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Dear Zoomlion, What should we do with our pads?

Posted in Uncategorized

Let me begin by saying, I HATE periods. Not the punctuation mark, I mean the monthly Aunt Flo, Crimson Tide, Visitor, Bisquit…I am referring to menstruation, which plagues girls and women between the ages of 9 and 60 (depending on whenever menarche and menopause strike). On account of my having a particularly heavy flow and spending years with severe cramping, periods have NEVER been merely an inconvenience for me. The kicker? I am not alone.

The Bible tells us, that menstruating women were not permitted to perform any household chores, wives could not cook for their husbands, and indeed, sex was out of the question. I may be wrong, but all women had in days of old, were under cloths/rags, which would be washed, dried and reused. Mary Kenner, in the 1950s invented a belt for sanitary napkins. This belt would hold the cloths and rags women used during their menses, and helped prevent leaks. I make a point of mentioning Ms Kenner because, her invention was revolutionary and also, she was an African American. History is not kind to women inventors and revolutionaries, let alone those who are melanin coated.

The Sanitary belt.
Credit: http://www.helloflow.org

At some point in history, women were saved the trouble of washing sanitary napkins, much like with diapers, with the advent of disposable napkins, which, thankfully worked perfectly with the sanitary belt which Mary Kenner had updated to include a moisture-proof linen pocket. I won’t bore you further with more period history but over the years, we ended up with adhesive pads, tampons, period panties, and the menstrual cup. All of these products make periods more bearable for women but what should be noted is that the most common product used by women in managing their monthly flow, is the sanitary pad. And the way of disposing it? Securely folded and stuffed in the individual plastic wrappers they come in, and dumped in a bathroom waste bin. Where does the trash from the bathroom bin go? Into whatever larger receptacle awaits outside, and into the garbage truck that comes to collect trash every week.

At least that’s how it’s been done in my house for years, and in every other house I’ve visited. In my secondary school, we had a large pit in the girls’ block that we would dump our bathroom waste into and once a week, we would set the waste on fire. The con? Vultures and crows often got into the pit before incineration day and we would return to the block on many an afternoon to find the pads scattered about the yard. We hate the sight of our own clotted blood even when it’s fresh in our pads, imagine the disgust on our faces when forced to pick up stale, and now shredded napkins belonging to Lord knows whom.

No, the easiest thing to do, and unless I am mistaken, what’s done universally, is to wrap them tight, drop in a preferably lined bin, and send off to a disposal site.

Do not, please DO NOT flush your tampons and pads down the toilet. If you’re lucky enough to not have it clog your toilet, it sure as heck will block the chambers leading to your septic tank and God save you, and your plumber from the stinky and frankly unsanitary job of dislodging all that poop.

What has my proverbial panties in a bunch now though? Well a doctor buddy of mine, Dr Kofi Effah shared an article from myjoyonline with me. Full disclosure, I used to work with myjoyonline, which is why I was surprised at the Headline, “Zoomlion hates it when you drop used sanitary pads into waste bins“. A look at the byline showed the story was originally posted on Adomonline, a sister media channel. However, there’s two things I want to make note of from the article.

First of all, that “The Central Regional Manager of waste management company, Zoomlion, Samuel Edu, is cautioning the public to stop the disposal of used sanitary pads into Zoomlion waste bins in both residential and public places.” This is because they pose a health risk to sanitation workers. To be fair, he also “cautioned residents of Assin Breku to desist from disposal of faeces, used pad and other waste materials which are likely to put the health of Zoomlion workers in risk”.

I am all for warning people not to dispose of faeces in waste bins. That’s awesome advice, necessary even, considering that even in 2018, majority of Ghanaian homes, some even within Accra, do NOT have toilets. And have you tried using a public toilet? Even the KVIPs? where you are charged to not only use the loo, but have to pay for toilet paper at the entrance? There’s always that one person holding the toilet paper, who counts the squares of paper they hand to you. I can’t say that I can blame people, usually in our market areas who opt to just poop into plastic bags and toss em.

What concerns me is, the fact that sanitary pads have been included in this mix. Was the Regional Manager misquoted? Was he misinformed? Are sanitary pads truly not supposed to be dumped into waste bins?

Which brings me to observation number two, which Dr Effah also noted.

The article does not state what women are supposed to DO with the used pads. If Mr Edu gave an alternative, it certainly was not communicated in the article and this leaves me baffled.

I have never heard of Western Countries warning their women to avoid putting pads in waste bins, and I cannot fathom any other method of disposal besides incineration. With that being said, I have come up with two options since Zoomlion seems to be so deeply concerned for their workers’ health; one of which seems more pragmatic, as it will disrupt our lives less:

  1. Every household build an incinerator and dump used pads in it for burning.
    Pro: Zoomlion workers do not have to bring their gloved hands into contact with them
    Con: Extra expense to residences and businesses, especially considering that majority of homes do NOT even have the means to install flushing toilets and septic tanks let alone an incinerator.
  2. Zoomlion provide the households they serve with paper-lined “bio waste” bins which will be collected and transported straight to a central disposal facility where they would be incinerated.
    Pro: Zoomlion workers do not have to bring their gloved hands into contact with them
    Con: Zoomlion bears the cost of providing the paper-lined bins, as well as collection, transportation, and incineration of the waste.

