Thursday, February 27, 2014

The Day I Haven't Exactly Forgotten About

There is a not so flattering scar on my leg to remind me of it, but then again, how many times do I look at my leg in a year?

A couple of weeks ago, I was in a hair salon in my neighbourhood when one of the neighbourhood guys walks in and says whats up to me. The ladies in the salon surprised ask how he knows me. Reason? I keep to myself a lot (always have) and hardly speak to anyone in my hood. Then the guy says, "oh, your salon is new here. This young lady helped get rid of thieves in this area".

Some 7 years ago (wow, seems like eons ago. how come the scar isn't totally obliterated?), just out of uni (translates to I had no job and no money aside what generous members of my family would give), I was heading home from a programme. It was about 10:30pm and I was in a bus (trotro). I hated taking the bus home (for varied reasons) but I really didn't have a choice. My car broke down a couple of weeks before and no one was willing to fix it (did I already say 'just out of uni').

I get to my junction and I get off the bus. I could have used one of two routes home, and I chose to use the one I never use. Why? Because there was this guy who kept staring at me funny in the bus who got off at the same bus stop, and headed in the direction of my usual route. So I thought, why not use the other route. It didn't matter to me at the time that the street I wanted to walk on was too quiet as compared to the one I usually take, which had a pub and a store on it that closed well after midnight.

I move from the main road (the bus stop) to this very quiet street and I instantly start feeling uncomfortable, so I walk as fast as my legs would carry me (which wasn't that fast. anyone who knows me would know why, plus I was in heels). You know how sometimes you can feel someone staring at you from behind? I think I've read it in books as "the hairs on the back of my neck stood on end", that's exactly how I felt. I would turn around every once in a while but saw nothing out of the ordinary.

Then I made the first turn and I felt better. Why? There was a bread and egg seller on this street I was on, and she had quite a number of customers at that time. Now, I relaxed a bit, but still walked as fast as my legs would carry me, and then I made it onto my street. I was convinced something was going to happen but I felt I was home free, or so I thought.

I was walking on the left side of the road with my hand bag hanging on my right shoulder, when this car at top speed, makes the turn onto my street. Thoroughly angry, I turn around ready to scream obscenities at the driver, but I didn't have to bother because the car came to an abrupt stop right next to me. Now I'm thinking that at least the driver was considerate and didn't want me to over utilise my vocal chords by screaming so he had come to me to receive his scolding (who even does that). I open my mouth ready to speak (I was still thoroughly angry) when the driver speaks first and asks me for directions to a bar. I stop for a second thinking about the name of the bar and thinking it sounded awfully familiar (all thoughts of the scolding he deserved out of my mind). I stopped for a second too long.

In that second, the driver of the car lunged for my hand bag and I did the most stupid thing anyone in that position could ever do. I held on. I struggled with him, and then I started shouting "thief", "thief". When I realised nothing was happening and no one was coming to my aide, I shouted thief in two different Ghanaian languages. Just then, I heard the steps of people running towards where I was, I guess from the bread and egg seller's place.

That was when the driver of the car went into reverse and stepped on the accelerator and moved with the same speed he had made the turn with. I'm not sure, but I think I fell chest first onto the ground because I was on the ground, but I first felt this sharp pain in my chest when I hit the ground. Now, I was screaming alright, but in pain. My voice however didn't sound like my own (it sounded too low for someone that was in the situation I was) and the sound of the car's engine totally muffled whatever sound did come out of me. Now, I just wanted to let go of the hand bag, but it was seemingly glued to my hand, and my hand wasn't doing what I so desperately wanted it to do; to let go of the bag.

So here I was, my right hand attached to my hand bag, a guy driving a car and holding on to a part of this same hand bag, the guy in the car and me outside the car and on the ground. Me, the hand bag, the guy and the car were all in motion, being powered by the engine of the car, which was of course controlled by the guy's foot on the accelerator. I knew once he made the turn off my street, and should I make it onto the main road with him, I was a goner.
Prior to that, I know I'd always told myself that should I ever be in a life threatening situation, I would say my last prayers. Thing is, I wanted to live and saying my last prayers meant I was ready to give up, which I wasn't.

All I kept saying over and over again was, "Jesus, help me"...

Monday, February 24, 2014

Make Me A Woman Tonight

Roverman Productions in partnership with Joy FM and National Theatre presents: "Make Me A Woman Tonight".

A play written and directed by Uncle Ebo Whyte.

