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Tag: Ghana

Silky Smooth & Sexy……

My mop broke.  That’s my excuse for being at shoprite at 8:30pm on a saturday evening.  If you’ve met me, you’ll know that I dislike the mall with a passion and try to avoid it as much as possible.  Sadly, it’s the one place I will visit when I need something like a self-squeezing mop or foreign foodstuffs I won’t find at my local market.

So yeah, my mop broke and I chose to go get a new one on account of I needed to finish cleaning my room.  Now, I’m gonna quit yapping about mops before I end up gushing about this new one, with it’s twist to squeeze feature and easy grip.

Something shocked me as I walked bast the bath products aisle! 

See, there was a section with razors.  I love razors and shaving cream. So I decided to check if they had Venus razors.  You know, the line that’s made specifically for women?  I’ve run out and been looking for months for venus sticks in every pharmacy or store I visit.  I figured, “Oh the mall should have them”.  Oh poor naive me.

No Venus sticks!  Everything From Bic to Gillette but no Venus?

I think it was the frustration of the endless searches and the fact that I’d gotten my hopes up that made me blurt out to my male companion “Why don’t they have venus razors?  Don’t Ghanaian women shave?!”  My voice was a bit too loud (usually I can be heard from accross a room lol) and I could hear the couple behind me laugh out loud.  My friend said, “No they don’t.  Haven’t you seen the hairy legs and the beards that could rival mine?”

Come to think of it, ghanaian women don’t seem to like to shave their legs.  Or faces, or their bikini area.  I once had a roommate (in college) laugh at me when I complained that I couldn’t find my favourite Gillette women’s shaving cream on the market.  She laughed even harder when I switched to NAIR and asked me why I bothered.

Well I think women should live by the Triple S Principle. Yes they should have SSS= Skin So Soft.  And that oh so soft skin should also be SSS= Silky-Smooth and Sexy.  Nothing irks me more than seeing a woman in a short skirt and beautiful legs that are suffocating underneath a heavy layer of hair, and yet my fellow ghanaian women are reluctant to grab a razor, so much so that a whole shoprite will not bother stocking a special line of razors for women.  You’ve never had a perfect shave until you’ve tried a Venus razor, in my opinion.  Their special bikini area trimmer is a wonderful addition to a woman’s bathroom routine and their soothing solution for razor bumps is marvelous!

I saw a woman once in town and she was sporting a hairy face.  For a while, I thought she was a man until i noticed the dress.  Even the men shave their beards…..why can’t we get rid of ours when our bodies decide to produce too much testosterone?  Oh and that one time at the beach where this girl showed up in a bikini but had forgotten to trim her bikini area?  Like seriously?  And you see it all the time.  Pretty women who work at the bank, wearing their short tight little numbers with orangutan legs to match….

I have lots of questions.

First is, do ghanaian women truly object to shaving/waxing/trimming legs and other areas?

2. If you do remove/manage hair, what products do you use?
3. Why do you choose to shave (or otherwise) ?
4. If your local store stopped shipping whatever product you use for hair removal, would you demand that they restock?

5. Ghanaian guys, what do you think about women who shave/wax their legs?

6. And what of women who don’t?  Would you be cool hanging out with a woman whose legs were much more hairy than yours?

Let’s hear from you, people.  I want to know what the deal is with this.

I’ve Missed this space.  Hopefully work will afford me some time to revisit.  Thanks to those who still check out this space.  God Bless,


Mob Mentality: It Can Lead to Fail

Time: 3am
Date: 31st March, 2011
Location: Mensah Sarbah Hall Annex B, University of Ghana

Event: Apprehend a female thief and show her what’s what.

Thursday had me busy at work. I ignored the internet and there’s no radio in my office so I missed the debates. The evening saw me having the time of my life at the Labadi Beach Hotel with my family and I got home too late to bother with anything running the gossip rounds.  Fast forward to Friday, April first and my shock at reading a tweet by Nii Ayertey about Amina and how she could have been his sister.  I thought, “what’s going on now?” and followed the link to this CitiFm story.  And then I prayed it was some sick April Fool’s Joke.

At about 3am on March 31st, some male students of Mensah Sarbah Hall of the University of Ghana through whatever means, decided “to catch a thief“. Unfortunately, there is NO correlation between these kids and the characters in the movie/book.  No one is quite sure how they caught this girl or how they got a confession out of her. We do know though that instead of handing her over to the police, they chose to beat her up. The girl in the video clearly has a black eye and unless she did that to herself trying to escape (silly excuse really) I call these boys women beaters. I do not condone mob action and always insist on turning over suspects to the police and for good reason. You never quite know who the mob has apprehended, and you sure as heck don’t have anyone in a mob listening to reason.

I do not know at what point in time the boys chose to strip her naked. Parading her in the Hall, they did more than that.  They tore her clothes off of her, exposing her bra and panties.  Even those were not spared however, despite her pleas for mercy. Bottom line, they exposed her nether regions and proceeded to taunt her, while taking photos of her private parts and even going as far as to insert their fingers into her vajayjay.

