Friday, May 27, 2005

Forget the BBC, Let's Crash Out in Metropolitan Rain!

As I took Fenix for a walk Thursday evening, I couldn't help but reflect on how blessed Africa is, what with its chaos, verdant and panoramic views, and its real-life/free BBC-style documentaries--especially when it rains.

As I ruminated over all this, it did not take long before those flying insects (that come out in droves when it rains) crashed into my face--literally.

Maybe, it's their need to crash into each other just so that they can feel something;-)

More seriously, how many places on Earth are you permitted the luxury of seeing frogs on the doorstep of a shop -- waiting like hulking cowboys to lap up thoise wretched flying insects.

In my book, not many.

Then again, I have only visited a small fraction of the world's countries! But I do think it is safe to assume that at least in the metropolis of Accra, it is rather sure to witness such a a scene without getting attendant poison/venom directed your way;-)

Such is the pleasurable vector of my feel-goodness well-situated on my personal antennae in this ostensibly God-forsaken country.

The adjective has often been attributed by many a Ghanaian to the country, because of what some consider to be inherent corruption, chaos and a general laid-back attitude of public service Ghana.

To be fair, that may be an exaggeration, for the country is creditted as comprising some of the friendliest people on Earth.

So, what are we complaining about? I think like the Brits, if we did not complain**, we would die.

**be warned: Monty Python humour coming ahead.

Site of the moment

Ghana is an English-speaking country situated on the coast of West Africa near the equator. Ghana is bounded on the north and northwest by Burkina Faso, on the east by Togo, on the south by the Atlantic Ocean, and on the west by Cote d'Ivoire. It is one of the most beautiful and diverse countries in Africa with a stable democracy and friendly people. Formerly a British colony known as the Gold Coast, Ghana was the first Black nation in sub-Saharan Africa to achieve independence, led by Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah in 1957. The country is named after the ancient empire of Ghana, from which the ancestors of the inhabitants of the present country are thought to have migrated. Many African Americans can trace their roots to Ghana and other countries in West Africa.

Ghana is a lowland country, except for a range of hills on the eastern border. The sandy coastline is backed by a coastal plain that is crossed by several rivers and streams, generally navigable only by canoe. In the west the rain is broken by heavily forested hills and many streams and rivers. To the north lies an undulating savanna that is drained by the Volta River, which flows south to the sea through a narrow gap in the hills. Lake Volta, in the east, is one of the largest artificial lakes in the world. Ghana's highest point, in the eastern hills, is about 2,900 feet (884 meters) above sea level.

The climate of Ghana is tropical, but temperatures vary with season and elevation.


Thursday, May 19, 2005

US Versus Them, or How Ghanaians Make More Caring People than the US?

"Men at Work"--Please note the caption;-) Taken @ Airport Residential, August 2004 Posted by Hello

Yesterday morning, as the rain, once again of a cats and dogs variety poured down in the beautiful, green city of Accra, I was engaged in a short discussion with one about crime rates, Ghana, the US and culture. Please find below the transcript, which makes interesting reading. My handle is "goodmanhunting2003".

