Friday, February 26, 2010

Crazy Concert Costs

You would be cast crudely from the queue to a live entertainment event if you offered only GH¢10 ($7.15). You would need to bleed at least GH¢40 ($29) for local/African artistes, and GH¢100 ($72) for American artistes.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Lemonade & Lunch

Thankfully, GHc10 ($7.15) will lavish you a flagon of lemonade and lunch on a laze-about week day - a healthy hoarding of fine-grain gari foto and pan-fried chevon, or frugal fufu with gleeful goat-light, or yummy yam and garden-egg stew (kobi and all) or jolly jollof rice and chicken. OH, STOP IT! ....... How many earn GHc10 a day? ... and legitimately?

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

9 Litres of Petrol

GHC10 ($7.15) won’t get you 2 gallons of gasoline, goddammit! And still, Accra navigates a sea full of SUVs. Plus this equatorial fireplace demands the full nyanya.

*Nyanya = air conditioning.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

No Cheap Movie Ticket

GH¢10 ($7.14) won’t admit you to Ghana’s only real cinema. It will take one-and-a-half times that. I’ve heard it said that most families, here, must live on less than $1 daily, judging from the wages.

10 Ghana Cedis

Dear Reader, this week, I will explore the theme posts again. I’m going to discover what GHC10 can do for a person. That’s about US$7.15. Maybe, I will rather discover what it cannot do. Maybe you want to share what you can(not) do with US$7.15, or its equivalent, wherever you are. First post coming up later today. Thank you.

Monday, February 22, 2010

I Wish I'd Learned That Sooner

I wish I had learned sooner the power of attention to detail.

I wish I had learned sooner the futility of getting a woman to like you simply by being nice to her.

I wish I had learned sooner the power of self-love.

I wish I had learned sooner who my real friends were.

I wish I had learned sooner the importance of food and sleep.

I wish I had learned sooner to do legal research well.

I wish I had learned sooner the perils of emotional dependence.

I wish I had learned sooner to speak my true mind always.

I wish I had learned sooner that ism would always be a part of life.

I wish I had learned sooner to live life less intensely.

What do you wish you had learned sooner?

Friday, February 19, 2010

The Merchant and the Leper 5

Part 5: The Liver of a Leper

The King’s beloved daughter fell ill
Could not be healed by prayer or pill
The Leper whispered in the King’s ear
Let the Merchant heal her or die here

He travelled to distant lands and ‘hoods
Until he met the Spirit of the Woods
Who knew an ancient healing plan –
The liver of a freshly killed man

The Merchant returned to the King’s palace
“I have the cure”, he said with a hiss
“Kipper, pepper, liver of a leper!
"I'm pretty sure that will help her"

Before the western sun went down
The Princess walked through the town
But the Leper was seen no more
It’s said his death was all agony and gore!

The End

Thursday, February 18, 2010

The Merchant and the Leper 4

Part 4: The Bull and the Snake

A stranger plot is then hatched
Its evil intent most unmatched
“See the fiery bull in the fields
“Go yell till its life it yields”

Sitting on the wooden fence
The Merchant has lost hope and sense
His friend, the serpent, crawls to him
And offers to save his wealth and limb

“I will sneak upon the bull
“When you’re screaming loud and full
“Unseen by your foes and their gangs
“I will kill it with a stab of my fangs”

So, the bull was “screamed” to death
Seemed just give up on breath
(There were more tasks planned from hell
Until calamity befell)

The Merchant and the Leper 3

Part 3: Millions of Grain

The Leper goes to see the King
More intrigue does he bring:
“You made it easy, and he won
“Set him a more difficult one.”

“Take him to your Great Granary
(’Bout which you sing like a canary)
“Mix up all the grain of the land
“Let him separate each kind by hand”

The kind Merchant is sad again
As he walks, all can see his pain
He meets the Ant who he’s helped before
The Ant brings his colony to the grain store

Rice and Barley, Oats and Wheat
All are sorted nice and neat
When King and Leper come to check
They both go like “What the heck!”

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Merchant and the Leper 2

Part 2: The Baobab Tree

“Pick all the fruit off the Baobab Tree”
Was the King’s insane decree
“But drop not a leaf to ground
“Or I’ll take your dollar and pound”

The merchant went weeping on his way
His future looked bleak and grey
How could he this task execute?
No one could pick just the fruit!

He met the playful monkey
Who he’d helped a time or three
“Today your kindness will save you,
“Of trees, I know a thing or two.”

