Saturday, May 26, 2007

RANDOM PHOTOS

Aknowledgement


Special thanks to my wonderful Uncle Tsatsu. During my stay he took two weeks off work just in order to take me around to all the places I wanted to visit. Without him this blog would not have been possible. Much Love







Note: This is actually the last post in a series of 18. To begin from the beginning please scroll down to the very bottom of this page. Or click on the titles in the archive menu, beginning with:

"Why I am going to Ghana"





Memorable moments, Interesting shots ....


A few photos which didnt really fit into any of the other categories:


Josephine & Sarafina pounding fu-fu








Two roosters fighting





Two goats fighting







Cooking in the dark


One evening there was a blackout, couldn't use the stove. Everyone wanted to eat Akple/Banku - so we decided to cook outside using the "coal pot" - {My aunt Christie lighting a candle}


{This is a coal pot}




Random Bull

We were just sitting around one day, and out of nowhere this bull comes strolling down the street !! - no owner in sight.




Sporting my pride






Broom





Silly man

It was already a hot scorching aftrenoon - and then this silly man (a neighbour who was visiting Ghana from the States) decides to set this huge fire in his yard !



It soon got out of control.



Lonely outpost






Torwoli S. Dzuali © 2007

Amsterdam

Amsterdam




On my way back to Canada I passed through Amsterdam.

Here are a few random photos.








{House where Anne Frank's family was hidden}


{Wooden Shoes}

Torwoli S. Dzuali © 2007

Friday, May 25, 2007

KWAME NKRUMAH






While in Accra, I visited the Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park.





This year is Ghana's Golden Jubilee. Fifty years ago Kwame Nkrumah led the struggle for independence. On March 06, 1957 Ghana was declared independent, making it the first African nation, below the Sahara to "shake off the chains of colonial rule."







Nkrumah was hailed as "Osagyefo" - which means "the victorious one" in the Akan language.
On the night of independence he declared :
"We are going to see that we create our own African personality and identity. We again rededicate ourselves in the struggle to emancipate other countries in Africa; for our independence is meaningless unless it is linked up with the total liberation of the African continent".





Nkrumah was also at the forefront of the Pan-African movement.

Pan-Africanism literally means 'all Africanism'. It is a sociopolitical world-view, as well as a movement, which seeks to unify and uplift both native Africans and those of the African diaspora as part of a "global African community"
Source: Wikipedia


{Entrance to K.N Museum}


In his 1961 book, I Speak of Freedom, Nkrumah discussed his vision for Africa:

"Divided we are weak; united, Africa could become one of the greatest forces for good in the world. I believe strongly and sincerely that with the deep-rooted wisdom and dignity, the innate respect for human lives, the intense humanity that is our heritage, the African race, united under one federal government, will emerge not as just another world bloc to flaunt its wealth and strength, but as a Great Power whose greatness is indestructible because it is built not on fear, envy and suspicion, nor won at the expense of others, but founded on hope, trust, friendship and directed to the good of all mankind."






{Myself, standing under Kwame Nkrumah statue}


{There are many beautiful peacocks like this roaming around the park}



Nkrumah was president until February 1966, when his government was overthrown in a CIA backed military coup, forcing him into exile.

He passed away in 1972 after a battle with cancer.





{Final resting place of Kwame Nkrumah}






Torwoli S. Dzuali © 2007



KUMASI

{Statue of Komfo Anokye}


The trip to Kumasi was very interesting. First we decided to take a bus rather than drive, since the car had given us some problems on the way back from Cape Coast. But just our luck we chose to take the STC (state transport) and it turns out the bus we got was cursed! I am still trying to figure out how a trip (Accra to Kumasi) that was only supposed to take four hours ends up taking eight! The bus was stopped twice – the first we broke down in this small town somewhere and ended up waiting around for about an hour while the bus driver (and some passengers) ran around the town trying to find a mechanic. Then they returned and another 30mins was spent fixing the problem. So that was 1.5hrs wasted. On the second occasion we were held up behind other vehicles in some very strange traffic jam on a road in the middle of nowhere. For 30 whole minutes the bus did not move. Finally the driver took the initiative to pull out and drive along the side of the road, but as soon as he did this we realized that it wasn’t even a traffic jam after all, just that the driver ahead of us had fallen asleep behind his wheel! Don’t ask how it was that no-one figured this out – long story (but part of it is that he was driving a huge tanker type vehicle, so it was impossible to see over him). So that was another 30mins wasted added onto the previous 1.5hrs. But still that only accounts for 2hrs of the extra 4hrs that it took the bus to get there. We left Accra at 9:30am and arrived in Kumasi at 5:30pm!! – Absolutely no-one I have spoken to since can believe that a trip from Accra to Kumasi would take that long – it just doesn’t happen.