University authorities are looking into this matter but I do not have any confidence in my Alma Mater. For years, students have been parading alleged thieves naked through the streets of campus (from Commonwealth Hall to the Main gate) in order to pond them.  And the university has always turned a blind eye to the happenings on. Debates yesterday on facebook had people comparing what happened to this girl to the pondings that were delivered to the boys who stole in the past.  Well let me say this, when you stole from Commonwealth or any Hall in the past, you had a choice.  Either you went to the shrine at La or were handed over to University Authorities or you had an option of being marched naked through the streets of campus with the culmination of a “decent” bath in the filthy pond at the main gate.

Amina was not given any of those choices. These boys tore, (shredded, call it what you will ) her clothes from her body and then did something that has never before been done, even by those troublesome Vandals. They crossed that fine line that exists in mob mentality where the role of criminal and victim are turned around.  See, once Amina was down on the floor clutching her tattered bra to her chest and begging the boys not to go any farther, she ceased to be a thief in my eyes.  She became a sexual assault victim, pleading with her attackers to have mercy on her.  She became a woman begging a gang of men not to violate her person. 

I don’t know how many of you have ever been in such a situation before (I certainly hope you haven’t) but I doubt there is anything more damaging than having a gang of men or women (or even a single person) out to sexually molest you and you laying in a defenseless heap with nothing but your tears to protect you.

I’m still trying to reconcile what they did and simply cannot find a single rhyme or reason. Who in their right mind captures a thief in their home and then decides “Let’s see what they look like under those clothes”.  Who in their right mind chooses to get their Johnses off when they find a burglar in their home.  “Oh thanks for comming to rob me.  I’d like to have the sex now” I do not think that I have ever been more ashamed to have been a student of the University of Ghana and I am glad now that I did not follow my father’s footsteps and join Sarbah Hall.  He’s certainly upset about it.

I’m against sexual abuse of any person (be they male or female, child or adult) or animal and can only describe what I feel right now as empathy.  I wept when I saw the video (couldn’t finish watching it) and wish now that I hadn’t been linked to it. If I cannot condone lynching a person for some crime, then how on earth can I condone sexually abusing them? I keep thinking what if this had been a case of mistaken identity? Just imagine for a second, for those of you who want to justify what happened to her, that these kids had made a mistake.  What if they’d grabbed the wrong person and abused them in such a manner?  What if your sister had been the one they’d grabbed in their frenzy? It shames me to have people I respect and admire tell me she deserved what she got and that this time she’ll learn her lesson.  It shames me to hear people I expect to do something ask me if I knew this girl and demand to know “why are you being so emotional about this?”  

No one cares!!!  A clear case of human rights violation and no one cares!!! Someone had the guts to say on facebook that if it had been a man, we wouldn’t be making so much noise about it. He said to “get it right.  It’s human rights not women’s rights” and I set him straight. We’ve been complaining for years about mob action.  Been speaking out forever about the marches to the uni pond. Clearly that was championing human rights and that was when it was even only men being abused. I have never heard of a case when a male thief was being paraded naked in the streets and the girls went over to stroke his manhood.  It’s plain disgusting to think of if you ask me.
The reason this person seems to think the world champions women’s rights is simply this.  Women and Children have always been weaker and therefore more defenceless.  Of course when you hear stories about human rights violation, they’re going to be about women being raped or molested and children being treated the same or worse.  And men, when they are abused, shut up about it.  Show me one case where a man was abused sexually and people threw a party for his attackers. 
This guy made a case of “women rape men and women beat men”.  PLEASE!!! It’s anatomically IMPOSSIBLE for a woman to rape a man unless she chooses to sodomise him and if you showed me such a case, I’d be first to condemn it. If it had been girls fingering Amina, I would still be talking about it.  If it had been boys sodomising a man or woman, I would be talking about it.  If it had been boys groping a male thief, I’d STILL be talking about it.  SEXUAL ABUSE is wrong and any person that seeks to justify and rationalise it away and promotes it is a big fat filthy IDIOT and should experience it for themself.

I want to see Amina fight for her justice now.  The state can do whatever they want concerning the theft but now the state HAS to round up the students responsible and deal with them.  Amina deserves justice.  She has become one of the many victims of sexual abuse and if it’s one thing that I know, Victims Never Forget. She didn’t ask for it.  This is not her fault and instead of men and women applauding these depraved students for their actions, I would like for there to be a united voice, calling for Justice, calling for heads to roll.  The university needs to be strict when they apprehend these students and the State should be well prepared to fight this to the end.  

I also hope that we will find a way to talk to our students.  We need to get it into people’s thick skulls, right from childhood, that sex is not a tool for punishment. 

