Thursday, September 07, 2006

Blogging from Kalss Inn, East Legon: Random Thoughts on Ghana, Belgium, Development

Originally uploaded by ekbensah.
So there I was was, taking a walk from the office to the nearest newspaper stand to buy some local papers -- P& P (tabloid with useful lifestyle and relationship tips that comes out on Thursdays) et al, -- when it occurred to me that if one stepped away from one's car more often, one would probably be able to obtain a more discerning view of one's country.

As I walked, I thought about the necessity to challenge the complacency associated with moving back to one's home country in Africa after twenty years plus, and feeling that because one has access to many things, all is well.

So, I was a kid when my Dad started working in Brussels in 1980, but for sure, even my late brother, Samuel, who would have been 33 yesterday would have needed to make some serious adjustments upon arriving in the country that is his home of Ghana.

With me being 3.5 years younger, you can imagine how challenging it is for me, for example, to marry the quasi-virtuousness of Western life in Belgian suburbia with that of Ghanaian suburbia, where I am perceived more as a rich man than middle class--as I would have been in Belgium.

August saw me in my second year of living and working (and enjoying!) Accra, Ghana, but there are adjustments that need to be made to disturb any creeping complacency of life in Ghana being "good": a LOT of work needs to be done--either by way of advocacy and otherwise. That Ghana was able to say "no" to a Gay and Lesbian conference in Ghana to me speaks volumes of our visceral reluctance to adopt all that is Western. Democracy, ok, but homosexuality? In this deeply religious country? Even if the "religiousness" associated with the country is this side short of ersatz at times, or perhaps superficial, given the mushrooming of pastors left right and centre, it is clear that this latest development struck a serious chord with our moral fibre.

In any event, the walk got me thinking about some possibilities for moving forward:

1. a blog on
if so, what would be the "mandate" for it. What would it be about? A way of updating myself and readers on life in Belgium, followed by a comparison of life in Ghana? On paper, it doesn't sound bad, but when you are in a work environment and home that emphasizes the qualitative as opposed to the quantitative (I maintain three blogs regularly!!!), then you begin to have some second thoughts.

The danger with something like this would be that whilst comparing Belgium with Ghana, which is virtually impossible, you would end up castigating unwittingly the country you so love. I'm talking about my OWN country of Ghana;-) How far do I want to do that?

Criticising is fine, but how much would people be able to connect to the proposed blog?

Then again, since there is no serious site out there encouraging Belgium/Ghana relations, it would be blazing the trail of sorts...

definitely some food for thought, but right now, I gotta go buy my paper.

Here are some links for good measure: [just learnt that Kalss Inn is owned by a Caribbean man called Kallos, or so...interesting]

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