Swinging here and there
Was not done with lesser care
Down in no time are the pods
But not a single leaf plods.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Merchant and the Leper 1

Part 1: Kindness Repaid

A kind, old Merchant rides homeward
With his caravan from abroad
He sees a Leper at the roadside
And brings him home to reside

Rather than give great gratitude
The Leper picks an attitude
He’s torn, by green envy, apart
At the Merchant’s golden heart

The Leper goes to see the King
And taunts his blue blood to pink
“Why do you sit idle and weak,
“While the Merchant’s riches peak?”

“What shall I do”, the King enquires
“Whatever your sovereign will requires!”
“Set tasks he cannot do,
“Then seize his wealth and due!”

Series - The Merchant & The Leper

It's been a while since I wrote a series. For the rest of this week, we will serialise the story of the Merchant and the Leper. It teaches a lesson at the end. Enjoy.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Signs of Love

When a strange, unintelligible language comes out of my mouth in a donkey voice.
Because I'm thinking so much about what to do or say that my brain is not connected to my speech!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

On Special Occasions, I Wear ...

Me Gas Mask

I'd like to boast that there's some priceless, once-in-a-year article of clothing or accessory I keep for special occasions only. But I have no lucky drawers or boxers or swinging chain, other bling or earring. So, I'm staid in that area, unless you count fragrances. Who do you wear on special occasions?

Friday, February 12, 2010

5 High-School Valentine Tales


Each year had its “Moneybags” – the most extravagant present-giver. Kwame had saved for long – he wanted the title so badly. At 4 a.m., he sent 10 junior boys to her dormitory, with a ton of goodies. At 7 a.m., she sent 10 junior girls to return the unopened presents at the DINING HALL!


All the girls waited to open their presents together. Maame’s cake box was the biggest, brightest and heaviest by far. She waited till she was the centre of attention, and then she began the slow, teasing unwrapping. It was a cake all right, but it was a gari cake, with red close-up toothpaste for icing! Sucker!

* Gari = Roasted manioc granules

Nana, Patrick, Kwasi & 50 Others

Sometimes, you just didn't have the money to compete, but couldn't get her to understand. So, 1 week before the Day, you kicked up a baseless fight, and broke up. No need for presents. You waited for 5 days, and went back to you were sorry.

Linda, Ama, Melissa & 200 Others

When a self-respecting girl looked into the Valentine crystal ball, a week before the Day, and found herself “gnashing” (i.e. attracting no male attention) she would suddenly jelly-and-jam up to a nice guy or 2 in hopes of rapid, romantic reciprocity!

Tricia, Akua & Nana Akosua & 50 Other Desperados

When the writing was on the wall that all the last-minute sucking up would attract no attention, the smartest girls sneaked into town, bought impressive presents, wrapped them up the way only a girl could, and couriered it right back to themselves in a boy’s name! Wow!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Poetry: 24-Hour News

3 news items, over the past day, keep coming back to me.

*Students of Archbishop Porter Girls School in Takoradi, Ghana, got severe food poisoning after eating school food last night. It appears to be an offence to eat alternative food to the bad school-issue.

100 girls went off to school
Eating, there, was a stiff rule
Like many a useless control tool
Now, the girls are oozing stool

*The president recently reshuffled his cabinet. All new ministers are vetted by Parliament. The expected fiery Q&A turned out to be quite a farce.

The Main Man got new ministers
The House promised vetting sinisters
But when appeared the Misses and Misters
Both sides oafed like brothers and sisters

*So, it is being officially acknowledged that government officials in Ghana have kind of always travelled with paid female companions. And the president referred to it as indiscretion?

So, officials go with Ghanaian Geisha girls
Paid for with the taxpayer’s pearls
While poverty and the national debt swirls
One more government is fluffing it in twirls

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Dominant Sense

Picture yourself all alone in a vacuum. What do you experience? Which of your senses strikes the sharpest? I isolate my fragrance and ‘mirage’ the walls closing in on me; my breathing breaks and pings like ice needles off imaginary walls. My most-alive sense is my sense of smell; then my sense of touch; then hearing. Back in the vacuum, what do you imagine you experience? What is your dominant sense?

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

It Must Have Been Love

As a tailspin-teenager, I had a creative crush on a new “Lil Lovely” every month. It started with a hottie called Amanda. At the swimming pool, I was looking at her looking at me, but we could not talk to each other. Later, we faux-flirted through our friends, and my song for her was “It Must Have Been Love” by Swedish duo, Roxette.