calvinthedog (08:48:40): hi
calvinthedog (08:48:50): i have a question for you
goodmanhunting2003 (08:48:56): hey--long time no see
calvinthedog (08:49:04): hi there
calvinthedog (08:49:14): can u tell me
calvinthedog (09:00:59): does the punishment for criminals differ between Ghana and the US
goodmanhunting2003 (09:01:11): depends on the crime...
calvinthedog (09:01:23): you see, i noticed that crime rates are actually much higher in the US
calvinthedog (09:01:27): than Ghana
calvinthedog (09:01:32): and Ghana is all black
calvinthedog (09:01:36):
goodmanhunting2003 (09:01:45): ok...
calvinthedog (09:01:49): the attitude prevalent here is black folks are natural criminals
calvinthedog (09:02:07): the Ghana example would seem to prove this wrong
calvinthedog (09:02:08): at least in one case
calvinthedog (09:02:09): i have the figures
calvinthedog (09:02:21): murder rate US = 2 X as high
calvinthedog (09:02:31): rape rate US = 4 X as high
calvinthedog (09:02:48): theft rate = 80 times as high
calvinthedog (09:03:01): larceny rate = 2,700 X as high
calvinthedog (09:03:21): the formulation blacks = crime is largely racist
goodmanhunting2003 (09:03:30): well. that's's true a lot of black folks do commit crimes in the US, but they are not naturally criminal...too bad though that blacks have created this myth for themselves too...
calvinthedog (09:03:42): well anyway
calvinthedog (09:03:49): i would like to use this Ghana example
calvinthedog (09:03:56): to show that its not true
calvinthedog (09:04:01): at least in case of Ghana
goodmanhunting2003 (09:04:04): gang culture does not help dispel the myth..then again, let's think of Italy, and we thin of Mafia...y know...
calvinthedog (09:04:32): well u know blacks in US have much higher crime rate than blacks in Ghana
calvinthedog (09:04:37): and a much worse attitude IMO
calvinthedog (09:04:40): very angry
calvinthedog (09:04:42): not happy
calvinthedog (09:04:48): lot of social pathology
goodmanhunting2003 (09:04:50): yes, they are angry!! it'sa true....
calvinthedog (09:05:00): and they are much wealthier than Ghanian blacks
calvinthedog (09:05:02): so............
calvinthedog (09:05:25): the high crime, anger and social pathology of US blacks must be due to being a minority
calvinthedog (09:05:30): discrimination
calvinthedog (09:05:32): racism
calvinthedog (09:05:41): something about being a black minority
calvinthedog (09:05:46): in a white society
goodmanhunting2003 (09:05:47): yes...all true...
calvinthedog (09:05:56): cuz its clearly not genetic
calvinthedog (09:06:03): US blacks are 20% white
calvinthedog (09:06:05): minimum
calvinthedog (09:06:10): so anyway......
calvinthedog (09:06:26): one rejoinder i am getting is......the punishment in Ghana is much more severe
calvinthedog (09:06:29): i doubt it
calvinthedog (09:06:40): but if you could help me.........
goodmanhunting2003 (09:06:42): I don't think they havea capital punishment here....
calvinthedog (09:06:48): really?????????
calvinthedog (09:06:59): wow
calvinthedog (09:06:59): omg
calvinthedog (09:07:00): whats a usual sentence for homicide?
calvinthedog (09:07:03): rape?
calvinthedog (09:07:11): any idea?
calvinthedog (09:07:51): robbery?
goodmanhunting2003 (09:08:17): armed robbery gets you from 10-20 years from what I have been hearing in the news...
goodmanhunting2003 (09:08:20): brb...
calvinthedog (09:08:23): wow
calvinthedog (09:08:24): ok
goodmanhunting2003 (09:13:49): I'm back...
goodmanhunting2003 (09:14:08): for homicide, not sure...
calvinthedog (09:14:13): k good
calvinthedog (09:14:22): thats a bit higher than the US
calvinthedog (09:14:23): what about homicide?
calvinthedog (09:14:32): rape?
calvinthedog (09:14:32): any ideas?
goodmanhunting2003 (09:14:42): but it would depend on gravity of the crime--as is the case everywhere. Definitely a more than 5...
calvinthedog (09:14:58): ok
calvinthedog (09:14:59): wow
