Monday, 15 October 2012

Blog Action Day: The Power of We

Four years ago a certain someone mentioned to me that she'd like to set up a meeting to find out which other bloggers were around in Ghana. Perhaps this meeting could expand into a social network? It started with small intimate meetings of less than ten people, which with time expanded to include more and more bloggers of varying exciting backgrounds. First known as Ghanablogging, Blogging Ghana now has over 250 blogs registered. Blogging Ghana, or BloGh as it's known for short, has spearheaded the project of reporting the Ghana 2012 election in a non-partisan, openminded manner - Ghana Decides. If you want to know how Ghana decides? Follow the updates on Twitter, Facebook and the homepage. This is my simple example of a how one person's thought turned into a nationwide project. Because you see, the power of we, is limitless. This post was created for Blog Action Day.

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Child friendly, my foot!

A person close to me once said he wouldn't take his children on holiday to Ghana because it's not child friendly. To add to it, this person had not himself been to Ghana since 1999. Interestingly, he found Egypt an appropriate place for a children's holiday, just a few months prior to the Arab Spring. In a similar manner people in Sweden often ask me how child friendly Ghana is. Although I don't find the question offensive, I do find it strange that no British friend has ever felt the need to ask this question. Well, what can I answer? The (malaria) mosquitos are to me the only threat against children in Ghana. This morning though, I started thinking of all the threats to children here. Right now there's a meningitis outbreak, a 5-year old died at pre-school a few days ago and other children at the school are home sick, but not yet diagnosed. Every day or two, there's a story of a missing child in the paper and from the age of 5/6 a child of colour can expect to receive racial abuse and/or discrimination from school mates or teachers. Come to think of it, I am constantly reading stories about 20 and 30-year olds going missing, tragically found murdered a few weeks later. 60-year old men are brutally attacked on the street in broad daylight by unprovoked teenage thugs. This country (and the UK is even worse, I read UK papers daily) isn't safe for anyone! Is it me? Am I naïve or am I right? It seems on the scale of things, as long as you survive Accra traffic and don't have a fancy schmanzy looking house that'll unfortunately invite a robbery, Ghana seems a much safer country than the European ones. So the next time someone asks me how child friendly Ghana is, I may just respond: Child friendly, child friendly?!? Where you're coming from what demands can you make on child friendliness???, give them a long mtcheeeeeew (kissing my teeth) and walk off.

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Returning to Ghana

It's October and autumn is definitely here. Also on my mind this week are thoughts of returning to Ghana. Not just for me, but friends around me. There's the new mother who's planning her move back early next year and all the necessities that need to be packed along with her. There's the friend in Ghana, trying to convince her husband to leave and try building their family elsewhere, but her husband won't budge. Then there's the relative who just informed me that next year she's relocating to Ghana for the first time ever. I can't wait to follow her journey, the same journey I made some 7 years ago.
Naturally, while discussing these relocations, we end up looking at the pros and cons of living in Ghana versus abrokyi. Sweden has all the stable pros: constant electricity, water and fast internet. Public transport is on time and everyone shows up to work even when there's rain or snow outside. However, we always get back to Ghana and that je-ne-sais-quois quality that stays with you in the motherland. As hard as I try to settle in my hometown, with my old friends, siblings and workmates here, my heart is still in Ghana. For now though, I'll enjoy one of the pleasures of Sweden: watching the seasons change. Already I'm planning how to cosy up my flat for the rest of autumn and prepare for Christmas. I can see myself sitting on my balcony, in December, candles alit and a tiny glass of mulled wine in hand, looking out over Gothenburg. And I'll enjoy every second of it, knowing that sometime in 2013 I will be heading home.


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