An even bigger question is, why does Zoomlion even have its workers touching the refuse in the first place? If waste is going into bins, and trash collection is regular, one would imagine it’s simply a case of the bin being lifted either manually, or mechanically, into a garbage truck, driven to a landfill, and dumped. So perhaps, instead of your regional manager telling women to stop placing their used sanitary napkins into the bin, he should ensure that the bins are emptied regularly, thus reducing the heaping of refuse which would force workers to have to physically scoop waste into the garbage trucks.

Otherwise, I cannot fathom why such an unconscionable statement should be made, let alone printed with such a questionable headline, in what is a major news publication.

 

Got any thoughts about this article? Please sound off in the comments below.

 

 

Otiko Djaba, Rape is not an STD.

Posted in Uncategorized

Dear Otiko Djaba,

Rape is NOT an STD. We Cannot Prevent Rape by Covering our bodies!

It is not often that I take the time to write to persons in positions of authority, as for the most part, I believe that authorities know what they are doing and do not need my input. However, on the odd occasion, I have been known to speak up. Ms Zita Okaikoi heard from me regarding her inaction, during her tenure as Ambassador to the Czech Republic, when a Ghanaian male was treated like “garbage” in that country.

Your predecessor, the Honourable Oye Lithur also heard from me, though I did not share my strong words for her here but kept to facebook, when she chose to sign the petition for the release of the Montie 3. Today, my attention is on you, and only you.

When you spoke up for yourself during your vetting and stood your ground when compelled to apologise to former President Mahama, I applauded from my home. I posted on social media about how it was high time we had a headstrong woman in the role of gender minister, who would not kowtow to the whimsy of our patriarchal society.

Imagine my joy when you turned up for your swearing-in looking radiant in your traditional garb and with your “interesting hairstyle” and hit back at your detractors when they accused you of setting a poor example for girls. Your defense for your hairstyle warmed my heart. Surely you would defend human rights as you defended your hair, no? Soon after, however, the bombs began to drop.

When videos began to circulate, in which a suspected female thief was sexually abused by a group of traders, you took days to speak regarding the issue, and even then, only to say that the police must be allowed to follow due process, and that the lady in question did not want to be found. My jaw dropped. With actual evidence in hand, the State wanted the victim to press charges before locking up those men? Even if she was proven to be a thief, did she deserve to be treated in such a manner?

The whole thing reminded me of an incident in Legon Uni where another alleged thief was stripped naked and manhandled by the males in one of the Mensah Sarbah Hall Annexes. Video footage circulated from this incident as well and some rather vile minded persons implied that she got what she deserved. I wonder why it took so long for action to be taken in the February 2017 event, when there was video evidence clearly showing the faces of her attackers.

You disappointed me, Otiko. You disappointed me so much but I had hope. I, and other women I hold dear to my heart, hoped you would “show us levels” but alas, just as Maya Angelou said, when someone shows you their character, believe them the first time.

I have actually left my sick bed to write to you tonight. I am supposed to be on bed rest while my back heals up but noooo, I needed to sit upright and take the time to let you know how disappointed I am, that you, a Minister for Gender should stand before a group of adolescent girls and declare that they should avoid wearing short skirts in order to prevent rape.

Can we stop devaluing men and their ability to think? Their brains are not actually stored in their penises.

I must thank you for warning male teachers not to coerce and abuse their charges. Warning them to desist from impregnating the girls, was a step in the right direction considering the society we live in but sadly, even this one good deed of yours stood on rocky ground. It gives the impression that the only thing wrong with male teachers sleeping with students, is the possibility of pregnancy.

You were absolutely right, in that it is an abuse of their rights but I put to you that pregnancy should be the least of their worries, but rather the emotional and physical trauma they inflict on their victims. Focusing on the risk of pregnancy ignores the fact that STDs could be transmitted and that female teachers could also be taking advantage of their charges, be they male or female students.

You mentioned something else that caught my attention, “We want to initiate a mentoring program; a girls-girls leadership program in all the schools, from basic to tertiary and as well as within the communities to ensure that we know our rights and we understand what it is to be  a woman who is an equal partner in society, no longer women behind but side by side with our men as equal partners”.

Great initiative but I wonder, can we have a mentoring program for boys as well? One which teaches them that older women sleeping with them is a form of abuse and not something they should be “proud of”? One that teaches them that they do not deserve sex whenever and wherever they want it, and that they should not be afraid to speak up when they are being forced into situations they are uncomfortable with? Our society has taught men for far too long, that their “manhood” and brains lay in their penises, and that women exist solely to provide them with pleasure.

In the next breath, you are alleged to have stated, that the girls should “…be bold, be confident, be respectful. If you wear a short dress, it’s fashionable but know that it can attract somebody who would want to rape or defile you. You must be responsible for the choices you make”.

Here is where I screamed in fury before being reduced to a weeping mess. My dear woman, that was a terrible gaffe. You revealed in those words, the fact that you are as much embroiled in the patriarchal BS that we are fed daily, as women. As the defender of human rights, you managed, in one fell swoop, to lay the blame for rape at the feet of the victims (fine, fine, potential victims). Please be informed, if you have not read my header above, “Rape is not an STD and we cannot prevent it by covering up“.