goodmanhunting2003 (09:15:03): no idea for rape...
calvinthedog (09:15:06): i think we are tougher here
calvinthedog (09:15:15): theft?
calvinthedog (09:15:20): ok
calvinthedog (09:15:22): petty theft?
calvinthedog (09:15:31): larceny?
goodmanhunting2003 (09:15:58): theft attracts a low sentence here, I think. You can get something like 1 yr/2 years, but armed is a heavier one.
calvinthedog (09:16:15): ok
calvinthedog (09:16:20): i think we are actually tougher here
calvinthedog (09:16:30): not that a Ghanian prison is a very nice place
calvinthedog (09:16:38): i think i can shoot that theory down
calvinthedog (09:16:51): now, why the low crime rate in Ghana?
calvinthedog (09:16:59): high religiosity?
goodmanhunting2003 (09:17:02): seems so...I recall the three strikes and you're out--anad the controversy surrounding that...
calvinthedog (09:05:44): no kidding!!!!!!!!
calvinthedog (09:05:54): 25 yrs for stealing a hamburger????
goodmanhunting2003 (09:05:59): some odd sentences over that!!!
calvinthedog (09:06:10): very Christian culture in Ghana
calvinthedog (09:06:14): i wonder if that is part of it
goodmanhunting2003 (09:06:17): that is just criminal...(pardon the pun)
calvinthedog (09:06:26): really no kidding
goodmanhunting2003 (09:06:34): btw, this may help:
calvinthedog (09:07:13): yes i saw that
calvinthedog (09:07:24): really not so much crime there even in Accra
goodmanhunting2003 (09:07:49): I think you're right; can be attributed to the (often times excessive) CHristian culture. Ghanaians are generally peaceful people, and though criminals are part of every society, the country's extended family, etc I think helps shield a lot of to-be-criminals.
calvinthedog (09:08:09): right
calvinthedog (09:08:19): u mean high social sanction?
calvinthedog (09:08:31): a Ghanian criminal brings shame on their family?
goodmanhunting2003 (09:08:42): the sense that our family values are quite high--there is an emerging nuclear family, but our culture is such that the extended family forces us to be more caring--sometimes from the heart, othertimes, not...
calvinthedog (09:08:55): yes
calvinthedog (09:09:02): and basically a communal culture?
calvinthedog (09:09:08): communal values?
calvinthedog (09:09:18): as opposed to individualistic values
goodmanhunting2003 (09:09:37): yes, to an extent, a criminal would bring shame to the family, and the family would be harassed, etc for bringing up such a person, etc. There is an element of that.
calvinthedog (09:09:52): from village culture - the family shame thing
calvinthedog (09:10:05): African villages often had low crime
calvinthedog (09:10:22): crime has increased with the emergence of large African cities
goodmanhunting2003 (09:10:34): yes, we are not so individualistic, though regrettably, the growing middle class, and upper middle class is to a very large extent....
calvinthedog (09:10:42): yes my friends
goodmanhunting2003 (09:10:46): yes, and a rural exodus...
calvinthedog (09:10:50): they live in Achimoto
goodmanhunting2003 (09:10:57): ok...
calvinthedog (09:10:58): ppl go around from house to house asking for food
calvinthedog (09:11:01): when they are hungry
calvinthedog (09:11:05): everyone does it
calvinthedog (09:11:09): they whole neighborhood
calvinthedog (09:11:20): is hungry from time to time
calvinthedog (09:11:29): everyone helps the others
calvinthedog (09:11:35): thats unheard of here
goodmanhunting2003 (09:11:48): I think it depends what neighborhood it is...the very very poor ones would definitely do that, but not the upcoming urban ones...
calvinthedog (09:11:56): yeah
calvinthedog (09:12:08): however, my friend got 2 cars, and now the whole district hates them
calvinthedog (09:12:10):
goodmanhunting2003 (09:12:26): but even then, not everyone goes round begging for food. There are beggars on the streets--even then there are many rumours that some ofthem are richer than the average guy...
