Friday, September 04, 2015

Adventures in a Foreign Land - Ice Skating

Yes, this one too!
How could I be in such a cold climate and not try it at least once?
Besides, at the time, I was watching the Winter Olympics and it was so fascinating watching people glide, twist, twirl, look so graceful on blades and ice. Ice that made me fall when I walked on it.

I loved where I worked. My work colleagues were amazingly amazing and my boss was just the ish! She throws a staff party for us in her home during the Christmas season and then she takes us all ice skating. Yes, finally, I also get to glide, twist, twirl and look so graceful... (or so I thought) until I saw what I would be gliding on.

How does anyone even stand on these, much more glide and twirl in them?
But me, no, no giving up. I was going to look graceful.
A few times, I managed to stand, by myself. But, just stand. No walking, and definitely no gliding. Nope, no skating.

I'm sure I fell right after taking this picture. 
But most of the time, this happened, and happened, and happened again.


And then I stood up, dusted myself up and improvised.

Like this, boy did I skate. Loved it! (thanks Allen for the support and for the idea *wink*)
Bottom line, I had fun! We all had mad fun!

Miss you guys!
Moral: you fall, you rise, you improvise, adapt and move on...
Moral: we all need each other.
See how I was assisted by Allen in his wheelchair? Who'd have thought that'd be the way it'd be? It usually is supposed to be the other way round.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Thou Shall Not Judge!

Sunday, I am sitting in church, and that is exactly what I do *bowing my head in shame* :(

A gentleman wearing a very crumpled shirt, carrying a polythene bag fully packed with what looked like clothing (I was curious so I stretched my neck to look) was ushered to sit on the same pew as me yesterday in church. I wasn't so curious about the crumpled shirt (stopped judging based on that since dumsor started), but I really was wondering about the bag he carried. I honestly saw what looked like a towel on top and clothing on the side, and what I so didn't get was, he left the bag a few feet away from himself by one of the pillars in the church (curious, very curious).

I have this thing where when I see someone, I don't know them, something about them piques my interest, and then I try to figure out what their story is, usually not by doing the obvious, asking them, but making one up for them (turns out to be more interesting).

Not only did this gentleman have me interested in the fact that he was carrying a polythene bag with what appeared to me, to be all his earthly possessions, which he had placed a few feet away from where he sat, but he slept throughout the service. Most people would just doze off during the sermon, but he slept, not dozed, slept through it all.

Initially, I concluded he was homeless and just needed a place to rest his tired, and most likely arching body. This conclusion meant I felt sorry for him. But then it didn't quite add up because his clothes (what he had on), though very crumpled, were very clean.
My second conclusion: his behaviour was way too suspicious.

I decided to go with my second conclusion, so I built up on it. Now this gentleman walks in at the start of the service. He recites just about everything we are reciting without reading from the large screens in the church, meaning he is familiar with Anglicanism. He had a polythene bag with what seemed to be all his earthly possessions in it, which he placed a few feet away from him, and slept all through the service. I decide there has to be something else in this bag aside the towel and clothing I saw at the top. I am now looking around the church, focusing more on the courtyard. What am I looking for? His handler.

Yes, I had finally concluded he was a suicide bomber. Can you blame me? With all this talk about Ghanaians being recruited into a terrorist cell, can I be blamed for going there with my imagination? So now I'm adding things up. The device must be buried somewhere in the polythene bag, he wasn't too interested in the service hence he sleeping through it all (probably taking his last nap), but what didn't quite add up was the fact that he seemed to know too much about Anglicanism (did I care, no, besides he might have taken time to study us and our ways so he could fit in). Did I already add that he had a New Testament Bible with him? Well, he did.

And then, I finally, finally concluded (I did have a final final one). He's just a bomber, not a suicide bomber.
I got up when it was time for communion, gentleman was still asleep. I went to the front of the church to receive communion, got back to my pew and gentleman had disappeared. His polythene bag was still where he'd left it, so was his Bible. I could feel hysteria building up inside of me. My mom was seated at the very front of the church. I had to get her out of there. My niece and nephew were in the next building in Sunday school. Since I wasn't sure what the blast radius was, I had to get them out of there too. My friend was seated next to me. My grandma's friend was seated behind my mom. No, I had to get up to the front of the church and just tell everyone. What about my car? Again, blast radius. No, I couldn't be thinking about earthly possessions at this point in time. Human life trumps all earthly possessions. And then I remembered I hadn't prayed. I'd received communion and was too busy getting myself scared to pray. So, I decide. I'm praying, if gentleman is not back after, I'm heading to the front of the church to try to get everyone out before the bomb goes off, and hopefully there wouldn't be a stampede.

