PAIN

Cry…

Nothing to Say

Sometimes I don’t write. Not because I have nothing to say but because I have so much to; so many things to process, too many emotions all happening at the same time.

I don’t write. Not because I do not have enough words to articulate exactly how I feel. Quite the opposite. Sometimes I think faster than I write. My mind can go a mile and a few light years away from the words that is flowing from the tip of my felt

Sometimes I don’t write. Just because I want to wallow in my thoughts. I don’t want to share. Not yet at least. I need to first understand what I feel or think. DOES ANY OF THIS EVEN MAKE SENSE?

I don’t write. Because I need to decide how to be open and authentic without exposing myself to judgement. Do I create a persona or speak of myself in the third person. Do I create or live?

I don’t write…because sometimes I’ve really got nothing to Say.

I LOVE YOU

happy hearts day!

Malachi 1:2a- ‘I have loved you’ says the Lord. but you ask, “how have you loved us”?

Like! This is me right here when life is not ganging and banging my way.  In one minute, I am thanking God for doing some amazing thing or the other in my life and in the next breath, I am sinking in self-pity questioning his love for me.

God if you love me then do this or do that. You oftentimes hear people say God loved us so much he sent his Son to die for us but then at that material moment you think to yourself- ‘ummmm about that, first of all, I wasn’t there and second of all, this thing I need from God is so super important to me that if he really loved me like he said he did, then why isn’t he doing it for me! Sigh.

You know how when your SO asks you to prove your love by doing something for them? You go like what? Wait what? You don’t realize how much I love you by my minimal reluctance to put up with your less than appropriate behavior? It is irritating isn’t it? Magnify that by a million and try to imagine how God feels when we place such demands on him.

Now I am quite far from getting to a place of godly contentment but one thing I know for sure is that if God says he loves me, then I will trust in that love for me.

Airport Horror

Earlier this year my girlfriend Lois Aryee called me to complain about the unsanitary condition of the restaurant downstairs the departure hall of the Ghana airport. She had been there with her boss and was shocked to find out the the table they had been assigned had cockroaches happily parading all over. From the way the cockroaches were carrying themselves across the table with clearly no mind to any danger, you could straight away tell that this was indeed their home.
She complained to the staff who made half hearted attempt to encourage the cockroaches to go back to their hiding place. They could come back another time but this customer wasn’t in the mood to share her food.
I urged Lois to report the matter to the airport authority which she did. She even wrote the issue on their instagram page which was largely ignored for 3 whole days until I called the page admin out.

Now today I’m at this same restaurant and guess who I see. Mr Cockroach! Scurrying along the counter where they sell pastries. I was aghast. Of course I refused to purchase the food and I left immediately.
I called the airport company to make a complaint.

What ensued between myself and the customer rep was nothing but dumbfounding.
All the rep said was OK. No empathy or apology. Nothing. Just Ok. I’m shook

How can we be this disengaged? I am frankly speechless.

I Forgive you..

Hi Obeng,

I should’ve written this two days ago, right after we spoke, when I felt the rage against you most acutely. The realization of the existence of this rage came as a surprise to me, a shock actually. I never would’ve thought that I was mad at you. You annoyed me, surely, but I thought it was just your presumptuous way of assuming a certain level of intimacy with me in your interactions, yet your complete lack of backing that imposition with any substantive action. And also, you were dry. You thought yourself more interesting than you are. You sent me so many pictures of yourself.. cmon man, you are the guy.

 

You also steered me wrong when after many months of being flirtatious could not bring yourself to make any form of commitment to me. What exactly did you want with me? But I did not really care. In fact, I confronted you about it. You had nothing to say – “It’s not you, it’s me” – the typical excuses guys give. It amused me. You weren’t serious. I told you not to flirt with me again. We could be friends, but stop with the suggestive stuff!

 

You commented about being amazed at the confidence I displayed that day. You were so impressed. A few weeks later, you were dating another girl. The one you always told me was only a friend to you, just like I was. The one you said was also jealous of me. I laughed at you – what a buffoon. So you’d have led us both on if I never confronted you? My life went on.