Venue: National Theartre
Date: 1st, 2nd, 8th and 9th March
Time: 1st show 4pm, 2nd show 8pm
Rate: GH¢50.00

Scented sheets and candles, rose petals, some whipped cream, strawberries and champagne. Mimi has it all planned out, this is the night of her dreams. Getting married to Maestro, the most successful footballer in Africa is just what she has been praying for and her expectations are high. But her world is about to be shattered as she faces the hard reality that everything she has dreamt of has been sacrificed for money and fame.

"Make Me A Woman Tonight", an Ebo Whyte play, brings to the fore the formidable power of the mind.

For recharge and ticket enquiries: Airtel Short code 466 or call 026 109 4100.

Tickets are available at Shell Shops at Airport, Community 11, Achimota and Sakaman, Joy FM, Baatsona Total, Frankies (Osu) and Jane-Ann Supermarket.
To recharge old tickets, log onto www.rovermanproductions.com

Alternatively, tickets can be paid for via Airtel Money.
1. Dial *500#
2. Select Make Payment
3. Select Other
4.Type "ROVERMAN"
5. Enter Amount
6. Enter your name as Reference Number (e.g Dentaa Oduro)
7. Confirm payment details with your Airtel Money PIN
8. Present the confirmation text that'll be sent you at the gate for entry.
*A charge of GH¢0.50 applies

Friday, February 21, 2014

Pet Peeves III!

And picking up from Pet Peeves! and Pet Peeves II!

10. Water.
I am back on the subject of water. No, my taps aren't running (still). Well, the Ghana Water Company after 3 days of no water decided to turn the taps on yesterday at about 11am (like most people weren't at work) and turn them off again at 10pm. I get home like 6pm and the water is barely trickling through my taps (it took about an hour to get a full bucket of water) until the taps eventually stopped running at 10pm.
Ok, ok, ok, I now know it is very possible for me to actually take a bath with a bucket (more like half a bucket) of water. I promise not to use like 10 (that's if I can quantify how much water I use) and I promise not to wash my hands like 15 times everyday (it really doesn't matter that I have a very mild OCD). I promise, I'll conserve water (even though I pay for all the water I use and don't cheat the system). Now please let the taps flow!
On my way to work this morning, I'm seeing people washing their cars and I'm thinking, really? And then I could have sworn people were fetching sea water. I saw a truck with barrels of water on it being pushed by 4 men and they were coming from the direction of the sea (I used the beach road). I hope they aren't drinking it. For cooking, washing and bathing, I guess it's ok (not 100% sure though). But really, that's how bad it is. Sea water. Hmmmmmm...

11. Ludacris.
What has he got to do with me? Nothing, except that just about every barber shop in Accra (not sure about the rest of Gh) has to have this particular picture on their billboard/signboard/something.
I got curious about where the people were getting the picture from so I Googled him and voila!
Is it about the way his facial hair is cut or what? I'm sure he's not the finest, most popular guy in the world. Aren't there any Gh men who qualify to be used to advertise a barber shop?
One example of a thousand other barber shops in Accra
I'm sure when he came to Gh, organisers of the concert didn't take him on a tour proper of Accra. If they had, one of two things might have happened.
a) He'd have freaked out and left Gh that very instant, concert cancelled.
b) He'd have stayed for his concert and stayed after to be king of Gh. Oh yeah, his face is more popular on the streets of Accra than it ever was in any family album of his.

12. Gh Police.
Is it just my overactive imagination or is there always extra traffic when police officers are directing at a traffic light (faulty or just cos they feel like it)?

13. DP and DV number plates.
I was under the impression that DP plates were issued usually at the ports (for imported cars) and expired 15 days from the day of issue.
How have you been doing it? Avoiding or palm greasing?
So why am I seeing a 2013 DP plate a month and a half into 2014? Even if the plate was issued on December 31, 2013, I'm sure we're more than 15 days into 2014.
Then the DV plates. They last longer (a maximum of one year) and are supposed to be used on a car after the DP plate expires, until the car is registered. There are a whole bunch of rules as to how they are to be used (as in cars with DV plates). Eg. you can carry only a certain number of people in the car, the car can only be used from 6am to 7pm, the car can't be used for funerals, weddings etc. DV plated cars really are to be used for testing by potential buyers. So I ask, what is a 2013 DV plated car doing in 2014?
How are you also doing it?
And I had to end at number 13. Then again I am from Gh and the number 13 really is not supposed to have any significance for me (yeah, just like it wouldn't make much sense to sit here in Gh and celebrate Thanksgiving).
But seriously, Ghana Water Company, I really can't do the one half bucket of water no more!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Pet Peeves II!

I'll pick up Pet Peeves! where I left off yesterday with MTN (makes sense since I ended with MTN).

