Childhood Memories; The Mango Raids

It was a very hot afternoon and the kids were feeling restless. They were on vacation and they were so much bored with staying in the house. School was to reopen in two weeks. They wanted the days to move quickly so that they can go back to school and have more fun. Staying in the house was boring for them. Their parents were also at their work places and they always left early in the morning and came back late in the evening. Before they left they made sure that their breakfast and lunch have been prepared. The lunch was always in the fridge, the children had to rely on Kofi who was the eldest to heat the food for them in the afternoon. The long vacation always coincided with the harvesting of mangoes. Thus, the mango season was here and the children decided to organize a series of raids into people’s farms for mangoes. They therefore sent three of the boys around to survey the area and map out all the mango trees.

It was now left with how to execute these plans. They first had to tackle the mango trees in the Ghana Water Company yard. They picked four gallons and entered the yard under the pretext of going to fetch water. Kwame hid behind the wall with a sack whiles Kwadwo, Kwabena and Kofi entered the yard with the gallons. Kofi climbed the mango tree and started plucking the ripe mangoes. He then threw them to Kwame who was a very good catcher and it went into the sack. In about ten minutes the sack was half full. Two of the gallons filled with water were then taken out of the yard by the two boys leaving Kofi on the tree. Kwadwo and Kwabena went back into the yard and Kofi then climbed down from the tree. Kwame was gone with the sack of mangoes by the time the boys were finally leaving the yard. This raid was successful as it was carefully planned and executed with so much dexterity and precision. The boys could not hide their joy when they got home and started enjoying the mangoes. They could imagine the look on the faces of the security man and some of the workers during their lunch break. They will be amazed as to how the ripe mangoes vanished from the tree. Thus the boys have found an activity to while away the remaining days of this boring vacation. Whose mango tree was next? Agya Owusu’s farm was next.

There were rumors in the neighborhood of Agya Owusu’s extreme wickedness. Thus he meted instant justice to anyone who was caught stealing from his farm. There were three big mango trees on his farm and no one dare climb any of the trees to pluck the mangoes. The boys decided to raid his farm and they were ready to face the consequences. As usual, they sent two of the boys to do some reconnaissance of the farm. They came back with the information that the man was not on the farm. Another boy was posted at the entrance of the man’s house and he was to run towards the farm and shout the moment he saw the man heading towards his farm. The sacks were secured and the boys entered the farm, climbed the trees. One person was left to stand under the tree to fill the sack. The raid was going on well until the sentry posted at Agya Owusu’s house failed to notice that there was a backdoor to the house. The man decided to pass through the backdoor on his way to the farm only for him to get there and see some children harvesting his mangoes. He shouted and the one with the sack picked up the sack and bolted like lightening. The other two on the tree decided to pluck the hard unripe mangoes and pelted Agya Owusu with them. Since he could not defend himself from the mango attack, he also ran back to the house with his face swollen. The boys then got down from the tree and also ran back to their house. When the boys got home, they started laughing and at that same moment the sentry showed up breathing heavily.  He had to run for his dear life when he saw Agya Owusu running towards his house. Meanwhile another person’s mango tree was being targeted. They decided to be extra vigilant this time around and also take every precautionary measure to protect and defend themselves during the raids. They also mapped out several escape routes and always had a plan B in case their plan failed. Thus these are some of the childhood memories. I hope a lot of people can relate. In fact, the mangoes raided from people’s farms were more enjoyable than those sold at the market.


The Rains Are Coming, How Prepared Are We?

It’s March 13, 2017 and we all just heard from the Ghana Meteorological Agency that the rains will be very severe this year. I watched and listened to the news on tv with my mouth wide open, and I asked myself, “how prepared are we for the coming rains as predicted?” Then thoughts of last two years flood and fuel explosion at a fuel station near the Kwame Nkrumah Circle started flooding my mind. Sorry for taking your minds back to that tragedy in which many people lost their lives. Are we really ready and prepared for the coming rains?

Are we ready to clear the choked drains? Will we be able to make sure that all structures on water ways are demolished? Can we find out those who issued the permits for such structures and let them face the full rigors of the law? Do our leaders have the political will to crack the whip on these law breakers to serve as a deterrent to other citizens? It is time for us to get it right and put our acts together and make sure that not a single Ghanaian life is lost during this year’s rainy season.

