /graIp/: to complain, esp. in a persistent nagging manner
a complaint or grievance

I thought of millions of things to blog about, but I settled on this one for four reasons:
No.1. In my daily activities I seem to encounter a lotttt of nonsense, more than most people :) and I ususally like to let people know, which does not usually go down well with them at all. [Anger, shouting, scenes....even insults, lol]
2. I have a terrible temper, which i am trying to get in check. so this will be my therapy. Instead of releasing all my displeasure, i'll blog about it.
3a. When wronged, Ghanaians always leave everything to God. Not put it right. So the fool keeps on receiving prayers which could have been saved for better, more pressing matters.
3b.When people do complain, they never follow it with any action. they jus talk and talk and talk, and forget it...hence those of us who try become such bitches.
4.there are so many businesses, people, companies, etc branching out and providing innovative services to Ghanaians and they deserve commendation. They are going to get it here...they are also going to get it when they try to rip us off with substandard service or jus simple crappy behaviour.

I've been in a position where i've had to serve people before. They can be annoying, obnoxious, rude and uncaring. but at the end of the day the customer IS always right and deserves the best. Surprisingly, most people notice the effort, when it is made and that is good for business.

So i'll be keeping you posted.
There are quite a lot of topics i am sure you can identify with.....say...... guards...told ya!!