5. Thank you MTN for the birthday present. It was very thoughtful of you and especially since you were one of the first to wish me a happy birthday with a text message at 12:35am.
Again, you chose not to tell me the 30mins free airtime, 10 sms and 30MB data would expire in 3 days. From my experience last year though I knew it would so I wasn't caught unawares. You were kind enough though to inform me that all the free stuff you gave me were for on-net transactions (thanks for the heads up), but you know I am subscribed to your BlackBerry service so there is no way I could use the data package you gave me, and I hardly send sms (I was able to send like 2 before the package expired). I am so not trying to sound ungrateful. I do appreciate the gesture and it really is the thought that counts. Next year, I'll get an Android phone so I can at least use the data package you send me :D

6. Water.
I (plus just about the rest of Accra) haven't had water running through my taps for like 3 days now. Eish! Have things got that bad in Ghana (I know things are bad but water)? Yesterday, I had no electricity and no water, and I knew I should expedite my conquering of mars mission or maybe I should switch to the Amazon jungle, since it has been proven to me beyond reasonable doubt that I can very well survive without certain amenities I used to think were basic.

7. Shoprite.
There's no way I could do a pet peeves post without mentioning Shoprite (would raise questions now, wouldn't it?). Aside the usual, there really isn't anything new to report. Was at Shoprite at the Oxford Street Mall last week and I'm proud to say the flies seem to have relegated themselves to just the fruits. No personal shopper this time. A friend did tell me that the apples in the Shoprite at the Accra Mall have been covered, but I haven't been there in it seems like forever. It appears I am able to tolerate flies more than roaches.

8. YFM.
Now how did they make it here? I love YFM. I keep winning stuff over there and they did send me to SA last year to see Rihanna.
8 (a) Ms. Naa. How did she make it over here? I love her morning show. It wakes me up long enough to last the hours at work before lunch time. What can I say? I have a reason for loving everyone and everything. So this morning, on Ryse and Shyne (Ms. Naa's show on YFM), she gives out a riddle and asks listeners to tweet the answer for a prize. The prize? A voucher to browse for free at the Accra Mall courtesy BLU (there were 2 vouchers to be won). The problem? A rep from BLU was on Ms. Naa's show I think sometime last week and he did say anyone can browse for free at the Accra Mall as long as the anyone makes their way to the BLU stand at the Accra Mall. I was at the Accra Mall on Monday and I made my way to the BLU stand, picked up a voucher (matter of fact, 2 cos the first one run out) for absolutely free and browsed for absolutely free. How then are free vouchers now prizes to be won on YFM? Unless of course y'all trying to say browsing at the BLU stand ain't free no more (which I doubt).

9. Food.
It really is none of my business what people choose to cook and others choose to eat. That's the thing. It's their choice and it has absolutely nothing to do with me. But...
drawing does kinda look like chicken thighs to me though
Really? hmmmm... like I already said. It's their choice and has absolutely nothing to do with me.
This week on Ms. Naa's show she gave a bizarre news story about human meat being sold in a Lagos (I think it was or at least somewhere in Nigeria) hotel (the restaurant) for 700.00 ( that's about $4.24) a piece I guess. Apparently some customers were consuming the meat without knowing it was human meat. One pastor ate the meat and tipped the police off who later found 2 human heads in the restaurant (back room I guess).
That one is the police business not mine. So I guess everyone will just mind their own business. But seriously, human meat for sale, what is this world coming to?

I really didn't want to, but there's a Pet Peeves III. Coming out tomorrow. Real short this time.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Pet Peeves!

Before I get into it, nah, just lemme get into it (I'm usually cranky this time of year).

1. Valentine's day (yuck!). I dislike, I dislike, I dislike. Val's day has always overshadowed my birthday and I hardly ever get to get a val's present and a birthday present in the same year (that translates to I never get the two).
How come name changes are allowed but not birth date changes?

2. I turned 29 on February 15 (see why I dislike val's day) but I don't look a day older than 17 (I guess that really can't be a pet peeve).
Judge for yourself. Took this right now!
And I got this lovely cake (which I am still eating) and have no intention of sharing. Boy is it huge!
My lovely, huge cake, which I intend eating all by myself (I've lost too much weight)
Reason it's a pet peeve (me turning 29) is cos I'm almost 30 and I haven't conquered mars yet.
It will happen. Still got a whole year (almost) to 30 :D
Before anyone jumps on my neck about me self worshipping, I'll do what I should have started with. I thank God for how far He has brought me, and I am grateful I have lived long enough to see my 29th year on this earth. I can't thank you enough Father, You have been extremely good to me, and I am grateful, and forever will be.