I'm done praying and gentleman is back. Turns out, he went to receive communion too (he must have woke up right after I got up). I breathe a sigh of relief (why didn't I even look to the front of the church where I'd have spotted him instead of getting myself to this point), but I'm back to conclusion 2. He could still be a suicide bomber. That conclusion went out the door when the priest asked if there were any first timers worshiping with us, and gentleman stands up, introduces himself, says he's an Anglican who used to worship at a different church and had just been released from prison the previous day. He'd come to his family in the area and had decided to worship with us yesterday.

Ex-con definitely beats suicide bomber. I felt so bad that, after service, I say goodbye to him and tell him I hope to see him next week in church. He must have been sleeping so much because he hasn't had a good night's sleep in ages.
He is after all a freshly free man.

THOU SHALL NOT JUDGE!
(how I know about handlers and blast radii or radiuses, well, we can only blame Jack Bauer and 24).

I still have questions for him though, like, why was he imprisoned? How long had he been in prison? Why does he walk around with a polythene bag with what seems to be all his possessions in it if he has a family around?

But bottom line, THOU SHALL NOT JUDGE! and THOU SHALL NOT JUMP TO CONCLUSIONS!

Monday, August 24, 2015

Bananas and Groundnuts!

Airtel Presents:
Roverman Productions in partnership with Joy FM & National Theatre
"Bananas & Groundnuts"

An original play by Uncle Ebo Whyte.

Yesterday, Ade the intelligent lawyer, won a huge case at work.
Tomorrow, Ade the courageous, will have to face death.
But today, it's the birthday of Ade, the beautiful.

After being pampered with an English breakfast and an iphone 6, Ade is definitely looking forward to more. But as she steps out to a lunch, which promises to be that more she looks forward to, she is kidnapped. And all her plans change.
Could the change be what she wants?

Banana's & Groundnuts is a hilarious, rib cracking classic from Roverman Productions.

Want to know what that change is all about? Make a date!
Venue: National Theatre
Date: 28th, 29th & 30th August, 5th & 6th September, 2015
Time: 1st show 4pm, 2nd show 8pm
Rate: GH¢60.00

Tickets are available at all Airtel Shops; Shell Shops at Community 11, Achimota, Sakaman, Dansoman, Mallam & East Legon; Joy FM; Motorway Supermarket; Baatsona & Haatso Total; 37 Goil; Frankies, Osu and Jane-Anne Supermarket.

Alternatively, tickets can be paid for via Airtel Money* at a 10% discount.
1. In the Airtel Money Menu, select MAKE PAYMENTS
2. Select PAY BILL
3. Select OTHER
4. Type ROVERMAN
5. Enter Amount i.e., GH¢54.00 for one ticket
6. Enter your name as reference number (eg. Efua Dentaa)
7. Confirm payment details with your Airtel Money PIN
8. Present the confirmation text that will be sent to you at the gate for entry

*A charge of GH¢0.50 applies

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Adventures in a Foreign Land - Hitch Hiking

I can imagine the look on my face if I wasn't me and I was reading this. The expression that readily comes to mind is, "this one too?"
But I am me so yes, this one too. I just had to try everything (blame it on too much television, curiosity or something like that). But really, it was very necessary (I would like to think).

It's Sunday. I plan going to church. It's a 20 minute walk from where I live to the bus stop (I was 100% sure of that calculation) except that I hadn't factored in snow. That calculation I was 100% sure of was done in the summer and it worked quite well in the fall. It'd just started snowing and I didn't think (I wonder why) I'd need to revise that calculation.

It took me twice as long to get to the bus stop.
It's Sunday morning, the roads had been ploughed but the sidewalks hadn't. Obviously, I missed the bus. Rather than walk back home (forwards ever) I decided to start walking to the bus terminal where I'd still have to catch another bus to church (2 buses I needed to take to get to church). It was quite a long walk, but I'd done it before (in the summer). It still hadn't clicked that walking in summer is totally different from walking in winter. Did I already say it was 15° below 0°C? Guess not. It was 15° below O°C.

I'd been walking less than 5 minutes (after I'd missed the bus) and I was already tired. But there were so many cars bypassing me, if only one would stop and give me a ride just to the bus terminal. And then I remembered I'd seen in movies people walking and lifting a thumb up to vehicles passing by indicating they needed a ride, so I did same (at least I started to until I realised the futility of what I was doing). Needless to say not a single car stopped for me. Occupants of some vehicles looked at me like I wasn't quite okay (more like, like I was crazy), some didn't bother looking at me and others slowed down (mostly ones with nice granny-looking-like occupants) and then they just continued on their way.

