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Trials & Tribulations of a Freshly-Arrived Denizen...of Ghana Reflecting the Eccentric World of E.K.Bensah Jr
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
If it might have escaped you that I am an ardent CITI 97.3 FM listener, that's okay, because here is the van of the station, which I captured last year, when I passed the station.
This radio station (a private, English-speaking one) that started operations in Aug 2004--the same month and year I arrived home in Ghana to work--has been my radio station of choice for the past few years; I've seen its lows and some of its highs, but this is definitely the highest, with the morning CITI Breakfast Show winning the "Best Interactive Show" in Africa.
Here is the story for it. You can listen to the station live on its news station Ghana News Today.
Monday, May 28, 2007
Last Thursday, I chose not to resist the temptation of visiting the "GAME" store that has opened in the plush Accra Mall, occupying some 20,000m2.
I understand GAME is a South African retail store, and is reputedly the biggest. Swell. Now, it's in Ghana, to do business. After many year's experience of shopping at "grande surface" malls like http://www.hypercarrefour.be, this doesn't particularly impress me. I am more concerned about the consumer culture it will begin to create in Ghanaians.
But that's just me!
One article here maintains the Mall is on account of Ghana's growing economy and its growing middle class...
I will certainly be a visitor to GAME, but not a regular one, as it is the other side of East Legon, where I work.
More pictures to come on the location so that one can place it in the context of the famed Spintex Road I keep talking about on this blog;0)
Saturday, May 26, 2007
Not that it bothers me; far from it! It's just that I am confident that a year from now, I can bring here a picture of Accra by Night...with streetlights!;-)
I've said it before that there are many parts in the capital, where streetlights abound, but I am usually not travelling in those parts with a camera unfortunately! I'll do my best to bring you some of those of well-lit parts of Accra, even if with my mobile phone.
For now, this is a picture, taken from a strategic point on the Spintex Road, where I get to see cars coming and going.
Some are taxis; some private cars; some trucks.
I love the picture of headlights contrasted against a picture of the dark capital at night.
Friday, May 25, 2007
It's interesting that Ghanaians in this picture are resting casually under a signboard that says "Wanted By Police", but there you are!
Criminals abound in any country, but does the rest signify any potential apathy towards the police?
No, it's the sun!
Which necessarily makes traders and hawkers in the busier part of the capital feel compelled to rest their bones--no matter where!
Thursday, May 24, 2007
No-one likes going into traffic. Here, I'm the passenger having taken a shot of the taxi-driver who is driving me home towards the Spintex Road, some ten minutes drive from the nation's airport.
I doubt the taxi-driver likes going into it either!!
(As a result of it being Africa Union Day, tomorrow 25 May, I shall be off till Monday. For the first time-ever, I shall post pictures in advance!...and be sure to make it a habit!);-)
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
Life is dull if we habitually ride within the ambit of convention. That's no quote! It's yours truly speaking, and I do believe that.
There's a quote, from the Jerusalem Talmud, that acts as my screensaver for my mobile, and it reads:
"A person will be called to account on judgment day for every permissible thing that he might have enjoyed but did not."
Here are no stunts, but simply me having some fun with my POLAROID digital camera. I stuck my hand out of the window, being very careful not to drop my camera, given the speed my Dad was travelling, and took a shot of the capital of Accra behind us..as we left it for the Central region some two weeks ago.
That strap is from my camera, and I'm sure you can probably see some cars behind us;-)
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
Can you believe that I didn't even know that the Weija Lake Afforestation Project existed, despite this being en route to my maternal grandmother's hometown, which I have passed many, many times leaving the capital of Accra behind? Just goes to show that we don't always see the fine details;-)
In any event, Ghana's Times paper reported on this, in March 2007, stating that the Weija Lake Afforestation Project was under threat on account...
...of encroachment by land developers, felling of trees and fishing.
More specifically, the report went on to say how
Thirty six out of the 214 hectares afforestation project area have been encroached upon and willfully destroyed by developers, Simon Ashton, Finance Director for West and Central Africa of the British American Tobacco, disclosed on Monday at the handing over of the project to the Water Resources Commission in Accra
Whatever interest British American Tobacco has in this project is a source of confusion, for last time I looked they were interested ini propagating the selling of cigarettes, no?
As for the Water Resources Commission listed above, a google search revealed from an EDIE.net website that the commission was established in 1998:
Ghana establishes Water Resources Commission (20 November 1998)
Ghana's Minister of Works and Housing, I.K. Adjei Mensah, has inaugurated a 14-member Water Resources Commission (WRC) to create a mechanism for water resources assessment, sustainable management, an effective regulatory framework and the authenticity to enforce compliance of laws in the sector.
These are some of the serendipitous discoveries that come out of taking photos of your country haphazardly;-)
I love Ghana!
Monday, May 21, 2007
There are many scenes in any capital that we see so many times we take for granted. I though in the interests of creativity, I'd offer a pop quiz...with answers to follow later.
1. Why does that white mini-van have a yellow number plate, when most number plates--of private cars anyway--are white?
2. Why is that car behind van in double colours? Did it go through a time warp back to the seventies when outrageous and psychedelic double colours were, like, the in-thing? (so my parents tell me!)
3. Apart from begging, what do you think the guy in the green shirt (to the right of the picture) could be doing?
Oh, and answers in comments, pls:-)
Friday, May 18, 2007
Downtown traffic in Accra...in front of the National Theatre, which is shaped like a boat. A very inimitable design...
Here's another aspect of it.
I will be sure to obtain a BETTER picture of the National Theatre in another post.
Have a good weekend!