Rape Condom! To deter lusty males from infecting your body with rape.

Your statement ignores the following:

  1. Rape is not about sex. People do not rape because they are horny and want to get off. No, rape is about control, about power, about abusing a vulnerability, be it mental or physical. It is this “power thirst” that has warriors raping while they pillage villages. You think they simply miss their wives? No no it is about humiliation of the enemy and proving their weakness. “Haha you call yourselves warriors? Watch us violate your women and children”. Sex has been used as a weapon for years and so I am appalled when I meet people who miss the purpose of rape.
  2. Rape involves more than a penis and a vagina. I do not believe in the Ghanaian legal definition for rape, as it assumes just as you have, that rape only involves a man placing his penis inside of a woman’s vagina. The term defilement annoys me also, as it implies a sullying of the victim. The victim is not dirty, in the case of “defilement” so why use such a disgusting term? Newsflash, Madam Minister, men can be raped too. They can be raped by men, and by women. Once upon a time, I thought it was impossible to rape a man but then I learned that rape is about consent, and consent can be denied, even in the presence of a physical response.Research has shown that in fight or flight situations, men can have erections. The same happens with women, who often are ashamed to report rape because their bodies responded during the struggle. Most often, their attackers even point out to them the fact that their bodies are prepped and ready.I ask you, as a woman who seems to think that short skirts are the reason for rape, what would you say to a woman who told you she said no to a man but he forced himself on her and that, to her shame, she had an orgasm or two? Would you as gender Minister then decide her orgasm was proof of consent? I think you need some gender sensitivity training.
  3. Rapists have self control. Yes they do! They have so much self control in fact, that they actively search for persons they can overpower physically and mentally. A rapist who is 5’4″ and weighs 50kg will not attempt to physically overpower a person who is 6’2″ and weighs 90kg, certainly not without a weapon, or with prior knowledge that the potential victim is not mentally sound and thus can be coerced into the act.All those house helps seducing their young charges, call it statutory rape or no, there is a clear indication that these persons have had their bodies and rights violated.The idea that showing a little bare skin is enough to drive men into a sexual frenzy is absurd and should not be perpetrated any further. If a woman should choose to walk through the streets naked, it is not an excuse for anyone, male or female to touch them inappropriately, let alone insert objects into any orifices.  You liken men to animals with no self control, when we have seen dogs back off from food because they were told “NO”. Are men honestly reduced below the level of dogs when they get turned on?
  4. Rapists do not always beat their victims into submission. Most children who are assaulted will tell you their attackers did not beat them. They may have threatened violence either on their person or that of a loved one in order to get them to keep quiet, but overall, child molesters (rapists) simply prey on innocence and naivete to get what they want. Drugging an adult victim is a sure way of overpowering them without physical force. Or perhaps you, like the Ghana Police, want every victim to turn up with rope burns, swollen eyes, busted lips and vaginal tears to prove they did not consent to sex?
  5. Women in full clothing get raped too. The high incidence of rape in countries like India and Bangladesh are proof enough that no matter what a person wears, they can still be attacked by predators. Long skirt, short skirt, tights or jeans trousers, none will prevent a narcissist from taking what they want.

Pardon me for the long rant but I feel very passionately about this because this argument allows a lot of rapists to get away scott free. It allows boyfriends, dates, husbands (yes and girlfriends and wives) to simply refuse to take no for an answer, force a physical response from their victim and take from them, that which they do not wish to give.

Patriarchy has done this to us. Women are taught they are to blame if they are raped, that they are at fault if they get pregnant and men are taught that they are men when they have a high body count. They refuse to consider that they could be sexually assaulted because they cannot fathom ever having a woman or another man managing to overpower them physically or mentally.

Let’s please get this right and stop victim shaming. Giving predators excuses will never do, and teaching our young women that their clothing will drive men into a frenzy is beyond irresponsible.

Ms Djaba, i must ask you to do better. As gender minister, you are more than just a voice for the voiceless. You should never be caught perpetrating such misogyny.  Please don’t ever tell girls they make a choice to be preyed on by rapists when they dress a certain way. I don’t see us telling the lion that the gazelle was prancing about like a slut and deserved to be eaten.
And thus a closet rapist is born

The next time you talk about sexual abuse in any form, please remember to discuss consent. Let it be known that a man or woman has no right to demand oral, vaginal or anal sex from another person. Let them know even hand jobs are not to be demanded.

I and other Ghanaians want to hear you telling men and women that even if a person consented to sex, and is in the middle of the act, they still have a choice to say no and walk away. Let it also be known that if a man or woman says no to sex, that it is not alright to convince them to say yes, by stroking their bodies into submission.

This is one thing I have noticed in some Ghanaian relationships, where people assume the person saying no is playing hard to get. Disrespecting the person’s wants and choices, forcing a physical response from them, and carrying on is reprehensible. Sex is supposed to be between two willing individuals. The fact that one person has to be coerced should surely kill any vim, no? 

