Monday, 31 March 2008

Otso klikli

The month of March is in Ga known as "otso klikli" which basically means flaming hot, or burning like fire. My uncle taught me this as I met him and my 93 year old great aunt at the Accra mall on Friday. That day really was flaming hot (as the whole week had been), and we discussed how interesting it is that even in our forefathers' time, March must have been known as an exceptionally hot month. On that Friday afternoon, it seemed like the heat had no limit, rainy season seemed so far away. i said a silent prayer, please let the next two months of heat not be as unbearable as the last week has been.

And then today, a proper rainy season style thunder and rain storm took over Accra and Tema. I thank my churning stomach for the fact that I was comfortably at home and not driving through it. As I looked for our wellies and didn't find them, I realised how long ago it was that I ever needed them. In the end I went to the porch to create a makeshift shelter for the dogs and hens out of a table and a blanket, as they, as always when it rains, want to be close to us and hear our voices and therefore did not go to their respective kennels (can you call it a kennel for hens too? ;) )

Isn't it funny how otso klikli is already over, and so timely, at the last day of March? As we've wished for rain for so long, we can only rejoice in the short rainfall we were given and will for now ignore the fact that this rain has come two months before time, probably due to what we are doing to our Mother Earth.

It was such a wonderful idea of my uncle to take his 93 year old mother to see the mall. I can only imagine what she thought when she saw it. Let's not forget that in her time she's probably seen a lot of great shops, after all, Ghana was a great place before each coup d'etat did its best to destroy establishments. But even so, it must have been amazing for her to see our lovely new mall, that resembles no other in Ghana. She's a travelled lady and was last in Europe (Geneva) a decade ago, but there is still a sense of excitement when you see your own town developing into a modern place. It led me to think of all the magnificent and horrific things she must have experienced in her lifetime, just imagine how much we've all experienced in our own lives, and hopefully we're not even half way to the end. I hope to one day find the time to discuss and record her experiences, thoughts and stories about herself and our family, and encourage you all to make time for the elders in your family. They hold the key to undiscovered treasures locked in their minds and when their gone, unless documented, those treasures die with them.

The morning after the nights before

Don't even know where to start writing. The beach party was so good. Maybe too good, as that always comes with consequences. And now I am home in bed as my stomach tries to recover from whatever poisons I consumed at yesterday's barbecue. But, what the hey, it was worth it!

Got to Prampram around 20:30 on Saturday after Dirty came to my house and we met Ruby & Co at Shell by the motorway roundabout. Saturday was easy, we set up the place, taking chairs out, packing up the food we'd brought and so on. After a while a few others arrived. I think in total we were about fifteen people there (after H and his gang arrived around 1:30).

The evening progressed in a very bohemian spirit as we danced to music, chatted, drank, walked on the beach and went skinny dipping. Is this what our parents were doing in the seventies? We had so much fun in the water, after Ruby and I accidentally fell in with our dresses and everything (as I mentioned a few blogs ago, that sea is evil!), we gave up and just enjoyed the water. Still had to avoid a lot of rocks that would painfully fly on the waves towards us. Went back up and a while later we changed into swim wear and went into the water again. It was so wonderful.

HOWEVER, the next morning, after Dirty and I were rudely awakened by Ruby, we walked to the beach and looked out over the sand and the sea. In shock we saw the rubbish all over the beach, which we must have walked through the night before, light bulbs, toothpaste tubes, etc, all scattered everywhere. I looked onto the waves thinking I saw lots of fish, only to realise I was seeing loads of plastic bags. It's amazing how at night you get that eerie, romantic feeling of a place, only to be brought back to reality in the sharp daylight. (this didn't stop the guys from going swimming twice during the day, while the women prepared for the barbecue, oh what a sexist environment!).

At 13:30 I begun to wonder if Ruby's fears were true that not many would show up, but then I reminded myself that we were operating on GMT - Ghana Man's Time, so since we'd told people to come from 12 onwards, I really shouldn't be expecting anyone until after 14:30. Of course everybody arrived between 14:30 and 15:30 and I would estimate that there were about 50-60 people in total. The music was good, there was food and drink in abundance and even if all that had been rubbish, it wouldn't have mattered as the breathtaking view was enough to make anyone happy for driving all the way there (the rubbish on the sand and in the sea are not visible until you stand at the edge of the lawn).

Once again it became clear how small Accra is, as our guests who we had invited separately and from seemingly different backgrounds were united with childhood friends they hadn't seen in decades. For me, the most fascinating meeting was with a man who had spent 18 years in Finland! Just as I always speak of London as a relief from Sweden because there, being black isn't such a big deal, he told me he used to take Alandsfarjan (ferry between Sweden and Finland) on weekends to get to Stockholm for a relief from the racism in Finland. I asked if he ever goes back and he shuddered, "no, no way". I guess that's the difference between growing up in a place and moving there as an adult, don't think I could ever imagine never going to Sweden, it's too big a part of me, but then again, I still have a lot of friends and family there.

As the sunset, most people left, and it became clear which persons were self-employed or had flexible hours as they seemed to be in no hurry at all to leave. Those of us who are employed were itching to go home and get ready for the working week, while the others seemed to just be getting into the mood, hoping the party would go on into the small hours.

I agree with most people who said it was the greatest party in a long time, most of all I'm impressed that we managed to hold a 24 hour party and still not have a moment of boredom, but I think I have the wonderful ambience of Prampram to thank for that.