 

Soon after, I met the man I loved. He was wonderful. You were a joke. I couldn’t care less.

 

So when you hit me up on whatsapp, and I realized how reticent I was being, and I finally became cognizant of my chest tightening… I was shocked. Really? Had I been angry this whole time? Was it only because the man I loved and I couldn’t seem to work out our relationship? Did I feel used by you? Was I, no, no… jealous of your newfound love that seemed to flourish?

 

Okay, as soon as I said jealous I felt the ridiculousness of that thought, so thank God. I’m not. But it dawned on me,the source of my anger, is disrespect. You disrespected me. And it annoys me because you did so in a gentlemanly way. Courteously, courtingly, you never honored me. Throughout the days you sent leading texts and then left me hanging abruptly, to the times you stood me up for hours only to show up later as a glorious gentleman, to the nonsensical questions you’d ask and all the effort I’d put into trying to find an interesting answer because you seemed to be seeking something out of the box in me. Sigh. It must have been exhausting, though for some reason I cannot remember feeling exhausted.

 

What all those years did to me, was to reinforce an insecurity that originated long before you that I wasn’t worth it. You, like several guys before, enjoyed keeping me around without commitment, and I blamed myself.

 

Well, I’m glad I finally identified the rage. And I’m even gladder to write about it. I could never tell you. Nah. Too many years have passed, too much water under the bridge. I wish you’d stop talking to me about your new “wife” who you’ll marry soon because – okay forgive me – but I don’t care. 

 

Hence forth though, I choose to let it go! Yay! I actually forgive you! You’re human and flawed, just like I am. We both need grace. You know what, I’ll even (trrrrrryyyyyy) to be happy when you talk about wifey!!! I will be nicebecause being cold with you is making me cold all round and I don’t want to be. 

 

Finally, thank you. I learned a lot from being with you. Maybe the hard way, but I learned. And I believe that one day when I’m finally with the man I will love forever, I’ll be a better version of myself, partially due to you.

 

Talk soon,

Akuye

Written by Naa Annoa Aryee

Ghanaian Tourist part 2

I’ve been experiencing a writer’s block for quite some time now. So much so that I haven’t been able to pen down my amazing experience this December in the Asante region. Yes we went back. We just had to! 

This time around our roaming took us to Bosomtwe. And by we I mean Jerome… (remember my travel buddy from 2 days and a night?) and my baby brother who really isn’t a baby anymore. I hate to admit that’s he’s 14! 😳😢😭😭😭

Just look at him! What was once a bundle of Joy is now a 5.6″ mass of attitude and sarcasm. Bring back the baby with pink bare bottom and drooling smile!!!

Anyway….back to Gulliver, get it? On 25th December we joined the VIP bus to Kumasi. I know…Christmas day and a sunday too. We arrived in Ejisu well after noon and picked a taxi to Abase. In Abase we had to join another bus to Bosomtwe. Note to self. ..get my own car. 

When we got to Bosomtwe, the most unpleasant thing happened and trust me, even having to recall the events is giving me more anxiety than I care to admit. There were a group of young men at the toll who demanded we (the 3 of us) pay 5 cedis each as some kind of levy. Mind you…this wasn’t the official toll by the authorities.

I asked what the levy was for and why the 3 of us had been singled out to pay. Looking back I think they thought we were tourists, real ones. I mean we were speaking English, holding backpacks,  wearing jeans and sneakers and to crown it all we were drinking voltic mineral water in a ashanti  region and if that doesn’t spell TOURIST then I don’t know what else can. I forgot to mention we dabbed

Hehheheh 

So back to my rumblings. So these young men grounded the car because of our refusal to pay for the “onaapo beach ticket” which incensed the other passengers.  Let me clarify this…they were mad at us for delaying them. There was a police man close by who was doing nothing to help the situation and boy did it escalate quickly.  Fast forward we were let through but we later found out we should have paid the levy as it had been approved by the authorities. 🙈🙈🙈. Don’t blame me, they were trying to bully the innocent tourist! 

