Tuesday, December 30, 2008
StoryTime (ST) Launches Ms. Cleland's Debut Short Story
As many of you know, I keep this blog because I love Ghana and want to write about the life here, but another key reason why I maintain Wo Se Ekyir... is to keep me writing as I am an aspiring novelist. I'm very pleased to announce that I responded to Ivor Hartmann's invitation to submit a story to StoryTime, which was accepted, and recently launched! I couldn't be more thrilled!
Here's what Ivor Hartmann had to say about it: "ST is very happy to proudly present, Esi W. Cleland and her debut ST story, Choices.
In just 1099 words Esi takes us on a breathless satori of love that leaps to the skies and transcends time/space, there to fly free like Icarus and kiss the rising sun. But as the title suggests, is their love strong enough to out-soar the shears of social conventions?
A bold, vivid and heart-felt story, Choices clearly marks Esi W. Cleland as a most promising new author".
Readers, enjoy, and leave me comments on my StoryTime Page. If you like this story and any of my other works, then you should check out other new fiction by African writers on StoryTime.
Thursday, December 25, 2008
How I Spent My Christmas Holidays: A View from Ghana
That village experiences ranked low on coolness scale wasn't just a figment of my imagination. It was fact. I remember once when schools resumed after the holidays, the class clown kept telling everyone that he had called three people during the vacation. Let’s call them Adwoba, Adzo and Esi (Me). The guy said that when he called Adwoba, he was told that she had gone to the
So today I thought I’d finally write about how I spent my Christmas holidays. It may be fifteen years too late but they say it's better late than never.
My christmas holidays usually began with a six-hour bus ride from
Once we’d gotten home (my grandparents' house), we’d start the Christmas proper. The main highlights of Christmas in the village were
- Fancy Dress competition between the two fancy dress groups also known as kakamotobi (Japanese sounding Ga word for fancy dress/ masquerade costume) in the village. The two groups entertained with their dancing, climbing specially-mounted tall bamboo poles, and performing tricks at its top once they got there. The tricks included taking of their clothes and wearing new ones at the top of the pole. Some of the men walked on stilts and others danced in their costumes, swinging switches in energetic feet-stamping, arm swinging dances.
- Door to door singing by the singing bands of many of the churches in the village. Their Christmas carols were sung in Fanti and the house to house trips were made at dawn.
During one of those holidays spent in the village, I’d taken along a white shirt that my aunt had bought me from Marks and Spencer, tags still intact. Now that I think about it, this too is similar to the way that Ghanaians living abroad bring new clothes when they visit Ghana. I wore my new white shirt and green togas (tr: loose fitting pants). Then, feeling tres bien, (tr:good), went to join in the masquerade costume party. By the time the evening of dancing was over, my white shirt had turned brown, from my own sweat, mixed with red dust, and pushing and shoving by other dancers. No amount of washing, or blue (blue is a blue powder which Ghanaians usually add to water to make a solution for rinsing white clothing. The blue solution is believed to whiten clothes) could turn the shirt white again. I was very upset about the condition of my new white top, now turned brown, and so the brown dust has now become part of my Christmas memories.
One thing that strikes me is that I don't associate giving and receiving presents with christmas, though i'm sure that many Ghanaian families do this (even my siblings who came ten years after me have had christmas' when they received wrapped presents after my aunt's dutch friend introduced it in our family) but it's not something that formed part of my own childhood. I do however remember getting the usual bronya atar (christmas dress) which I'd wear to the village church on christmas day, but those were never wrapped.
If anyone were to ask me what images christmas brings to mind, I’d say that when I think of christmas, I think of red dust, chilly harmattan mornings, fancy dress, eating food from other people’s homes, chips, cakes, and batter-coated peanuts, danish butter cookies (because we always got them for my grandma at christmas), piccadilly biscuits, door-to-door singing, long bus rides, and snails crawling in our kitchen once we got back to Accra:)
What about you? What comes to mind when you think of Christmas in Ghana / how did you spend your christmas holidays?
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Help! They want to take all my money!