Pictures will be posted later, have lost my USB cable, and anyway the best pictures are on Ruby's camera

Saturday, 29 March 2008

Beach Party!

Ok, so yesterday didn't turn out as expected. Instead of night out with friends, I ended up going to Virgo's (had planned to wait there til Ruby would call). We went for dinner at Le Must in Cantonments, it was delicious, nice place as well, had never been there before. Then lounge around waiting for Ruby's call which never came, but like she said, if I really wanted to go out, i would have called her.

Today I have spent hours shopping with Ruby & Co for the party (tonight until tomorrow evening at a beach house in Prampram). Went to SoTrek, Maxmart, Evergreen, Usave, Melcom and this kiosk that sells soft drinks wholesale. Never realised preparing for a party was so much hard work! We should have gone for catering, but I guess it's too late saying that now. Ruby and I keep coming with crazily ambitious ideas, basically making everything from scratch, while A'waa and 'yo look at us like we're crazy. I'm sure it'll turn out great no matter what we do. Waiting for Dirty to get here at seven then we'll meet up with Ruby and head there. At least this time I can't forget the key like I did when A and K came to visit, coz I've left it in my car! ; )

Will report tomorrow or Monday, hopefully with pictures, but now, I have to go pack!

Thursday, 27 March 2008


Alex Schulman in Sweden is looking for 100 men with African features for his latest project on the website (that's 1000 monkeys). Immediately my blood starts to boil. Don't know much about Schulman, except that he and his brother(?) had a controversial blog which they've recently quit. Maybe the resident Swedes know more? I just hope the project/website is not as bigoted as it sounds.


Have sorted out the comments settings so you no longer need to have a blogspot account.

The caged bird sings

Maya Angelou is about to turn eighty! Gosh, what a great life and still going strong. She is such an inspiration to me and it is from her that the love of the name "Maya" comes from. It's funny how I can feel such affection, respect and love for a person I have never met, but then again, after reading her autobiographical books, it is no wonder I feel like I know a lot about her. For those who haven't read (or even heard) about her, this article briefly describes some of the things she has done in her life. As soon as I read the article I felt I have to go out and buy her books (lent them all to various people and of course they were never brought back), because the things she has been through, the jobs she has had and the people she has met are just amazing. If I fit a fraction of what she has done in her life into my own, I will still have achieved a great deal.

I remember the first time I read her book, after seeing it in the book case in the sitting room for years, probably a decade, a Swedish translation (Jag vet varfor burfageln sjunger), I felt I had to have more. And after reading about her life in Ghana, I felt so proud that my country had hosted her and she had loved it back. And for her to be with two giants in world history (Muhammad Ali and Malcolm X), and the dialogue that went on between her and Muhammad Ali at Kotoka Airport (was it called Kotoka at the time? I don't know), just seemed so incredible. What a moment to be alive!

Touch of Bronze

The Poet is an evil genius. With the most beautiful of words, or even the simple ones, he'll sting you so it burns.

But that's not what I was going to write about, just got distracted by his comment. Yesterday, we got the latest addition to our beautiful art. Unfortunately I can't show it yet as it is my mother's and she hasn't unwrapped it. Instead, I'll give you the beautiful piece that I see every morning when I wake up. It sits on my desk (yes, sits, after 2 years, I still haven't bought nails strong enough to hang it on the wall), and somehow empowers me. for some reason, to me it oozes feminism. Maybe it is because it is celebrating the beauty of the female body. I don't know, I just love it. What do you think?

I look forward to the day I'll fill my house with more of these beautiful works. Well, to get there I guess I should start planning for the future, which means getting of the internet and doing the drafting I need to do.


Think my posts are too long, will have to try to cut them short, for easier reading, even for myself. Hopefully that will also stop me from rambling on for too long. Yesterday's post was especially long, but then I was exhausted and basically typing as I was thinking.

Today is going to be spent at home. The plan is to take it easy, but I will probably end up working anyway. Have to draft an agreement for myself, a few letters and research for a few ideas. But mainly, I hope to sort this out:

All this time that I have been off, have completely forgotten to go to the hairdresser, but now I think it is definitely high time! Hopefully I'll be able to upload a picture soon of a nicer looking head.

Wednesday, 26 March 2008


Read a few of the Swedish blogs this evening. It seems some politicians, or Maud Olofsson in particular, has suggested that the child support grant be income based. For those of you who don't know, in Sweden, for every child you have, you receive a grant, no matter what your financial status is. This is to assist parents with the expenses involved in having children. If you have above a certain number of children (3 or 4?) you also receive multiple children additional grant (my attempted direct translation of flerbarnstillagg). It is quite common that at a certain age, this amount or part of it is given directly to the child, around the ages of 15-18. I remember that in my day it used to be 750kr per month, when I was getting it directly (or part of it, honestly don't remember) it was reduced to 640kr and as soon as I turned 18/19 it went up to 750kr again and the next year up to 1050kr (appoximately GHc 130, will have to check for more accurate figures).

It's quite a nice sum of money, but honestly not everybody needs it. Still, apparently the discussion that is going on is because anybody earning over 20,000kr per month will not receive the grant. To me, after looking at the kind of salaries you can earn in Sweden and the expenses incurred in a month, I think 20,000 is a bit of a low threshold. I do not think a person who earns 20,000kr is a high income earner.