We got to the Green Ranch at 2:30pm. My first impression of the place was a mixture of awe and disappointment. Disappointment because our hammock style “room” had not been cleaned before we got there. Jerome decided that for a truly experiential stay at the ranch we were to sleep outside amongst the trees under the stars with mosquitoes singing and dancing just above the horizon and safety of our mosquito net.

After a much needed nap we woke up and went to the restaurant to get some food. I was met with the most breath taking view ever.  

The food was a delightful vegetarian meal that I actually enjoyed!

I’ll give you the list of my activities shortly. The very next day we went horse back riding. I am now a full blown equestrian guru.

Say hi to Gaia. My horse!!!!

We also went kayaking…

Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaasssssssss. It was a most pleasant stay at the Ranch!

We spent 2 days and a night at the Ranch and then for the love of Efie fufuo we left for Kumasi!

Oh what joy. .I’m salivating already. So much love in one bowl. 

Of course we had to see the dancing fountain once more. My baby ok little brother needed to experience it

And its always a sight to behold. Only that this time the people had dropped litter all over the park and there was a growing community of spirogyra in the water along with litter.

And the Chinese food we ate later at Sanbra was like nothing I’ve had in Kumasi. Those of you who think kumasi is only known for Kumasi and kontomire pizza should think again.

No yemuade3. Real chicken.

Oh my lawd. I loved every bit of this trip and can’t wait to do it again! !!!

Hasta la vista baby.

A new Year


You start a new year with so much hope

You start a new year with so much faith 

You start a new year seeing on possibilities and new beginnings 

And as minutes turn to hours, and hours to days, days to months and months to seasons

Life happens as it always does

And it still goes on as it always has

Then smiles and tears and hugs and thanks.

Dreams fulfilled ,  promises broken, hearts touched and lives changed, we come full circle….

As a new year comes around again.

So never mind the fickle year, it comes and goes but look forward to change. That’s  here forever.

COLORS OF AFRICA!

Ghana has a lovely culture. I can now understand why tourist will travel miles to come for festivals and visit places I would not, for the life of me, ever think of visiting but last Saturday I realized how wrong I was when I visited the Akosombo in the Easter Region (Yes Akosombo is not in the Volta region) for the royal celebration of the life of the Chief of Senchi- I’m sure you know that royal celebration is a euphemism for funeral right? At the risk of sounding insensitive I will admit that this was the best funeral celebration I have witness; it was rich with culture and tradition and I learned so much about my heritage.

When we got to the funeral grounds we were met by the chief of Akosombo who happens to be my boss (not to brag but I know some pretty cool people). We were led to pay homage to the chief who had “gone to his village”; that is the euphemism for a chief who has died.


To pay our respect we had to follow the trail to visit the chief. At the entrance to his “village”, which is the front gate of his palace, we had to pay the gatekeepers some money to facilitate our journey. Just behind the gate was a stream and a thick forest. It was forbidden to enter the forest alone. The forest opened into a well lit room in which the chief (his body) was seated. He was draped in rich kente and adorned in gold. There, his sub chiefs performed rites and poured libation before him. They implored the gods to avenge the death of the chief if it was that he did not die of natural causes.

In the presence of the chief we a group of women who are the town’s king makers. They sit before the king, shaking the hand of every visit who came to see the king. In our culture, a handshake is a sign of warmth and cordiality. The women are not the wives of the chief and are not considered widows. interestingly, It is the Okyeame (Linguist) who assumes the role of the widow and who sits directly in front of the king and accepts gifts that visitors bring to the king. The okyeame is not to be shaken as he sits on a small stool in front of the king with a forlorn expression on his face. Food is set before the king which is prepared with neither salt nor pepper (it is believed that ghosts or spirits do not eat pepper or salt). The belief is that, after the king’s burial, any woman who is barren may eat the food that was set before to king and will have a baby- death births life.