Oh by the way, I went out drinking on Friday night wearing a short dress and heels. The older male I was with, despite my near intoxication, thin frame and sexy clothing (the dress even had cut outs to show some flesh above my boobs) did not rape me. He had several chances, as we were in a dark and quiet section of the bar we visited and the streets on our drive back to my home were dark, to overpower and rape me, but he did not. In fact, he did not even touch my arm or leg, simply because I had already told him prior, that I was not interested in sex with him, or anyone, and that I was only interested in making a new friend. I know this must be a shock to you, and to others who hold your views that men are uncontrollable beings led by their penises but this man is a prime example of what we nurture when we, as a society teach men and women to respect each other, and make them understand that they are not entitled to anything from another person.

Oh by the by, I apologise for calling your hairstyle a chicken style on twitter. I was overcome by anger yet still, I owe you an apology. Your hairstyle should have no impact on your duty, unless the weave is sewn in too tight and making it impossible for you to concentrate.

Be the woman we expect you to be, Otiko. Show us that you’re here to protect all genders and that you are capable of doing your job.

Sincerely Yours,

~Daixy~

PS I have so much more to say but I am emotionally and physically exhausted. Should you wish to debate further, my twitter handle is @D41XY. I loooove to debate online, but only when I do not have deadlines to meet.

 

Tag Teaming at the Vittles Souk

Posted in health, and Uncategorized

EnoYaa Mapa Farms
EnoYaa Mapa Farms

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Okay Okay, so my Title is a bit misleading.

There will be no wrestling at this event but there will be lots of food and family fun!

Am I shamelessly plugging an event I am helping organise and will be selling my products at? Yes!

Am I inviting you to come support two days of family fun and encouraging you to support not just my business but tons of other local entrepreneurs? Yes!

5&6 November at the African Regent Gardens for the Vittles Souk, my organic business, Orghanix and EnoYaa Mapa Farms will bring you fresh organic vegetables and homemade oils and butters.

It’s all 100% pesticide and chemical fertilizer free, grown with love by two passionate women determined to help you live the best life you can.

What will we have on sale? Oh I’m so glad you asked.

Organic carrots
Organic carrots
organic lettuce mix
organic lettuce mix
iceberg lettuce
iceberg lettuce
peppermint
peppermint
Mother of herb
Mother of herb
collard greens
collard greens
Orghanix homemade whipped body butter
Orghanix homemade whipped body butter
Orghanix massage and bath oil
Orghanix massage and bath oil

Just FYI, there will be a cooking competition on Sunday November 6. Bring your partners and step up to a jollof or Palava sauce challenge.

So will I see you there? Of course I will. Make sure to grab a selfie with us.

As always,

~Daixy~

Watch Out! He’s got a…camera?

Posted in Sights

Bet you thought I was gonna say gun :p

Meet PK Opoku.

The hero that Gotham deserves, but not the one it needs. #dark #selfportrait #film #shadow

A photo posted by P.K. Opoku (@pkopoku) on

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He’s trained with Hidan and joined the brotherhood of Jashin.

He’s worth 4.50 pesewas in select Shell Shops across the country but to me and everyone that knows him, he is priceless.

PK is a not so recent graduate of the University of Science and Technology. By day, he’s a software specialist. By night, he is Batman or the Joker, depending on his mood but on holidays and weekends, well on weekends he’s transformed into Peter Parker.

Yes, PK is Ghana’s own Spiderman. Wait….he’s not? He hasn’t been bitten by the radioactive spider yet? Oh boo.

Good luck with that PK. Ganbatte!

If you’ve seen any cute pictures of me circulating online, chances are they were taken by PK.

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Enter the Frohawk

 

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Here’s me charging my forehead torch 😉

Take a look at bit of his work below and when you have time, kindly pay a visit to his instagram page for more.

 

Where’s Wally? #bw #blackandwhite #aburi #street #houses #aburi

A photo posted by P.K. Opoku (@pkopoku) on

Shelob #spider #wildlife

A photo posted by P.K. Opoku (@pkopoku) on

 

Edge. #sekondi #takoradi #shore #rocks #sea #water #cliff #ghana

A photo posted by P.K. Opoku (@pkopoku) on

 

By all means, please book him for your event shoots. We need to fuel his addiction for ribs smothered in Jack Daniels Sauce 😉

If you want to avoid the website, he can be reached at hello@photobyoh.com

 

Tell him Mz Daixy sent you 😉

 

Skypiea! Just kidding. This Is GHANA!!!!

Posted in Sights

“It’s been so long and I’m lost without You”….

Y’all don’t know how much I’ve missed you. I have no excuses for not updating this blog. Twitter stole my soul 🙁
Well Twitter and fact that I am attempting to start a business. More on that later.

But I’m back and I’m going to try to update at least every two weeks, whether it is with a poem, photo or just an update on my escapades.

Today, I just wanted to share with you all, my view from one of my drives into the Aburi Hills. It had rained the day before, and these were taken at about 7am the next day. Sun was bright and the clouds came out to greet us. I was so awed by the gorgeousness, I had to grab my phone and snap some photos.