However, what really comes to mind is the different worlds we live in. In Sweden the average salary is sooo much higher (as of course are the expenses), and yet because we are used to receiving a certain amount of money, a lot of households will struggle if this grant is taken away from them. Yet in Ghana, there is no such grant, and salaries are a lot lower than in other parts of the world. I can only imagine the fear, anxiety and pressure anyone will be under as you expect your first child in Ghana. Where is the fallback system? If I fall seriously ill, what grants will help me and my family survive? If I lose my job today, what am I going to live on?

Ghanaians have found their own way around the social welfare system that we have in Sweden. Firstly, in Ghana, we don't leave home at the age of 18 or 20 to live in our own flat, we stay at home til we get married, hopefully by then, us or our parents have saved up enough to pay the 2-year (!) deposit required before renting a place. FYI: rents in Accra are currently a lot higher than rents in Gothenburg. An average two-bedroom flat in Cantonments, not necessarily newly renovated or in a flashy building, can be let for $1,000-1,500! So it just doesn't add up. Our salaries here are fractions of what we are paid abroad and yet many of the expenses are a lot higher.

Anyway back to the fall back system, "rich" relatives have poorer ones come stay with them, and either relatives or strangers are taken on as house-helps, and in most cases sent to school whilst they live with the family. I remember learning in sociology in Sweden (L.M.) that Ghana had one of the highest rates of child labour in the ages 15-17. I was horrified, how could my beloved country take part in something so horrible? However coming here, I have realised it is our society's way of dealing with poverty until the Government finds a better way for us to handle it. But for now it works as best it can. In most cases you may not have a success story, but at least a positive one of a girl who comes to work for a family in the city, they pay for her basic schooling, so that when she leaves she's completed her 'O' levels and possibly 'A' levels and usually learnt a trade, e.g. hairdressing or sewing so that she can set up a small enterprise of her own. There are also some sad stories of girls (or boys) who are mistreated and end up back in their villages without gaining anything from their employment. But the success story that makes me smile is that of my auntie's "house-girl", let's call her Rosie:

Rosie's parents brought her to my auntie when she was approximately 11 or 12 (it's not that she doesn't know her age, I just can't remember). They pleaded that my auntie let her stay in the house and do some chores in exchange for receiving education. Rosie would go to school all day and after school she'd help my auntie prepare dinner, chopping tomatoes for stew, etc. My auntie soon realised she was really bright so she decided to pay for her 'A' levels and later on her courses in accounting. Rosie as always, excelled and is now months away from becoming a chartered accountant, after completing the ACCA. I find it wonderful that she started out as a house girl and is now going to be raking in the money (chartered accountants are not cheap!). To me it means that even in our Ghanaian society that is so hell-bent on keeping rigid class structures, there are always possibilities to break those boundaries, even without dramatic cinderella stories, like being discovered on the street and then becoming a supermodel, but that through very undramatic studying and patience, you can really reach anywhere.

Sky's the limit.

Rosie's little sister has now gone to stay with that same auntie. Only time will tell what will become of her.

Meetings, meetings, meetings.

Had no internet access yesterday, but was so busy I hardly realised. It seems work has kickstarted again even though I am still on holiday. Went for a meeting in the morning then had a few hours to work on a business plan before meeting Dirty for an early dinner, then rushing to Ruby's office before going to another meeting, and after that stopping at H's office where I sat in on a bit of their planning. but that falls under proper work. Had a breakfast meeting this morning and now I am at Virgo's office in Adabraka (or Asylum Down, I still don't know which is which) and sorting some things out before meeting Ruby for lunch where we'll structure what needs to be done.

Felt very good yesterday as I took a tiny step towards healing the environment. After my eco talks here, felt I had to do something for the environment. So I left petrol guzzling Roger at Virgo's house, got Virgo to give me a lift to Melting Moments where I was meeting Dirty, got Dirty to drop at Ruby's office in Airport, she drove us to the meeting and Virgo picked me from there. Virgo and I were meant to go to Game, which I though closed at 9p.m., turns out it closes at 7! So today we're taking no chances, after our separate lunch meetings at 1, we'll be heading straight there.

Meetings with clients in the last few days have made me realise how small Accra/Ghana is. Although it's a country of over 20 million people, so many conflicts of interest are already popping up, on a professional and personal level. Will have to see how I handle that, I guess the strictest client confidentiality is necessary, as always, but when it's on a personal level it may be hard to maintain.

Best of all about yesterday is that I (think) I have made a decision about my future employment. I like the negotiations going on though, feelig so desired, but after a while that combined with my indecisiveness was becoming too much. I just hope I have made the right decision...

Gotta to sort out some work now before meeting Ruby.

Happy birthday to Ruby and Deol today!

Monday, 24 March 2008


Stayed at H's house last night, had a very quiet night, just chatting about everything mostly with Akinyi and Ruby. Didn't sleep until 1.30 and woke up around 5. At midday Ruby picked me up in Tema and we went to Prampram to view the beach house for Saturday's party. The drive, as always, was lovely and shorter than I imagined. Got to the beach house and realised that the neighbour, who seemed to be having a party for over two hundred people was using uncle F's house too and the neighbour on the other side as well to spread out the noise and mess they were causing.

We ended up walking quite a bit away from the house to find a more peaceful place to swim and talk. The idea of swimming was so appealing, that was, however, until we were met by the wrath of the sea. It seems the sea at Prampram has it in for every human being. As I stood in the water, only about 7 meters into it, the first wave slapped hard against my legs leading me to wobble a bit. At this point, the undercurrent saw its opportunity to tackle me by pulling away the sand I was standing on. As a final blow, the sea then maliciously hit me with another heavy wave, ensuring I would fall to my knees and crawl up shore to safety. A WWF wrestler could not have tackled me in a more impressive way.