We returned to the funeral grounds to witness the procession of the paramount chief and his subjects. he was carried in in a palanquin amid drumming, singing, dancing and gun shots. We were told not to take any pictures but not before I took one 🙂 The paramount chief has a leaf in his mouth which prevented him from either speaking or smiling. he held a gun and was dressed in funeral attire. The paramount chief always moves with at least 3 umbrellas. 

Many of the other sub chiefs were also dressed in Black and red with charms and amulets on their clothing. This was to signify that they were in a state of anguish. The paramount chief was led by a group of men known as abrafour (executioners) who in days past were responsible for beheading the enemies of the chief. They wore traditional smock and wear barefooted. They had leaves around their necks and heads and their faces were painted black. The leaves which is the male and female species of the plant are combined together provide magical powers to the executioners, expel evil spirit and makes them fearless. They are usually in a semi lucid state after chanting for hours before the procession. People are advised not to provoke the executioners.

As the paramount chief was being lowered to the ground, several sub chiefs quickly surrounded him forming an impregnable human wall around him. They used their clothes as a curtain to shield the chief from prying eyes. He walked majestically up the stairs while he was held by his right hand man and sat in state. Several chiefs came to greet him and pay their respect to him.

The courtesy of dance is the dancer first has to pay their respect to the drummer before they start to dance. Then the dancer, hearing what the tune of the dancer. Every gesture of the dancer signifies something special. 

I can talk for hours and hours but I’m tired now. Let’s continue another time.

HOW SAFE IS MOBILE MONEY?

mobile-money

I am a tech fan but I have always been wary of new technology. I know-paradoxical right? I can’t say I have ever been a pioneer of new technology, I’m maybe a late adopter only because I like to know what I am getting into using other people’s experience. Trust issues? Maybe. I have always joked that I am a “private citizen”. I don’t have a Facebook account and all my other social media pages have ridiculous codes and enhanced privacy settings. I don’t work for the CIA, I give talks on social media privacy and the need to protect social media accounts against unauthorized access. I am no expert, I’m just careful.

That brings me to today’s topic-HOW SAFE IS MOBILE MONEY?

I was forced unto the mobile money craze. I refused to register initially because I maintained that it was my personal protest against shadow banking that is my personal opinion of Mobile money. Feel free to disagree. And for me, the service is too expensive but I guess there is a tradeoff between the ridiculous fees charged and the convenience. E banking transactions take usually 48 hours to reflect (interbank) and almost instantaneously intra banks but with the consumer attitude of Ghanaians, instantaneous transaction is the way to go. Forget about traceability and security. Many Ghanaians are disillusioned about the services received in banks, the long queues, the locally acquired foreign accent of the heavily made up customer service reps (this isn’t sexist. For some reasons lots of customer service reps are women)

About a month ago I was faced with a conundrum, either to register for mobile money in order to receive funds I urgently needed to settle an emergency or risk a potential fatality. So I did. I still cringe when I have to admit this to myself. I tell myself that Jeremy Bentham would understand; for the greater good. Just yesterday I received funds from a friend of GHS 200 on MTN mobile money. I received notification of the transaction and sent her a confirmation on WhatsApp to acknowledge receipt then 5 minutes later a shocker happened. I received a text to enter my mobile money pin for a certain company-name in picture, to withdraw GHS 198 cedis from my account. I was startled. Screenshot_2016-09-29-13-48-03.pngHow could anyone access my account? I thought this transaction was end to end secure? How was someone able to know just the right amount to take from my account in order to clear the account and take care of charges as well?

Did MTN or in fact any of the Telcos envisage that mobile money would catch on this fast? I don’t even want to start with the regulators; is it under the remit of the National Communication Authority or Bank of Ghana-it’s currently 5:33 am. I haven’t had my tea and I don’t want my morning ruined without justifiable cause. According to an article i read on world remit mobile money transactions are protected by local financial regulations. So to make an intelligent deduction, mobile money is only as safe as the regulators let it.