I don’t know if this has anything to do with people knowing that I just returned from Abrokyire (abroad) and so erroneously think I came back with a fortune or if I look like someone who has money. I swear 3 different people who smelled like confidence tricksters asked me for money in Osu on the same day. I felt sorry for the first one, and was suspicious of the second one but by the time the third person approached me, I felt harassed and exploited.
Ghanaians living abroad who chose to return home for good need to watch out for this. I’m reaching breaking point. I am resolute about not giving loans but it is still affects me negatively when people ask. I wish I could do something to stop people from asking me ever again. Equally important, how can such people be helped? Financial independence/ personal finance workshops? It is really disturbing that the people I speak of are not those who don’t have jobs but those whose incomes I could live on but somehow they can’t seem to manage properly, including bankers, and managers! There are even those who will make you buy music on itunes with your account and then not pay you the proper amount for it. It's like high class theft! With such people, it’s not that they don't have money; it’s about the proper management of it, or the mindset. What can a sista do? Help!
Monday, December 15, 2008
Follow-Up to "Joint Review" Idea - The African Food Questionnaire
The "Joint Review Project" has started. The team is setting up an african food website with recipes of african foods, and reviews of restaurants, chopbars and joints that serve those foods. Yup, we wanna check out Auntie Memuna's hausa kooko joint in your area. We would like you to tell us which foods you want recipes for. This will inform the decision on which restaurants/joints to review. As an example, if you say you want the recipe for kɔmi kɛ kena (kenkey and fish), then we'll give you recipes, and we'll also point you to you all the joints in Africa which sell it, plus reviews! so you know which places to get the best value for your money. To add an african food to the list, just fill a short form (3 questions, of which 2 are optional) by clicking on this link which points to the form.
Please spread the word to all your African friends.
Always in support of change we can create ourselves,
Sunday, December 14, 2008
Kube-ology - The Study of Kube: Lesson I
To ensure that you remember the main points, I will tell you a story that perfectly illustrates the points.
This morning, on my way to gym I was hungry, but I wanted something healthy so I passed by all the kooko sellers I saw and stopped instead when I saw a man selling kubes packed in a wheel-barrow.
Perfect! I asked him how much it cost even though I already knew that the current market price for kube is 40 pesewas. "40 pesewas" he replied. It turned out that I had about 1.3 cedis in coins so I asked him to give me 2, but to cut the top off only one of them (so I could drink the kube right there),
as I would take the second along with me. He did as I had asked, but i finished drinking the sweet kube juice in only two gulps. I complained that the kube had too little juice and that my thirst/hunger was not satisfied by the small amount of juice. Simply put, aanso me. I told him to break the third kube and this time, I noticed that the kube had plenty juice but that the juice did not taste as sweet as the first one. I asked why, and the kube-meister said that the mature kube's are the ones that have the tougher core or white part that is usually sold with boiled corn in Ghana (and shown in photo),
but the mature kube does not have much juice in it, just as I had just noticed. The younger kubes on the other hand have the soft core, and more juice that doesn't taste as sweet. I found what he told me absolutely fascinating, but I was so excited that I didn't think too much about it. Later when I was alone and back on the road to the gym, I wondered how he was able to pick out the kube with more juice for me, but there was no one to ask. So I'll end the lesson by asking the question: If you have coconuts in a wheel-barrow, how would you be able to separate the mature ones (with little but sweeter juice) from the young ones (which have more juice that's not as sweet) ? Readers, try to find the answer to the question. I will do the same and we'll discuss by posting comments. Until our next kube-ology lesson, this has been your enthusiastic kube-meister-in-training.
Friday, December 12, 2008
If you can't read/understand twi, please pardon me for the use of so much twi in this entry. There is just no other way to tell today's story. Sometimes english simply doesn't capture aspects of the Ghanaian life.
Thursday, December 11, 2008
A Ghanaian Breakfast
Aboa bɛn so ne Nkyekyerewa (tr: What kind of animal is Nkyekyerewa you ask?) Hmm, some animal I bought in traffic this morning so I could write about one traditional Ghanaian food that can be had for breakfast. I had it for the first time a couple of weeks ago, when out of curiousity I bought the suspicious-looking food wrapped in leaves. Just the fact that its main wrapping is biodegradable is enough reason to buy it.