As a keen and strong swimmer there is not much that can discourage me from getting into water, But after this sadomasochistic game continued upon each of my attempts to enter the water, I finally gave up and sat down for a chat with Ruby about the potential business opportunities.

The most disturbing thing about the water though, was not its obvious hatred of human beings but the amount of rubbish in the water. Labadi beach is known to be dirty, but one would expect that after driving 45 minutes out of Accra, the beach would be slightly cleaner. But as we fought a losing battle against the abusive sea, we also had to continuously brush away bits of rubbish that kept floating towards us. At one point I thought my hand had hooked on to a condom (!) but later on I realised there were a lot of clear, long plastic bags. I can only hope, but intend to believe that that was what I actually touched.
It seems the people of Prampram and Ningo (along with the rest of Ghana) have found the ultimate cheap waste management system: dump everything in the sea.

Why else would empty toothpaste tubes and plastic bags be found in the water? It saddens me that we do not cherish the beautiful land (because, oh, it is really beautiful) we have been given. I wish the children in schools today would be informed in a similar way as i was when i was younger, with stickers and informational seminars and activities on "Var radd om Goteborg" (loosely translated as "Take good care of Gothenburg"). When will we in Ghana start recycling and caring about the energy we use (and waste), what happens to our waste and how and what to recycle our used products to preserve our environment?

I had a very interesting (but short) discussion on this with Gloria's mancunian husband who's about to relocate to Ghana and is interested in establishing an organisation that deals with environmental issues. It is a topic that needs to be highlighted and taught around the country before our destruction reaches a point of no return. Hm, may have to invite the newlyweds to Ruby's party so I can continue the discussion.

On that note...goodnight.

Sunday, 23 March 2008

Happy Easter!

Another good weekend, and it's not even over yet!

On Friday, Virgo came, had lunch at my house, then we went to H's and had wild discussions with Ruby, Cois, Abena, Ronny, Akinyi and two other guys, about marriage, taking your spouse's names, adultery, why have children (based on D's blog) and other things. It was so much fun, it's amazing how differently we all think and what values we have, e.g. from the Swedish perspective my view on taking spouse's name was seen as liberal, as I believed that you can (shock horror!) even let the husband take the wife's name (H and Cois were with me on that one), others were adamant that having the same name strengthens the family unit (Virgo was quiet during the conversation, think he might be part of the opposition, lol, will have to discuss that with him). What do you think? The opinions on adultery and marriage were also eye-opening and sometimes even amusing.

Yesterday we roamed all over town, first to Sakumono, as Virgo had some business to sort out there, then all the way to (using the Beach/Teshie-Nungua road) North Kaneshie, but the shop we wanted to go to closed minutes before we got there, then we decided to go to La Palm for lunch, but once we got there, we didn't like anything on the menu (both the regular menu and African Village), so we drove to Golden Tulip where Virgo, after an hour's wait had pork chops and I had Fettucine Alfredo. By that time we were exhausted (20:00), passed Sad Ass' house for about an hour. We got some strange energy after that and decided to get some stuff for his house from Game, which of course closed at nine, not ten like I had said.

I don't know if it was all the roaming that made me so tired, but it was a real struggle, waking up and getting ready in time for church (St. Stephen's) with my mum.

This Easter has been really nice, feels like everyone around me is really just taking it easy and enjoying themselves, rather than rushing around getting chores done or taking the opportunity to go clubbing. Going to H's in an hour, Ruby will meet me there and we'll hopefully have another good night, maybe go to Ronny's house. It will be good to have something else to do whilst Virgo goes for the all important review, I hope the results are good!

Tomorrow will most likely include a trip to PramPram to show Ruby where the house is for her party next week.

Glad Pask!

Friday, 21 March 2008

Good Friday

Today is Good Friday, a national holiday in all(?) Christian countries. This year there hasn't been much talk about lent and Easter (at least not in my circles). Last year Dirty and I actually fasted up to 18:00 every day the two weeks preceding the Easter weekend. In an un-Christian city as London, I remember so many people giving up various things for lent, alcohol, chocolate or coffee (Starbucks did not like those people). I used to choose the easy way out and give up cigarettes (no, I am not a smoker), hard liquor or brussel sprouts!

Ghana, being as religious as it is, doesn't seem to pay much attention to Easter, or at least there is not much talk about it. It is the holiday where people, for a change, leave Accra to visit their villages, the Kwawu people being most known for doing this, returning to the beautiful Kwawu mountains. (Poet, please correct any inaccuracies or spelling mistakes).

I miss the egg-painting, yellow decorations everywhere, chocolate eggs and other commercial rubbish that still affectionately remind me of Easter in Sweden.

Today I will most likely have a very quiet and relaxed day, as Good Friday is meant to be. Virgo will probably pass by, may go for a drive somewhere. Then in the late afternoon, I will meet up with Ruby and H and go to Aburi, most likely till tomorrow. I really hope it happens, look forward to the fresh air and peaceful ambience that clears your mind for days afterwards.

Extra special Easter and birthday hugs to A and K who I hope have a wonderful day in Gothenburg with husbands and parents and the World Championships in iceskating!
Yesterday I had no internet access. Felt like I had left my best friend behind. Spent the whole day with Virgo but in the evening I actually longed to get back to my beloved internet. The slow and unreliable connection soon killed my need for an internet fix. This morning, as I opened my eyes, I stretched out for my laptop and tried again, two hours later...success! Think I am becoming a bit too attached to my own and other blogs, or maybe it was just a case of absence makes the heart grow fonder.