So needless to say I was not in the best of moods by the time we arrived in Kumasi (but things would get worse for me that evening). The plan had been for us to arrive there at 1:30pm, go to my grandma’s place, and then spend the afternoon visiting some tourist sites. After that I was supposed to go meet up with my friend at the UST campus (one of my best friends from high school who I hadn’t seen in about 7 yrs) and spend the night with her. But already a part of the plan was ruined by our late arrival. We would not be able to do any sight-seeing; it would have to be pushed to the next day. Then we arrived at my grandma’s only to learn that there was a blackout! I was feeling so down, but cheered at the fact that I would soon be going to see my friend and was getting anxious to leave. But of course we had to eat first; my grandma was already busy preparing us a meal, there’s no way she would have allowed me to leave while she was cooking. Now when I say grandma, I am referring to my Grandmother’s younger sister, though in Ghana she is equally considered to be my grandmother. So I have to wait till after we have eaten, but meanwhile my uncle (who brought me to Kumasi and had earlier agreed that it would be a good idea for me to spend the night at my friend’s (so we’d have more time to catch up) tells me to call my friend to start getting details about how and where to meet her.

{While I was waiting: my young grandma's cat and dog - the best of friends}



After dinner I am all set and ready to leave. I call my friend so that she can speak to my uncle and give him directions. My grandma hears their conversation and realizes that I am intending to go somewhere that evening. Now if there is anything I have learnt about my family in Ghana it is that they are highly protective and my grandma is no exception. Arguing that it was way too late (7pm that is) and that Kumasi is much too dangerous, she instantly puts a halt to my plans. She says that if I must go at all, then I should wait until the next day to see my friend. But we are leaving Kumasi the next day and given how tight our schedule is already, I knew I would be very lucky to even get 30 minutes with my friend. Now bear in mind I am only just meeting my grandmother's younger sister (at least to my recollection) for the very first time. But she is still my grandma and in Ghana that means her word is final! I turn to my uncle who had previously been in support of the idea and was still on the phone with my friend. But now he too, not wanting to oppose his aunt, had changed his mind, and was now telling my friend that “perhaps it is too late after all!” I was totally stunned and felt so helpless I almost cried! I had been waiting for years to reunite with this friend and now I was being told that I couldn’t. In Canada, I live on my own and have been doing so for the last five years. I am responsible for myself and make all my own decisions. Now someone else was telling me what to do – I was not used to this. But if there is something I have been very mindful of since coming to Ghana, it is the way in which I carry myself. I understand that I am not just here for myself, but am also representing my family back in Canada. The last thing I want is to do or say anything that will leave a bad impression and reflect poorly on myself and my parents. So I knew I would have to handle this situation carefully. I could not argue with her – that would be the utmost sign of disrespect. Nor could I implore my uncle to appeal on my behalf – he had already switched sides.

{While I was waiting: I took this just a few minutes before the incident - how ironic}


So I sat there thinking of my friend who had been waiting all day for me and how disappointed she would be. I could choose to just keep quiet and let this chance slip by (then regret it for years to come) or I could speak up and hope for the best. I knew that I would never forgive myself if I let this go, so I mustered up enough courage and went forth to plead my case. In the sweetest voice ever I explained to her how this was my best friend from childhood, who had also been living “abroad” but then returned to live in Ghana and I haven’t seen her since. I explained how I really wanted to spend some time with her and that if I didn’t take this chance; I don’t know how many more years I would have to wait for another. Slowly, my grandma started to come around ... I knew that somewhere within her she would understand. So from a definite “it’s too late, you’re not going anywhere this evening”; I got her to change her mind. My uncle was impressed! So she allowed me to go, but not without some words of caution and strict instructions that I must be back in time for breakfast the next morning.