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
This is a snapshot of Ghana's independence arch, which overlooks the Atlantic ocean, and is currently the secretariat of the Ghana@50 secretariat managing the Ghana at 50 celebrations throughout the year.
It is an inimitable design that has stood the test of time, having witnessed more developments than anyone can imagine, including this event: a Standing Tall Against Poverty event, organised by OXFAM in September 2005 here in Ghana.
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
Well, they invite pretty much anything, but, like, the proverbial straight road anywhere, it invites speed.
We all know speed kills, but motorists need it drummed into them that a road this beautiful, and replete even with greenery on both sides is as bound to kill you if you fail to--as they say in Belgium--lever le pied, or lift that foot off the accelerator!
This picture is a snapshot of the Accra-Cape Coast road that links the Greater Accra Region to the Central Region of the country. It also forms part of the Trans West African Highway Network, which I referred to yesterday
Monday, May 14, 2007
My absence from here was due in part to a funeral I had to attend in my maternal grandmother's home town. Now, this town is some 1.5 hours away from the capital by road, and forms part of what has now become known as the Trans West African Highway Network, supposed to connect some of the West African countries together
[- Damane (Liberia border) 26 km in Côte d’Ivoire ;
- Bloloquin-Toulepleu-(Liberia border) 64 km - Côte d’Ivoire
- Ganta-Tappita-Douanes Tobli-Blay (Côte d’Ivoire border): 15 km in Liberia ;
- Bandajuma-Zimmi-Mru Bridge (Liberia border) : 97 km, in Sierra Leone ;
- Freetown-Pamelap (Guinea border : 126 km, in Sierra Leone;
- Boke (Guinea) - Quebo (Guinea Bissau) : 206 km
- Akatsi/Dzodze (Togo border): 31 km in Ghana ;
- Noepe-Hilla Condji (Benin border) : 80 km, in Togo. ]
In effect, the so-called Trans-West African Highway Network has been comprehensively completed since last week, prompting joys that the ECOWAS link-up is becoming more of a reality.
Sadly, it's coming at a cost, as exemplified by last Thursday's eerie accident that involved two articulators travelling at top speed in opposite directions; the helping of Ghanaian motorists of passengers of an overturned bus (comprising West Africans from Cote d' Ivoire, Liberia, Benin, Nigeria and Togo) resulting in their deaths as the second articulator hit them at top speed (after having lost control). Altogether, seven vehicles were involved in the very sad loss of lives that claimed 40 people.
The road on which this happened goes to one of Ghana's premier tourist regions--the Central Region, where there is much more greenery than in the capital of Accra.
The roads are so good and so speed-inducing it's not funny. Regrettably, badly-educated and opportunistic (not to mention tired) articulator truck drivers take advantage of these good roads and act as death merchants.
To remind Ghanaian motorists of the importance of preserving lives, my favourite network, Ghana's mobile network--Onetouch--has erected billboards throughout the highway that spans several kilometres, reminding drivers not just they can connect to ONETOUCH in the area they have passed, but that "life is precious, drive with care".
A publicity stunt, notwithstanding, it's important to read that as you cruise from one region to the next.
(May those West Africans who lost their lives, as well as those Ghanaians who stopped to help them, ending up killed, rest in perfect peace)
I was compelled to ask for a few days off on account of preparations for a funeral.
Regular posting is resumed as of today!
Thanks for your patience!
Tuesday, May 08, 2007
I think I can already see some people shifting uncomfortably as this guy approaches towards the car. Not to worry: it's a regular refrain in Accra's traffic, sometimes, in some parts of town.
These guys are only trying to make a quick buck, but doing something to force you to give them a buck. In this case, a cedi;-)
Better than being an armed robber, no?
this picture was taken some five minutes drive away from the country's main airport in Accra
Thursday, May 03, 2007
You should be so lucky!
It's not quite an exotic name for a fancy Chicken dish made in Ghana--yet.
See the rocks on the pavement. To the immediate right of that is some small greenery, and just near that greenery is a vestigial shape of what looks like a chicken--and, in fact, is a chicken.
Greenery is no stranger to Ghana, or this blog, but I have got to add how quizzed I was by this roving chicken. Did it escape someone's soup, or something? As I write, it's still trekking the neighborhood, and running away from small lizards and whatnot that live in the area!
Wednesday, May 02, 2007
I took this picture after I virtually devoured this bag of cashew nuts, which is going at ç10,000 (Ghanaian cedis) or just under $1.00. Even for Ghanaians, cashews are rather prohibitive, or expensive. If you really think about it, this small bag, with some fifty cashews or so is priced this way, so you can imagine what a slightly bigger bag may attract, by way of price!
I found out that from 16-19 April, Ghana celebrated Cashew week, and there's plenty on the website of what is actually a cashew association. The length of the name of the association is sufficient to put you off alphabet soup...with plenty of cashew nuts in them;-): Cashew Processors and Exporters Association of Ghana (CAPEAG).
The theme of the week was "Cashing in on Cashew". You can read more about it on their website here: http://www.ghanacashewproducts.com/about.html.
Either way, here's a hot fact you might not have known:
Cashew is an important tropical crop because of its nuts which is the real fruit. It provides a valuable kernel which ranks third in world nuts economic importance after almonds and walnuts. World demand for raw cashew nuts in 2005 was 1.75 million metric tonnes with a supply of about 1.4 million metric tonnes. Ghana exported 47,962 metric tonnes in 2006 earning US$ 24 million. This figure is considered very small when compared with world excess demand of 430,000MT of raw nuts, valued at US$270 Million, and growing at a rate of 5-8% per annum
Anyone, now, for cashews?
(a belated MayDay!)