Had a very good discussion with Linda on Wednesday. She spent the whole day at my house and we discussed our experiences, which will be the topic of another post.

There was so much traffic in Accra yesterday. Virgo and I went to the Accra Mall (K - detta kopcentret fanns inte nar du och A halsade pa men ligger precis dar man kor upp pa motorvagen, fran Accra hallet).

From Labone to the mall, usually a ten minute drive at most, it took us about 50 mins there and 45 mins on the way back. We left Labone at 14:00 and were on our way back at 15:30, so not even rush hour! Actually, going back took much longer as we spent at least 20 minutes queuing to get out of the car park. We started our journey after a delicious lunch at Tante Marie, where I had couscous with chicken vegetable soup (they call it a soup, but it's more of a "gryta" or stew/casserole). Virgo, who ate fufu and palmnut soup crashed out as soon as we got into the car (how I wish I was one of those who could sleep anywhere at any time, of course, not whilst driving!), so I endured the whole journey without a proper travel companion, and AC that just wasn't working properly : (, but luckily being his car, at least it was an automatic.

ANYWAY, to make a short story long (as I so oft do), my point was that, something must be done about the traffic in Accra. To beat traffic, I leave my house before 6:15, although I start work at 8:30. If I leave five minutes later, I will be stuck at Tetteh Quarshie interchange for up to 45 minutes. It seems since August, traffic has doubled around there, which tells me that whilst the rest of the world is car pooling and looking at other options of eco-friendly transportation, Ghanaians are playing the game of how many cars can I stuff in my garage? I believe if you check in many households, there are more cars than people. I have to admit that in my own garden there are three cars and two persons who drive them (although oe of the cars actually needs to be laid to rest)!
When will we modify the city to allow for more bikes or better public transport. As I look at it, Accra allows for as much and as pleasant cycling as Gothenburg does. There are just enough hills and slopes to make for interesting bike rides, but as it is now, there are no bicycle lanes and cycling in Accra would be just too dangerous without them. Wouldn't it be wonderful, cheap and time efficient if half of the cars on Accra's streets were replaced by bikes, including the Danish designs that allow for an attached front carriage for children and shopping? A method of travelling that most people can afford (definitely more than those who can afford cars), no costs for servicing and fuel and after a while we'll be able to inhale fresh air. But to get there I think we may have to take matters into our own hands.

Don't be surprised if you catch me on the streets of Accra with a roller and some white paint, marking out my own bicycle lane.

Wednesday, 19 March 2008

Thoughts before breakfast

Never ended up buying any fabric for myself, found funeral material for Ruby and potential curtain material for Virgo, but nothing for myself. The problem was that as soon as I got out of the car and felt the heat, I just wanted to get back in again. I guess this explains why I still get most of my clothes from abroad ; )

When I got home I realised I have a few materials that have not been used yet so maybe I'll just use any of these and have something made. Any suggestions?

We've finally found a yoghurt that resembles "fil", it has the perfect runny texture and sour taste of fil(I've always been a fil person, suffered all those years in London without it). Also bought some german musli. There were so many kinds, I spent a few minutes trying to interpret the ingredients of each of them, before I realised there was a sticker at the back of each with the translation in English!

Starving now so I am going to have a bowl of musli and fil, before getting ready for Linda to come over.

But before I do that I need to browse the news websites, haven't really updated myself since I went on holiday. Realised the difference between Ghana and the West. Here entertainment news is nothing and politics is eveything. Everybody from the market woman selling tomatoes, to the trotro driver and the High court judge follows what is going on in politics in Ghana and the rest of the world. Now, we most likely speak about the Liberian refugees who are demanding money before they leave Ghana, Obama vs. Hillary or Musharraf and Pakistan, etc.

But those of us who love shallow entertainment news would really suffer if we didn't have cable or the internet. How else would we find out when Tom Cruise and Katie had a baby (this featured on BBC and CNN news, but would absolutely never make its way on to GTV news), or that Brangelina are pregnant?

Do Ghanaians not have time for trivial matters or do Europeans and Americans need this escapist entertainment too much?

Tuesday, 18 March 2008


The powers that be seem to be mad at the fact I have been given free wireless. So now it's not working anymore = (
I'm on dial-up at the moment on my private laptop, so at least I have my å,ä,ö which I have missed so many times. Hopefully the wireless will be back tomorrow, coz for now I am going to spend on my phone bill wisely, i.e. checking work emails and facebooking with the lovely Mr. T who's lost his phone.


Helga & Dora

Helga and Dora are our hens. Don't think I've mentioned them before. Some time in November my mother went to by chicken in the market and was convinced to by live ones. We thought: since they've been caged for so long, let's let them run free before they are killed for grilled chicken or chicken light soup. Naturally we didn't take into account our conscience.

After a few days my mum named them. I warned her that "now you'll never be able to kill them" and of course I was right. Once in a while I joke that we should feed them with fresh coriander and basil to marinate them from the inside, but of course Helga and Dora's fate has already been sealed. They'll most likely live til they die a natural death. Either way, it has worked out well for us too. Every morning they give us eggs. We no longer need to worry about whether the eggs we consume are ecological or from free range hens, as they are produced in our very own garden by very stubborn, pampered free running hens. Now, if only one of you could explain how these hens can keep on producing eggs when there is no rooster (it just doesn't feel right using the word "cock" anymore!) in sight. I must have missed that in biology class.