The seller put it in a plastic bag and gave it to me. See photo
When the plastic holder is removed, you see the Nyekyerewa in all its glory
Then I took off the string and the leaf covering to reveal the boiled and compressed corn and boiled groundnuts (peanuts).
Next I took off everything to reveal the part that's meant to be eaten
Then breakfast begun:)
What do you typically have in your homes for breakfast? My mother makes a roasted corn+roasted groundnuts+roasted beans mix which she mills into a flour, then mixes with water and boils to make a kooko (tr: someone shd please supply the english name for kooko...broth?) It's brown, much like what people call "Tom Brown" (where did the name tom brown come from?) but she calls it "weanimix". We would eat it with milk (yes, ideal milk, which i found out this morning has no cow milk in it at all...have you read the label?). Weanimix +milk+butter bread (also known as ɛnkɔdaa wɔ fie*) + home-made groundnut paste ( peanut butter)...that was enough to take us through the morning till break time! There was no bacon or ham for us when we were growing up. Speaking of bacon, my little brother Ato Kwamena (he's twelve) asked me the other day..."Maame Esi, what is bacon?" How I laughed!? I laughed because the poor guy pronouced the ba (as in back or barrack) and the con as in (conman). After I'd finished laughing, I told him what bAcOn was, and reassured him that he's several steps ahead of me since I didn't know what bacon was either at his age.
note: ɛnkɔdaa wɔ fie (tr: there are children at home) or maame o dendei (welcome home, mummy) are alternative names for butter bread. The astute bread hawkers invented the names as a marketing strategy to sell bread to travellers. In Ghana, it is common for a visitor (whose visit, by the way, is often not annouced before the person shows up) to bring along a small gift and butter bread is an adequate gift. This is a caution to those who have forgotten; Please don't go to your villages without taking along some benz bread:) lol. I should do a special blog entry on Ghanaian breads:) This is too much fun!
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Abɔdam so ne ho mfaso nye dɛn? (tr: Is there any value in craziness?)
The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn, like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes “Awww!”
Here's to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes - the ones who see things differently. They're not fond of rules and they have no respect for the status quo. You can praise them, disagree with them, quote them, disbelieve them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing that you can't do is ignore them. Because they change things.
Our own Kwaw Kese calls himself Abɔdam. Is he on to something? Judging from the many awards he's holding in the picture, i'm tempted to say yeah, maybe a little. But then an older (arguably wiser) man that I spoke with thinks that the Kwaw Kese kind of music is trash and the way to measure that is check who is listening to his 2008 songs in 2010. He says that good music lives on for decades. If that's the case, are Ghanaians buying his music for lack of anything better, or are we all just wanting to partake a bit in some abɔdam?
I'd like to know your thoughts on the following:1. Do you think you're this kind of person that Kerouac talks about?
2. If so, why, and how did you become that? If not, why not?
3. At the risk of launching into a "this is what Ghana needs" discussion, I'll ask, do you think it will make any difference if we have more people like this? Can we learn anything from the crazies?
4. Is this kind of lust for life overrated? or do people like this really change things?
5. Are there Ghanaian (or african) writers who talk about this kind of person or is this some foreign invention that has nothing to do with life in Ghana? Is Kwaw Kese it? If not, who is? Who do you know that lives like this?When I was in college, someone slipped me an anonymous note reading "At some point in our lives, we need to stop existing and start thriving". For a the young Ghanaian man or woman, what would thriving mean? And how do we reconcile that with Kerouac's idea of thriving being some sort of crazy living that makes things happen? Just think about it. America can talk about periods in its history when people have behaved crazily. talk abt the hippies, the beat generation, etc. I'm not sure that that is necessarily something to aspire to but it seems like out of such living, many talented writers, singers, business people have sprung. The life in Ghana appears a bit too uniform from one generation to next. Can one live a normal life their whole lives and then end up becoming extraordinary? Something's gotta get your juices flowing and I don't see that this life as we know it is it. Please correct me if I'm wrong and provide me examples of times when Ghanaians have really bought into a bigger idea or notion and lived it out in our lives. Are we just a boring people? I'm dying to be part of a generation that shakes things up and I see no outlet for all this energy. Was I born on the wrong continent and a wrong time? It looks like someone locked us in a room and put a sign on the door saying: No craziness here. hehe.I know exactly what I need. A space. About six people who like to talk, about Ghana, and life. Six people completely unlike me. Something to learn, something to teach. Young people, maybe an old person or two. Confused about life, living on the edge, creating art, music, businesses, anything, where they're making something that didn't exist before they showed up, failures, why do i get the feeling this would be so easy to find in Paris or even Italy? People who challenge me. People who own books like "bu me bE" I need to find the people who aren't so put together. Who haven't already figured it all out. Not already on the "success track". I know i'm looking in the wrong places, but I just don't know where to look.
