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Earth Child: Naptural Woman

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A few months months ago, I made the decision to transition from relaxed hair to natural hair. I began my transition with braids; I sat for hours (with lots of breaks in between) while a frustrated hair dresser twisted my hair with extensions and turned me into an earth goddess. A couple of months after my first braid, I sat in my bathroom with a pair of scissors, contemplating whether or not I was really going to go through with it. To help things along, I grabbed my hair into a ponytail and snipped it off at the base. The photo is of me after the initial snip. You don’t want to see what my face looked like after the reality of my actions hit me. Tears do not look good on Mz Daixy.
 

A week of recovery later, and I took the snippers to my hair once more and found a lace scarf to use as a headband.

 Mz Daixy’s a school girl again!

I eventually went to the barber and got the last bits of permed wisp taken off.

Ignore the ginormous smile on my face.  
Luther Vandrosss and Teddy Pendergrass were whispering sweet nothings in my ear that morning.

My natural hair is a pain to take care of.  I’ve been relaxing my hair since the 4th grade, after my mom got tired of breaking combs in the tangled mess of kinky curls. My foray into napturality has brought back best forgotten memories of hot combs burning my scalp and combs and brushes snapping like twigs. It’s impossible to comb this hair when it’s dry, it won’t lie down no matter what you do to it and I’ve had to say goodbye to afternoon naps (cuz I can’t tidy it up afterwards without getting it wet).

I’ve considered locks and passed. Locks are gorgeous, I’ll admit but knowing that the only way to get rid of them is to hack off my hair has me balking. I’m going to let it grow out and bring back the afro for a bit while I work out natural ways of making the hair soft and easier to manage. Still, I’m enjoying the fresh look and am sticking to switching up between the natural fro and braids. I even posed for this gorgeous pic.

Transitioning may very well be the best thing I’ve ever done for myself. Becoming an earth child is wonderful. I’ve begun cutting out chemicals from my diet and have also been removing checmical lotions and such from my beauty regime. In future, I will be sharing some of my homemade recipes for skin care (trying to find the best one for treating my acne prone and scarred skin) for those of you who are looking for natural alternatives also.

I apologise for my absence on here (I’ve no real excuse other than that life’s been pretty demanding the past couple of months). It will not happen again. Thanks to all who moved with me from my old blog and are still here despite my truancy.

BVR

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Yes it’s an Acronym.
No it does not stand for Beyond Visual Range.

BVR or Biometric Voters Registration is a newfangled system of registration that the Electoral Commission of Ghana has undertaken for the 2012 Elections. Basically, the old voter’s register is being tossed out and a new one taking its place.  The cool thing about this new register is that it won’t just have your demographic data and a simple photo like the old one.  Oh no,  This register is bigger and better than that! It’s going to have your biometric information.

What’s biometric, you ask?  Such a big word for a simple thing, really.  Biometric information is simply your physiological information.  In this case, the EC is taking fingerprints and high resolution photographs of voters for storage in a giant database.

Perhaps I watered it down a bit too much. What the EC is really doing is scanning your fingerprints on a sensor (it’s not placing your fingers in ink and pressing them on paper for some archaic forensic expert to go inspect with a magnifying glass) and storing the resulting computer image for later matching. Even better is the facial recognition aspect of the registration process.  Yes, those high res images of you are not for nothing.  They’re so that a computer programme will be able to match your facial features to that of the image.  Pretty cool, huh?

One thing that has to be made clear right off the bat is that there isn’t going to be biometric voting this year.  There isn’t any such thing.  Rather, what we’re going to have is a biometric registration (collection of your usual biodata and fingerprints plus facial image) and on the day of voting, biometric verification.  That means, that on the d-day, the EC is going to check to make sure that the holder of the card is truly who they say they are.  Your fingerprints won’t disappear (unless you end up losing your fingers in some freak accident or go to war with some local gangs) and unless you’re tossing acid in your own face or planning some major reconstructive surgery, your face won’t either.  So, instead of having someone look at your card and say you’ve gained too much weight so it can’t be you in a photo or that your id card has faded so they can’t be sure that it’s you, the EC is going to let the computer do the talking. And the resulting ID Card?  Why, surely it’s going to have a microchip that will contain all your information, just like a biometric passport. 