A news article i cited on adom fm online which was written in march stated that of all the Telcos the Bank of Ghana gave directives to be ISO 27001 certified, only MTN was able to meet the deadline given. this is an excerpt from the write up in case you did not click on the url to read

“ISO 27001 certification is the most reliable information security and management  standards certification, which indicates that an organization has the most reliable systems, processes and people to ensure the highest standards in managing information on its platform. It is granted by the world renown International Organization for Standardization (ISO), which also gives internationally standards certifications for management of various sectors like health, environment, energy, anti bribery, risk, social responsibility food safety and others, which is an endorsement of reliability.

MTN Ghana CEO Ebenezer Twum Asante told Adom News in an exclusive interview that apart from being the first to be certified in country, MTN Ghana’s Mobile Money subsidiary is also the first in the MTN Group and in the a West African Sub-region to be ISO 27001 certified. 

He said the certification is indicative of the fact that customers could have confidence in the MTN Mobile Money platform and trust it with sensitive financial and personal information.

– See more at: http://www.ghana-news.adomonline.com/business/2016/march-17th/mtn-mobile-money-gets-information-security-certification.php#sthash.Gw5UcJMX.dpuf”

Did you get that?

What is the eligibility to becoming a mobile money agent? You may ask why I didn’t send a mail to MTN to complain? I thought of it, I just didn’t follow through with it because MTN has a reputation of selectively deciding which complaints to respond to even on their social media pages. Queries take forever to eternity and never to get attended to. Also I am sure that if I decided to take MTN on your well payed legal team would tell me every transitionary detail is clearly spelt out in your terms and conditions I failed to read. So this is my personal campaign for all Telcos to enhance the security of MOBILE MONEY. If you’ve ever had an issue with MOBILE MONEY transactions, don’t keep quiet. Let’s start a hashtag. Perhaps if many people used it it may draw the attention of the Telcos. For too long Ghanaian consumers have been taken for granted and this must change. So this is my proposed hashtag #safemobilemoney. Be a change agent for once. Use it, let’s bring back the power of the consumer!!!

From Leo….with Love

img-20160916-wa0019Dear daughter,

You have completed your education. I couldn’t be prouder. It seemed like only yesterday-and now see how far you’ve come! We never know how powerful we are as tools in the hands of the Maker- we learn through discovery. Where to now? Where exactly are you going? To conquer to world? Now sit Awhile-I must teach you Life.

Perceptions change while you shape your perspective to revive your soul and touch posterity. These are intangibles but they make the most significant difference in life. So when choosing a partner, you should test these parameters; touching on the mindsets and paradigms.

Companionship must help fulfil each other’s purpose. It’s not necessarily about your day to day juggling of keeping a home. It is more than that!

You should do modelling and build your assumptions with due diligence when choosing a partner very much like in business. You must strive to know people in dispensations focusing on their experiences throughout their lives-on the insights they have gleaned over the period.

You should listen more at the beginning and ask a lot of questions. Keep the communication channels and options open; genuinely strive to know this person. Remember, we are a product of our nature- (our environment) and nurture (our upbringing) and choices (which are many a time defined by the first two). The disposition of a person has been formed and shaped by these.

It’s painful we spend so much time learning skills that will make us thrive in career but no certified course about life itself. But when you are happy in your private life, everything falls in place. We Christians feel that because we serve God everything should magically come to us-it just doesn’t happen that way. Being just prayerful is not enough. Our challenge will always be a wisdom issue. Nothing more.

All your experience has made you a quality person dear daughter, they are your treasures in life. If two people value the same things they will agree on same. Have you taken the time to define your soul profile to understand how the next person will fit in? I always say if marriage meant everything Jesus would have married to show us the proper way.

I have discovered that good people are prone to choose less quality people because they are better and believe they can handle the weaknesses of this other person. But imagine what greater good you can achieve by taking the time to make a better choice in a person…the possibilities!!!

Finally, be strong, never stop learning. Your journey just began.

Love,

Leo