After a full minute and a half of trying to hitch hike, I just forgot about that and concentrated on walking. With just about 2 blocks to go to get to the bus terminal, I saw a bus headed there and boy did I stop it and enjoy the warmth of a 2 block ride.

Moral: just because you've seen something being done elsewhere (television) doesn't mean it'll work for you. You don't exactly have to try it.
Yeah, forwards ever, but really it doesn't hurt to turn backwards every now and then (it totally wouldn't kill you neither would it cause the world to end).
Yep, racism exists (of course that thought occurred to me), but really most of the people that sped past me had same skin colour as me. Those that slowed down were so much lighter than me (at least they slowed). Besides, had I been back home, driving, trust me, I wouldn't have stopped to give no stranger a ride just because they look like they need it, even if they were from my hometown (and could prove it).

That said, I reevaluated my calculation and all was right with the world again (meaning, I never had to and I never ever tried to hitch hike again).

Friday, June 19, 2015

Everything Happens for a Reason

:( I don't do this as much as I would like to (blog).

Sunday, in church, one of the priests in my church who had just been ordained gave the sermon, and boy did she have a remarkable story to tell. It was mostly about how she wanted to grow up and be in a certain profession, but she didn't make it there because she didn't pass an exam she needed to. She was very disappointed, ended up taking certain courses she didn't know why she was taking.
Never did she imagine she'd be ordained as a priest, but there she stood. A priest, and guess what? The course she took which she didn't know why she did has actually come in handy. It was in public speaking (she was training to be a broadcast journalist). Good thing she took that course because how I love it always when she delivers the sermon.
Basically, her sermon for the day was God knows why we have to go through certain things (everything happens for a reason).

All this Reverend had to say last Sunday got me thinking about me and my life, and I agree with her 100%. I said a bit in My Big Day! but, I'll add a little so much more.
By age 10, I knew I wanted to be a paediatric surgeon when I grow up (very curious since a lot of people understandably don't know what they want to do by 40). At least I thought I knew. That meant I had to study elective science in senior high school. My grades after junior high were good but not good enough to get into an elective science programme in the school I wanted. I ended up in a different school because I wasn't going to kill my dream of becoming a paediatric surgeon just because of a preference in schools.

I was the worst science student ever! I flunked all my electives from day 1. Quite a number of my classmates were in a similar situation, and they advised themselves early. They switched from science to arts or business after the first term of school. But I was stubborn.
Result? I almost didn't make it into the university. Matter of fact, I was so sure I wouldn't make it anywhere with the grades I had that I enrolled in remedial classes to rewrite my elective subjects. And then I got my admission letter from the university. Turns out I was on the late admissions list.

Well, by then I knew I had to give up the paediatric surgeon dream (no one would admit me into medical school with those horrible grades). So, I studied home science for my first degree, mainly because that was one of the few programmes I could make it into the university to study. I was a good home science student. There was one semester where I actually had straight A's. That has never happened to me before (ever). Did I already say that has never happened to me before? Never! I didn't even know that was possible. So I graduated from the university with a Bachelor's Degree in Home Science with a Final Grade Point Average (FGPA) of 3.56.Yeah, I was bummed out, totally. That FGPA meant I graduated with a Second Class Upper. To get a First Class, a graduand should have an FGPA of 3.6 or better. I needed just 0.04 more points to get a First Class (see why I was bummed out, totally?).

I got past that feeling, and then I found out about an educational reality show British Council was organising. What got me interested was that 3 winners would be selected and they each get a scholarship for postgraduate study in the UK. Out of thousands of applicants who were cut down to a couple of hundreds to 25 and then finally to 12, I was one of the 12. I honestly couldn't believe it, but I knew there was something I was good at, but I just hadn't found it yet. At that time I was just about to start my national service in the dietherapy department of a hospital in Ghana, and the plan had been to study dietetics after. That changed just when I got into the reality show. I read on the courses the 3 awarding universities had to offer and settled on communication. That, I decided was what I wanted to do. We were down to 7, and then I was evicted. I was devastated (I must have been cos I got all teary eyed on national TV when I was evicted).

Life goes on. For me, if I couldn't study in the UK, why not study what I wanted to right here in Ghana? I did that. Out of hundreds of applicants into the School of Communication Studies of the University of Ghana, who were cut down to just about a hundred, to a little over 30, 23 of us were admitted into the school into the MA programme. Out of the 23 of us, 5 of us were selected into the MPhil programme and 1 (yours truly) was presented with the Canadian Commonwealth Exchange Program - Africa Award. I got to study at the University of Manitoba in Canada (Yay!).