Another thing that worried me was the way in which the video went viral.  I know some people meant well and wanted the world to see the depravity of man but did anyone think for a second that it would be adding more insult to this girl’s injury?  I sat down to think and I wondered, would I be okay with it, if my rape was taped and spread over the internet? Would you be fine if your friend, sibling, mother was attacked and the video making its rounds to every cellphone and computer, not only in your country but going as far as to hit the internet, where the entire world can see? So I asked the person who uploaded the video to delete it.  Did he? When I checked at 3pm yesterday, he hadn’t done that.  Now, his facebook profile has been deleted. Thank God for facebook crawler bots and the report violation button 🙂

No matter how you look at it, there is no “justice” in what was done to Amina. This is a human being (forget her crime) who was sexually abused by a gang and she’s never going to get over it.  I insist that we do not simply sweep this under a rug.  I’ll keep talking about it and demand that we hear something tangible from the Ghanaian government and the University authorities.  I demand that something be done to ensure that nothing like this ever happens again. You can be sure that I’ll be writing more about this, that I’ll continue to make a nuisance of myself until someone in authority says something. And it had better not be along the lines of  “It is not nice and especially when it involves students who are supposed to know better…” and then nothing is done. We have a judiciary and laws have been put in place to handle these things.  Now I want to see these laws and their enforcers DO THEIR DAMN JOB!!

My heart goes out to Amina.  No matter what her crime was, she definitely did not deserve such a punishment and I pray that true justice is served.


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Corrupt Conductors Conniving to Cheat!…

Road from Kumasi to AccraImage by acameronhuff via Flickr
So last weekend, Obed Sarpong of “Ready to Chew” gave me a copy of Ayi Kwei Armah‘s “The Beautiful Ones are not yet Born.  In the beginning chapter, a corrupt conductor confesses, albeit subconsciously to cheating his passengers.  I was successfully grossed out in that chapter (and the following one), especially by the actions of the equally disgusting driver against “The Man”, whose sole crime is falling asleep in the bus.
Today’s post isn’t about the book, however.  I haven’t finished it yet.  Multiple tasks at work and elsewhere have had me so busy that chapter three is as far as I’ve made it.  I’m not going to rant about how horrible it is, for me not to wrap it up, especially as I’d usually be done in less than two hours but I will say that I will finish it before the next week begins (I need some me time).
It’s really sad that corruption still runs rampant in Ghana today.  Things have changed since Independence and yet people still find it necessary to lie and cheat their way out of their so called poverty.  Disabled persons who have been trained by the “Ghana Federation for the Disabled” refuse to practice their crafts and prefer to litter the streets.  One cured leper (at least I hope she’s cured) hangs about the National Theatre, thumping her stump (for want of a better word.  it’s 4am and I can’t think) against private car and taxi windows to demand money.  Not only does she bang incessantly on the glass, but she hurls insults and curses at you when you refuse to hand over money. SMH.
A seemingly blind man approaches my car and even without my uttering a word greets me with “My daughter, good morning.”  Eii!  With my windows rolled up, how did you know I was a woman?  And a daughter at that! I sincerely doubt that he was able to smell my perfume.  How sad does one have to be to pretend to be blind?  Before someone jumps on my neck, I’ll say this now.  There was no one standing next to him.  This was on the flag staff road and he was all alone. My perfume must have been really strong for it to permeate glass, plastic and metal. Or he’s the ghanaian version of the daredevil.  You take your pick.
Even when the avenues are created for the less fortunate to make a little something of themselves, it seems the need to stick it to the man overwhelms the desire to fend for oneself.  It saddens me every time I recall a friend’s story about how her father offered  a Chadian woman a job so she could take her children off the street.  Would you believe the woman run her finger on her skin then on his and asked if he was right in the head?  That “how can I come and work for you, a slave?”  And yet she was okay with standing by the road with her kids and begging that slave for money.  
What is this country and the world for that matter heading for? There are people willing to help, and yet someone sits somewhere and decides that they are above a type of work.  Sad thing is, I know how my friend feels cuz my own dad had a similar response when he offered to help one of them (eugh I hate using that term, “one of them”.  Generalisation is awful! Hopefully you get that it’s not my intent). After getting such an answer, you pretty much feel like dirt and that it’s not worth the effort to help anyone at all.  This is what happens when we let this evil fester in us.  It becomes a dog eat dog world, with everyone looking out for themselves.
Now why am I so pissed off?  Well I went to visit a friend at Spintex.  I knew the place to be “Flowerpot Junction” Not having a car anymore, I chose to save money and take a tro tro instead of a taxi.  The tro tro to the Accra Mall was no problem but I’ve only driven to that area like twice and had no idea what the stops were called.  My friend told me to tell them I was going to Junction, so I did and paid 55p for the trip from the station to “junction”.  Now it soon became clear that junction was farther away than my actual stop.  The lady next to me had said she was going to flowerpot and I realised her stop was the same as mine.  She told me the fare to flowerpot was 40p. So we both alerted the mate (conductor) and as i got out of the car, I asked for my change.  The mate slapped something into my hand and before I could raise my head, the tro tro shoved off.  What was in my palm? A 5p coin.
I had been swindled!  Me!  The Darling Daixy!  
I’m still amazed.  It’s not the fact that he took my 10p.  Bah to heck with that.  It’s only going to buy me water.  Not enough to get me gum even, and yet it still rankles.  Just because he realised I did not know where the junction was, he’d pilfered my hard earned 10p.  That’s what annoys me ; being underestimated and written off as some foolish newbie who does not and will never know the ways of the street.  I felt (and still do) violated and insulted.  A girl steps out of her comfort zone (what business do I have in the Spintex Area? eh) and the first thing that happens is someone takes advantage of her?  I’m really getting tired of this.  Stuff keeps happening that digs me deeper into my jaded shell.  Soon, there’ll be none of the humanity left in me, just a spectre with a strong conviction that she must never be taken advantage of. Much like the rest of the nation is becoming. 
As though I wasn’t bad enough.  LOL