We can also do our part by not dumping rubbish into the drains, desilting choked drains, disposing off rubbish properly, and reporting people who go contrary to the sanitation laws in our communities. We should not wait for disasters to strike before we call on the government to come to our aid. Anytime I hear that phrase, I become very much annoyed to the core. We also don’t want to see the annual ritual of politicians touring disaster zones and sharing relief items to victims. Those relief items will never be enough for the disaster victims.

In my candid opinion, the name of the National Disaster Management Organization should be changed to National Disaster Prevention Organization. The warning signs are all over the place, the earlier we act, the better for this country. The future generations will like to see a Ghana that is devoid of floods. A Ghana where our city authorities will walk the talk and have the political will to take the right actions to cleanse our cities of filth.

The Beaming Black Star: Our 60th Milestone!

By Eugene-Paul Nti

Before the first ship docked the ever refreshing beach of this land about the 1470s, the black skinned Ghanaian lived in settlements enthusiastically pursuing forms of agricultural expansion: some fished, others cultivated lands with eventual battles of conquest under the watch of their chiefs. The white man in rather a pious manner through evangelisation in a cosmetic decoy absorbed us in toto. The ‘Black Star’ then beamed in the pockets of colonial lords with the future of our society lavishly spent by our fellow countryman and his white god. The Divine maker of the universe really had our lands as his foot stool: natural and mineral resources and we had the human resource too, our men were stout, strong and hardworking; the women were fertile and very supportive.

These children born to these wonderful black men and women were intelligent, tactful, smart and ruthless. One of such traits, Kwame Nkrumah seized our identity from these white oppressors affirming that “At long last, the battle is ended! And thus, Ghana, our beloved country is free forever! “And there we had our freedom. Yes! We actually became free. Hope was restored for the young and old, women and men. We could boldly place our hands on our chest and hail out the composition of Philip Gbeho, another gem of the land “God bless our homeland Ghana…bold to defend forever…with all our will and might for evermore.” Celebrations has always been in our DNA so 6th March, 1957 was marked like never before in pomp and pageantry. So like watching a typical Ghanaian movie, you will notice the famous “Six years later” inscription, thereafter, the characters changing for the better, relatively being same as always or will be worse off. It’s been sixty years of political independence of our beloved motherland and is our Black Star beaming?

The journey in retrospect reveals some horrible scenes of greed, malice, corruption and the like which when entertained will quash the seemingly wavering sense of patriotism of the growing youth and so should court a great sense of viewer discretion from all. For our successes, a typical Fanteman will exclaim “O y’ay3 bi!” We certainly have to be proud of how we have demonstrated our democratic credentials and enjoyed a steadily refreshing breath of peace till date. “Afehyia pa” we shall say to ourselves and pat our backs well-done not to relax and glorify ourselves in mediocrity but to brace ourselves to face the colossal yet realistic task of making Ghana the hub of fulfilled dreams and the beacon of Africa we have always touted ourselves to be. To our leaders, we have not come this far to be left stranded by your inactions and actions.

For you to be faithful and loyal to Ghana our motherland and to pledge to put your service in full strength and in high esteem to protect the legacy of our forebears was the reason our thumbs got you there. You owe us this favour for God and country so you cannot fail not at this time that we are sixty. To the wise this bit is more than enough! For us the ruled, we know our attitudes most often is below belt, but there is always the will to do right and this time with conviction we are aggressively going to ensure that street of Abura is kept clean, show more concern to matters of the state espousing on development and thus bring up our kids to live the sense of patriotic feeling we have always yearned for. As for the nation wreckers, we are 60 years now, get this burden of your chest by retiring this cruelly deficient attitude and allow Ghana to work. With a united front we shall surmount the insurmountable. Peace! Long live Ghana!! God bless our homeland Ghana!!

Ghana “Mbaa”

By Eugene-Paul Nti

” You waste time taking your bath everyday because you are beauty itself”- an elated husband showering praises on the wife. This sparked smiles on my seemingly dull face because I just got up from bed. I then reached for my phone and the social media notifications all suggested today once again marked the International Women’s Day. Oh yes! We have to celebrate our “divine channels” to this beautiful place, earth. So I placed a call to my number one motivation and strength who throughout the night stood on her feet at the Labour ward in Ekumfi Narkwa to usher in newbies, how proud I am to have her.