calvinthedog (09:12:29): they want everyone to be just as poor as everyone else
calvinthedog (09:12:35): well she said
calvinthedog (09:12:42): everyone runs low from time to time
calvinthedog (09:12:51): every family there
calvinthedog (09:12:55): runs low
calvinthedog (09:12:59): sometimes
calvinthedog (09:13:04): and when they do they go around
calvinthedog (09:13:13): and anyone who has food, helps out
calvinthedog (09:13:19): cuz they are all poor
goodmanhunting2003 (09:13:22): that's just bad. There is also this stupid Pull Him Down (PhD) mentality here in Ghana that cuts across matter how rich or poor you may be, when some people see you doing well, they want to pull you down...
calvinthedog (09:13:37): u hear about crabs in the barrel?
calvinthedog (09:13:42): crabs in a barrel do that
goodmanhunting2003 (09:13:57): yes, all the crabs pull each other down!!
calvinthedog (09:14:05): one crab starts to climb out - another crab will grab and pull him down
calvinthedog (09:14:08): lol
calvinthedog (09:14:17): they talk about that in the ghetto here too
goodmanhunting2003 (09:14:46): it's some strange mentality...that a lot of people need to disabuse themselves of!
calvinthedog (09:14:54): well yeah
calvinthedog (09:14:59): its your communal culture
goodmanhunting2003 (09:15:15): both good and bad--yes!!
calvinthedog (09:15:19): now you are getting an injection of individualism and materialism
calvinthedog (09:15:26): and its happening too fast i think
calvinthedog (09:15:52): anyway, if my friends tell me right, I have heard of much more altruism in Accra than in the US
goodmanhunting2003 (09:15:54): it is happening a tada too fast, I agree...I think we need to sort our basic problems out
goodmanhunting2003 (09:16:04): really?
calvinthedog (09:16:10): 1 Accra resident is more altruistic than 20 americans
calvinthedog (09:16:19): i cant believe the stuff i am told
goodmanhunting2003 (09:16:41): interesting to know, but I though the US was home of philanthropists, like Rockefeller, etc??
calvinthedog (09:16:41): they took the car to church, and the whole church came out and danced around and prayed for the car
calvinthedog (09:16:48): well
goodmanhunting2003 (09:16:52): that's a bit much!!
calvinthedog (09:17:05): this place is land of radical individualism
goodmanhunting2003 (09:17:10): a lot of people would do this, and then cuss at you behind your back...
calvinthedog (09:17:35): my friends were going to the hospital every day to look for the ppl who got hurt in that accident
calvinthedog (09:17:43): and the injured ppl yelled at them
goodmanhunting2003 (09:17:51): why??
calvinthedog (09:18:02): then they were walking to their homes 2 hours each way 3 times a week to help them
calvinthedog (09:18:10): well my friends driver hit their car
calvinthedog (09:18:27): then they needed the money to get the injured out of hospital
calvinthedog (09:18:38): they wouldnt let them leave till they got the money
goodmanhunting2003 (09:18:48): ouch...
calvinthedog (09:18:59): but walk 2 hours each way 3 times a week to go see ppl ur driver hurt in an accident????
calvinthedog (09:19:12): u would almost never see that here
calvinthedog (09:19:24): never really
goodmanhunting2003 (09:20:08): despite Ghana's many faults, all I can say is that generally we are peace-loving people. Creditted as such worldwide, and maybe sometimes that affects our culture positively. But we can DEFINITELY do a lot better...
calvinthedog (09:20:20): yeah
calvinthedog (09:20:29):
calvinthedog (09:20:32): oh
calvinthedog (09:20:37): i threw a christmas party for them
calvinthedog (09:20:44): they opened the doors for the hood
calvinthedog (09:20:49): and all kinds of ppl came
calvinthedog (09:20:51): rice and fish
calvinthedog (09:20:57): for like 2-3 days
calvinthedog (09:21:02): 30-40 ppl
goodmanhunting2003 (09:21:03): sounds like something people would do here...