*tro tro: mini van for public transport

The Ghanaian Engine That…

Turned Lil’ Miz Daixy Into a Giggling Idiot.
So a couple of Months ago, my buddy Tetekai over at Lyrix Chronicles wrote about “Wanting a TsooTsoo Train”.  She bemoaned the lack of what we’ve come to recognise as a “proper train”.  Thanks to our childhood books and cartoons/movies, a lot of us (myself inclusive) seem to think of trains as engines with carriages; ergo the disappointment at seeing a ratty old cargo train.
Well, I’ve already said this to her, but can’t keep from telling everyone else that I saw a real live choo choo train! 
So umm….a friend kidnapped me Friday evening to go get my hair fixed at “Melon Salon” at Dzoworlu (you really need to check this place out).  Let’s just say, I really needed a proper trim.  Anywho, I was waiting for my turn when I heard this alarm and ignorant moi, asked “what the heck’s going on out there?”  Well, my buddy just turns to me and says, “Oh that’s just the train”. 
Just the train? Just the train?!!! Never in my entire life living in Ghana, have I ever seen a train.  Not even the snarly cargo thing that Tetekai saw. So what did this grown woman do?  I ran out of the salon to stand by the roadside, yelling for him to grab a camera.  Lo and behold, there really was a train and it was loading passengers.  “The train moves to and from Tema” my friend says and all the while, I’m asking ridiculous questions he can’t possibly answer.  “How long has it been running?” “You mean to say it’s been running since we were kids?” “Oh my gosh, how big is it? How fast can it go?” I was truly blown away by the fact that Accra has a running “train”. This one, in fact.
Yes, I waited out there for the train to finish loading and then watched it finally pull out.  I counted six (6) carriages! Did I mention I was holding my friend’s hand the whole time? (Poor guy didn’t get why I was so excited, lol) My mind must have swapped with that of a four year old or something because I really did giggle, gasp and laugh with obvious glee as the red, gold and green worm snaked it’s way out of my sight.
And then I called Tetekai to scream about it, like the excited schoolgirl I am inside!  It didn’t end there though.  While pinned under the good old comb and scissors, the train passed by on it’s way from Tema.  I forgot to ask where in Accra it ends.  You’d think I’d have my fill of trains after that, right?  No way!  As we were driving from Dzoworlu into Osu, we were stopped right before the train tracks.  Why? The train was passing through, AGAIN on its way to Tema.  Of course, that had me on the phone once more, rubbing it into poor Tetekai’s face (or ears, if you will) that I’d seen a real train.
I’m not joking about this.  Forget the subways in New York and such that I’ve seen and been on, I have NEVER set eyes on any sort of train in Ghana  (unless you count the kiddie trains at the Efua Sutherland Children’s Park).  
Now all that remains for me to do is take a ride on Accra’s CHOO CHOO TRAIN!!!
Happy New Year!!!
PS. I know it’s so very American of me to say “choo choo” instead of “tsoo tsoo” but until I heard Keteke’s Tsoo Tsoo in 2000, I had no idea ghanaians called it that lol.