Another Cinderella-crush was buxom, French-Ivorian beauty, Chantal, who was 4 years older (and 100 light years sexier) than me, and who lived in Cocody, Abidjan. My ballad for her was “Impossible Love” by UB40.

Monday, February 8, 2010

3 More Historical Tales – Ga, Nzema, Dagomba

Nii Bonne III – the Ga Gandhi

January 1948. The Gold Coast is still a British Colony. In protest against racial discrimination, Nii Kwabena Bonne III organises a boycott of European goods. The boycotts spread across the nation. Riots follow. 1 month later, a deranged British policeman shoots three local WWII veterans, and kills them. European and Asian shops are looted. The rioters break into the central prison and release inmates (The Bastille, huh?) The “Big Six” nationalist leaders are imprisoned. In less than a decade, Ghana will emerge independent.

Anton Wilhelm Amo – 18th Centry Nzema Philosopher

Nzema land, the year 1707. A 4 year-old Nzema boy is shipped off to Amsterdam. Some accounts say he was a slave; others say he merely accompanied a missionary! Some say the Dutch wanted a native who could speak both “Native” and “Dutch” to facilitate trade. The boy is presented to a Dutch Duke who educates him. He masters English, French, Dutch, German, Latin and Greek. He obtains a degree by studying law, medicine, metaphysics, logic, physiology, history, astronomy...need I go on? He obtains a doctorate in philosophy and lectures at University of Halle. His “father”, the Duke, dies, and he is subjected to extreme racism. He is forced to go back to Africa – Ghana, where his Nzema father and sister (who he does not know) are still alive. Being “Dutch” he is prevented from “mixing” with the natives for fear that he may sow dissent. Therefore he is kept in a Dutch fort. He disappears from the eyes of history, and probably dies, aged 56, in 1759!

Tohadzie – the Red Hunter

A master of archery travels from Zamfara (present-day Northern Nigeria) to the Mali Empire. He settles in a small town which is dying from drought. Their only water source has been taken over by a wild beast. Tohadzie kills the beast and is a hero. He marries a Malian princess and they have a son, Kpogonumbo, who is the father of the great Dagomba people. Kpogonumbo grows up a great warrior, very much his father’s equal in exploits. He marries 2 women whose militant sons are always at war with one another. There is a migration from the initial family to Pusiga (present-day Upper East Ghana) and further downwards. More descendants break off to found the great kingdoms of Modern Dagbon, Mamprusi and Moshi.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Optical Illusion?

At 7 p.m. on a sweet-sky Saturday, a favoured sixth former will be spicing up for Entertainment Night. So was I, in the shower, many years ago, when a silent aircraft with 2 great headlights halted at a half-angle over the bathhouse. It froze unnervingly for 3 odd minutes, and then it bleeped off at a slow speed.

What unusual or illusory experiences have you had in your time?

Saturday, February 6, 2010

3 Interesting Historical Tales - Fante, Asante, Ewe

Oburumankoma, Odapagyan and Oson

3 great warriors who split from the wider Akan group at Krako (modern-day Techiman in the middle of Ghana). Their names meant “The Whale”, “The Eagle” and “The Elephant”. Oburumankoma and Odapagyan did not survive the difficult journey, but Oson did (almost Romulus and Remus, huh?). Oson led the Fante southwards towards the coast and conquered the original inhabitants of Adoakyir who they called “Etsi fui fo” (the bushy-haired people). The Fante renamed Adoakyir “Oman Kesemu” (the Great State), which is now known as Mankessim.

Osei Tutu Kwame Asibe Bonsu – The Hostage-King

During the scramble in pre-colonial Ghana for gold-rich land, the Denkyira people dominated other groups. The Oyoko clan became refugees in the town of Kumase, which became a vassal of the Dekyira King. The Denkyira King, Nana Boa Amponsem, requested for a young, male Kumase royal to serve at his court, and the Kumase Chief sent his nephew Osei Tutu Kwame Asibe Bonsu. Osei Tutu rose to become a great General in the Denkyira army who won many battles. Circumstances compelled him to flee back to Kumase (accompanied by 300 elite warriors given him by Nana Ansah Sasraku, the Akwamu King). When the Kumase Chief died, Osei Tutu became chief (the biblical Joseph, huh?) He founded the Great Asante Kingdom with the help of his friend, the Chief Fetish Priest Okomfo Anokye. The Asante Kingdom (at its peak of power) covered to an area bigger than present-day Ghana.