I’m not much of a photog, and these were edited on the phone also so pardon me if they don’t meet standard but you have to come see this for yourself. This is the stretch of road from Aburi to Nsawam and runs right along the border between Greater Accra and the Eastern Region.

Fans of “One Piece” will understand the Skypiea reference. Now all I gotta ask is, “Do you know the way to Sharpshooter Island?”.

Skypiea?
Skypiea?

 

What I would give to hike to that hilltop and bathe in the clouds
What I would give to hike to that hilltop and bathe in that sea of clouds

 

Dreams are made from these clouds
Dreams are made from these clouds

Of Black People and Depression

Posted in health

This week’s Being Mary Jane raised a very important topic. It’s one they have brought up before in Season 1, when Mary Jane’s friend, played by Ludacris, commits suicide after he’s outed for forging sections of his award winning book.

Fine Black Brother knocking himself off?
Fine Black Brother knocking himself off?

Forward to Season 2 when a major character chooses to end it rather than deal with shame, confusion, and regret.

I won’t spoil the episode for you, and won’t waste the time blasting the writers of the show for choosing such an easy way to grab attention for the show instead of working on redeeming said character but I will say that during the Ep, Mary Jane and her friends discuss how their whole lives they’ve been told that black people do not get depressed, that we as a race are strong, fighters and stand through whatever woes befall us. According to them, People of African descent do not ever commit suicide.

Scracth record
Image source: Google

Umm…say what?!

While they are right in that that is the accusation leveled at us, I posit that it is false. The black man is no different from the Caucasian, Hispanic, Asian… We all stem from the same mother/father of life and share characteristics.

It surprises me that the writers of the show, and thus  the characters, for all their reading do not know of pre-colonial African tribeswomen who locked themselves in barns and set themselves on fire when they learned their men had lost the battle and enemy raiders were on their way to rape and pillage? Did they not read about these women who chose suicide rather than permit their bodies to be ravaged? I’m attempting to locate my notes from Uni, where I discovered this info but I do recall that Dr Esi Sutherland Addy mentioned this in a class I took at the African Studies Department also.

And for goodness sakes have they not read Things Fall Apart, and how Okwonkwo hanged himself rather than face his shame?

Yes I know my examples are few but for an Africa whose History is barely written/known, we cannot presume that these things did not happen in the past, or that it’s impossible in our present for us to be riddled with pain, so much so that we cannot bear to live on this earth.

Read on the deaths of Don Cornelius of Soul Train Fame, as well as of Leanita McClain.

And damn, y’all, Sam Sarpong jumped to his death following 7 hours of chit chat with local law enforcement and family.

We can’t continue to hide under a rock and say black people are strong and don’t get depressed, or don’t ever commit suicide. We as a people deal with so much and I really feel our religion helps a lot in keeping us in check. We force ourselves out of depression most times, especially when we have support around us but honestly (and from personal experience) it’s not always easy to hide from it all. Anxiety and depression, be they as a result from PTSD, or the lows of bipolar disorder, or general anxiety disorder, etc are very real. They are not just episodes of people being sad. They are not emotions to simply be shelved away and ignored. They are very real, very disturbing thought patterns that cannot seem to go away.

A discussion I had with someone a few weeks ago had him, a medic, telling me that some people just want attention and just want to be miserable. But think about it, if all a person has ever known is misery, if all they have known is negativity and self loathing, how do you think they will be able to appreciate happiness? They are comfortable in it, it is what they know. Attention seeking behaviour is also a mental issue by the way.

Here’s a video I found on Buzzfeed which should give you a hint of what people deal with.

Rather than belittling Mental Illness and making people who suffer, yes I said suffer, from depression, why don’t we acknowledge that it exists and work towards helping each other stand when the weight of the world is simply too much for a single shoulder to bear? The world is already doing everything to destroy black lives, and we are already doing well by killing each other off…should we really be allowing suicide to cull our numbers further?

 

Everyone’s pain is relative. Don’t think your situation is worse than someone else’s. If someone is sharing their issues, don’t belittle them as attention seeking behavior and walk away. Different people have different thresholds of pain and you never know how close someone may be to harming themself because they can’t see the way out. Help them see a way out. Share their pain and give them a bit of your joy. This advice is for both people suffering from depression and those who have to listen to them. How many times have I heard a depressed person tell me I am lucky because I don’t have any problems? I tell them things are not always as they seem and just because I put a bright face forward does not mean I do not have my own issues with anxiety.

For people suffering from depression, I beg you to find help. I know paranoia is waaaaay high during episodes and you question everyone’s motives but put that aside. Get the help you need, unless it’s from the devil. If someone is willing to help, let them. Just do whatever it takes to stay alive because trust me, the world is not going to be magically better without you in it and the pain and loss your friends and family will suffer if you should succumb to depression and suicide will be unimaginable. Don’t make them suffer as you are. This is not a situation in which misery should love company.

Be strong, for yourself first and surround yourself with strong people who will hold you up when you are weak.

And remember, God loves you and has a purpose for you. Your purpose is not to live a miserable life and die without impacting a single soul. Your purpose, no matter how trivial your life may seem, is to live, pray, love. You will be amazed to discover what you think of in yourself as useless is exactly what someone else needs to keep carrying on.