Stop The Aids: Prevention Revolution on World AIDS Day

World AIDS Day Christmas TreeImage by ginnerobot via Flickr
Once upon a time, learning your ABCs meant simply learning the letters of the alphabet.  With time, kids would associate a letter with a word and so on and so forth until they could read, write and comprehend text.  But over the years, A whole new meaning has been attached to this childhood learning Aid.  From about 1988 to date, attempts have been made to teach the young and old alike the ABCs of HIV.  People are being asked to remember to:
Be Faithful; and to practise
Condom Use
Just in case you’ve been hiding under a rock for the past couple of years, HIV is a virus that attacks the immune system and leaves it vulnerable to attack by other infections.  AIDS is a condition brought about by the overthrowing of the immune system.  Basically, Aids is the point in which your immune system has given up and various diseases attack.  There are a lot of people living with HIV/Aids (PLWHA) who do not have AIDS.  With the right treatment, PLWHA can live for many years.  The important thing is to teach inform and educate PLWHA and those without about the condition and how to handle themselves.
World AIDS Day is celebrated every year, on this day (December 1) with the aim of awareness creation, a celebration of successes in prevention and treatment, and to commemorate those who have fallen victim to the icy grip of death. I hope you  will join the world as we mourn the people who have died of AIDS and praise the people who have made such valuable contributions to its identification, prevention, treatment and possible cure.
I do not want to go into detail and bombard you with information on HIV/AIDS but I will say this, “It is a crime against humanity if you do not educate yourself and your family on the reality that is HIV/AIDS”. It is a travesty to be mentally sound and yet ignorant of the virus and its effects and to keep those about you in that same ignorant state.  
In Ghana, sexuality is something that is rarely discussed, especially by parents to their kids. Most people try to avoid talking about it.  Well I say, enough is enough.  I agree with UNAIDS in that we need a prevention revolution.  Everyone out there needs the three Bs. We should ALL:  
Be Aware;
Be Informed;
Be Educated;
Therefore, if you’re in Accra, I know for sure that there is Free Voluntary HIV Counselling and testing at the KorleBu Teaching Hospital, Legon Hospital and SNITT Hospital in Osu.  If you’re anywhere near the Legon campus, please drop by the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research (NMIMR) every Wednesday and Saturday.  Ask for the Health Support Centre and follow the directional arrows to the counselling office.  For directions, please visit the NMIMR website.
If you have information on HIV/AIDS, please do not keep it to yourself.  Tell that cousin that lives in Wenchi about it and be sure to give him accurate information.  Encourage him to get regular testing and to spread the word. It is IMPERATIVE  that people get the right information and that they believe it.  HIV/AIDS is not some spiritual problem you can wash away with the blood of virgins or beat out of your body. 
I look forward to a world that is free of HIV.  We were able to get rid of small pox.  I want to see us do the same with HIV, Hepatitis and other sexually transmitted diseases/infections. Let us get more people (Ghanaian and otherwise) to attend VCT centres.  Let’s “STOP the AIDS”!!!


Water is Life: It’s a Two Way Street

Image via Wikipedia 
We came from water. Or so science claims. The first living organism, which evolved and diversified in species and produced what is now mankind, came from water.

Water accounts for the make-up of 75% of the human body. It’s the base/medium for ALL bodily fluids and I’d like to see how your blood would send that precious oxygen to parts of your body if that volume were reduced to 40% let alone zero. I hate to imagine if soil was to be the centre of life (can you imagine sand running through your veins? or molten larva like the pyro guy in “Ben10”?!). And Air? I suddenly have a funny image in my mind of a human being consisting solely of skin and air. In my mind I see him inflate on the intake of air and deflate on the out lol. Water eats the cake, my dears and has it too 🙂

A fit person can go about four to six weeks without food (and some hardcore religious people have shown they can go waaaaaay longer) so long as they have water. Try going for just a week without water though and let’s see how long you have left for this earth.

How many babies jump straight to eating solid foods? NONE!!! These tiny beings have no teeth and cannot chew and for so many other reasons, their meal (breast milk or formula) is fluid based. That fluid? Of course it’s water!!! 88% of breast milk is made up of water. And Amniotic fluid? The stuff that cushions and nourishes your unborn baby? You know, protects it from external shocks; allows nutrients to pass from mother to child? Hello? 50-70% I think my point has been made.

Virtually everyone knows water is for cooking, drinking and cleaning and for generating energy. We all know the agricultural value of water but how many of us think of transportation? In some parts of Ghana, especially during the rainy/flooding seasons, you’ll find that boat/canoe is the only available method of transportation. Once dry paths become waterlogged and its not rare to find people moving to and from their jobs on water vessels.

I yearn to stroll the streets of Venice, and to drag my hand through the waters of its canals while I enjoy a magical moonlit gondola ride, (I’m still a hopeless romantic, no matter how pessimistic I pretend to be) and perhaps one day I shall follow Mrs. Bucket and take a trip on the QEII. For millennia, water crafts have been used for transportation and permit activities such as fishing. How many offshore oil drills have been set up over the past lord knows how many years? How were those giant monstrosities set up?

Did you know that people build houses on water? Perhaps you have heard of Nzulezu? It’s a village in the Western Region of Ghana where the people have their houses on stilts on Lake Tadane. An entire village on water!!! In Benin, on the river Nokoue, and in some parts of Thailand, you will find this is common. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out what these people subsist on and I for one marvel at the way they interact with their environment.

Remember the really fine Chinese silk? The kind they used to clothe their emperors in? Contrary to most people’s beliefs, silk isn’t grown on trees like cotton is. It’s spun from the cocoons of the silkworm. And the trick to growing gorgeous cocoons is to feed and water the silk worms regularly. The water required is the clean, fresh mineral water from their vestal lake, streams and pools. Sadly, with industrialisation, not only is it difficult to find people willing to practice this ancient craft, but the pure water used to water the worms is no longer well, pure. Factory run-offs now pollute those water bodies and it seems we’ve lost a fine art.

Oh, I shouldn’t forget to mention the fun things we do with water. The snorkelling and skiing and swimming and omg DIVING!!! I yearn to visit Water World and play with the seals and dolphins. Oooh and to kiss a killer whale….as always, I digress. And the religious uses, all those purificaton rights!!!