{Grandma Julie}


So that was my first introduction to my young Grandma Julie. I got to spend more time with her after that and I just totally adore her! She’s got the kindest heart and I now realize that her not wanting me to go out that night was not from any mean intentions, but purely out of her care and concern for me.



Kumasi Zoo, Cultural Center, Palace and Komfo Anokye Sword



The next day my Grandma Julie arranged for her driver to take us around Kumasi. We visited the Kumasi National Zoo, the Cultural Center and the palace of the Ashanti royals. We then went to see the legendary sword of Komfo Anokye. He was a Chief Fetish Priest from the 16th century who is credited for unifying the scattered independent chiefdoms of the Ashanti into one unified Empire. Komfo Anokye was a man of considerable spiritual strength and he had a large sword which he is said to have driven into the ground to signify the unity and longevity of the Ashanti nation.



He announced that the sword would forever remain planted in the ground and that neither no-one nor nothing would ever be able to move it. The sword has remained exactly where he planted it for over 400 years. Throughout history numerous attempts have been made to remove the sword; experts from all over the world have been brought in to examine it, and various machines have been used to try force it out of the ground – but to date all have failed and the legend of Komfo Anokye’s sword lives on.

{Komfo Anokye’s sword remains exactly where he planted it}

{Komfo Anokye’s sword}

Torwoli S. Dzuali © 2007

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Age and Respect

{Mother and Child}



In Ghana age is not “just a number”, it is a measure of one’s place within his/her family and community. Age is associated with having knowledge, experience and wisdom; hence the older a person is the more respect he/she is given. There are strict mores dictating how one should behave towards his/her elders and these are very closely adhered to. In many western societies, for example, there is this “call me by my first name” custom whereby people tend to prefer for others (including young children) to address them by their first names. So you have young children calling adults directly by their first names, just as they would call their friends. Because of such practices, the line between adult and peer becomes blurred (to the child). In Ghana this would not be acceptable – an adult is an adult and a child a child. It is important that this distinction is made. Also when it comes to discipline, Ghanaians are believers of the philosophy that “it takes a village to raise a child”. A child belongs not only to his/her parents alone, but to the entire community. As such when the child is outside the home others can assume responsibility for his/her discipline if the parents (or other caregiver) are not around and the child is doing something which is detrimental to his/her well being or to that of others.



{A set of triplets that I met in the town od Dzodze}

So long as someone is older than you, in Ghana he/she will always have certain standing over you. Even if the person is only a minute or two older than you (as my dad is to his twin brother) he/she is still afforded all the rights and respect of being your elder. I have a cousin who is the exact same age as I; only that I was born 2 months before him. As infants we did everything together; we lived together, played together, bathed together and sometimes we even wore matching clothes. We were being brought up as one and because of this up until the age of four; I had actually believed that he was my twin brother! Now that we are adults, between the two of us we are still just the “same age”, but to the rest of the family we are not. I entered this world 2 months before him and in their eyes that is enough to make him my “little brother”. He hates this classification, and I don’t blame him. Now every time he does something wrong they say to me “look at how your little brother is behaving, you must talk to him, you have to advise him”. To him it is extremely annoying, but I must admit I find it kind of funny.





{Children under tree}

{Young girls playing}



There are many privileges that come with being older than someone. But I also see the way in which these can be abused. Being older than someone does not necessarily guarantee that one knows better or is always right. Nor should it automatically give one the right to order and control the other person “do this, do that”, all because they are older and therefore you cannot question their authority. I love the great emphasis placed on age and respect in Ghanaian society. I think it is a good custom that benefits the overall social development of the nation. But it is when individuals start abusing it, then I start to have a problem with it.





{Elderly lady; she got very excited when she saw me with my camera and insisted that I take her photo to "show people in Canada"}




Torwoli S. Dzuali © 2007