calvinthedog (09:21:06): came from all over
calvinthedog (09:21:13): and they ALL thanked me
calvinthedog (09:21:19): over and over endlessly
goodmanhunting2003 (09:21:19): 30-40 people, including opportunists
calvinthedog (09:21:24): they were so grateful
calvinthedog (09:21:33): yeah but they were so grateful
calvinthedog (09:21:36): its weird
goodmanhunting2003 (09:21:37): you did well. Good on ya!!
calvinthedog (09:21:44): no one is grateful here
calvinthedog (09:21:47): not really
calvinthedog (09:21:50): its weird
goodmanhunting2003 (09:22:00): they would's in the culture to thank--sometimes profusely and excessively, but it's there...
calvinthedog (09:22:01): in some ways, Ghanians are much better than Americans
calvinthedog (09:22:07): yeah
calvinthedog (09:22:27): and we have a very negative view of Africans
calvinthedog (09:22:36): we think they are primitive
calvinthedog (09:22:43): morally degenerated
calvinthedog (09:23:06): cant accomplish anything
goodmanhunting2003 (09:23:17): I wouldn't go as far as saying Ghanaians are better though. In so many ways, one thing I admire about the US is its family values, and living in Europe, with countries like the UK, it is just non-existent. In the US, mothers make a greater effort to be motherly I found.
calvinthedog (09:23:28): yeah
calvinthedog (09:23:31): i dunno
calvinthedog (09:23:35): thats just IMO
calvinthedog (09:23:37):
calvinthedog (09:23:42): i was really surprised
calvinthedog (09:23:50): this place is all about $$$$
goodmanhunting2003 (09:23:51): there are many good and bad people in either country
calvinthedog (09:23:56): yeah
calvinthedog (09:24:12): anyway, i may do a blog piece on this
goodmanhunting2003 (09:24:25): sad, but you still find good people in the US...
calvinthedog (09:24:32): oh sure of course
calvinthedog (09:24:34):
calvinthedog (09:24:44): they will tend to not be so successful though
calvinthedog (09:24:48): i bet
goodmanhunting2003 (09:25:05): you should, cos it;s one of the biggest mysteries of our time--the poverty thing---why is it that ostensibly poorer people appear to be happier?
calvinthedog (09:25:23): exactly
calvinthedog (09:25:32): Ghanians do seem happy
goodmanhunting2003 (09:25:47): and rarely do they also suffer mental illness, which, regrettably, is the bane of many western societies!
calvinthedog (09:25:52): ive dropped out of my society frankly
calvinthedog (09:25:59): well they may
calvinthedog (09:26:01): i dont know
calvinthedog (09:26:06): maybe its just not diagnose
calvinthedog (09:26:16): my friend is very unhappy at times
calvinthedog (09:26:24): her mother cries all day sometimes
calvinthedog (09:26:36): she worries a lot
calvinthedog (09:26:42): cant sleep at all at nite
goodmanhunting2003 (09:26:52): how come?
calvinthedog (09:26:57): problems
calvinthedog (09:27:01): money problems
calvinthedog (09:27:05): mostly
calvinthedog (09:27:10): the accident thing
calvinthedog (09:27:16): worries over money
goodmanhunting2003 (09:27:27): that's bad...
calvinthedog (09:27:34): anyway, here they would give u a drug and a diagnosis
calvinthedog (09:27:44): maybe there they dont
goodmanhunting2003 (09:27:49): I sincererly do wish you and them the best of luck...
calvinthedog (09:27:55): ok thx man
goodmanhunting2003 (09:27:58): sorry, but I am being called--again...
calvinthedog (09:28:03): ill let u know if i blog on this
calvinthedog (09:28:08): maybe u can link me
goodmanhunting2003 (09:28:44): much appreciated---can u please give your blog again? I bookmarked it...
calvinthedog (09:29:13):
calvinthedog (09:29:19): mostly on Iraq these days
calvinthedog (09:29:22):
goodmanhunting2003 (09:29:50): ok thanks---will link it up
goodmanhunting2003 (09:29:56): have a good sleep
calvinthedog (09:29:59): ok
calvinthedog (09:30:01): bye
calvinthedog (09:30:04):
goodmanhunting2003 (09:30:07): take care!