We love you Ghanaian mothers and all women, hats off! On this remarkable day, it’s worth joining the various voices reminding and in fact cautioning our fathers who are behind giving our future wives to our grannies, relent your ways because your canes are drenched in kerosene. Be an advocate join us fight this is mundane act of society. To our growing damsels, the technological craze in this our world is rife so take insight from the words of Margaret Thatcher “Any woman who understands the problems of running a home will be nearer to understanding the problems of running a country.” so you can make that difference by going beyond being a boss chick on social media. The Oprah Winfreys, Charlotte Oseis Nana Abas and a host of other industrious women will grace occasions to mark this day. It can be you my dear sister, think about it.

Please fathers and husbands spare your wives the bruises and heartaches so they can soundly manage the home impeccably for us. Ghanaian women are the best in world. So like Barack Obama said about the wife in ‘The Audacity of Hope’ we equivocally share in this “Most people who meet my wife quickly conclude that she is remarkable. They are right about this. She is smart, funny and thoroughly charming. Often, after hearing her speak at some function or working with her on a project, people will approach me and say something to the effect of, you know, I think the world of you, Barack, but your wife, wow!” God bless women #International Women’s Day.

The Social “Mediafication” Of The Ghanaian

The advent of social media has made a lot of people technologically savvy. Ghanaians have not been left out of the world of social media.  In fact, social media has spurned a sort of revolution that has churned out creative people from all walks of life. People have nurtured and improved on ideas that have been developed into several applications just to make communication easier. Social media tools such as Facebook, Twitter, Whatsapp, LinkedIn, Tumblr, Flickr, Instagram and a host of others have now made communicating by all forms very easy, be it via text, voice, pictures and video. But it seems some Ghanaians have been social “mediaficated” to the extent that sometimes their use of the various social media tools defeats the purposes for which they were created. These are just my observations and also based on snippets of conversations heard from several people. I was not eavesdropping though.

Once, whiles traveling in a commercial vehicle, we got to a police checkpoint and the policemen instead of doing their normal checks, were busily either on whatsapp or on Facebook checking their statuses. They just allowed the vehicle to pass by without even raising their heads since they were so much engrossed in what they were doing on their mobile phones. What if someone was carrying weapons or illegal drugs in the vehicle, how will they know? Other people also complain of health professionals, especially some of the nurses who rather choose to pay attention to their mobile phones than sick patients who urgently need their attention and care. Several instances can be cited in our hospitals where patients have lost their lives due to this unethical behaviour. What happened to their work ethics? Some of these health professionals even go to the extent of sharing pictures of accident victims on social media. I just don’t get it. Why will they do that?

The several government agencies, ministries and departments cannot be left out of this craze. Just enter any of the offices when you need their services, you will surely find some workers facebooking or on whatsapp. They will not even raise their heads to look at your face but will be asking questions. Such people are just wasting the tax payers’ money. They are not even willing to put their mobile phones down and attend to you. Have you also noticed the behavior of some people when they lose their mobile phones to pickpockets and thieves? They just can’t deal with it. This social “mediafication” craze has permeated every facet of the Ghanaian society and the earlier we change this attitude the better. Also some people share all kinds of information on social media without verifying them, thus sharing false information. This can sometimes cause fear and panic in the society. We should learn how to use social media, when to use it and what to do with it. It will shock you to know that when someone is in distress and needs help urgently crowds of people will gather around and use their mobile phones to take pictures of him/her instead of helping such a victim.

Passport Office Wahala

There comes certain times in a country when certain corrupt acts and practices must be stopped with all the seriousness that they deserve. Sometimes I wonder why we still cannot get it right when it comes to the acquisition of passports in Ghana. Just visit any of the Passport Offices in the designated locations such as Accra, Ho, Sekondi-Takoradi, Kumasi and Tamale and tell me your observation. I have been to the Passport Offices in Accra, Takoradi and Ho and my observations so far will come from the Accra office and Ho office.

Is it not a basic right for every Ghanaian to acquire a Ghanaian passport? I happen to be in need of a passport, so I bought a passport form at a bank in Takoradi and filled it with the necessary information attached with the necessary documents. Since I went back to Accra, I deemed it necessary to submit it at the Passport Office. But my hopes were dashed when I got there at exactly 8am only to be told by the security man that I should have been there before 5am to be given a number for the submission of my forms. I asked myself, who reports for work at 5am in Ghana? He told me that they attended to only those who were given the numbers by 5am on a daily basis. Surprisingly, he asked me to give him GhC1000 he could help fast track the process. I declined that offer and walked away with my hopes dashed. I also observed some people standing at the entrance and calling applicants just to illegally help them acquire their passports. I heard these were the Goro Boys and they had their connections inside the Passport Office. With this experience, I resolved never to go back to the Passport Office in Accra. A friend advised me to submit my forms at the Passport Office in Ho. Guess what happened when I got to Ho?

