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A life so good it had to be short, eternally


I prayed for you before I met you. I prayed with passion for you because of love. Now you are no more, my love.

I sought news of your recovery. I always prayed more after every news. Sometime because things had gotten worse. Sometimes because things were getting better.

I was impatient for my love. I was impatient to see your smile. I was impatient to see that pose. They talked about your picture poses and your smile. One combination always stood out. Your trademark pose. Left leg out, arms akimbo and smile engaged.They showed me all of them. I loved them.

I prayed with passion for you. I prayed with love. I even drew a fish for you. I had to color it pink in some places because of Hello Kitty. I came to love Hello Kitty too. My Hello Kitty lover, you always smiled.

I finally met you and you smiled at me. Like Jesus to a child.

Even when you couldn’t move you put food on the table for all of us. You had goodies around you. You attracted good things. Yes, like Hello Kitty. And that manicure and pedicure big sister did for you. You always had the best things.

You had a special love for Jesus. You wanted to be a teacher, just like Him. You had mum, dad, big brother and big sisters and their love.

Who did you give that beautiful coat of many colors to? Who can wear it? Who did you bequeath that smile to? Who will win all the many friends with your smile? Who will we love like we did you, with passion? Who will love us like you did us, with passion?

We couldn’t let you go. We felt too torn to let you go. Everybody cried. I cried too. People brought their friends to come see you my love. It was beautiful. Your life was beautiful. It is all the more beautiful because they made you an example. They made you an angel here and in eternity.

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University of Ghana students’ justice gone bad


Until the case of the sexual abuse of an alleged female student-thief [as reported by Citifm], I would have argued that University of Ghana students’ justice was one of the fairest and even something one could call spectacular and fun if you are an outsider [and not the perpetrator]. But the actions of the students (men) of the Mensah Sarbah Hall has left a sour taste in my mouth and that of any person looking up to graduates of the university to be future leaders of Ghana.

University of Ghana students’ justice works this way; when a student steals from a colleague and caught with stolen goods or red-handed, two options are presented to the perpetrator. They are either reported to the school authorities or ‘ponded’. In effect, the perpetrator is presented with the option of rustication/suspension (as stated in the University of Ghana handbook and determined by the university authorities) or humiliation at the hands of fellow students.

Actually all students accused of theft are entitled to a hearing by the university authorities and with so many witnesses to a case of theft [as is often the case with about 5 roommates], it is a given that the said student-thief would be rusticated or suspended after a hearing. Students’ justice is actually not a response to the university’s perceived perversion of justice as has often been the argument for mob justice in the world outside the university walls. Students’ justice is a show of solidarity and to a large extent a support system which seeks to help the perpetrator of theft to still maintain his scholarship.

So it is not surprising that most students who find themselves at this cross-road of choice of justice will prefer students’ justice because it will probably save them [2 years] from rustication and having to explain to their families why they’re suddenly out of school.

At this point the student-thief is stripped to his boxer-shorts or shorts and put on a truck (cart) and pushed to the pond at the entrance of the university amidst chanting of war songs. It is at the pond that the student-thief’s crimes are called out and then dipped into the grimy pond (and mud) and that is what is called ponding. The journey back to the hall is led by the student-thief who pushed the truck (cart) followed by his colleagues [who happen to be his judges] and that short ceremony/spectacle albeit humiliating serves as a better deterrent for other students and in the eyes of students justice is done without messing the student-thief’s academic life.

In the annexes, the student-thief is typically brought out to the parking lot of the 5-storey building and splashed with water from buckets. After this public display of ‘punishment’, judgment is done.

What most of us never envisioned whiles in school was a lady being dragged thru the school in her panties to the pond at the university gate to be ponded. And I still can’t imagine what form of students’ justice can be meted out to a lady if she was caught with stolen goods. But I never in my wildest and craziest dreams imagine what happened at the Mensah Sarbah Hall of the University of Ghana. Besides breaking every rule in the books of the country and the university, it has also brought shame to alumni of the university as a whole and the hall in particular.

What these students have done has jarringly brought into the university what has been happening in their neighbourhoods. To wit – kill the thief; lynch the thief; no need for the police. And this scares me above all things; that students who are supposed to bring enlightenment to the world have somehow allowed themselves to be swayed by the unenlightened thoughtless actions of the unwashed masses that they are supposed to positively influence.

What happened to Integri Procidamus? What does it mean to be a Viking now?

By this gruesome treatment meted out to an alleged female student-thief, you have put the University of Ghana in a bad light that will not only reflect badly on your own futures but that of all alumni and alumnae.

Two things must happen of a necessity because of this gruesome justice meted to the female student.

  1. An official denouncement of the actions of the students by the university authorities and all student bodies.
  2. The men responsible for sexually abusing this female student should be sacked by the school and handed over to the police for them to deal with them in order to send out a clear message to the world and rest of Ghana that instant justice of any form cannot be condoned in a community (country) that is governed by law.

But I ask myself, how can this happen in the University of Ghana of all places and I come to the conclusion that allowing students to have their own form of justice can lead to this case we currently have on our hands that has hit the whole nation like a sucker punch.