Physiotherapists prescribe water exercises for a lot of their patients. Soaking in a hot tub is guaranteed to soothe your aches and pains and a lot of women these days are opting for water births. I have my reservations about the safety of these for the baby but am in total agreement with the fact that it eases the delivery for the mother. Swimming is recommended for a full body work out and I’ve been told several times to start swimming to strengthen my back muscles and to help with re-aligning my spine (good luck with getting me back in the water). There’s so much more you could do with water that I haven’t covered!!!

Water covers 70.9% of the earth’s surface but did you know that over a billion of the world’s population has no access to clean water? 97% of the water is saline water in the seas and oceans. 2.4% is locked up , frozen, in the icecaps, 1.6% in underground water and about 0.6% is in streams, lakes, rivers etc. The entire earth’s population of animals (including humans) relies on this 0.6%. In the less developed countries, people have to travel great distances to collect and store water of poor quality for their day to day activities, leaving them exposed to all sorts of diseases, infections and dangerous animals (I include some humans in this category.)

I fully believe that the next world war will be fought over access to water, and not oil. In Ghana for instance, even in the major cities, you will be hard pressed to find someone who has water flowing regularly in their residence. Storage tanks and reservoirs have become essential to the ghanaian household and people pay loads of money to have water delivered to their homes. If this is the situation in the major cities, then can you imagine what people in the rural areas have to contend with?

Lack of clean drinking water exposes people to  water/sanitation related diseases. These pictures were taken in a part of Ghana. The water body pictured (it’s a conduit from a dam) is known to be a breeding ground for the vector of schistosomiasis and yet it’s the only open source of water for miles. Boreholes sunk in the area proved to be no better, as it was discovered that the mineral content in the water was too high for consumption. A few of the boreholes were declared safe for drinking and its not uncommon to see people leaving one village and walking for miles to fetch clean water for their cooking needs.
You can imagine however the risks they still face, as they still turn to the water from the river for their cleaning and agricultural activities. These women were washing vegetables in their bare feet. They’re easy prey for the agents of schisto unlike the consumers who are at NO risk (by the time the veggies get to us, the agents are long gone). Thankfully, with education, they are now aware of the risks involved and hopefully the next time I see this, the women will be wearing Wellington boots and thick gloves to protect themselves.

Did you know that Ghana has a water policy?, I certainly didn’t. I discovered the Ghana Water Resources Commission and from the state of their website (it’s not been updated in ages!) I’ve concluded for now, that they’re either really busy (too busy to let us know what they’re up to) or not very effective.

Water acts like a double edged sword from time to time and becomes even more nasty when mankind decides to mess with it. If you’ve ever slipped or fallen asleep in a bathtub, been carried out to sea or nearly drowned in a pool, you have my sincerest sympathies. I almost drowned some years back and have only gotten in a swimming pool once since. I learned not to play with that particular sword and now have a new respect for it. Remember the Tsunami in Indonesia a couple years ago? All those sunken ships with their bellies loaded with treasure? Who could forget the titanic, or the damage dealt to New Orleans when Katrina hit? Yes, it giveth and taketh, and most of us would rather be collecting from water than giving back.

Earth scientists believe quite strongly that global warming and climate change is contributing to ecological disasters such as the flooding in Pakistan. The ice caps are melting!!! And not into your streams and rivers, No. They’re melting into the oceans and the effects are astronomical! If you’ve been to Keta, you may have noticed the sea defense project. Hundreds of people have lost property in that area. I have an aunt who was struggling to keep her home from greedy in laws. She laughs bitterly now and tells them to go dig the land from the sea. If you’re one of those people poo pooing climate change, ask yourself why it no longer hails in the Eastern Region of Ghana, and why The Osu castle is at risk of disappearing. We need to take a page from the good people of Holland and build better defences if we want to continue to live along the present coast of Ghana.

A major source of drinking water is the collection of rainwater/ precipitation. My grandfather, before water was connected to his home, used to collect and filter rain water for all his domestic needs. I wouldn’t recommend that now. A result of Industrialization we now have to contend with Acid Rain. Rain/precipitation is essential for the renewal of that 0.6% of non saline water. Now imagine the effects on agriculture and property when the rain itself is poisonous and corrosive? And the runoffs that enter our streams and rivers before making their way to our taps? Polluted water (through our own fault) from our sewage and factory wastes is going to be the death of us.

If you’ve never lived in an area where water is scarce to come by, odds are you waste this precious product. I asked myself what I could do to cut down on water consumption some years back and I stick to them like glue. Hopefully, now you know why it’s so important, you’ll also learn to conserve it. And in the case of people paying an arm and a leg, (like I do) for water to be delivered, you can actually save yourself some money.

Do you need that shower or Jacuzzi? Would it not be better to use a bucket so you can cut down on the quantity you utilise? I use a bucket and on the odd weekend, I take one relaxing bubble bath to relax my muscles. It’s my guilty pleasure which I combine with my physiotherapist’s advice but once I take up swimming, I’m sure I’ll rule it out completely.