*cough cough* That’s what you would get if we lived in a CSI world. It’s all one big misconception! I was really excited when I heard about the BVR and being somewhat of a forensics fan, I ran through several possible scenarios involving computer algorithms and highly trained agents.  That, my friends, is not the case in this BVR.

See, I have various issues with the ongoing BVR.  Eight hours in a queue (and only because I was ushered into the express lane on account of I had been there the previous day)…..hours in the baking sun; tired and hungry and afeared for my safety on account of the arguing and browbeating that is oft to occur in heavily populated areas like mine,  and what I experienced when I finally had my turn was a smudged substandard fingerprint scanner which I had to insist on cleaning myself. I figured it was very clear.  Just as you can’t see out of your spectacles with streaks of oily prints on your lens, the scanner will be hard pressed to capture a lone print with several overlaying it. Perhaps I should mention that the scanner being used is an optical one. It behaves as a camera (and therefore an eye) should.

Even after wiping down the scanner, it couldn’t pick up the prints on my last two fingers.  Mind you, I’m not a wrinkly old woman.  I have not lost any fingers.  It took someone else holding my fingers down for them to finally get all my fingers scanned. And the photograph? Eugh they shouldn’t have bothered.  My last one (a black and white photo) of me unwashed and sleepy cuz I’d been dragged out of bed at 4am was much clearer than the image these search and peck typing Agents captured.  There is no way in high heaven that the image they captured can be used to identify me later on. 

And then we can talk of my new card.  My word for it is not recognised by the oxford learners’ dictionary.  SHOCKPRISED!!! That’s a mixture of shock and surprise. In this case, I was also extremely disappointed.  In the first place, It was a flimsy sheet of paper produced by a simple HP OfficeJet printer. A lady waaaay at the back cut it out (crookedly) for me with a pair of scissors and laminated it.  I have shaky hands.  I have never been trusted with a pair of scissors (least not more than once) and I can assure you that I would have done a better job than she did but I digress.

This ID card is the flimsiest I have ever had.  My university of Ghana ID was way better. The same can be said for what the National Service secretariat gave me. Even the previous ID card was more sturdy than what they gave me.  There is no magnetic strip and after speaking with someone, I discovered that the cameras being used for the facial images and supposedly to permit facial recognition are simple 2 megapixel cameras.

Really? 2MP cameras? My 10MP camera would not allow for 50% accuracy.  What on earth makes them think that a 2MP will do the job? There is a Barcode, however.  Perhaps that will be used? I shudder to think what would happen, if they attempted to use these dodgy gadgets to identify people before letting them go join the queue to the ballots boxes, come election day but that will be discussed in another post. The idea of a scan-able card sits better with me than the idea of them trying to match the data they collected, seeing as how dodgy the equipment has turned out so far. When the EC Chairman spoke about the exercise back in February, he was not really clear about how they would verify voters.  I quite got the impression we were on the same page.  Ah well…We’ll just wait and see what happens.

Dr Kwadwo Afari Gyan, the current EC Chairman stated last year, that we were not ready for BVR.  The politicians called him a fool.  They insulted him left and right on every platform they could get a hold of and so here we are, a nation undergoing an exercise which in my humble opinion, we are not ready for.

None-the-less, it is an exercise being undertaken nationally and without participating, one would not be allowed to vote, come December 7, 2012. 

As discouraging as the registration process has been so far, Ghanaians have impressed with their turnout. The EC claims that about 6.5 million out of the expected 12million Ghanaians have registered so far, and that was after 16 days into the exercise.

