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?

Friday, April 17, 2015

How Do We Get It Right?

Certainly not by doing this...


or this...

or this...


or even this...

Driving through my neighbourhood on Sunday morning (heading to church). It's after 7am, it's raining, but day broke over an hour ago and the area is all lighted up by the outside lights of neighbours. Thing is their lights did nothing to illuminate the area (it was already illuminated by natural light).

The current power crisis we experiencing in Ghana has all of us hot (literally) and bothered. Yes, we (myself inclusive) want the government to solve this problem ASAP, but really leaving outside lights on at 7am won't help the situation. I get that we sometimes leave the light switch on, the lights go out, we forget about it and maybe leave home or sleep or something. But let's all do our little bit to help. Let's turn off all switches when leaving home. Makes no sense to have outside lights on for all the 12 hours we get to enjoy electricity (and then 24 hours no electricity) when there's daylight.

There are moments when we experience a problem. It isn't our duty to solve the problem, but we are suffering. How about not compounding the problem? If it's not your duty to solve it, and you cannot solve it even if you wanted to, how do you help by making things worse, especially when you are the one suffering, and the person supposed to fix the problem is not suffering as much as you are?

We get it right by not making it worse!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

The Smartest Man Alive

Roverman Productions in Partnership with Joy FM and National Theatre Presents: "The Smartest Man Alive".


A play written and directed by Uncle Ebo Whyte.

Venue: National Theatre
Date: 28th & 29th March, 4th & 5th April, 2015
Time: 1st show 4pm, 2nd show 8pm
Rate: GH¢60.00

Hell has no fury like a woman spurned. But hell has no gate stronger than a man gifted with words and wit. So what happens when a woman spurned confronts the smartest man alive?

The play explores the basis of love relationships in Ghana, and challenges us  to question if we are using our talents and skills to serve or take advantage of others.
Imagine you could not tell a lie anymore. Don't miss an opportunity to find out how the smartest man alive deals with this.

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

Friday, March 20, 2015

"Baby on Board." Princess! Really?

I always wonder what I'm to do when I drive behind a car with the sign, "Baby on Board". Finally, (after months of debating with myself), I decide it means I should drive extra careful behind that car and not get annoyed when that car goes too slow (are drivers supposed to be paying attention to babies while driving? just asking), honk unnecessarily etc. (meaning I can do the exact opposite behind a car without that sign). Wonder why they didn't teach me that in driving school (maybe these signs hadn't been invented then).

Sometime last week, I was driving behind a car with this sign:
Really?
First time I ever saw one so I took a picture, but forgot about it, until I saw the same car again this morning.
All I can say is REALLY??? (there wasn't even anyone in the car aside the driver, humph!) Totally getting/designing an "Amazing Diva/Superhero in Car" sign (not that I need one though).

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Adventures in a Foreign Land - International Money Transfer

The post office was just behind my office. The plan was to stop over there during my lunch break. I learnt I could access the international money transfer service there. Of course I was excited. I wasn't exactly broke, but I could do with the money.

It's lunch time, I head on over to the post office. I tell the guy at the counter that I want to use the international money transfer service. Then he asks if I'm sending or receiving. That question had me mighty confused. Simple enough question, but I didn't get why he was asking me that question. In Ghana, anytime I used the international money service, I just told whoever was in charge I wanted to use the service and then I was handed a form (receiving form) to fill out. No questions were asked. And then it hit me. I am in the developed world. Most of the moneys sent via international money transfers originate from the part of the world I was in, with their final destination being the part of the world Ghana is in. It would make sense to assume everyone using the service in Ghana was receiving. You can however not be too sure about everyone using the service in the developed world. After a whole 30 seconds of me with my blank look, I answer the guy (he was starting to look frustrated). I smile and tell him I'm receiving.

He then tells me if I want cash, I'll need to go down the road (more like take a bus) to the bigger post office, because he can only give me a cheque. Of course I wanted the cash but I had to do this during my lunch break, actually get lunch, and head on back to my office. So I tell him the cheque is just fine. It really wasn't, but my bank was right across the road from the post office, so I figured after getting the cheque, I'd dash on over there, deposit the cheque and hopefully get my money.

I pick up the cheque, head on to the bank, walk to one of the tellers (there wasn't a queue, nice) hand my cheque over to her, she takes a look at it, looks at me, smiles and says, "my dear, why don't you deposit it in the ATM. That way you'll have access to some of the money before the cheque is cleared. If you deposit it with me, it'll take you 3 days to get your money". Must have been a day of blank looks for me, because that's exactly what I gave her for 2 reasons.
1. Why does she think I need the money right away (but really I did)? My skin colour means I desperately need cash, really? Is she racist?
2. What does she mean? Who deposits cheques in an ATM? She's totally messing with me. Yeah, definitely racist!

She smiles at me again and says, "oh dear, you probably don't know how to do that (of course I didn't even know you could do that. totally racist). Come let me show you". She moves from behind the counter and heads on to the ATM machines outside the banking hall with me. Of course I'm grateful this kind lady was being so helpful, but my mind was made up. She was just racist.

She tells me what to do and shows me how to do it, and tells me I can withdraw up to a certain amount of the money before the cheque clears. Then I ask the obvious. "What stops someone from dropping in a blank sheet of paper and withdrawing the accessible amount"? She then tells me that actually does happen, not often, but it does and it's usually a minority group in the country that does that (oh yeah, she just confirmed, she is racist), but they do track some of  them down (yeah, the joys of living in a country where streets are named, houses are numbered, and your bank account indicates all of that, and it's easy to track at least your house down).

I deposit the cheque, withdraw the accessible amount and skip (actually, I just walked) on back to the office on an empty stomach. Lunch time was over. Doing the post office, the bank, time spent giving blank looks and the tutorial I got on depositing a cheque in an ATM machine, just took too much time.

Moral: the fact that something is always a certain way where you from doesn't mean it's that way everywhere. Be open to new ideas. The fact that machines where you are from don't perform a certain function doesn't mean they don't do that in another part of the world. Who knows, that function just might be available where you are from sometime, so learn (I hear there are ATMs of some banks in Ghana that have the cheque depositing function now).
The fact that you have heard of racism doesn't mean just because you are a certain colour, you should be looking for racism in your interaction with any and everyone of the group that are usually accused of racism. Come to think of it, I was probably being more prejudiced and racist than this person. She was just a nice sweet lady who wanted to help (I know no teller in any bank in Ghana if they could, would leave their desk to go help me out with anything). Don't go looking for something that isn't there just because you've heard it exists in the part of the world you in. Racism in no way looks like what I experienced that day.