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Archive for the ‘Ghana’ Category

The other day, I saw this woman interviewed on TV because of her addiction to plastic surgery. She said things like, “I got my nose corrected”. By this, she meant her nose had been whittled to a pencil shape. She had added fat to her lips, raised her brows, padded her chin, her buttocks, her breasts, liposuctioned her stomach, etc, etc, etc! Really!

First of all, if you’re a woman who has plenty of money for plastic surgery, I beg you, send me the money. When you’ve done that, I’ll use a portion to send you to Ghana. Or Sudan. Or Nigeria. Or anywhere in the world when men will love your big buttocks, arms, legs, everything.

While we’re on the subject, I really resent those people who reach out to my front teeth, the gap between, that is. Hello? I’ll have you know that in West Africa, a gap in the front teeth is a sign of fertility and mark of beauty. That’s right. Go to Senegal and you’ll find professional tooth-carvers who will whittle away your two prime incisors to create a gap for you, for a small fee. People have always had an itch to touch my teeth, from African men who gasp and say “Your teeth are so beautiful” to the Latino lady at Whole Foods who shakes her head and say “It’s bad luck in my country; you’ll be poor”, and the lovely friend who shakes her head and says “You’d be so beautiful if it weren’t for the gap in your teeth.”

I hereby declare: my teeth are beautiful the way God made them. Hey, they’re so beautiful Madonna got one just to be like me! And They do their job well; I eat just fine.  So, for heaven’s sake, keep your fingers off my teeth!


A few days after the graduation, I got to hang out with the “Shuwaa” boys. Don’t ask me what that word means, I couldn’t tell you. But that’s what Tolu and his three close friends in Ghana call themselves. Unfortunately, the fourth one is in the U.K., missing out on all the fun (Hi, Enoch) 🙂

Bright and Tolu, while waiting for our orders at a restaurant in Sarbah Hall

Dennis, Bright and Tolu, saying hello to Enoch

There's nothing like Fufu and light soup with goat and fish!

Digging into his rice and chicken stew

Finger-sucking good, no metal to interfere with the yummy taste 🙂


With the witty one, Akua Baning

The three graduates, Bright, Tolu and Dennis. So proud of them. giddy giddy SHUWAAAA!!

Dedicated to Orlando Holness
The main artery of the University of Ghana
(click on pictures)

As I mentioned  before,  in August 2004, I led a team of US science educators to Ghana on an expedition. What I could not have forseened was that one of them would die an untimely death four years later. The gentleman in the foreground, with rasta hair, Orlando Holness, passed away recently. He suffered from rhumatoid athritis and probably died of drug complications. He was a close friend who invited me twice to speak at his school, Lansing Residential Center for girls in Ithaca, New York.

Thanks to his efforts, I mentored two girls who became dear to me. Orlando was so committed to his vocation that he would not quit despite the special challenges he faced daily. He displayed my art work in his classroom and would always take me to the dinner and then to the airport. The last time I saw him was when I waved good bye to him after going through security. Standing there looking long at him, I had an urge to run back to him and hug him.

I wish I had.

And now, let me take us through what we did in Ghana. We had a blast!  When we first got to Accra, we stayed at Erata Hotel (can’t find the picture). Our flight from the U.S. was long, eight hours to London and six and half hours to Accra. If we had flown direct, it would have been only about 9 hours. The Prime Meridian passes through both London and Accra, so Accra is about the same distance from New York. as London is.  Our first day was a day for resting and touring parts of Accra.

I figured I might as well tackle death in one post:) This is the mausoleum where President Kwame Nkruamah is  buried. He led Ghana to independence in 1957. The sides of the monument are curved to represent the sword resting, a symbol of peaceful leadership. Ghana has been blessed not to have any civil war in its history.

This is a common sight in Ghana, and a tame one at that. At any traffic light, you’re bound to see peddlars selling anything from drinks to, ahem, condoms. They lean at your windows and try to tempt you to buy grilled fowl, toys or doughnuts, anything at all. In this picture, the vendor in the foreground is selling “PK”, chewing gum. The lady at the back is carrying plastic bags of plantain chips.

Time to share some pictures with you! This is Commonwealth Hall of residence from my alma mater, the University of Ghana, Legon, the oldest in Ghana. When it was established, the intention was to follow the pattern of the London system with schools like the London School of Business, etc. However, in time, it became a complete university though it has retained the original name. Out of the different schools sprouted other universites. There are now many universities in Ghana, but naturally, I think mine is the finest!
This picture was taken in 2004 when I visited Ghana as an International Affairs Specialist. I was accompanied by several U.S. educators featured in this picture. Stay tuned 🙂

I normally don’t watch Tyra, but in-between Wimbledon and commercials, I flicked there. I was just in time to see two lovely college girls who wanted to auction their virginity. A man was prepared to pay $3 million for one girl. Wow. I honestly don’t understand how any woman can do that. In Memoirs of a Geisha, Sayuri’s virginity was auctioned. I felt sorry for her when she had to submit to that weirdo of a doctor slipping his ‘eel’ into her without foreplay.

There was a time where Ghanaian men wanted to marry only virgins. Now, there are songs like

Ashawo maame
wo ara na me do wo

Whore mama
You’re the only one I love.

The song goes on to describe what the man feels sliding into her, how she feels like tuo za fi, a dish eaten by people of northern Ghana, a slippery soft mush eaten with okra soup. What a long we’ve come. Now, an intelligent woman has no qualms about selling her virginity. I can’t help feeling a profound sadness. Whatever happened to love?

Here’s the song, titled “Rakia”, the object of the songwriter’s love:

I’m new to blogging, but I’m going to do my best!

Last Saturday, my best male friend in Ghana got married. Good luck to him! I really like the bride. But you know what’s funny? The wedding was yesterday although they were already married. Ghanaians are so funny. They do traditional marriages, called an “engagement”, a rather elaborate and expensive ceremony unifying the two families. The man has to buy all kinds of things for the girl: clothes, ring, Bible, jewellry and booze for the family. That’s marriage. But thanks to past British colonialism, Ghanaian girls don’t feel properly married unless they’ve said I do the western way. Which is why half the time, the girls are pregnant at the altar, something that makes foreign missionaries frown–yikes, they had sex before marriage! Anyway, congratulations twice to the not-so-newly-weds!