Monday, January 25, 2016

God is Nice, and He Likes Me

I was a terrible student in secondary school. I'm not sure if it was my choice of course (I'd wanted to be a medical doctor, specifically, a paediatric surgeon) or my laziness or a combination of both. Bottom line, when I wrote my final exam, I failed in some subjects and just passed (the last pass grade before a fail) others. Technically, I qualified for entry into any university in Ghana by the entry requirements at the time, but getting in would be tough. Right now, with the revision of entry requirements into universities in Ghana, I don't qualify for entry into any university in Ghana with those grades.

I applied to the University of Ghana. As per advice I received, I chose one of the not so popular courses to guarantee my selection, and then I waited. The admissions list was out, admission letters were distributed, and nothing for me. I understood that when you get dumb grades like mine, you don't get to enter university, but I couldn't understand why I couldn't make it into the university with my mates.

I gave up waiting and enrolled into a remedial school to rewrite the WAEC papers I'd performed that bad in. I started classes, I hid it from just about everyone (it was mighty embarrassing), and then a letter came in the mail addressed to me. It was my admission letter. I doubt I have jumped that high or been that excited in my life.

Turns out I was on the late admissions list. I was one of the few who were admitted after the admission process had been completed. I later (not illegally) found a copy of the original admissions list for my department. Majority of the names had been typed, mine was one of 4 names which had been handwritten.

A remedial student made it into the university without rewriting the WAEC exam, and then went on to be a very good student, after which she went on to be an exceptional student in a Masters programme. So, when I say God is nice, and He likes me, I know what I'm talking about. How I even transitioned from that terrible student to a very good student to an exceptional student is testimony of just how much God likes me.

Friday, January 22, 2016

When One Door Closes...

...another one opens, but often times we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one that has been opened for us.

After my first degree, I was just glad to be done with school, and for me, "why would I go back and do more school?" And then I see an advertisement for an educational reality show, prize package includes a postgraduate scholarship in the UK. Suddenly, I'm thinking about a second degree, and I'm thinking I could do this (enter the competition and win). I enter, I do not win, I am crushed.

I'm wondering why I feel so crushed. I wasn't really interested in a second degree, but then, the programme I wanted to study in the UK is offered right here in Ghana, and since I couldn't afford school in the UK, I figured I might as well enroll into the same programme right here in Ghana. You see, taking part in the reality show, I'd psyched myself up to do my Master's and now that's all I wanted to do.

Turns out, getting into this programme in Ghana was even more difficult than getting to be a part of the reality show (and that one was worse than difficult). Well, I make it into the programme, and I emerge the overall best student. Yay! And as the best student, I'm offered a scholarship to study in Canada as part of the Master's programme. I could not believe it. I made it through the rigorous selection process, all I wanted was to do my 1 year Master's and be gone, but here I was, the best student. Instead of 1 year, I get to do 2 years. The second year is fully paid for, and although I didn't get to do school in the UK, I got to do school in Canada. Wow!

Imagine if when I'd got evicted from the reality show, I'd let my being devastated hold me back from doing all I could to upgrade myself? The UK door got closed, but the Canada door was opened for me. A door I hadn't anticipated being opened for me.
So I ask, what are you letting hold you back? Which closed door are you staring so hard at wishing it would open? Wishing so hard you can't see the other door that has been opened?

Friday, January 15, 2016

Thoughts are Things

What a man thinketh, so shall he be.
Think nothing good can come out of you, well, you will be nothing more than a failure.
Think you can't be anything but successful, trust me, nothing can hold you down.

It wasn't easy being a chubby kid and then the fat girl growing up. I hated it. What did I do? I tried all the unconventional ways of losing the weight, and then the conventional, and when I saw nothing was happening in less than a week, I told myself, "this won't work". I told myself "let me just pretend all the teasing doesn't bother me and live my life". So I did. It wasn't until 8 years ago when I checked my Body Mass Index (BMI) and it showed I was obese (I honestly always thought I was just overweight or fat) that I knew I had to do something. So, I decided, even it takes years, I am going to do this (the conventional way) and I am not going to quit until I like what I see when I look in the mirror. And then I did do it. It's been 7 plus years of me looking fabulous, and I haven't felt better.