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The Odorkor Trotro


I have always known this type bus as the Odorkor bus and it is pretty easy to understand why and how it is got that name. I will try to answer the why and how that name in no particular order and discuss if they are still relevant on the road.

You only find these buses stationed in Odorkor and ply only the Odorkor to Kaneshie and Odorkor to Kwame Nkrumah Circle routes. They are so specialized/predictable that you can jump on any one of them without thinking twice if your destination is anywhere between Circle/Kaneshie to Odorkor.
What you’ll find interesting about these buses is the fact that they’re never stopped by the police or MTTU (motor traffic and transport unit). Chances are you’re likely to find them ‘stopped’ by a mechanical fault than a police and if you have ever ridden on one you will wonder how they renew their road worthiness certificates. You can call them the most deadbeat buses in Accra or Ghana, save for the Korle Gonno bus (for another blog post) or the occasional village bus driven and maintained by the same person; its driver and mechanic.

Now to answer the why part; why Odorkor-bus? Because no one can be bothered to remember or pronounce or call them by their right names; the Willowbrook bus! You’ll occasionally find the name Willowbrook on the back or front of one of the Odorkor buses as proof of their brand name but count yourself lucky if the driver of same bus understands that you’re referring to his bus when you mention Willowbrook. Another Ghanaian moment! No love for long, tongue-twisting English words here!! No sir.

Did you know they are also called Space Buses? A name that represents the spacious alleys in these kind of buses than anything else. I hope this info makes it into the Hitchhikers’ Guide to the Galaxy!

One thing I ask myself when I see them on the road is; are these buses still relevant? And sadly, I always come to the same one answer, Yes-and-No. Who am I to determine that? I am just a spectator and I think I can put forward an observation.

Arguments for Odorkor buses –

1. These buses are run like any government run public transport system; people are allowed to stand in them, so they carry lots of passengers during rush-hour.

2. They make so many stops between Odorkor and Kaneshie/Circle that there is no [long stretch of road] over-speeding.

3. They are less likely to be involved in accidents mainly because of Point 2 above and also because they have very weak engines which cannot top 100km/h as a general rule.

Arguments against Odorkor buses –

1. These buses are the most unsightly to ply some of the busiest routes in the capital; they definitely take away from the beauty of Accra.

2. These buses smoke the most and pose the most health hazard to passengers and other road users.

3.They slow down traffic considerably because they stop at every conceivable junction and travel at very slow speeds.

the 'homemade' dashboard of a willowbrook bus

Whiles they are most likely to have poor lights, no working wipers and bad brakes it still confounds me how they have road worthy certificates.

Can the government or private sector invest in better, safer buses that will replace these Odorkor buses? Maybe that is all they are waiting for; a new generation of better and safer public transport buses to continue the tradition that Willowbrook buses have maintained all these years.

Till then, whenever I hear the mate of an Odorkor bus shout for passengers, all I hear is ‘passenger beware’.

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TroTro – The Economics of it all / Trotro Economix


Whenever I go to the trotro station, or join one by the road side or even struggle to get one, my mind quickly goes back to some of my economics classes and I begin to understand the trotro driver better.

This post seeks to make the point that trotros operate in a market economy as well as a monopolistic economy and I will give scenarios to support that assertion and maybe we will all begin to understand how the trotro driver operates.

Every passenger is important to the trotro driver or otherwise, depending on the scenario and trotro drivers operate in ways to maximize their fare by filling filling their bus on every trip in order to make a decent ‘sale’ at the end of the day.

Competitive Market – Trotro driver A is competing against all other trotro drivers plying the Kaneshie to Mallam route. Ergo, he’ll doodle and stop at every point on the road to pick every and any passenger [load bearing kind or slow-to-walk-to-the-bus kind] till the bus is full. In this market, there are many passengers and many trotros that one passenger/trotro doesnot make a difference.

Monopolistic Market – Trotro driver A is the only trotro plying Kaneshie to Mallam route. Before the bus leaves its destination, chances are it is full. If it is not full from origin, then you’re in luck to be by the roadside when it is passing. And you best be animated in flagging the driver or better be standing at a point he can reasonably/ safely stop to pick you up or the driver will just ignore you and pick the next passenger. In this market, there are many passengers and very few trotros that one trotro can make a HUGE difference.

Oligopolistic Market – Trotro driver A is competing against all the other trotro drivers plying the Kaneshie to Mallam route but you’re one of the only few passengers at the station or by the road side. (Very unlikely market for trotro business) You wish!

Having laid the basic foundation of markets [in an Economics sense], holding pricing constant (for trotros)…let us look at scenarios during different times of the day, different weather conditions, location and throw in taxis just to jazz the discussion up a bit.

 

Rush Hour (at the trotro station) – Competitive Market – Trotro drivers are assured of a sturdy stream of passengers and passengers are reasonably assured that a trotro will come around to pick them up.

Rush Hour (taxi) – Monopolistic Market – Sorry to say but taxis are a hot commodity any time of the day but especially so at rush hour, morning and evening. They quote a price, you pay up and get on board or they ride away as if they run on air and don’t even need your money. If you have an emergency, please dig into your emergency stash of money because you’ll have to pay through the nose.