Hopefully the rest of the eligible population will also come out to register. Yes, the queues are long and the sun blazing.  Yes, it’s going to feel like a waste of time but one thing should get people out to register.  It’s the same thing that had me stick in the queue, and that’s the fact that no responsible and eligible Ghanaian should abstain from the exercise, no matter how tedious it is. It is up to US to choose our future leaders. Sitting on our thumbs and letting others choose for us, then complaining when they install someone incapable is unacceptable behaviour. 

We live in a democratic society. We have been given the right to choose our leaders.  It is our responsibility to exercise that right and no amount of frustrations should stop us from doing just that!

I’m still excited about the idea of biometric registration. I can’t wait for a time when we will be able to vote by simply scanning our eyes and swiping a single finger to get access to a polling booth. Perhaps that’s more Star Trek than CSI but hey, a girl can have high hopes for the country she loves. 2020 elections perhaps?

~Daixy~

Cowards! Stand there and take it like a man….

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To whom it may concern,

Thanks ever so much for running into my parked car.  Thanks so much for choosing not to wait around for the owner of the ride you scraped.  Thanks for leaving that wide and long dent for me to fix.  And above all, thanks for proving yourself to be a coward.  The least you could have done was leave a note on my windscreen with an apology and maybe even a number so I could call and thank you for at least being responsible. 

I think you are a coward for not facing your crime and wish someone would do far more damage to whatever you have the misfortune of driving.  As I take out money I should be using to pay school fees or feeding my family to fix the dent and scratch you left, I’ll be wishing for a thousand skunks to bathe you in their juices and hoping that someone chooses to put sugar in your petrol tank.

I’m pissed off beyond measure and hope you never let me get wind of your identity.

Just saying and hoping you have a sucky day.

~Daixy~

Writing: Self Discovery with a Twist of Moonshine

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image source:http://www.speedysigns.com

Five in the morning and I have once again gone though a night without sleep. I do not need a clock to tell me what time it is. The call for prayers from the mosque on the next street already alerted me at four thirty and at five, it’s those blasted birds nesting in the patio. I find myself contemplating a meal of roast pigeon for breakfast and plotting the ways of catching the little buggers.


My tummy is rumbling and I wonder if I truly did eat that bowl of cereal at three, and if I am serious about that pigeon. My lips quirk up in a smile as I remember the chat I had with a friend while working through the night on my temperamental computers. Our conversation had changed rapidly from that of a technician and his client to that of lovers. Even now his charming words make me blush and I smile as I recall the playful banter we exchanged.


Instead of sitting up in bed as I usually do, I have planted myself behind the desk in the study area of my home, having done so to allow me access to the two condemned machines that I have been working on. My chair allowing me to wheel from the computer workstation to the large wooden desk is an added bonus, permitting me to multitask effectively. Scattered about me in a circular order are the recovery discs that failed to bring my system back up to standard and I notice the perfect arch they form. Anal retentive as always…I just had to have order in my chaos and couldn’t simply spread them about the desk. Now, I must need stack the discs, place them in their plastic haven then help them find their way into the allocated spot beside the stapler and white-out in the desk drawer.


Dad’s gentle snores can be heard from the adjacent room as they have all night long and I wonder how it’s possible for him to sleep seven hours straight. If only I could do that. If only….I shake my head in an attempt to clear it. No use dwelling on what ifs and what could have been. Not this morning anyway. I tuck my feet up under me, a dangerous thing to do when sitting on a wheeled chair, and tug at the ends of my t-shirt to adequately cover my thighs and consequently the two-day old bruises that cover them; the result of ardent grips by a very intense lover. The t-shirt itself – it belonged to my ex boyfriend- often draws questioning looks and frowns from my father and for a moment, I feel guilty for having to hide my new beau from him.


Deciding not to risk the shirt slipping and exposing the evidence of my misdeeds, I unfold my legs and drop my feet to the floor. Startled briefly by the contact of the cold terrazzo, I make my way to my bedroom, my sole intention to find a pair of jogging pants.


5:15 am


~Daixy~