Peace prevail in your hearts and homes.

~Daixy~

 

PS this debate on #blacklivesmatter still has me pissed. All lives matter. Black people are not the only race in history to be enslaved, abused and murdered in droves. How about we change the story from Black man assaulted to man assaulted? How about we treat people as humans, instead of constantly trying to isolate race and religion? By focusing on their being human (and I’m not saying ignore their race completely), but by focusing on their humanity and insisting on their rights as humans, I believe we will go way further in eliminating abuse. While we are yobbing about black lives matter, Hispanics are also rotting in jail. Asians are also facing discrimination and our Arab brothers and sisters are paying the penalty for a select few terrorists who choose to tag religion onto their exploits.

#AllLivesMatter

Lesson Learned from Czech Ebola Debacle

Posted in Uncategorized

Ghanaian student manhandled in Prague
Ghanaian student manhandled in Prague

To: Zita Okaikoi, Ambassador to the Czech Republic

From: Daixy, Unrepentant Critic and Opinionated Ghanaian Woman

 

Dear Zita,

May I call you Zita?

Of course, I may. This is my platform and you are currently unavailable to deny or accept my request.

I wish I could say I was hollering at you for good reasons. Next time, we should confer over a cup of tisane, and some of my famous cupcakes, and discuss the pros and cons of running a business in Ghana.

Today, however, I have a bone to pick with you.

You see, I was scanning the news this evening when I saw an item about a Ghanaian student who was “arrested” at Prague. The item came with a video which was appalling, to say the least.

Reports say the student had been cleared by airport screenings but was picked up at a train station.

There’s a lot wrong with the situation.

First of all, the student was profiled on account of his race. Tell me that a white traveler would have met the same fate at this boy. Being covered in a plastic sheet?! Was he dead? Why didn’t they just place him in a sealed body bag and be done with it?

Second, he was chased after his initial clearance. Granted, he showed signs of being unwell but that brings me to my third point.

Being arrested at a train station, carted off on a trolley (not a stretcher) and covered in a plastic sheet/blanket before being dumped in an ambulance, is not the way to treat a human being. I do not know if it was fear on the part of the man in the hazard suit but the way he grabbed the guy’s arm and shoved him in the ambulance was awful. I am usually hesitant to call racism but this is clearly the case here.

Now let me get to the meat of my message to you.

In your Interview with JoyFm tonight, you indicated that the Ghanaian Mission to the Czech Republic was “quite shocked” at the incident. Shocked shouldn’t be your reaction. Outraged, sounds about right to me. You should be incensed at the poor treatment meted out to one of your citizens and calling for the proverbial guillotines to be mounted.

Zita, what shocked me was your statement that this incident should “be a lesson for all West Africans”. Those words should never have left your mouth. I may have misconstrued your meaning but feel very strongly that you could have worded things better.

West Africans should NEVER have to expect such inhumane treatment whether in our own country or elsewhere. We should NEVER accept profiling and manhandling, no matter where we are. If a westerner had been treated in Ghana; the way this boy was treated, heads would roll. Please, by all means, tell West Africans that they should be careful when making their travel plans; that they should be aware of overzealous health workers and a security system intent on marking them for quarantine regardless of whether or not they have visited an Ebola-struck country. Tell them they should realise that now, when white people stare at them and clutch their children to their bosoms, it’s not really because they are black, but because they have “Ebola until proven innocent”.

I applaud you for your willingness to protest the unfair treatment of this student, who in your own words, is “highly traumatised” but must call you out for your defeatist attitude when you said, you believe the Czech Authorities will simply respond by saying they were taking precautions.

Do not back down! Imagine that boy as your son and stand firm when you demand an unqualified apology for him, and the people of Ghana. I would expect that by now, the Czech Ambassador would have been summoned to the Flagstaff house to provide an “explanation” for this debacle. ANYTHING to show the Ghanaian community within and abroad that our government gives a damn about the good people of Ghana.

And for goodness sakes, please don’t ever ask us to “learn” from awful treatment meted out to us. This is how black slaves told their daughters to learn, every time they were raped by a white man. “Don look ’em in de eye, chile. Don yoo wake up de faya in ’em”. Perhaps my analogy is harsh but it’s how I feel.

I look forward to hearing your demands to the Czech Republic.

 

Best,

Daixy

 

Blast from the Past: National Identification?!!!

Remember when I blogged about the National Identification Scheme and questioned whether or not Ghana was ready for such an exercise? I was concerned with the amount of information that was being collated and questioned whether it was safe for our security personnel to have access to it.