Instead of letting the water run while you do dishes, perhaps you could fill the sink with warm water and leave it for the duration of your mealtime until everyone is done washing their plate. And when you brush your teeth, please use a cup or glass, or remember to shut off the tap between rinses. I’ve seen people leave the tap running while they brush. It’s a senseless waste 🙁

Wash your car from a bucket, not a hose. I give mine a good cleaning at a washing bay on occasion, when I need to have the bonnet and undercarriage flushed out, but daily cleaning involves a bucket and large duster. NO laundry detergent!!! It ruins your paint job! Get a car shampoo if you really want to see lather or buy yourself some wax.

One thing you can do is, instead of watering your garden with a hose, save your laundry water. Let it rest and scoop off the scumm from the top and drain off the clear water for watering your garden. And you can collect your rain water for this purpose also. It all starts from YOU. Conserve water today.

You know how it is when you have so much to say and such little time to do it, well that’s the case here. Some of my fellow bloggers have said what I’d like to about the importance of clean drinking water and why we should make it accessible to everyone. Benjamin Anyan writes beautifully and I love what he has to say about the topic.And you should check out Nana Kofi Acqua’s gorgeous descriptives. I’ll keep updating FYI.

And now that I’m finally fed up of rambling, I’ma stop here. More in my next post 🙂

Yes, I know it’s a day late but better late than never, eh? I dunno what’s going on with blogger but my preview looks nothing like the final product,  Edited this stuff a million times to make it passable grr

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Chotto Kawaiiii

Child held in a car seat by a five point harnessImage via Wikipedia

Driving out with dad today, I was busy running my mouth off when I heard a little voice calling, “bye bye…”  Looking up at the SUV next to me, I noticed the little tyke waving at me from the passenger window.  Forgetting the point I was making to my dad, I found myself turning into a squealing baby lover.  “Aaaaaw aren’t you cuuuuuute!  Buh Bye……”  Complete with giant smile and waves. It’s this quarter life crisis I tell you!  I can’t resist cute and adorable children!!!!!

And then I spent most of the rest of the drive gushing to dad about how cute the little boy was and how when I have kids I’d want them to be as sweet as that one.  It wasn’t until later that I realised,

  • He was in the front seat
  • On his mother’s lap
  • He wasn’t in a car seat!!!
  • His mother didn’t smile at me (maybe she doesn’t like people complimenting her son and refusing to compliment her :P) 
  • I want one of my own!!! Not in the distant future, or next year, or tomorrow….I want one NOW!  The boyfriend better get to work fast lol.

I got nothing but mad rambling today.  Sorry…….I’m going to give myself a good work out and get off this happy high lol

    When Life is Just too Hard to Deal With: 13 yr old girl commits suicide!!

    Image via Wikipedia

    Reading the paper today, this story caught my eye. Girl, 13, Commits Suicide.

    Apparently, thirteen (13) year old Abigail who lives with her Aunt (Beatrice) in Takoradi decided that life was just too much for her to deal with. This child hanged herself for what she claims to be unfounded accusations of promiscuity and theft. A day after reporting the suicide to the police, Beatrice produced a “suicide note” in which Abigail is said to have stated that a colleague and friend of Beatrice’s (Sophia) had accused her of stealing phone cards and a charger. The little girl went on in her note to state that her aunt had accused her of flirting, and most importantly, denied those claims.

    Perhaps I’m being picky, but shouldn’t the police when they investigated the scene, have discovered the note? What sort of detective work did they do? If you come across a suicide scene, isn’t the first thing you do after checking to see if there is any sign of a pulse to look for a note?

    I wonder who this little girl was. I may not have known her, but I wish I knew who she was and what happened to her. I think about whether or not she had NO ONE to talk to about the persecution she felt she was facing. I’m wondering how bad it had to be for her to decide to end it all. I’ve already given her a profile in my head. Most likely she is orphaned and living with the only relative who would have her. Or perhaps her parents are incapable of caring for her and chose to send her to stay with a better off relation, as is often the case here in Ghana.

    My question is, how did this child come to the conclusion that she could go to no one for help? Was there not a pastor she spoke to? A playmate? A concerned neighbour? If it was that bad, could she not have run away? Why did she feel there was nothing else out there for her?

    I wish someone could have saved her from her demons, real or imagined as they may be. I figure what disturbed me most was how in the “Weekend Mirror” an “observer” was quoted to have said that the girl killed herself to cover up her crimes. That person hinted that Abigail may have been pregnant and may have killed herself to avoid punishment. Grr. I sincerely doubt that anyone, choosing to end their life for a crime they committed, would choose to leave the sort of note Abigail did. Most likely, she would have apologised for her crimes in the note. It would take a truly bitter soul to leave a farewell note declaring themselves innocent of a crime they committed. Like, think of it. If you’re leaving the world anyway, why hide your sins? It doesn’t gel with me. This girl in whatever state she was in, still felt the need to declare her innocence. And goodbye she wrote out in capital letters? She made it very clear who it was she was running from. If she truly were pregnant, would she not have given some explanation on that? Perhaps an apology for killing her unborn child?