What do you think?

Monday, May 16, 2005

Friday the Thirteenth in Pictures...(& One Saturday)

I really like this picture; the green from the taxi created a cool effect. It's off Liberation circle. To the right, you head towards International Conference Centre. The "GW" preceding the digits on the car mean the car was registered in the Tema metropolis. A year ago, it would have been "GT" {Tema}, but as there are so many cars coming now onto the road, the GT was replaced with "GW". Posted by Hello

Tudu, near Makola. This is the "cage" to come pay your water bill at the Electricity of Ghana Centre Posted by Hello

After bill paid, I boarded the Mass Metro Bus, hoping to leave within 10 minutes maximum. Instead... Posted by Hello

...I have time to take another picture. By the way, Cedi House is in the distance, and British Council is only about three minutes drive away from this place--to the left. Posted by Hello

Another view from the window of the Mass Metro Transport bus. I was not travelling in a double-decker, though. These buses, as an aside, are from China Posted by Hello

This is the ticket that I am issued literally minutes after taking those pictures. A measly ç1000! That's like E0.10 -- ten Euro cents. I had to wait a bleeding one hour before we left. The bus was going to Adenta-Legon direction! Posted by Hello

This is the place where Lorenzo Lamas made his debut in my chronicles of life in Accra;-) Easco Secretarial Services--literally a minute walk away from my place of work in East Legon. Posted by Hello

okay, it's Easco Com;-) you can see for yourself the services they offer. Darn, I should get paid for this free publicity!;-) Posted by Hello

On Saturday, after having spent some time cleaning and ironing, my Mum and I treated ourselves to a ç1000 (thousand cedis) donut from "Baker's Inn", located on the Spintex Road. Warmed in the microwave for less than a minute, you find yourself in culinary heaven! Posted by Hello

A View from the Hall--reminder that it's garbage day on Monday! Posted by Hello

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Pictures from Saturday

Straight ahead is the airport environs. To the left, you go to a fast-food joint--Papaye--as well as Teshie/Nungua/Manetville/Regimanuel/Coastal Estates/Manet Court/Tema. To the right, you head towards Tetteh-Quarshie interchange. On the road where I took this picture, is the road that goes (behind me) to East Legon/Shiashie, once you go under the bridge. Posted by Hello

CITI 97.3FM poster on Dad's other car {the speed demon I call it. It's a cute white FORD courier van}. The station is promoting a bumper-promotion thingy, whereby two things are required to win 5 gallons of petrol: your wearing of a seatbelt; and your being spotted with this poster at a Shell station, or in town, by the "roving" CITI-FM crew in Accra/Tema metropolis Posted by Hello

pedestrians exercising patience at a traffic light stop in a busy area--near Makola. Getting to Kaneshie Posted by Hello

a usual scene of activity in the Makola environs, on Saturday 7 May Posted by Hello

leaving the Makola area in Accra. Just couldn't get over what that guy in the white t-shirt leaning over the railings was doing...poor soul. In the foreground are the familiar colours of the ubiquitous taxi (blue/yellow) Posted by Hello

The mower that brought me joy on Saturday;-) Posted by Hello

Dad (in shirt) walking towards the car on Mother's Day. Behind him, a guy is carrying plant he just bought. Location: to the left of the picture, you head towards Tetteh-Quarshie, and to the right, you head towards Spintex Road/Manetville/Regimanuel, whereas immediate right, where the car is just coming into the picture, goes to the bridge that leads to Shiashie/East Legon Posted by Hello

Sporting a Grassy, & Kebab-Filled Evening--Is this Accra?

About two Fridays ago, I was waiting to be picked up from work to go home, when I decided to pass by a new place not too far from my place of work, called “Easco Secretarial Services”. They show, well, films occasionally; sell DVDs—of the Nollywood (Nigerian) type and Western VCDs; and mobile phone covers.

There was this film showing with Lorenzo Lamas. You’ve heard of him haven’t you? He’s this muscly guy with many series to his name, especially "Falcon Crest" of the eighties.

So there I was watching the film, and wondering “why does this guy never get shot?” Then I decided to put it down to three options:
a. he has a powerful gun
b. he’s too darn fit/sexy
c. poor script-writing

The film looked SO eighties it made me cringe.

Even the testosterone-pumped young, local men watching didn’t find it too difficult suggesting option#c.

It was an interesting way to while away the time, though.

But fast-forward to last weekend.

Saturday was a blast…

…in the sense that I blasted away this:

weedy garden Posted by Hello


weedy garden#2 Posted by Hello

Not my garden -- the weeds in the garden, which are becoming the bane of my miserable existence.

That’s not quite true. Just a tad melodramatic. Manetville is a lovely place to be, and even though suburbia is somewhat reminiscent of "American Beauty" (though it’s always been there way before the film), it can make you miss city-life. Most of my life has been spent in suburbia, and though that has brought a degree of stability to my sometimes-predictable life, it has also made me aware of that fine-line that divides attitudes in the land of bourgeoisie to that of the land of the so-called hoi-polloi. In other words, I have encountered more horrible people in suburbia (hey, Pet shop boys!!) than I have in the city.

Some might say that is ironic.

When I did live in the city (back in Brussels), it was only for four years, and I was too small being tossed and turned in the playground of the apartment we were living in, with my brother and parents, that I only re-call taking the tram, which was one of the BEST experiences of my life. Even then, I was hidden in between my Mum and Sam to notice anything significant about city-life—apart from the strange noises coming from our neighbours next door—and strange looks by the denizens of Woluwe St.Lambert, 1020 Brussels, Belgium, who though being black was tantamount to being an alien. We used to live literally two minutes away from the very popular Woluwe Shopping Centre. Sam taught me how to ride a BMX bike--hell, he taught he how to RIDE!--on the compound there, plus many numerous experiences.