After my first degree, I entered an educational reality TV show. I did get that it was for very smart people, and I didn't particularly think I was overly smart, but I decided to try it out. I told myself, "what do you have to lose, but you do have a whole lot to gain should you win". From the thousands that first entered the competition, I was there when we were cut to a little over a hundred. I was still there when we were cut to 25, and then when we were cut to the final 12, I was there. "Yes, I may not be as smart as some of the other contestants, but me too I am smart". That's what I told myself. Week 1 eviction, I stayed. Week 2 eviction, I stayed. Week 3 eviction, I stayed. Ei! I kept staying eviction after eviction. And then we were down to 7 contestants. Then one of the other contestants came up to me and said, "Dentaa, you are the one to watch. A friend called me and said no one is paying attention to you because you don't seem like the one, but you really are. You will catch all of us unaware and win this competition." That was when I started really thinking about what I was doing. That was when I started questioning myself and asking what I was thinking competing with some of the smartest brains in Ghana. That was when I told myself there's no way I can win this. That was when I asked myself what I was thinking entering this competition. That was the week I got evicted.

Thoughts are things. Things don't seem to be going well for you, check your thoughts.
Things are going well for you, keep thinking positive.

Wednesday, January 06, 2016

Praying and then Solving

How does that even work?
How does one pray for a solution to a problem, and then at the same time work towards solving that same problem? You don't believe your prayer will be answered?

At the tail end of last year (which really translates to last week) I was driving behind this car with a bumper sticker that had me in stitches.

I should probably add, ...and then have an accident
Chances are, you are running late for an appointment (hopefully, through no fault of yours), you pray asking God to get you there on time, and then you step on it, and drive beyond the highest speed limit in the whole country. How won't you leave your guardian angel behind? And if you end up in an accident, who caused it?

Time and time again we face one challenge or another, we pray about it committing whatever challenge we are facing into the hands of the Lord, and then we still spend countless hours worrying about  this very same situation. Why then commit the situation into God's hands if we have a better solution we intend to arrive at by worrying about it?

Let's not forget Abraham and Sarah. They had a problem, no children and they were getting old. They commit the problem to God's hands, and they must have run out of patience waiting for the answer. Why? Because they took matters into their own hands and chose to solve the problem on their own, even after God had promised to them what seemed impossible. End result? Their solution seemed to work out at first, but it turned out not to be such a hot plan in the end. And then, God delivers. He solves the problem, but they had already created another problem with their solution.

Is anything too hard for the Lord?
When we commit a situation to the Lord, may we truly commit it to Him and refuse to worry about it.
Happy New Year!

Monday, December 21, 2015

Thanksgiving

Interestingly, last Friday, I was thinking about how confusing and complicated 2015 has been for me. Why? Because of one issue with minor related issues. I go to church yesterday, (we had a Thanksgiving Service to celebrate 2015) and the preacher, preaching on the theme: 'The Importance of Thanksgiving', says, "if you have nothing to be thankful for, be thankful you have life". And then I felt like the worst person ever.

During the last week of October, one staff in my office died. I have life.
A couple of weeks ago, this university graduate who has been without a job since he completed university (about 3 years ago) came to my house to check out an almost abandoned taxi. He'd rather be a taxi driver than stay at home with no job. I have a job, and since I completed university, I have never had to worry about being jobless.

These are two reasons for me to be thankful. There are countless others in 2015. The more than 3 times I drove into the cars in front of me, the one time a car run into my car, and all these times I wasn't damaged. My car was also not damaged. How could I forget? When I went on an all expense paid trip to South Africa to just go and have fun and relax. Mind you, this was my 3rd all expense paid trip to South Africa since 2013.

So, because of one incident, which will not mean much in a couple of months, I choose to rate 2015 as confusing and complicated? God please forgive my ungratefulness. Funny this should come from me because I am one person who just cannot stand it when she feels ingratitude coming out of anyone who should be expressing anything but.

Yes, bad things happen all the time, but so do good things. Come to think of it, more good things happen than bad, yet we choose to dwell on the bad. By all means, acknowledge the bad stuff that happen, which you can count, but never forget the good things you can't even count. Remember count your blessings, name them one by one, and see if it's possible to.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Joining in the Chorus!