Tuesday, December 09, 2008
How Ashale-Botweians* Used Their Kokromoti Power
First, let me give you a sense of the polling station. The Nursery School shares a wall with Peace Be House, which is the house for which the street is named. Peace-Be Street is one of the major streets in Ashale-Botwe and separates East Ashale-Botwe from West Ashale-Botwe. There are two mosques on this street, as well as a makalanta (islamic school). I don’t know if this qualifies the area as a zongo. One of the few clinics in the area can also be found on the street. The clinic, which is owned by the famous Dr. Asare of
My mother owns the nursery school, which means that I live at the polling station. On the Saturday morning, the day of the elections, at about 4:30 am, I woke up to the sound of the voices of people who had already started queuing in readiness for the voting which was to begin at 7 am. I did not get out of bed till about 6:30 am when I started off for my friend’s house at a different part of Ashale-Botwe to get my camera so I could take some photographs. Besides the front of my house where one could already find a long line, everywhere else in Ashale-Botwe, life went on as usual. There was no tension in the air, no excitement even. The few posters and party flags could be found hanging in front of people’s houses, but that was about it. By the time I returned home, the line was even longer as can be seen in the picture
Instead of entering my house, I sat under the mango tree shown in the picture, chatted with the neighbours and some other area peeps (people) and tooks some photographs. One friend helped me take the the pictures shown below until the police man in the first photo stopped us. The police man, who was being exceedingly post kaya (tr: self important?) about executing his duties explained that only those with special authorization from the electoral commission were allowed to take photographs and videos. Oh well...post kaya! To be fair, he needed to be firm which he was and so we should have been happy that here was a policeman doing something right. i.e. enforcing the rules but I didn't feel positively about it. I just felt like he was chopping post (merely demonstrating his power) .
As can be seen from the pictures, and as you’ve probably already read about most other polling stations, the voting was peaceful.
What made it more interesting for me is that I got to see area people that I hadn’t seen in years! I saw one guy (I’ve forgotten his name) who used to bully me when I was a kid and we had a short conversation. He reminded me of one other bully called Razak but I did not see Razak in the lines. Then one of my neighbours’ nephews who used to chase one of my cousins also came around and we talked about old times. He reminded me of life in those days, how we used to be, saying that I was only a little girl then and showed me a photograph of his two daughters, whilst delivering poorly concealed jabs aimed at encouraging me to get married. This guy used to be a die hard Daddy Lumba Fan. Most of the lyrics to the songs I know, I learned from him because he used to sing so loudly in his house that I picked up the lyrics. I especially remember when Daddy Lumba came out with the Auntie Atta’ ei, mɛ ware wo ba baa no, ne ho yɛ me fɛ oo, oo, oo. This guy wouldn’t let us sleep. hehe. He mentioned too that the NPP song ...Nana Nana nana ɔyɛ winner oo, was sung by daddy Lumba. I did not know that. I guess he’s still a Daddy Lumba lyrics buff. My two aunts and uncle, who I hadn’t seen in over a month also came to vote, and I chatted with them for a while. One of my mother’s friends told me dɛ nansei maayɛ fine paa (these days, I am looking nice), because I’ve gained some pounds. Most people stayed in line and waited their turn though exceptions were made for people who had to report for work, pregnant women, women with small children and people like my mother who some people felt should not stand in line since she had offered her tables, benches and her house as a polling centre. I think she still stood in line though, and chatted with her sisters until it was her turn. One of the highlights of the day was when, my friend, acted like the typical
By 5pm when the voting was supposed to close, the lines were still very long, and so I left with my friend, went to a nearby filling station/restaurant and had some grilled akɔmfɛm (guinea fowl) and chilled mango juice. The beauty of it is that I am a fanti chick, and undecided voter, vaccilating between the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and Convention People’s Party (CPP) and my friend is a Ga man and an National Democratic Congress (CPP) supporter, but we could have Akɔmfɛm together whilst discussing who we thought was going to win. Neither of us voted. I was not in
Voting finally closed after 8pm, with the NDC winning both the parliamentary seat and the presidential votes. According to my father who stayed for the counting, the tally came to 576 for NDC and 413 for NDC. He did not pay attention to the numbers for the CPP, PNC and so on. It is worth noting that the incumbent parliamentarian who was an NPP man lost to a NDC man.