Yep, eureka! I had found it. I had found what it is that I was good at. Never had I been the best sudent in any class, but here I was. By age 10, I thought I knew what I wanted to do, turns out that wasn't it for me. It wasn't until age 23 that I actually found what it is that I was good at and wanted to do.

Being a paediatric surgeon is a great dream, but I'm sure the fact that I squirm at the sight of my own blood would have been a problem. Being a dietitian is not bad at all, but the fact that I get irritated telling people to do what I figure they should already know would have been a problem (I still don't get why overweight persons don't get that there is a problem with being overweight). Getting that First Class would have been great, but it just might have convinced me to push for that career in dietetics since I would have felt I am that good at the subject. Winning "The Challenge" (the educational reality show I was a part of), would have been awesome, but that would mean I wouldn't have got to live in Canada when I did (I am so not saying living in Canada beats living in the UK). All I'm saying is, no, I didn't get a scholarship to study in the UK, but all was not lost. Another opportunity presented itself and I got a scholarship to study in Canada instead (when one door closes, another one opens).

Even when it seems all is lost and you feel disappointed, even when you feel bummed out, totally, even when you feel devastated, keep your head up! Everything happens for a reason. It might not seem apparent to you at the time, but give it some time, all will work out!
And oh, it really isn't just about finding what it is you want to do, how about finding something you are actually good at and want to do (that I've come to realise helps).

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Forbidden

Roverman Productions in Partnership with Joy FM and National Theatre Presents: "Forbidden".

A play written and directed by Uncle Ebo Whyte.

Judges 14:14 - He said, "Out of the eater came something to eat; Out of the strong came something sweet"...

For answers to this and more, catch Forbidden
Venue: National Theatre
Date: 30th & 31st May, 6th & 7th June, 2015
Time: 1st show 4pm, 2nd show 8pm
Rate: GH¢60.00

Not forgetting the human props Uncle Ebo uses in telling an intriguing story, with lots of humour (as always).
Come see chair, dancing chair, and lamps, and flowers! Oooh, you can't miss this! And telephone too!

Tickets are available at all Airtel Shops; Shell Shops at Community 11, Achimota, Sakaman, Dansoman, Mallam & East Legon; Joy FM; Motorway Supermarket; Baatsona & Haatso Total; 37 Goil; Frankies, Osu and Jane-Anne Supermarket.

For ticket orders and enquiries, please call 026 109 4100.

Alternatively, tickets can be paid for via Airtel Money at a 10% discount.
1. In the Airtel Money menu, select MAKE PAYMENTS
2. Select PAY BILL
3. Select OTHER
4. Type ROVERMAN
5. Enter Amount i.e., GH¢54.00 for one ticket
6. Enter your name as reference number (e.g. Efua Dentaa)
7. Confirm payment details with your Airtel Money PIN
8.Present the confirmation text that will be sent to you at the gate for entry

*A charge of GH¢0.50 applies



Friday, May 15, 2015

Still We Get It Wrong?

Let's say there's a sanitation problem in my city. Before I go making noise about it and complaining that whichever person or body is in charge of ensuring the city is kept clean, isn't doing their job well, wouldn't it make sense to first clean the gutter in front of my house, weed my front lawn, encourage my neighbours to do same, and other neighbourhoods as well, then, I mobilize them all, so we make noise about the general sanitation problem? Or?

It takes about an hour for me to drive from my house to work. I leave home at about 7am and (hopefully) get to work by 8am. By 7am, I'd say day broke about an hour and a half before and the sun's most likely out.
This morning, I set off from my house, drove through my neighbourhood, through quite a number of streets in Accra and I couldn't help but admire the bright lights. Oh no, not from the sun, but from the outside lights of some houses and some shops (which weren't even open). I encountered these bright lights all the way, through where I live to where I work. This happens every morning. The bright lights, I encounter in different areas depending on whether there is a dum or a sor in a particular area.

How about we get our house in order then we make noise? I won't deny that there's a problem in the country now and we (myself inclusive) are really suffering. But has anyone stopped to ask how we got here? Has anyone stopped to ask how they contributed to us getting here? Oh yeah, trust me, we all contributed. Yeah, there's a higher power we can lay all the blame on, but bottom line is, we all had a part to play.

So yeah, #dumsormuststop
Have you played your part to ensure #dumsormuststop?
And yeah, I love my Ghana, that's why I speak out (spare the rod...), but still, we get it wrong! And oh, I didn't even vote in the last elections or the one before. So, suffice to say I have no political inclinations?