3. There's this ad I hear on radio for Edlorm Homes and it is just amazing. The person chosen to do the ad might possibly be a Ga. Why? He cannot or refuses to pronounce the letter 'H'. Did I say the ad is a home ad and he manages to say 'home' not less that 5 times without the 'H'? Edlorm Homes, are you serious or you trying to be funny? Patiently awaiting a parallelogram ad to be done by an Ashanti man.

4. I have mentioned this before, but I'll say it again (when has having said something before stopped me?).
MTN, the 18001 number you have on the back of your official cars for other road users to call in case your driver is driving recklessly still doesn't get picked up. You obviously need to employ someone to pick calls to that number, better still just take the number off the back of your cars (it's annoying when I see it since I know no one will pick up when I call. I'm sure your drivers know this that's why they are extra reckless on the road). One of them almost caused me to have an accident 2 weeks ago and I call and no one picks up the phone. Last time I did and blogged about it was July 1, 2011. So, it's been over 2 years and that number is still as it is.

Pet peeves II tomorrow (post got long already, my new year just begun and I have changed my life).

Friday, February 07, 2014

Adventures in a Foreign Land - How To Look Awkward On A Bus!

For some reason whenever I got onto a bus, I'd sit/stand as close to the driver as I could. Hardly would I sit in back. Maybe it had something to do with the fact that I'd have to get onto the bus from the front door, show my bus pass to the driver or pay, and it really didn't make sense to walk all the way to the back after (I should add that I didn't particularly mind that I'd be in other people's way, especially when there were no empty seats).

When I had to get off the bus, I'd always still use the front door though I could use the rear door (and should use the rear door to make way for incoming passengers). Well, I was always close to the driver so it made sense to use the front door. Thing is, when I would sit/stand close to the rear door but definitely before the rear door, I'd still get off using the front door (while avoiding the weird looks). I always saw people get off using the rear door so I knew it worked in just about all the buses. Usually, I see them get to the rear door, and then it opens, kinda like the front door.

On this lovely (not sure how lovely cos it was 20°C below 0) day, I get onto the bus and all the seats in front are taken. There are however empty seats all the way in the back. So, I make my way to the very last seat and settle there. We get to this bus stop and all these collegiate (high school) students get on. They are so many that the bus immediately fills up to capacity with most of them standing.

Now, we get to my stop and I ring the bell. The bus stops and I get up. It really would have been next to impossible (not really, I could have just shoved everyone aside) to get to the front door so I use the rear door, which was too close to where I sat. I get to the door and nothing happens. I ring the bell again and I get some weird looks. For some reason, I'm the only one in back getting off. All those getting off at that stop happened to be sitting/standing close to the front door. I look up front and I see the front door opened okay. For the life of me I couldn't figure out why the rear door just wouldn't open.

Then I hear one of the collegiate students (did I already say the bus was just about full of them?) say, "press on the yellow tape, dummy". I go like "huh". and then another says, "seriously, just press on it with your thumbs". At this point I hear a snicker or two and I see not just the collegiate students but everyone else on the bus including the bus driver looking impatient. So, I look at the door and I see the yellow tape the kids were talking about. And right there on the tape it says "please press", and there's actually a diagram of a thumb pressing on the yellow tape, so I try it.

Lo and behold, the door swings open. Yay! Before I got off though I heard someone (I'm very sure it was one of them collegiate students) say "dunce". Had I known what I know now, I would have said "tweaa" and walked away.
But seriously, had there not been a mixture of races among the students, I'd have pegged that as a racist attack, plain and simple.

Moral: read notices, always.

Monday, February 03, 2014

9 To 5

9 to 5 generally represents standard work hours in a lot of places (countries). You get to work at 9am and close at 5pm.

Last week, I'm heading to work, sleepy (as usual) and talking to a friend on the phone. Now I ask him why I got to get to work by 8am and why most jobs in Gh require employees to be at work by 8am. He asks why I'm asking the question. And I'm like hasn't he ever heard of 9 to 5. Then I explain what it means and he's like, "Ah! But you know we have a peculiar situation here in Gh. If you tell people to get to work at 9am, they'll get to work at 10am or 11am. So you tell them to get to work at 8am, then you know they'll be there at least by 9am latest 10am".

Oh my goodness! That makes so much sense (why didn't I ever think of that?)! We are after all on our very own time zone here in Gh.

But why is it that when I get to work between 8:30am and 9am, and on the very rare occasions my boss gets to the office like 8am (did I already say very rare), he gets all hot and bothered?
Ah! Aren't I early?

I Am Because We Are - Ubuntu

The story is told of an anthropologist who proposed a game to some South African tribal children. He placed a basket of sweets near a tree...