Moving forward (no pun intended), we expect one of two things. One, we'll have a president by tomorrow afternoon or two, we'll have to head back to the polls in two (or is it three?) weeks if neither of the top two candidates wins more than 50% of the votes to clinch the win. Moving past the election of a new president, what changes do we expect in our lives? I predict that very little will change in my own life. Hopefully Ghana will continue to experience steady growth in its economy, and particularly increased growth in the private sector. A couple more roads may be built and railway transport will probably remain under-utilised, Ghanaians will continue to pride ourselves in being the black stars of Africa, and an example worth emulating (delusions of grandeur? hehe...I keep hearing from Ghanaians that the whole world is watching us but listening to BBC this morning, Zimbabwe seems to be worried about their cholera problem and the USA seeks to salvage its automobile industry; Is the world really watching Ghana?), and the ever-positive Ghanaian spirit will live on, but I do not anticipate any extraordinary positive changes in the next four years. I desperately hope I'm wrong. Witnessing Ashale-Botweians at the polls has made me curious to know the procedure for becoming a member of parliament:) If anyone knows, please share, and I'll also let you know when I find out. Yep, you're thinking what I'm thinking. In the meantime, I remain interested in change we can create ourselves.
Thursday, December 04, 2008
Your Poppy Talk You Say You For No Marry Ayigbe (Wo) Man. I Lie?
The other day one of the readers of Wo Se Ekyir encouraged me, after he read “Letter to my Imaginary Friend" to use more mfantse words in my posts, adding that though others who don’t speak the language may not like it, he loved it. I think it’s great that he received the mfantsi-english so well. But I think too of all the Ga, Ewe, Akuapem, Grusi,
I can’t think of how to perfectly segue into talking about tribalism in
When I was in my mid teens, I dated an Ewe man who sang me traditional
W’ayɛ bi o
W’aye bi o
ɔde kɛntɛn na ɛko nsuo
ɔde kɛntɛn na ɛko nsuo
W’ayɛ bi o
Despite how cool the guy was, I found it necessary to tell all that he was the kind of Ewe boy who spoke no Ewe but spoke twi better than any of the other guys I knew at the time. (The way to my heart is ability to speak any ghanaian language perfectly. Akuapem is my weakness. The language dey bi me pass!). Why I needed to justify my choice of an Ewe man in this manner, I do not know. Why did I need to say that my Ewe boy was more Ashanti than the Ashanti boys? Perhaps I did it because even that early, I had internalised that I should not date an Ewe man though no one had told me not to. Later, someone did. Let’s call him Mr. Nkonyaa. He was my father’s friend who sometimes gave me a ride to that village school in cape-coast because his daughter attended the same school. On this day, he picked me up first, and on the way to pick up his daughter from his house, the following conversation ensued:
Mr. Nkonyaa: Do you have a boyfriend
Me: I have many boyfriends
Mr. Nkonyaa: You know what I’m talking about
Me: Yes, I have a boyfriend
Mr. Nkonyaa: What is his name?
Me: William Kofi
Mr. Nkonyaa: Did he go to University Primary?
Mr. Nkonyaa: Does he attend one of the Cape-Coast Schools?
Me: No, he goes to
Mr. Nkonyaa: So how did you meet?