But I digress.

Saturday was a good day, because, for once, I felt that I was in my element.

I do so enjoy mowing the lawn, and no-one understands it. Must have something to do with my star-sign.

I am a Bull, you see, or Taurus, and my sign is supposed to be munching grass a lot of the time—much like my star-sign cousin the cow.

Well, blow me away with that lay-man philosophy…

Putting the petrol in the engine, and making that pull of the cord thingy, only to hear it rat-tat to life is SO exhilarating. So when that was done, I spent almost thirty minutes mowing the whole garden, as well as the sides of the house.

And it was GOOD!

My neighbour later saw me weeding (with a cutlass), and with a smile on her face (one that looked very incredulous), she greeted me. She almost always sees me wearing a shirt/tie for work, or at worst, cleaning Dad's car when he and Mum come to stay with me—but weeding the lawn with a cutlass? That must have been rather abominable to her. She has hired help—and I don’t.

I just wasn’t trained to have hired help, if I can do my own washing, ironing, whatnot.

Fast-forward to the afternoon, when we went off to North Kaneshie. Actually, Makola. Make that Makola Market, which is in the bustling and vibrant heart of the city.

I got Mum a brolly—that’s umbrella to you and me non-Brits—for something like ç15,000 (fifteen thousand cedis only!!). That’s less than 2 Euros—and it was a darned good one, too. That was wholesale price.

Must go to Makola more often! A ceiling fan, there, was going for almost ç300,000, which is almost €30 (Euros). As for that I cannot make the comparative price check, as in Belgium, rarely does one find houses with ceiling fans, what with the weather being what it is—rainy, very hot, or snowing. But very hot means a standing fan. And as that lasts only about three months, why buy a ceiling fan??

Fast-forward to the evening, which was a bit of another blast;-)

I went to this Jazz festival thingy. I have the sheet in front of me (that contained two tickets for Saturday and Sunday 8 May): "The “Accra International Jazz Club” in conjunction with Du-Bois centre is hosting the 2nd “Accra Jazz Festival” Inside, it explained that the Jazz Club had been “founded in April 2003 by Stefan Frowein and Jimmy Beckley".


Stefan Frowein is this guy:

"European Union

Stefan Frowein (Ambassador of the Delegation of the European Commission)
The Round House, 81 Cantonments Road
P.O.Box KIA 9505, Accra
Telephone: 00233-(0)21-774094, 774236, 774202 "


The Ambassador of the EU to Ghana! Jimmy Beckley—well he came to talk about Jazz on Thursday last week on CITI FM’s Breakfast Show, and even played some small jazz tune. On the radio that is.


The Jazz night was supported by Taysec, Honeymoon Mattress; CITI97.3fm; Kofi Setorji; 87.9 Atlantis Radio; Goethe-Institut Accra; XEROX OSU.

If ever you are in Accra, and feel like contacting Jimmy Beckley, here’s his ONETOUCH and SPACEFON number respectively: +233-208.141.050; 0244.225.808.

(AM I getting paid to advertise these people?);-)

Seriously speaking, I arrived at the W.E.B DuBois Centre behind Al-Wac stadium (not too far from Burma Camp (the military base) ) The first picture you see when you enter the small bar-area is that of Martin Luther King in a contemplative pose; Kwame Nkrumah is on the right (actually, his picture is hanging in front of the bar); and finally, Malcolm X’s is right behind you as you enter.

These, in my book, are three of the greatest Black Men that ever lived—two from the US; one from Ghana. Good stuff. A seriously fantastic tribute to W.E.B. DuBois who apparently had his remains brought to Ghana.

What a guy…

Even though the place was more populated by white people (some US accents, a lot of German ones), the place began filling up with more black people. I couldn’t figure out whether they were all Ghanaian ones, but I must admit that there were a few very good-looking women (black) who were SO well-manicured they had to come from suburbia-land. I shrugged. I didn’t really care much for trying to even chat them up.

