Accra is killing me!

I moved back to Accra some months after spending almost all of my life as an adult in Kumasi.

It is good to be finally able to go to all these events that never get organized in Kumasi. It is good to meet and ‘re-meet a lot of people. It is nice to be able to go to Ci Gusta anytime I have a craving for frozen yoghurt. It is nice to be able to buy a jam doughnut or a muffin every morning before work. It is nice in Accra, and there are many great things happening here, but Accra is killing me!

I don’t know why, but it seems to me that most of the people who have given up on Ghana live here, and I keep meeting them or overhearing their conversations. It’s everywhere on radio (except with Bernard on Citi fm), and I’m getting exhausted with my efforts to stay positive. I am sick of hearing things like “Ghana dier”, “This country is so messed up” etc. Now I’m not saying it’s not messed up, I’m saying I’m tired of hearing it everywhere. Perhaps it’s because there are more borgas here. I understand that it’s difficult to move from Aburokyire (where everything works well) to Ghana (where nothing works well), but the negativity hurts me. Accra is killing me.

I also think it’s because I live in Ashalley Botwe and I go to and through Madina Market a lot. That place is pretty depressing – the smell, the filth, the heat… I used to live in a green patch around KNUST in Kumasi and the switch… from walking to work through an alley with a profusion of flowering plants and fruit trees and berries to jumping over rubbish heaps, dodging sellers that grab your hand (as if that will make you buy their wares)… is horrible! Accra is killing me.

Again about radio, I used to listen to Ultimate Radio and Luv Fm in Kumasi. Ultimate Radio has (had?) a fantastic morning show that focussed on things happening in Kumasi especially positive stories. Luv would transmit Joy Fm’s super morning show for a while and then switch to other things, so I guess I wasn’t hearing as much bad government corruption news as I am now. And with many of the twi language radio stations, they did give bad news, but they made it so funny that it was difficult to actually get angry about it. Here, there’s so much anger, which I understand, but Accra is killing me.

I hear Christmas in Accra is great. People are so drunk and happy from all the weddings and parties that they forget to complain. Unfortunately, I probably won’t experience this wonderful change, because I’ve made holiday plans to be AWAY from Accra, because you know, Accra is killing me!

I miss Kumasi, and as Sarkodie said in his Versace cover, someone please give me money so I can go back to my Kumasi. Last week I had a Barcamp meeting and I didn’t want to leave because I had missed “drinking” positive energy. When’s the next TEDx?

On Nerdy Girls, Girl Power,Turbo Divas and the World Robotics Olympiad

I like girl nerds and I cannot lie!

Two days ago, I was super excited because I heard two teenage Ghanaian girls talking about the robot they built and programmed (themselves oh) on Citi fm. I wasn’t as excited by the fact that they had built their own robot as I was by the absolutely casual attitude they had about the whole thing. They spoke about programming Baby Diva the robot to pick up Komodo dragon eggs like it was easy and I thought my heart would burst from excitement!

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Leslie and Maia on the Citi fm Breakfast Show

The host of the show, Bernard Avle, seemed to be reading my mind as he asked them the questions I really wanted to know the answers to. “So, why are you doing science in school at all?”

Paraphrasing

Leslie: Mainly because of my future career aspirations.

Bernard: And what is that? What do you want to be in future?

At this point, I braced myself. I said to myself, I will still love them no matter what they want to be.

Again, paraphrasing

Leslie: Genetic Engineer

Bernard: Ei! Really?!

Me at home: Ooooo whoa! Wow! Hahaha! Yes!

Bernard: And you Maia?

Maia: Aerospace Engineer

Bernard:

Me at home:

And that’s not all, when Bernard asked them what Genetic & Aerospace Engineers do, they answered perfectly, beautifully, awesomely and intelligently.

It was a great day.

Serious Business

Maia Effah Kaufman, Ingrid Ohene-Nyantakyi, Miriam Eyram Gakpey Nigella Lawson, Leslie Goloh and their coach Ms Levina Ansong from Aburi Girls SHS are in Jakarta right now to participate in the World Robotics Olympiad. The name of their team is “Turbo Divas”. (cute huh?)
There are teams from Bishop Herman SHS and St. Augustine’s SHS representing Ghana as well, but an impartial inside source told me this when I asked him if the Ghanaians can win. “The other countries have been participating for years, and they take it very seriously. Our kids are brilliant and have a good chance of winning something, but if I had to pick one team, it would be the girls from Aburi”

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Team Ghana!

The Turbo Divas had this to say when they were asked what they expected from their teammates.

“At the end of WRO I expect that my team members and I would be extra confident, be very meticulous and extra careful and strategic. We should know how to work with people from all walks of life and believe in ourselves.Team members must come to appreciate the fact that hard work really pays.” – Ingrid Ohene-Nyantakyi

“I expect that after the WRO competition i will acquire more knowledge and skills in programming as well as building .Also i expect that, after the competition working together with people in a team is going to be an easy task and learn to take their opinions and views. Finally i expect my team to emerge victorious after this competition.” – Miriam Eyram Gakpey Nigella Lawson

“As a result of my participation in WRO i expect that there will be a boost in my self-confidence and self-image. I also expect that my problem solving ability will improve. I expect to be smarter and more precise in my way of thinking and doing things. After working with my fellow team mates in the past months, i expect to be able to live with and appreciate those around me. Finally i expect an astonishing victory for my team as a reward for our hard work, dedication and sacrifice.” – Leslie Goloh

“Considering the great amount of time and energy my team has put into the preparations for WRO 2013 over the past few months, i am expecting us to excel.
I strongly believe that we are going to leave a mark and make our beloved country proud. I also hope that our team will be able to use this opportunity to motivate more Ghanaians to show interest in science and technology.” – Maia Effah Kaufman

“After coaching the ‘Turbo Divas’ from Aburi Girls S.H.S. for WRO 2013, all I expect is an excellent performance by the team. My girls have worked so hard and I know they are the best and would do anything in their capacity to remain on top .After the team’s participation in WRO 2013, I look forward to seeing my girls gain more confidence, be problem solvers, be innovators, become more aware of their potentials and learn to connect theories learnt in the classroom with the real world around them since that is what Robotics is all about.One other thing I expect is that after thier excellent performance in the WRO, the world would in no doubt accept the fact that girls are as capable and intelligent as boys and can even be better.” – Ms Levina Ansong

(Source, Ghana Robotics on Facebook)

In conclusion, Turbo Divas, Go for Gold! You have all my support!