Blixtar o Dunder

We had some thunder and lightning last night. I quickly got up and pulled out all the plugs from the sockets. Last year when we had a proper thunder storm, the TV was off, but plugged in and was completely messed up after that. it has never been the same again, (bye bye TV3).

The strange thing was that last night the rain never came. I don't like that. The rain feels like the release after all that tension, it's needed to get back to normal. Like the outburst after a conflict in a relationship. The outburst, the rainfall of emotions washes away the conflict and helps us restart in a new, fresh, honest place. I hope we have some rain today, don't want to be stuck with yesterday's natural tension.

Time for Makola now, suddenly it doesn't seem like such an appealing idea, walking around in a hot, overcrowded, loud market. I'm sure the purchases will make up for it. Will try to upload evidence of any purchases but can't make any promises as free wireless tends to have its own will.

Monday, 17 March 2008

Just another manic monday

Have almost been chained to the laptop today, didn't feel like a holiday at all. Still better than working as I was sitting on my bed and basically doing what I wanted. Caught up with the Jersey doctors as well, they seem to be looking into coming to Gh.

Went for a lovely powerwalk (in true Ebba style) with my mum. Must have chosen the perfect time, not by coincidence, my mum knows these things, as it was bright outside but very cool, which is always a nice surprise in this, the hottest season of the year.

Tomorrow I'm off to Makola, also with my dear mother, going to look for some lovely colourful materials, probably in the shop i went to with K, ironic that it'd take a girl from Getinge to show me a good fabric shop in the depths of Accra. By the way, wonder if A has used the fabric for little J or is she sticking to the classic babybjorn? Answers on a postcard, please!

Back to tomorrow's plan, then need to sort out this hair (as in braid it, going to wash it in a sec), then visit little H's office, then go to big H's office prob hang out with him till it's time for squash with Ruby, after which Virgo should be done so we can meet up for a drink or dinner. Is this what the lives of ladies who lunch look like?

Running dry

For the last few weeks there is always talk of water shortage in Ghana. This evening I saw a few school boys carrying buckets of water. Suddenly I realised how incredibly lucky I am. Always thought (and rubbed it in with my Accra friends) that we in Tema are so lucky because the water problems don't affect us. but now I am realising that it must be just us, in my community that are that lucky. So far (touch wood, peppar, peppar) we really haven't noticed much. When they are about to turn off the water they give us advance notice. When we were told that the water would be cut off for one week (shock, horror!) it actually only lasted a day and a half, and that's as bad as it's ever been.
It does make me wonder what we can do to solve the problem. There is so much water being wasted everywhere. If we've been so inventive to introduce carbon crediting, surely there is some way to transfer water from where it's being wasted to where it would be so needed. In any case, how can a country like Ghana, with a coast line from border to border and inland lakes, suffer from water shortage?

It seems the song "vatten, vatten, bara vanligt vatten" would never have been sung by children here.


Hm, holiday hasn't started as expected. Was meant to be more of a catch up on non-work stuff rather than a relaxing one. Supposed to go to the gym early early, then to H's office to sort some stuff out, get hair done and maybe meet Dirty and Miami. But I'm still home! Anyway, did some work stuff that I needed to clear before going on holiday and sorted out some stuff with Linda too.

The builders next door are so damn loud, why do people have to shout when they're standing two meters from each other?

Have realised that it's so tempting to read other people's blogs. Can get quite addictive especially now when I'm off. Those I read, are generally to keep me updated as to what's going on in Sweden or with friends. Others are just fascinating as their lives, thoughts and priorities are soooo different (a certain blonde comes to mind).

What were you up to this weekend?

The weekend has been good. Went to Linda's yesterday, discussed some really good opportunities, just need to make a few calls before we proceed. Then went to see auntie M, her son was in town, cousin D also came over and Virgo met me there, from there went to the meeting with big M! It was fine, they were so lovely, one so sweet, quiet and kind, and the other so vibrant and bubbly.

Got back to Ridge area around 8p.m., Miami said she wouldn't be able to make, spoke to Dirty and decided to postpone. Perfect for me, was so tired anyway. Ended up going with Virgo to friends' house, had dinner then crashed around 22.30 (on a saturday!)

Had such a nice long chat this morning about London times. Then i was off for business meeting with Ruby. Went really well, almost completely ready to set up now, will send out letters to the first guys tomorrow. Were feeling hungry so went to H's house for plantain fufu (there was no cassava around) and groundnut soup, yummy! Later on bright, Akinyi and H's sister joined us at the house and we spoke about anything and everything.

Didn't get home until just before 23, so exhausted but don't need to sleep yet, yay! Still, have a busy day tomorrow so, best to sleep now if I'm gonna manage it all. Can't believe I missed little H's graduation, gotta pass his office with a present tomorrow.

Friday, 14 March 2008


It seems I'll have to start blogging in English again not to exclude my non-swedish speaking friends. Not sure how long it will last though, sorry poet, can't make any promises. Enjoying the jazztones coming from the British Council, much better than the noise that could be heard from there an hour ago when they were hammering away.

What to do on a Friday night in Accra? Am I really going to drive straight home? Looks like it, Virgo seems busy, may pass H's office but if I do I'll just end up staying longer than I should. Actually should go home and get ready for the busy weekend. Haven't even had time to be nervous about tomorrow's most intimidating event!

Not sure about this writing in English...I immediately become aware of the fact that others read the blog, which means that the character of it will change, but maybe for the better? Only time will tell...