Me: At Presec. Vacation classes (haha)
Mr. Nkonyaa: Where is he from?
Me: He’s an Ewe
Mr. Nkonyaa: Break up with him
Mr. Nkonyaa: They’re not good people
Me: This one was born and raised in
, he doesn’t even speak the language. Accra
Mr. Nkonyaa: It doesn’t matter. Break up with him
Me: I don’t think it’s fair for me to break up with him just because he’s an Ewe
Mr. Nkonyaa: God knows why he put us on different soil. We must stick to our own kind and let them stick to their own. Will you break up with him?
While we were having this conversation, I was feeling quite rebellious, and I had every intention of continuing with William Kofi but ask me what happened?
Readers, I broke up with the boy. I wrote him a letter saying that I no longer wanted to be in a relationship, that is, until I saw him again the next vacation and all thoughts of breaking up flew out of my head and we got right back together. Teenage love:) By the way, I later learned that this man was the extreme type who would not even employ Ewe people in the company that he partly owned. Wow!
A year or so later, I got the same warning from my father. Now that was surprising to me because unlike Mr. Nkonyaa, my dad fraternized with more Ewe people than with Akans. Heck, I’d eaten some cat meat which he and his Ewe friends had prepared against some bɛɛma nkwan and mfantse dɔkon a few times when I was growing up. And he now turns around to caution me against marrying an Ewe man? Hmm. I didn’t get satisfactory answers from him so I asked my mother who explained that they knew of several examples in his family where women had married Ewe men and been mistreated by the man’s family either while the man was alive or after he was dead. She added that the Ewe families they’d experienced always ended up bring an Ewe bride from the village even after the man had married someone from our family. Now I could see their concern and it started to make sense to me that my dad was giving me that advice, he this cat-eating, one-man-thousand-buying, ayigbe-kente-wearing man.
About a month ago, I asked a young man who is about my age and a fanti whether he too had been warned not to marry an Ewe girl. He said that he had and that he thinks his parents would not really be too receptive toward any other tribe but fanti. This is 2008, people. It is easy to say that our generation does necessarily think like our parents but we seek their approval our choice of life partners certainly is one of those things that we ideally would want our parents to approve of. I’ve asked other young people, people with parents far more educated than mine. PhDs, well travelled, big men, and sadly, many of them are telling their children the same. Speaking of which, Mr. Nkonyaa is a Chartered Accountant. The man go school but stiiiilll, ibi tribalistic to the core! To borrow the words of my good friend M.anifest, ibi colonialistic mental. This plenty school matter, ino shɛdaa dey boa us that much o.
Let me side-track a little. I’m starting to get into African architecture. I visited and spoke with one architect who seems incredibly knowledgeable about the topic. While I was soaking up all that he was telling me, it became clear to me that you cannot fully appreciate African architecture without knowing African history. So it should come as no surprise to you that I’ve been trying to learn more about Ghanaian history and especially about the way we were before the coming of the Europeans. There’s no way to learn that without learning about all of
How can we move forward when these are the conversations we’re having in our homes yet we provide academic suggestions for what
If you have any stories to add, please share. Also, if the story in your home is different, Anyɛmi (tr: friend), fire away and let's keep talking.
Ps: Interestingly fanti women are also known dɛ wɔhyɛ hɔn kunnom gya (give their husbands hell) especially in their old age. One guy I met recently was telling me how one fanti woman he knows is giving his friend (her husband) so tough a time that he's miserable in the marriage. Even my mother (who is wassa) says this about fanti women. Yet no one is stopping their sons from marrying fanti women. If you ask me, I'll say there are good people and bad people. All these are stereotypes that we need to let go of in order to move forward.
Tuesday, December 02, 2008
Bus Trip from Aboso to Accra
*This is an account of a trip that I took from Aboso in the Western Region of Ghana to Accra in the summer of 2006. The entry was written in the bus, and I thought I'd post it here because it fits with the spirit of this blog. Enjoy!