Midday (at the trotro station) – ‘Perfect'(pun intended) Competitive Market – Read this blog post!

Midday (by the road side) – Oligopolistic Market – You’re a prized passenger, trotros will honk at the sight of you and you can afford to stroll to the bus, heck, you can decide not to join the rickety bus after taking a peek at the inside. It is payback time for all that trotro drivers ever did to you.

Rainy day (at the trotro station) – Competitive Market – Be grateful you’ve got roof over your head or you can read {Raining in the trotro?}

Rainy day (by the road side) – Monopolistic Market – You didn’t anticipate the rain, neither did your friend warn you, even the radio didn’t mention it. You count yourself lucky if a passing trotro or taxi doesn’t splash mud on you, or you get a trotro mate who’ll pick a fare at the risk of getting a little wet. Be ready to pay through the nose (again?) to get a taxi to take you to your destination.

Note: If you find yourself in a busy district then you’re automatically in a Competitive Market and the opposite is true!!

So you see, in real life nothing is really one thing or the other….everything has in its nature to be a little big of this and that with varying degree depending on certain conditions.

End of Trotro Economix!!

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The GMAT is back in Ghana!


It is ironic this is my first blog post in 2011  when I had actually struck out re-taking the GMAT from my resolutions. But I guess it is apt that my first post is a follow-up from a 2010 post – No GMAT in Ghana, not again SiliconPro

 

The GMAT is back in Ghana!


I don’t know when active service resumed for Ghana,(I will inquire), but it is a good sign that Ghana is back in the mix.

After a couple of adventurous Ghanaians have gone through the stress of travelling to Nigeria and hopefully not Ivory Coast to take the [entry] test for graduate school, it is good that GMAC and Linear Assessment Services Ltd have come to an agreement, and I hope it is kept into the future.

Taking the GMAT outside Ghana involves great expense of airfare to neighbouring country, accommodation cost, transportation and the general risk of visiting a country for the first time. not to mention the tendency to go into the test centre stressed and getting a lower-than-expected score.

Although I am happy at the fact that the GMAT is back in Ghana, I find the timing a bit off and disadvantageous to Ghanaians who have waited for a test centre to open; because a lot of MBA programs have passed their 2nd application deadlines where scholarships for international students is most available.

All the best to all you out there preparing for the GMAT and graduate school [MBA].



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My 2010 in review


So 2010 started as usual with tons of resolutions made in the dying minutes of 2009. Top on the list was to go to graduate school.
But 2010 had a mind of its own. It’s been a potpourri of blessings and mishaps but taken together the pluses outweighed the minuses.

1. I resigned my position as deputy project manager.
2. Lost my place in my MBA class.
3. My trusted single-boot Linux Ubuntu Laptop broke.
4. Landing a new job was tough for a cost analyst turned project manager.
5. Decided to work with my best friend at his Test Preparation school as tutor/project manager for his start-up.
6. Started blogging about trotro and public transportation after selling my car.
7. Learned first hand that teaching is a spiritual/emotional journey and self-employment is a must-experience.
8. Met the most engaged set of people in Ghana. #ghanablogging members have plans, taken action and are using words to make an impact.
9. Made an atheist friend and made 2 vegetarian/vegan friends. They’re bloggers and represent the diversity of #ghanablogging members.
10.Got a job but didn’t take it; employers were arrogant SOBs – lost my best friend over the whole affair.

 

11. Got a 2-hour notice to go for an interview. I failed to make it and didn’t get another opportunity..Such corporate arrogance!

 

12. Got admission to grad school again, better funding this time around.

 

13. Lost my camera after going out for first time in about 2 weeks.

 

14. I’m blogging for the last time this year, happens to be the first time in about 2 months….

 

2011 is all sketched in my head, God will put in the colours!!

 

~~~~to be pulled down after 1 week~~~~

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Homeless after rehabilitation / City of contrasts


Last week I was on twitter yammering about how there are hardly any homeless in Ghana. I tweeted that ‘#ILoveGhanaBecause I have my parents home, my uncles’ home, my aunties’ home and my grandpa’s home when I’m in need’.

Well, it is not true for every Ghanaian!

There is still the issue of “kayayoos” – overworked, underpaid and homeless. Chances are the trotro you’re riding on is the mate’s sleeping place at night.

There are homeless people in Ghana. Unfortunately I’m not talking about kayayoos and mates. I’m talking about rehabilitated and discharged mad people. Former psychiatric patients who are homeless because their families wouldn’t take them back. Former psychiatric patients who are homeless because their families decided to move out of their rented apartments just so they don’t have to live with a rehabilitated mental patient.

If you use the Nkrumah Circle – Kanda road I’m sure you’ve seen this man who has made a home on the grassy pavement of a major road and at the mercy of the elements.

I hope this picture can complete the point I’m making. There are indeed some homeless in Ghana and I hope something is done about it.

 

♫♪Another Day in Paradise – Phil Collins♫♪

 

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