Plus the fact that my bum was not a very presentable state given my trousers—hell, there was lights out when we got home from Makola. So no time to re-iron my trousers;-) Let alone any *electricity* to iron them;-)

Seriously, though, I didn’t much care for chatting up, especially because I am now very much into G, but it did make me realize how VERY easy once a guy goes to a public function alone (though this was hardly a function!), he can be driven to distraction. G couldn’t make it regrettably, but I made sure I had a GOOD time.

Jazz, for whatever anyone can make of it is one seriously different type of music altogether. It isn’t just about instruments being played anyhow. Or about syncopated rhythms either. {Yes, I do remember my GCSE Music!!! // syncopated-- adj : stressing a normally weak beat}

It’s more about what music can come, or express itself through your soul, as it were. There was something Jimmy Beckley said to me whilst he was getting a drink, and having Malcolm X’s picture look down at him. He said that jazz is about expressing "yourself through music—not just about making any noise, which is all too-tempting".

He was suggesting that with Jazz you have to know the code—as it were—and be ready to break it. That’s the mark of the REAL jazzman – not one who engages in a cacophanic whim of drums-cum-saxophone-cum-bass guitar all rocking away in their syncopated ways.

The Jazz group—Café du Sport—a German-based group were FANTASTIC.

Sad to say that they were even better than the African Jazz players.

Though that’s not entirely fair, as I didn’t go on Mother’s Day, so I cannot proffer any insights into the Jazz there.

However, what I will offer is a waxing lyrical of this group.

The lead-player, a thirty-something good-looking German guy (piccies to come soon!!), had been playing the saxophone since the age of 14, and touring with the big bands. So Jimmy Beckley told a couple of us.

Good stuff.

On top of that, the music was right out of the 60s/90s repertoire. There was a mix of the Herbie Hancock type of Jazz, combined with the funky {and very very personable} Candy Dulfer of the nineties, and some contemporary jazz, which is heavy on saxophone and bass, and drums, but less on trumpet.

Which has just struck me: jazz a la trumpet seems to be more of the sixties type of jazz; these days, the saxophone is SO heavy. Remember the 90s song “Lily was here”?. That featured Candy Dulfer, too. And the saxophone also featured VERY heavily with Café Du Sport.

Pity I couldn’t record any of Cafe Du Sport's.

In any event, after one “Gordon Spark’s”, and three very spicy kebabs (nicely marinated), I found myself digging to the music instinctively. The saxophonist was almost surreal. When he talks, his voice is so reluctant (not because his English is good in the German-speaking-English kinda way) as if he is shy, but when he starts playing that sax, he moves, and contorts to the rhythm of the bass and drums like a snake.

It was SO cool.

To the extent that I felt rather unabashed in going right close-up to the band and taking a picture. Several, actually!

Must have been the Gordon Spark talking;-)

They played with a local Ghanaian percussionist, who was equally brilliant.

A most entertaining evening.

I left around 11.30pm—thirty minutes before it closed, got a cab, after walking circa 20 minutes, and rushed home to tell all (ie my parents) and sleep a very pleasant one.

Fenix missed his walk. He wasn't amused.

Friday, May 06, 2005

I got Spacefon Blues

WHy or why or why do we give in to these multinationals every bleeding time?

Since Spacefon became Spacefon Areeba, they have grown indeed, and grown small ulcers and cancers in Spacefon users.

What am I but a hypocrite to be praising it one time and then castigating it another time?

Do they not know some of us NEED to speak with our significant others?
...or their mothers?

Hell, it's Mother's Day on Sunday--and Spacefon AREEBA has to go and do a Mexican bungle (whatever that is) and screw the network up!

BOO Spacefon AREEBA!!

A Walk Through Many More Words...

those flowers with red leaves I mentioned -- in an entry in April -- are so beautiful Posted by Hello

in front of 37 Military hospital, Accra. Burma Camp--the army's HQ--are nearby Posted by Hello

what a breath-takingly beautiful tree. Near 37 Military hospital, May 2005 Posted by Hello

the British Council in Accra -- of Scatalogical Reflections of a British Kind fame;-) Near National Theatre Posted by Hello


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