Imorse hamnade jag nastan i en bilolycka. de tre bilarna framfor mig kraschade, jag hann bromsa i sista sekunden (sag inget tidigare for att jag hade en trotro framfor mig). Usch, det var inte ett kul satt att borja dagen pa. Men sen har det varit ok. FIck inget att gora hos klienten i Tema sa jag gjorde fardig lite jobbgrejer och hann med att skriva en sammanfattning av motet Ruby och jag hade med energy-killen i onsdags. Pratade med henne ocksa, pa sondag ska vi traffas och forsoka ta hela dagen for att reda ut all affarsideer, kanns som att det borjar bli lite mycket nu. Jag hann aven gora en action plan och fortsatta lite pa varan business plan for automaterna. Hoppas att pengarna borjar rulla in nagon gang, just nu ar ju allt pa forberedelsestadiet.

Traffade lilla H igar, han har sin graduation imorgon sa jag maste hinna dit innan jag gor allt det andra som ar inplanerat, pust! Det ar ju tur att semestern borjar pa mandag, fast det blir ju mer av en working holiday.

Har sa ont i magen, efter att ha atit av kakan med den sotsliskiga glasyren, sa dumt, tycker inte ens om glasyr. Och nu kanner jag att kroppen ar helt sockerchockad!

Thursday, 13 March 2008

Still blogging strong

Hm, det kanske inte var sa bra att det tradlosa nar anda till sangen, det blir sa svart att lagga sig, kommer ju pa en massa grejer jag maste kolla upp pa natet. Men nu maste jag faktiskt lagga mig, mindre an atta timmar tills jag ska upp igen. Fast fredagar ar ju skona eftersom jag jobbar i Tema pa formiddagen. Har alltsa en kvarts bilresa som mest, istallet for 45min-1timma! Virgo har varit superupptagen de senaste tva dagarna, det kommer nog vara mycket att sta i anda tills december, hoppas bara att vi hinner ta igen tiden emellanat. Tror inte att vi kommer hinna med nagon resa som det var tankt, hoppas det dock eftersom han tyckte att vi i sa fall aker till Gbg ocksa. Det hade ju varit jatte trevligt. Kanns som alldeles for langesedan, kanner verkligen for att kunna ta en fika med K, Matildorna och A o DW med lilla J. For att inte tala om brorsorna saklart! fast det blir ju mer spannande att halsa pa dem nar de nya familjemedlemmarna ar framme. Tipsade forresten B om L's butik , kul om hon kollar in och ger dem lite extra publicitet.

Svensk Ghana Blog

Kollade precis runt lite har i blogg varlden och hittade minsann en svensk som bor i Tema. Kanske ska skicka henne ett meil lite senare...

Na nu far det nog jobbas lite till. AC:n fortfarande av, men nu har de kopt flaktar till alla rummen. Halla?! Varfor inte bara bygga kontor med fonster som gar att oppna?! Hade val anda varit lite billigare.

Maste se till att fixa hemma laptopen sa att jag kan anvanda mina kara svenska bokstaver, blir lite bokigt ibland annars.


Forresten ska jag traffa Dirty och Miami redan ikvall, ska testa ett nytt stalle i Airport som heter Bubbles eller nagot liknande. Tydligen ar det alltid en massa manniskor dar som verkar ha jattekul. Bra, det behovs nagot nytt utestalle i Accra!

TATT - Tired All The Time

Kan det vara TATT jag har? Kanner mig helt slut, skulle kunna lagga mig och sova pa tangentbordet. Fast ar det inte alltid sa dagarna innan semestern, langtar sa enormt mycket! Kanns lite konstigt att inte aka bort, brukar ju alltid gora det, men det ska bli sa skont. Kanske ska lana H's hus i Aburi och sova over dar nagon dag?

Helgen ser ut att kunna bli fullpackad (lordagen i alla fall). Forutom allt det andra sa kommer Dirty och Miami over pa lordag kvallen for en tjejkvall hemma hos mig. Far borja planera menyn redan nu... Blir nog thai curry med raris, kanske fixar en skagentoast eller nagot till forratt, maste ju imponera lite med svensk mat! Och det blir nog appelpaj till efterratt. Eller... kanske ska kolla ananas paj recept. Kommer ihag att A namnde att hon skulle baka det sist jag var i Gbg, later intressant och lite annorlunda. Far hora hur det blev med den.

Nej, nu slutade AC:n att fungera, kanner redan hur det sista av orken forsvinner.

Dags for lunch!

Wednesday, 12 March 2008

Massa planer

Kan knappt fatta att meilet jag hade skrivit till K i facebook bara forsvann, kanner mig skit knackt! Far val skriva nagot nytt senare idag. Nu maste jag forsoka hinna klart tva grejer innan jag traffar Ruby ikvall, ska ju traffa energi-killen ocksa senare. kanns som att det ar lite grejer pa G nu, pa lordag ska jag o Linda traffars och reda ut saker for att kunna borja baka, kolla containerpriser och sa, sen vill jag halsa pa kara gammelmoster, har inte varit hos henne pa over ett ar! Darefter blir det meet the parents (nervost!!), far hoppas att det gar bra.

Pratade med Virgo om Dagen, kanns som att han borja oroa sig, kanske tycker att det kommer lite tatt in pa allt? For mig spelar det ingen roll, vill bara vet sakert nar det hander, istallet for att vela fram o tillbaka hela tiden.
Na, nu ska jag kolla in A o D's bloggar som K gav mig. Har inte bestamt mig an om jag ska ge ut denna bloggen till dem. Hm... far tanka lite till pa det.