It’s been four years since and since then I’ve noted the following:

1.  The website is no longer http://www.niaghana.gov.gh/ 
It redirects you to the new website
2.  The new one is http://www.nia.gov.gh/
Recently, I paid a visit to the NIA Office near Gulf House and being the curious person that I am, I followed a website mentioned in an ad placed in the lobby. The ad was inviting people to visit Ghana’s e-services hub.  Since I had my smartphone on me, I typed in the link and was actually impressed with the site. I decided to click on the NIA page there and followed a link there to the official website whereupon was promptly directed to….
3. a porn site. A Russian porn site. I thought my eyes were deceiving me so I went back and clicked the link. Same thing! So I checked from a tablet. Once again, I was directed to the porn site. NO, I did NOT take a screen-shot of the questionable content (I know some naughty ones will ask for evidence).
I informed the receptionist of the problem and she said “We know. The IT guys are on National assignment so we can’t fix it now”. For real? NO ONE was available to stop the hackers from redirecting visitors to their lewd gallery?
Later on, I was made to understand that the hack only worked on mobile devices. Computer browsers sent you to the actual NIA site so all I had to do was find a computer and save my eyes the trouble.
Still, this security thing nags at me.  This is the NIA. Information security should NOT be a problem for them. If we’re to trust them with our vital info, they should be able to handle the security of their own website, surely? 
This is what the website looks like today on both web and mobile browsers. 
I can only assume that the IT guys are finally back from assignment and are cleaning up the website. How long the welcome screen will greet us, I’ve no idea but I’ll take this to naked chics any day.
Have you registered with the NIA? Do you feel your data is safe with them? Have you experienced anything like I did when visiting any Ghanaian Government site?  Hit me up in the comments section.

Accra: Village, Slum or City?

Woke up this morning to see this article floating about on twitter. In this article, Eonline reporter  Alyssa Toomey writes, “The handsome boy-banders visited the impoverished village of Accra and took to Twitter to detail their eye-opening experience.”
From what I can surmise, Comic Relief (responsible for Red Nose Day)  brought One Direction to Accra. Lord knows which parts of Accra they sent them to, but hey, they saw a slum or two.
This is what one member had to say about his trip:
https://mail-attachment.googleusercontent.com/attachment/u/0/?ui=2&ik=179c22f4fa&view=att&th=13c42b9e2363e27e&attid=0.1&disp=inline&realattid=1424311331919495168-1&safe=1&zw&saduie=AG9B_P_VP_Hzw4NW2i-th9UwWnUb&sadet=1358329173800&sads=xWeM9eT46wLS5CbRfyeOYv0bni0
Hey Niall, thanks for visiting my country (even though you only visited Accra) and thanks for wanting to help those who are poverty stricken but here’s some thing you need to wise up to. Poverty is everywhere, even in your beloved United Kingdom. How is it that you managed not to notice that “poverty is real” before you visited my “impoverished village of Accra”?

In response to the article and the tweets from Niall Horan, GH twitter had a field day. Aside from tweets like mine which expressed outrage, a lot took to humour to voice their displeasure.

This one from Wanlov the Kubolor had me laughing my butt off!

 
I can’t blame One Direction.  They’re kids, really and hey, I can understand to some degree how in all the excitement, the band members could have tweeted like they did.  You can never see poverty and walk away untouched.  You’d have to be a cold bastard for that.

My beef is with the article on Eonline and thus, with  Alyssa Toomey. Ms. Toomey apparently failed to do her research before posting the article.  Even worse, the article either did not go through an editor, or her editor was an ignoramus. Accra is not an “impoverished village”. So I asked Niall, One Direction and Eonline to please tell Alyssa that Accra is not a village.  None of them bothered responding but that’s to be expected.  I tweeted at Alyssa herself asking her to edit the article and deliver an apology but received no response. I didn’t really expect otherwise.

While others rant on about whether or not Accra is a “modern city” and complain about the “dirt” etc, I would like to make myself very clear.

A village is defined by my common dictionary to be:

  1. A group of houses and associated buildings, larger than a hamlet and smaller than a town, situated in a rural area.
  2. A self-contained district or community within a town or city, regarded as having features characteristic of village life.

Accra is very much an urban area, no matter what people choose to say about it. It is larger than a town. Perhaps the slum that was visited could be described as a village but my Capital City of Accra truly fails to meet the description of a village.  It is a CITY! I do not understand why the word village has come to mean in some people’s minds, “a dirty group of mud houses with animals roaming freely about”. Please! Not every village comes with complimentary death and squalor. Accra has a huge problem with sanitation and we need to get our people to stop throwing their crap in the street but just cuz some so called “villagers” have relocated to Accra from the rural areas etc does not mean it has become a village.

Every city the world over has its share of poverty. I don’t really care about the author tagging Accra as impoverished.  Hey, if she thinks hotels like Movenpick Ambassador and La Palm Royal are signs of impoverishment, that’s her problem. I can take her behind Dekalb in the Bronx or walk her through Harlem and show her some poor people. Would she like to call those places villages too? Even in Memphis, I saw squalor.The abject poverty I have witnessed will not let me attempt to fool anyone that we do not indeed have impoverished sections (and a lot of them) in Accra.

My problem is with western media always needing to portray Africa as a poverty ridden “country”. They blatantly refuse to show the progress we’re making. Growing up, I studied geography and read a lot so I knew most of the states of America and of course, that the Britain was a teeny weeny Island etc. It was all drummed into my head, whether I wanted to know it or not.  So how come Western kids do not know that Africa is a continent? How could Alyssa Toomey not have checked facts on Ghana and thus not know that Accra was our Capital city?