I sat in the bus and made ready for a long journey*. The bus filled up slowly. All around me, other vans getting ready to begin their own journeys. Women were busy selling epitsi, ɛmo dokon, abodoo, ɔfam, nkatsekek etc. Like connecting dots, It hit me that it wasn’t that there were no desserts in
When the van filled up, a fairly attractive man who I judged to be in his late twenties or early thirties stood up and articulated in flawless fanti, tarkwa fanti (which is closer to Takoradi fanti and slightly different from Cape-Coast fanti), "enuanom na adɔfo, wɔmma yentu hɛn ho nyhɛ ewuradze ne nsa". (tr:brothers and sisters, let us commit ourselves into the hands of God). I shut my eyes, a smile formed on my face. Some things never change. After the prayer, calm fell over me. Somehow I felt that even though the van seemed really old (the kind that every Ghanaian knows causes tetanus.lol) and I didn’t have much leg room, that it was going to be a pleasant and a safe journey. I was used to salesmen praying in vans at the start of journeys and then going on to sell their medicines which they often claimed could cure everything from common cold to diabetes. What I did not anticipate was that this man was going to serve us a fully cooked and digested sermon. After the first five minutes, I started to fidget. I wanted some quiet. I had even brought a book with me to read. All around, people seemed to be paying rapt attention. Why was no one else bothered by this? Had the driver even sought our consent before allowing this man to disturb our peace? I dared not speak up. I knew that when it came to matters of God, Ghanaians were fairly predictable. If I voiced any discontent with the present goings-on, I would be seen to be strange and I may even be branded as the devil. I seethed in silence. Finally, the preacher said something about how no one paid him to do the work of God, and since a brother had to eat, he was asking that people be generous and give him something. I knew it! This was a business. It made you wonder how much of the sermon was motivated by the expected monetary gain at the end of it, and how much was God- inspired. Perhaps if people were blessed by it then it didn’t matter? It appears my fellow travelers were very impressed by our preacher man. Needless to say, the hat, which he passed around did not return to him empty. One thing consoled me. Since he was done, at least we could enjoy some quiet for the rest of the journey. We had now reached Bonsa. Much of the journey still lay ahead. Alas I rejoiced too soon, for before this man got off at the next village, he introduced a salesman, selling medicines. Oh no! Now I was really pissed at the driver. How much was he making from all this? The salesman reeked of kalabule. He had the typical
Monday, December 01, 2008
"Joint" Review , Funny Beggars, and Long-Winded Stories
Allow me to go off on another tangent but after I went off and told a whole story about religion when that wasn’t even the subject of today’s blog entry, it struck me that that is exactly what my mom does. George Gopen, one of the two people (the other is Jim Henle, a math professor) who gave me what little formal training I have in writing says that context defines meaning. In a story, context is everything. If Dr. Gopen ever hears my mother tell a story, he might spout a different philosophy. See my mother is the queen of providing context. When she is telling a story, I always get tired of listening because in her attempt to provide context, she overdoes it and the end never ever satisfies. She keeps you waiting so long that by the time she delivers the whammy, I’m thinking, I had to wait this long to get this queer/chotch (Ghanaian pidgin for little) whammy? Anti-climax. hehee. I’ll give you an example. If she wants to say that the man is sick, she’ll start by saying, the man, whose wife sells nkontomire and whose mother is a hunchback, who, if I remember I met the last time I was home from the US, has the disease that Auntie Anyele’s cousin had last year which prevented him from marrying the girl he was in love with and so ended up marrying that good-for-nothing girl who looks like she bleaches...haha. Maybe I should develop a character based on this peculiar characteristic of my mom just because such a character would be so loveable.