Hogbetsotso Za – The Great Escape

King Agorkorli of the clay-walled city of Notsie (in present-day Togo) was one very cruel king to his own subjects. He would, for example, order broken bottles to put in the clay used for buildings, and force subjects to knead it. To escape, the subjects (engineered by the women) used laundry and dish-washing water to soften a section of the city wall, until it collapsed (Berlin, huh?). Then, they escaped at night by walking backwards out of the city. Seen from afar, the escapees appeared to be entering rather than leaving the city. The last to escape, scattered millet grain on the ground, and when the birds came to peck, they erased the footprints too, throwing the King’s trackers off-course. Totally brilliant! To celebrate the Great Escape, the descendants of the escapees – the Ewe people – have the Hogbetsotso Za Festival.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Books Never Finished

Wuthering Heights, by Emily Bronte; that’s one book I never finished no matter how many times I tried.

I found it flatly boring, even in its landscapes and portraits of physical and mental cruelty. I now know that the unquiet passion of Heathcliff and Catherine Earnshaw sees no dream ending, but I’ll never know firsthand.

Which book did you never finish?

Thursday, February 4, 2010

8 Childhood Games I Played

The list is long, including the discredited "Mummy-and-Daddy" which I deny ever playing. Well, maybe I once pretended to be the baby for obvious reasons. Lol. Here's my list. Can you add to it?

Police-and-Thieves (not Robbers)
I liked this game especially for the part where your friend (a policeman) would shoot you (the thief) and you would defiantly refuse to die. It was so painful to the policeman.

I like this game because of the call to the seekers to come looking for you: Pampanaaaaa!

I loved this game for the sheer opportunity to be cruel. Crudely based on baseball, players would be divided into throwers and hitters. Throwers had to throw an empty tin into a disused car tyre, while hitters tried to bat it as far away as possible. They could literally "send" you to the next street or the next neighbourhood.

We would hide something in an obscure place and scour the grounds looking for it. We would shout "piilolo" when we found it. But there was a lot of bonding opportunity for boys and girls in between.

Kyem Pe
"Divide it equally". A game played over the whole term. Players would shout "kyem pe" upon chancing on another player holding/eating/carrying food. And you had to divide it equally. A more radical version was "Gbo ni ma wo" (literally "Die and let me take it"). In this case, the owner of the food had to leave it all to the other person.

This game turned every day into All/April Fools Day.

I Drop It
Players would squat in a circle and one of them would run round them, while they sang. The runner would secretly drop an item in their hand behind one squatter, who had to detect it and continue the run before the original runner back or risk a painful slap on the back. The song was "I drop it, I drop it" sang repeatedly. As kids, we would say "Law Peter" repeatedly. I love to think back to it.

Rock, Paper, Scissors
Well, this is universal enough, but we played it with the "exotic effect" after Aunt Junko Izumiyama, of obvious nationality, taught us the words Gu (rock), Chock (scissors) and Par (paper) ostensibly in Japanese.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Pray Your Own Way Home

I thought I would be too afraid to say this outside my mind, but whenever I drive past the “Action Chapel” on the Spintex Road, whether at 10 a.m. or 10 p.m., I suffer those women who spend endless time praying there like they have no jobs or families to look after. I roundly resolve NEVER to stop and give the free ride they’re always asking for.

P.S. My 500th blog post. Just thought you may be happy to share this with me. Thank you, dear reader.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Are You Here?

A ‘Ghanaianism’ for “do you live/work here?” So, a young man in originally black or brown (can’t tell which) jeans walked up to me at Zenith Bank to ask. Maybe it was my ‘bankeresque’ snazzy suit. I aimed at him with my purest poker face, and then sneered, “If you can see me standing here, then I must be here!”

Monday, February 1, 2010

Where Do You People-Watch?

I do my people-watching at Zenith Bank. It’s where the career women ‘strobe’ in, in their clean-line, sexy-swaying corporate skirt suits and lovely black shoes.

I do my people watching at Frankies at Osu. From the unbridled upstairs window, I survey-sweep the street below for colours of clothes, samples of couples, slices of cleavage, and cold cuts of derrieres. Or I can browse my google gaze indoors if I chose my seating right, to face and surf the incoming swing doors.

I do my people-watching at Erata Hotel’s cool pool at East Legon. Here, minimal clothes do not bring the colour rising to the flirty face. The water lies naked in ripples, reflecting one hundred exciting excuses.