    So now, I feel terrible for her aunt, who most likely did not realise what was going on. Surely, she never meant to harm the girl. It’s quite probable that there were reasons for her to believe Abigail was headed for trouble and she acted the only way she knew how. How can this woman feel now, taking the blame for this tragedy?

    Whether she is responsible or not, I doubt there is any way that she will be able to get out of this without feeling guilty. Little Abigail did far more than take her own life. She marked at least one woman for life and most likely ruined their reputations. This woman will forever blame herself for not seeing this coming, for not dealing with the situation properly, for not listening… know us humans; even without the note, she’d make herself responsible.

    This raises a lot of issues about the way children are raised in this country. How much is too much chastising and ridiculing? When is it not okay to call a child up, sit them down and tell them to the face that their actions are wrong? When should you give up on correcting a child and guiding them on the right path?

    This is where counseling services would be helpful in Ghana. Sure, a person has committed suicide, but what of the people who are left behind, those that feel guilty? Who is to save them from sinking into the same states that their friends and loved ones were in?

    I feel that if we had better child services, if CHRAJ and WAJU and other social services were running properly in this country……would Abigail still be alive? I’m wondering how many more cases such as this will have to occur before something is done in this country and wish that people who have the Know How will step forward and DO SOMETHING about mental health issues in Ghana. At least our children should have one place they can go to when they feel oppressed and depressed.

    It’s bad enough when adults who should know better commit suicide but when our children turn to it? We should know by now that we have a problem and our Nations leaders should quit arguing about which members of parliament are homosexuals and actually get down to doing their work. People like Derrick Adjei, should be talking about ways to keep our youth from pulling stunts like this, not mouthing off about Akuffo Addos’s supposed diminutive stature. Just you wait! Your time in Daixy’s corner will come sooner than you think.


    related posts:
    Daixy on Suicide Prevention day
    Daixy on Suicide Debunked
    Links within posts

    When life is just too hard to deal with: World Suicide Prevention Day

    Today is World Suicide Prevention Day and it’s got me thinking a lot about things I can do to make the situation better in Ghana.  Depression, Suicide and abuse are not treated properly in this country but at least we have CHRAJ and WAJU.  Depression and suicide and mental health issues are ignored in Ghana and I believe that’s a huge boo boo.  I don’t know why it is that we are so afraid of death.  It’s a subject most do not want to discuss and even more so when someone takes his/her own life.  But I think burying our heads in the sand won’t make the problem go away.

    Adults and children alike have been committing suicide in Ghana for several years.  Our poor record keeping though, means we don’t have actual figures.  Most info on suicide in Ghana comes from the sensationalist tabloids who aren’t given much credit for their newsworthiness.  We get stories like this one from time to time which shock us to the core momentarily and then we go about our daily business and forget all about the tragedy.

    According to this article, over 1500 people, most of them between the ages of 20 and 35, were reported to have committed suicide in 2008.  I checked the Annual report of the Ghana Health Service and this wasn’t mentioned. I truly wonder if these reported cases come from the Ghana Police Service or the Health service.  Where are these figures from?!!!  The 2009 Annual report doesn’t mention Mental Health at all.  In 2007 however, according to their annual report,only 3.6% of the budget allocated to the Ghana Health Service went to the Mental health Services.   3.6%?  Healthy Mind Healthy Body!!!!  I know we have major diseases to deal with like TB and Malaria and Lymphatic Filariasis but seriously…..3.6% explains why we have so few mental health centres and why they are understaffed.  Shame on you GHS.  You should know better.

    I have heard that KNUST has started a counseling centre to deal with these issues amongst its students. It’s a wonderful idea, what with the number of jumpers Tech has had over the years.  In searching for that, I discovered Lifeline Ghana.  I wonder if they’re fully operational and will be looking deeper into it.   They were kind enough to list their phone numbers so I will be giving them a call.

    I’d love to see Legon do the same thing Tech is rumoured to be doing, and eventually spread it out all over the country. Anyone interested in seeing that happen should holla @ me.  I’m ready to get stuck in but will need all the help I can get.  More people on board will give us a bigger voice.

    So um, Happy Suicide Prevention Day! 😀  Remember to hug your loved ones and tell them you care. And that loner of a coworker, maybe you should invite em out for a cup of coffee. I want to see us do this all day of the year.  This ain’t christmas to think about only on the D day 🙂

    Anywho, don’t forget to check out :

    WHO WSPD statement 2009


    The Skin I’m in…..

    Sweet like chocolate
    Smooth as silk
    Dark like coffee
    Skimped on the milk
    Redolent of a lotus field
    And blessed with a mellifluous tongue,
    I Am Regal, African, Mother,
     A true gift of the gods.
    Now, is it any wonder that I refuse to yield?

    Dunno why I was up at 2am but at least I got something out of it.  I know I’m a pseudo feminist and African but does anything stop me from displaying my roots? 😛  Ghanaian girls, please don’t shoot me for picking a pic of a Nigerian model.  I beg oh!