Later on in the day, I discovered that the article had been edited and the insulting phrase taken out. I feel better, knowing that at least one more person out there will think twice before writing about my homeland in a derogatory manner.  I don’t care if you tell the truth about my country.  Talk about the poverty all you like (but talk about yours too and maintain the balance) but please do not make the mistake of belittling us.

To celebs like One Direction who love to do charity work, kudos. Your hard work is really appreciated but please for the love of all things Holy, do your homework. Don’t mar the good work you do with ignorant comments.

My final two cents is meant for all Ghanaians. Can we fix up our city? Please? Accra is a health hazard and it’s time we cleaned it up. We have town and country planning.  Why are their codes being ignored? Why are people dumping rubbish wherever they feel like? And what do we do about the mass exodus of people from rural areas to our urban centres? How long has that Slum at Korle Gono been in existence and what has been done to take care of it?

Until we make strides to improve things and better brand our nation, we will forever have ignorant impressions running around about this country and the rest of Africa. Let’s work together to paint a better picture of our homeland.  It’s the only one we have! 

God Bless Ghana!

~Daixy~

Most Troublesome Network……

There’s a turf war currently ongoing in the country and unlike in most others, this isn’t about drugs or prostitution.  It’s a TELECOM war, my dears and some generals are taking the piss in their desperate bid to claim customers and eat into our meagre salaries.

Last Thursday, I was sitting in my office when this number (054-430-2037) called me.  A lady by the name of Patricia informed me that she was calling from MTN, thanked me for my patience in advance (if only she’d known I was having a bad day and in a foul mood) and then went on to list the benefits of porting to MTN. I have to be honest, I do not recall the supposed benefits but Samuel Dowuna sums things up nicely here.

I’ve got to say I was surprised.  I’m an Airtel customer; have been from the very second they landed on our shores and I’m very happy with their service. I did not get why or how MTN had the brass bits to call me on my cellphone and ask me to port to their network. I told Patricia I wasn’t interested and that I wasn’t impressed by this aggressive advertising. She thanked me and we said our goodbyes.

After reading the daily graphic however, I figured out why they were doing this and had a real good laugh.  MyJoyOnline posted the article the next day “MTN, tiGO lose market share”.  Out of curiosity I called Patricia back. She insisted that yes, she was an MTN employee and  could be located at the head office.  Yes, I should come over there and ask for her, I can confirm that she does indeed work there.  She informed me that she has been provided with a list of Airtel numbers and has been tasked with dialling them up and informing them of the benefits of switching to MTN.

According to Patricia, all the Telcos are using this aggressive method to get people to switch to their services. MTN has simply decided to lay back and relax so while the others are putting up posters and making noise to the general public, they target individuals.  “Oh you don’t have to come to our office”, she says, “we’ll meet you anywhere you want and do it for you”.

Seriously? Provided that Patricia isn’t playing some silly game with a supposedly endless supply of credits her cocaine dealer sugar daddy has provided her, MTN in my opinion has gone too far.  Invading on an individual’s privacy to advertise your services is not right.  In their minds, they think it’s tele marketing and legal and therefore right.  But I disagree with them.  When I was in Memphis and had people calling my house, it wasn’t that they’d identified me as a member of the competition and wanted me to switch services, it was simply them calling and asking me if I used a particular service say, “water” and what did I think about water?  Would I then be interested in trying out “milk”? No one ever called my house saying, “I know you’re a coke sniffer but let me tell you that crack is better and you should switch to that”.

I really feel that MTN has gone too far with this campaign of theirs. Airtel isn’t calling up MTN subscribers on their cellphones and asking them to port.  I can’t vouch for tiGO and Vodafone as I do not use their services.  I think it’s a low down dirty game they’re playing and have to say this clearly.  MTN GET YOUR SHIT TOGETHER!!!! I see now why you’ve not been spending money to advertise porting to your network.

There’s a reason why they’re called the “Most Troublesome Network” and they’ve just gone and proved it once more. Is this the same MTN that said they were committed to Mobile number portability and wouldn’t make trouble? I get it, you dropped a couple of points on the market and want to redeem yourselves.  Someone on top said “fix this” and someone went overboard and gave the order to hit ’em where the sun don’t shine but I can’t excuse this sort of behaviour.  It’s not ethical!!!  It may be legal but it’s most unethical!  It’s time MTN played this game right. God protect them if Glo should get their shit together.  If MTN cannot face healthy competition from Airtel, how are they going to handle Glo, which has already cleared them out of one or two West African countries?  MTN has already received a warning for their ambush advertising. I figured they’d learn from that.

I’ve reported this incident to Airtel (given them the name and number) and this is my two cents thrown into the fray.  I think that it’s only fair that they know what their competition is doing. I also think that it’s time that the NCA checked what these TELCOS are up to.  Never mind that it’s legal, I haven’t had to deal with telemarketers in Ghana and am damn happy for that.  I insist that we keep things that way.

Have you had any telco call you up and ask you to switch from your network to theirs?  Please let me know.  Just drop a comment down below.  I especially want to know from other networks if Airtel is lying to me.  If MTN or any other network has pulled this stunt on you, let me know.  As always, there’s two sides to a coin. I’d like to know what’s happening on the other team.

~Daixy~