The situation in Ho was nothing different as when I got there, I had to ask the officials at the Passport Office what I was supposed to do concerning the processes I was to go through. I submitted my forms and was told to sit down and wait. That seemed like eternity for me. Little did I know that some applicants were condoning corrupt acts there by putting money in their forms when submitting their forms. Those applicants were called within the shortest time though they came to meet some of us at the place. I waited for more than 3 hours before I was called and finally went through the process with some of the Immigration officers openly asking for money from me and some of the applicants. This was also going on at the biometric registration section of the Passport Office. I was left dumbstruck by the stinking corruption going on there. There was a notice pasted there that warned applicants from dealing with any of the immigration officers but I observed some of the applicants were going contrary to this directive.

Questions for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs

How can we develop as a nation if Ghanaians have to go through a whole lot of frustrations before acquiring a passport? What happened to the much touted online passport application process? Is it really working? Are the staff not paid their monthly salaries? Is the Director of Passports aware of the corrupt acts going on there? Is the Minister of Foreign Affairs aware of these blatant acts of corruption going on at the various Passport Offices throughout the country? Is it also true that there is only one printer for the printing of passports and it is in Accra? Why are there no biometric machines or devices in all the regional capitals but only in Accra, Ho, Tamale, Takoradi and Kumasi? Why are there still Goro Boys at the Passport Offices? Why should we grease peoples palms before we acquire passports after buying the passport forms? This nonsense must stop as soon as possible because some of us are fed up to the neck about the stinking corruption going on at the Passport Offices. #GhanaMustWorkAgain #StopCorruptionAtThePassportOffice #MinistryOfForeignAffairs #GhanaiansDeservesBetter

Cry Mother Ghana, Our Beloved Country

It was a sad day for Ghana on Tuesday, 31st January, 2017 when reports came in that a school building has collapsed at Breman Gyambra killing six kindergatten children. The school is the Breman Gyambra Methodist KG School. This community is in the Asikuma Odoben-Brakwa District of the Central Region. According to reports, four of the children died on the spot and the other two died later at the Breman Asikumah Our Lady of Grace Government Hospital. Several children were also injured in this tragedy. According to eyewitnesses, there were visible cracks on the building before it collapsed. I just don’t understand why these children should die as a result of someone not doing his job. What were the authorities doing to fix this dilapidated structure. I heard the P.T.A. had levied the children so as to use the money to fix the building, but this tragedy could have been avoided if pragmatic steps had been taken the moment the cracks were seen on the building.
That same day in the evening, a terrible rainstorm ripped off the roof of Ghana’s Parliament causing the roof to leak. Instantly, the next day it became a major news item with several people in higher authority including the Vice President visited Parliament to assess the damage caused to the building. It was promptly being fixed that very day. But no politician visited the Breman Gyambra community to console the bereaved families. What sort of country do we live in? In the run up to the 2016 general elections, politicians from all the parties were going to every nook and cranny soliciting for the votes of the people. They could be found at every funeral, every naming ceremony, in fact they made sure that they were present at every social function so that the false impression of they caring about the welfare of the people will be seen. But now that the election season is over, our politicians forget to care for the same people who voted for them. Who cry’s for these six children who have lost their lives through no fault of theirs? The media also decided to give little attention to this tragedy and as usual nothing will be heard about it again. Also some armchair journalists will just sit in Accra and make up stories about the tragedy. Now they are all focusing their attention on Parliament and what happened during the rainstorm. Such a biased media landscape we have in this country. Or is it because this tragedy did not happen in Accra so no attention is being given to it? If it were to be a western country, the school authorities would be forced to resign due to their negligence and irresponsible nature. Its time we put an end to that attitude where we identify problems but wait for them to get out of hand before we try to fix them. It seems we have failed the children of Ghana, we should bow our heads in shame for the death of these innocent children. We could have gotten future Medical Doctors, Teachers, Lawyers, Lecturers, Scientists, Fashion Designers, Engineers etc etc out of these children.
Once again, Mother Ghana is grieving the loss of her six children and sadness has gripped the people of Breman Gyambra. My heartfelt condolences goes out to all the affected families. May God grant these children a resting place in His bosom. I can just imagine what these families are going through right now. Imagine taking your child to school only to be informed in the afternoon that your child is dead. God save Mother Ghana, God save and protect all children.