Obruni News

Ghanaian TV3 aired this clip on a white ("Obruni") public transport worker or "tro-tro mate".
- An Amazing Thing, the smiling news anchor calls this young anthopologist's new trade.

If not amazing, so at least a peek into Ghanaian everyday life on the road. It is interesting that when Swedish news anchors smiles about the first flower of spring and such for an ending to the reports, this is what makes it to the news here in Ghana.

So with greetings to the Swedish anthopologist who just left Ghana...

Everyday life

The wonderful, however non-exciting, everyday pace has reached me here in Ghana. Everyday, I kiss my bf goodbye in the morning, go to work, eat lunch with the same crowd, work a few more hours and then take a taxi home. At night we might do some visits, maybe go out to eat and then – it has of course already been dark for a while – it is time to go to sleep. I dream my vivid dreams (as always) and am awoken by the sun shining into our bedroom around 6 am.

But I mean, there are also stark differences in this “everyday life” compared to the “everyday lives” I have led before. For instance, before I never before saw the green tail of a gecko disappear into my wardrobe when opening my underwear drawer. I did not use to go for lunch to a "chop bar" where most of the customers order goat or snail soup. Nor for that matter meet a (living) goat family everyday on my way to lunch. I never used to celebrate when a supermarket opened in my town, now I do. (That was yesterday, and it just made my week to be able to have salad, hard bread and goat cheese for dinner). I never before used to come home to my own house. Complete with a man. Also, even if I feel I have gotten used to the way things look around here, I do sometimes remember to marvel that the soil is copper red, the nature deep green and whole trees can be covered in flowers, that people do actually carry suitcases (even backpacks) on their heads with ease, that men dress in big colorful prints and it looks good. And that every plant looks different from the Gotlandic nature I knew in my earlier life…

In the picture my favorite Ghanaian grass. Its every strand looks like a bouquet of Swedish “timotej” grass. And yes, I am aware that in my previous life I probably would not have mentioned "goat" three times in a short text like this one.

Images of Ghana

Prestigious photography price Prix de Rome was this year given to the arty fashion photographer Viviane Sassen who won with a series of beautiful pictures of Ghana. I especially liked the portrait with a woman carrying a leafy branch on her head, but the one you see here with a man carrying a child was also sublime.

I have borrowed the picture from www.trouw.nl

No light in sight

I have earlier written about our power problems here in Ghana. Since no new power stations have been built since the Akosombo dam (see picture)in the 1960ies the supply is not enough for the demand, and then on top of that the dam is drying up...

At present two out of the six turbines in the dam are running. To make that power last, we have scheduled power sharing. We have power 24 hours then it is turned off for 12 hours (by everybody called "light off"), altering day and night. Yesterday, the Ghanaian radio station Joy FM got their hands on a secret technical report which suggests that if the water inflow does not rise before the end of this month one of the remaining two turbines have to be shut off to not empty the dam, halving the supply of power in Ghana.

On a personal level, I can see how this is very serious. However, it means either never again have anything refrigerated or toasted OR buying a generator and some environmentally unfriendly fuel. Probably the latter. For the nation, it is just devastating. Not only is the fuel running out due to all generators, inflation rising due to that companies have to add the cost of fuel to their products, also the productivity is coming to a halt. It is simply difficult to produce without electricity. When I a few weeks ago paid a visit to one of the government agencies that is to be working on this problem, the person I went to see could not turn on his computer.
"Our generator is not working and today is light off".
The poor power situation is indeed a very vicious circle.

Web humiliation

Currently, I am looking for a job. When that is the case I today thought to myself, what is better than expanding my network?
That is the reasoning behind giving my particulars to the network Linked In. So I filled in my email address, turned down the offer to invite everybody in my address book and happily started exploring the features. Suddenly this message covers my screen.
Invitations: Sent 344 (21 Bounced)
What? Does that indicate the mean application LinkedIn just went ahead and, against my will, invited ALL PEOPLE in my addressbook to join my "professional network"? According to all the replies I have gotten from puzzled people asking what this thing is, unfortunately that seems to be the case. So yes EVERYBODY, including my doctor, my boss, a friend's friend who also got her travel pics and baby updates, an aquaintance from a project last year, the administrator for the union I belong to got invitations and I do not dare tho think about who else. So now, I try to go to my happy place, the Monet gardens outside of paris in May when everything blossoms...

Small world

What are the chances? The current project I am working on is a pilot project for my organization on strengthening Ghana’s government structures to consider migration issues in relation to social and economic development, or as the experts say enhancing policy coherence. My job in all this is to be the assistant of a Ghanaian expert my organization has hired. We plan to bring stakeholders together and design both a short term and long term plan for how different governmental sectors and organizations could work together on migration and development.

Today our expert is in Brussels attending a round table session at the Global Forum on Migration and Development, a forum that is one of the outputs of the UN High Level Dialogue on International Migration and Development back in 2005. He is presenting a paper on the Ghanaian situation as a case study for the discussion.

Anyhow, so I go to the website to check out the arrangements for the round table and I find that the SWEDISH GOVERNMENT is organizing this very discussion and that the SPEAKER is the migration and development expert from OECD’s Development Centre, Jeff Dayton Johnson, whom I have met on a number of occasions in Paris when I was interning with the OECD last year. So, right now some Swedes in suits and Jeff are sitting next to our Ghanaian expert discussing ways forward! How I wish I could be there, but at this point I guess I should be happy for coming so close on three angles...

You are who you befriend

If that is true, I am a loud voice in the blogosphere, a many times published journalist and writer, a reseacher, a traveller and a radio host. Let's start with Nadja, she is a lawyer and a writer, mostly commenting on foreign issues from a Swedish perspective or issues a pluralistic Sweden has to deal with immediately like religious schools.

My fair trade heroine Emilie is constructing Bombay as we write during an summer course at the univerity there. Peter I believe is writing a book on pension reforms in Sweden. Mattias is writing about the process of learning ICT at university level when he is not busy writing articles and media strategies as the head of PhD students in Sweden. Laila is in Paris writing her dissertation on the organizational culture of the OECD concerning development and gender.

My sister Freja is a radio host with the national radio channel P3. My friend Matthew is writing excellent stuff all the time, sometimes it gets published in the Dothan Cronicle.Katrine works with newspaper expressen , but also publish her sharp comments in other publications and on the web, Marta works, except for the Almighty also with magazine Efter Arbetet, Joel with Folkbladet in Norrkoping and Ida, last time I checked worked for Jamtlandstidningen.

Today, Anna a freelance writer together with Petra a poet and academic writer, are launching the first ever queer club in our hometown, Visby as "entertainment, business idea and political statement".

I am so proud of you all and this is not even an exhaustive list!

In the picture me with some of the above mentioned friends.

What about the summit?

The plan was to compose a beautiful, yet sharp piece of writing summarizing the AU-summit, combined with the stack contrasts of the leaders' potbellies to the Ghanaian street life. But then, I thought if my readers want to read a trashing of Mugabe they will go to the Economist's website. So to please you, loyal friends, here's instead a picture with me and my (bf's siblings') children. Enjoy your weekend!

Home Sweet Home

I give you: our house!

It is just wonedrful to have A Room of One's Own! Especially when it has a heart ornamented gate, a sunny verandah, a spacious living room and a tiny pool. And room for visitors! Welcome!
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