To get to the gym, I used the Agyiringano road that links Ashale-Botwe to
While I was still all excited about the thought of sampling joint food, I had gotten to the Airport intersection, the one close to Walfred Services, and the Airside Hotel. If you take tro-tro from the Shangri-la Hotel to 37, it is the stop before Opeibea House. The traffic light was red, so I stopped. Then I witnessed a fit, attractive young man (a beggar) in a wheelchair wheel up to a Toyota Prado. There was an older portly chinese-looking man in the car. As soon as our disabled guy saw the chinese man, he shouted “nii haw” “nii haw” “nii haw” repeatedly whilst laughing. The windows were up and the chinese man did not hear him or pay him any attention but the beggar's laugh was infectious and it was hilarious to see him making fun of the chinese man, so I started giggling. The light turned green and I sped off to the gym, while thinking that the beggar was a riot and that he seemed like someone I’d like to know. It was just refreshing to see a beggar with a sense of humor and who reminded me that we’re all just ordinary people. It filled me with sense of hope and feeling that right here is
Friday, November 28, 2008
No One Teaches You How to Have Sex - Yoknyam's Response
Written By: Yoknyam Dabale
Personally, I never got the sex talk from home( Nigeria). As a matter of fact, my mother used to be upset whenever she saw me talking to boys my age, as a result the older I got, I became very distant to men. And then after terrible incidents (sex related) while schooling in Sierra Leone with couple of men, I decided to call them all evil....that being said, when I moved to the U.S in my early twenties, my body began to act up strangely and I didn't know what to do with that. At the same time, I was dating a wonderful guy whom I thought would be my husband but then again I didn't want to have sex with him since, my previous encounter with sex was all negative. My boyfriend then didn't understand why if I cared so deeply about him...but wouldn't share my body with him, long story short, he broke up with me after two years.
Now when I moved to Duke in 2006, I decided to take matters into my own hands, so I decided to do a research for one of my classes titled "Unlocking the Sex Code". In my work, I looked into ways sex is viewed in both the secular and religious world. The summary of my work is that: In the secular world based on the research survey I conducted, the result was fifty, fifty in this way: Fifty percent of people believe that sex is like any activity, that is to say if a man or woman is horny and the opposite sex is available to have sex, then that is fine. The other fifty believe sex must take place only between to adults who agreed on such act in a committed relationship.
The religious perspective , espcailly for Protestants (majority) believe sex can take place between two people who care about each other in marriage...but this view went further to say that if couple are committed to each other and are not married, yet hoping to marry each other one day...then sex is okay.) For Christian Orthodoxy, sex must only take place between a huband and a wife ( that is final). Their argument is that marriage is sacred therefore must be treated as such and when two people are married hopefully in church, then they have become the body of Christ, Hence the Holy Spirit will help then have sex in a more honorable way with out using each others body simply as orgasm producer ( my phrase here).
Now in the process of my research, I learned that Marriage needed to be defined... and based on my study I uncovered that marriage wasn't a sacrament of the church (universal church). Sex was then called a sacrament in the church in the late fourth century, even later than that...the church decided to make sex a sacrament because people at the time were wonton, so to control such behavior, sex was made a sacrament. Now you ask, where did the idea of marriage come into picture? Well, marriage was the local custom of the time, people married for the purposes of economical gain. For example: A wealthy family married a wealthy family so to keep money amongst themselves.
My work concluded with a fifty, fifty asnwer to the question I asked: Is it alright to have sex before marriage? according to secular and religious perspectives ( Yes and No).
I concluded my work by suggesting that: even though views on sex are diverse, it is important that people know what exactly sex is before getting involved. And some of the ways in which people could learn about sex is by 1. talking about it, espically to younger people who might only know sex through what the media is presenting them, and sometimes the media doesn't present sex as honorable as it should be 2. read books and articles on sex and relationship 3. Parents should make it their duty to educate their children 4. Adults should have public discourse on sex, espically in settings like the continent of Africa where people talk about sexuality but not necessarly SEX, 5. Talk about sex in manners that will present it as a good thing but sometimes would go wrong if treated carelessly. For example: When sex is done right,a couple enjoy the pleasure it gives physically and sometimes provide babies for those who would like to have them. On the other hand if sex is done wrongly that is without protection when needed, sexual transmitted diseases are going to come into picture such as HIV/AIDS, HPV, Herpes, T.B etc and that leads to death!
And finally, allow God to lead one's decison on whether sex-ing at a particular time is the right thing to do. For those of us who are trying to be faithful to our Christian call know that, as finite beings we are doomed to fall if God is not there lifting us up. With God by our sides we can handle our desires to have sex with some dignity.
Thank you Esi for allowing me to post on your blog, I am looking forward to seeing you again in America!!!!!!!
Consider yourself hugged and Happy belated Thanksgiving...oh my bad every day is Thanksgiving....hahahahahha