Nu kan jag bara skicka lite mentala styrkekramar till K och hoppas att bebben borjar gro snart.

Sunday, 9 March 2008

Harlig lordag

Ont i magen, aaargh!
Hm, kanns som att jag kan bli lite gnallig i bloggen, men det ar val battre an att gnalla nar man ar ute bland folk.

Had en jattetrevlig dag/kvall med Virgo igar. Traffades vid Mr. price, skulle bara kolla i affaren lite. Gick runt i Accra mall, at lunch for att vanta ut trafiken, men det hjalpte inte. Jag lamnade bilen i parkeringen och sa akte vi i hans bil till Tema och vande for att aka tillbaks till Accra, anda kom vi fram snabbare an andra som fortfarande vantade pa att kora ur parkeringen! Helt otroligt. I alla fall sa korde vi till Sad Ass (lol!) for att lamna bilen som Virgo hade lanat over dagen och sa visade det sig att det skulle ha liten grillfest for nagra vanner fran USA och Cypern. Sa vi satt o pratade vid poolen, at en massa mat (kyckling, lammkofta, kebab, hommous, underbar grekisksallad, m.m.) och helt plotsligt var klockan tva pa morgonen! Virgo berattade en massa skamt, som varierade i kvalitet, men vi hade det jattemysigt iaf. Det var ju sista kvallen for amerikanerna, (eller, ja, killen som var halv Ghanian, halvpolack, hans polska mamma och Ghanianska pappa, hans syster, och sa de akta amerikanerna, hans fru, hennes syster och deras gemensamma kompis).

Hade ju blivit bjuden pa fest hos min chokladkusin men det blev aldrig att vi hann, hann inte ens traffa Miami, akte bara for att hamta min bil vid Accra Mall runt tiotiden.

Nu maste jag springa, ska folja med Miami till hamnen for att hamta hennes grejer. Hoppas hon hittar till mitt hus forst!

Tuesday, 4 March 2008


Ar det vanligt att vara sa himla trott? Kanns som att jag kan somna nar som helst. Fast det kanske beror pa att jag precis har borjat trana pa morgonen istallet, idag gick jag upp kvart over fem (vaknade tyvarr mycket tidigare), akte hemifran vid sex och gymmade fran halv sju till halv atta. Har nog blivit lite inspirerad av blondinbella och ebba som jamt pratar om traning. De ar ju bada nagra ar yngre (och kilo lattare) men vada, man kan val lara sig fran dem anda!

Var valdigt svart att skynda sig, duscha och aka till mote pa jobbet nar jag kom till Virgo for att gora det medan han lag o tog det lugnt i sangen. Jaja, jag far vila lite hos honom om en halvtimma, innan jag ska traffa de andra vid halv atta tiden (hur kommer jag orka?!).

Imorgon blir det nog lite sovmorgon och sedan salsa pa kvallen, fast pa nagot satt maste jag hinna med Michaels vernissage samtidigt och prata business med Linda, hm, far se hur det blir.

Tildes kronika

Jag blev sa glad nar jag laste Tilde de Paulas kronika idag, skont att nagon antligen tar upp detta. Sedna ar det klart att jag blev besviken nar jag laste kommentarerna (besviken men inte forvanad) som naturligtvis (mest) kritiserade kronikan. Det ar sa typiskt att svenskar alltid ska komma med, "Jag ar inte rasist men..." och "min kompis tycker att det ar helt okej och hon ar ju neger sjalv". Jag tycker knappt man kan prata om man inte har nagon egen upplevd erfarenhet om nagonting. Darfor kan jag beratta, som anda ar svart att det ar inte alls kul att fa hora det ordet jamt. Det kanns i hela kroppen nar man hor negerboll och pa dagis nar man laste om Pippis negerkung till pappa.

Jag har sjalv aldrig blivit kallad javla neger, men skulle man behova en traumatisk upplevelse for att kunna tycka illa om ordet? Jag tycker inte alls att det spelar nagon roll vare sig man anvander ordet med eller utan "javla" framfor, det ar lika illa varje gang, det har namligen gatt sa langt att det inte finns nagot positivt i ordet (om det nagonsin fanns det).

Varfor, kanske ni fragar er? Vad betyder ordet? Forst o framst sa ar det anda den svenska motsvarigheten for engelska nigger, (visst, nigger kan uttalas pa svenska ocksa men det ordet anvands ju aldrig, darfor tycker jag inte att det raknas, det ar neger som anvands for att forolampa nagon). Sen sa tacker det ordet i Sverige varje person fran indier till afrikan, till sydamerikan, till en solbrand italienare! Det ar just det jag har ett problem med, om du ar svensk, varfor ar jag neger? Gor min hudfarg mig sa obetydelsefull att det inte spelar nagon roll varifran jag kommer, jag ar ju anda bara en svarting?

Tillbaks till kronikan sa kan jag som afrikan, svarting, neger, nigger, morking eller vad du an kallar mig (eftersom jag vet att de flesta sakert fnyser at detta inlagget och fortsatter anvanda de orden) beratta att jag ocksa ALSKADE/ALSKAR Astrid Lindgren bockerna, ros (alltsa av verbet rysa, saknar mina tre svenska bokstaver pa denna laptopen) varje gang "negerhovding" eller "negerkung" yttrades.

Darfor vill jag bara saga tack till Tilde for att hon tog upp nagot jag har tankt pa manga ganger.



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