2003, I'm super excited.
I just made it into the University.

I'm a bit apprehensive.
Time for lectures.

First week of lectures over, not sure what to think. I think my classes were pretty cool and the lecturers generally were alright.
Everyone else is discussing, and the conclusion was, 'as for Prof. Awotwi, his class is difficult'. So, me too I say, 'his class is difficult'.
As one of my course requirements, I had to take Prof. Awotwi's class from the animal science department, Biology of Farm Animals (honestly, what do I care about farm animals aside the taste of their meat?). My first impression of Prof. Awotwi, was, this man is so cool, funny and interesting. But everyone said his class was difficult, so it had to be. Fast forward to the end of semester, I write my exams, results come out the next semester and my worst grade that semester was in Prof. Awotwi's class (it was a very bad grade). Was I surprised? No, because I did not study, his class was difficult.

Second year in the University, and one of my classes was Human Physiology I. This course was also taught by Prof. Awotwi, but at least it was in my department and it wasn't about animals. People had already started grumbling because all of us had taken Prof. Awotwi's first year course. First lecture done and the general consensus was, 'this class is too difficult'. But I did not get it. The thing is, Prof. Awotwi gave us everything we needed to pass his class. He dictated notes, he drew diagrams and made copies for us. One thing he said in first year and again in second year was, he knows how things are at the University. The books are not available in the library, which wasn't our fault, (even if they were, I wonder how many of us would make it to the library), and since he doesn't want anyone to have an excuse to fail, he will give us all we need. We just have to study what he gives us, which is what I did this time round. I studied all the material he gave. It was a lot but it was everything.
Result? I was the best student in that class. I remember we had a mid semester exam, when Prof. Awotwi was done marking, he came to class and expressed his disappointment at the general performance. Then he says, there was however one student who performed extraordinarily. This student surprisingly almost scored the full marks. My heart is pounding, my heart is pounding, and then he calls out my name :D

Second semester of second year, I took Human Physiology II, same story. I was the best student in the class. By this time, I was in love with Prof. Awotwi.
Third year, no Prof. Awotwi in my department. So, I follow him to his department and take a free elective, Anatomy and Digestive Physiology. This was about animals, but I didn't care. As long as it was Prof. Awotwi teaching, one of the best lecturers the University of Ghana ever had (my personal opinion), I knew I would be fine, and I was fine. I was one of the best students in that class. Interestingly enough, some of the students majoring in Animal Science, who had to take that class failed the course, but I came from another department, opted to take that course and aced it.

Hmmmmmm... I wonder what would have happened if I hadn't joined in the 'Prof. Awotwi's class is difficult' chorus in my first year. No, I don't wonder, I know if there'd been a grade better that an A, I would have had it.

- in loving memory of Prof. E. K. Awotwi

Friday, November 27, 2015

Puppeteers

Airtel in partnership with Roverman Productions, Joy FM and National Theatre present:
"Puppeteers"

An original play by Uncle Ebo Whyte.

Does someone else control you?
Does someone make you do the things you do?
If yes, that makes you a puppet.
What would you do if faced with a choice to make out of two options? One choice would lead to joy and peace in the short term, but likely lead to turmoil and heartache in the long term. The other would lead to pain and suffering in the short term, but definitely lead to joy, peace and satisfaction in the long term.

Join Judge Moses, find out what he does, find out how he manages a puppet-like situation in "Pupppeteers".
Venue: National Theatre
Date: 28th & 29th November, 5th & 6th December
Time: 1st show 4pm, 2nd show 8pm
Rate: GH¢60.00

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

Alternatively, tickets can be paid for via Airtel Money* at a 10% discount.
1. In the Airtel Money menu, select MAKE PAYMENTS/Dial *500#
2. Select PAY BILL/Select BUY GOODS
3. Select OTHER
4. Type ROVERMAN
5. Enter Amount i.e., GH¢54.00 for one ticket
6. Enter your name, show date & time as reference number (e.g. Efua Dentaa, 28th, 4pm)
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