Blog Song

And your words cling to me like rain in Africa

Today I found this song Rain in Africa. Since I really like the feel to it, the jazzy saxophone, the melancholic tones and the duet vocies singing I have decided to post it here as my "blog song". The group looks like an eighties one and is called 4 to the bar which kind of tells you they are music nerds ( or drunkards?) Anyways, I'd never heard of them before and am happy my blog led me to their song.

Now I have shared it with you!

Unfortunately I cant figure out how to embed the player here so you have to click above to hear the first 30 sek of it.

On Rain

Today, it is raining so no morning walk today. It is now the end of May which should be the end of the raining season. Maybe the heavy rain yesterday evening and the steady drizzling of this moment will be the last in a while?

Morning Walk

I leave the house around seven thirty after having waved goodbye to my husband ( he leaves for work around 6.45 ).

I lock my gate with a heart on it and criss-cross through my neighborhood, saying my "goodmornings" to the people I meet. I turn onto Hospital Road and follow it for about 15 minutes. There is a lot of traffic, lotto kiosks, chicks, kids going to school, food being sold, craftsmen lining up their produce like sofas or baskets, and taxis that don't mind me walking briskly in jogging shoes and stop to ask where I am going. Sometimes, a friend will drive by, like this morning the neighbor in the black pick-up. His window is already down so he just slows down, stopping traffic, and shouts to me across the road

So, you have started your exercise again?

I have. Interestingly, it seems like it is as much an exercise for the mind as for the legs. Walking is really the best way to think. I think about the car I am going to buy, what I will do this weekend and why dragonflies are not considered scary, but beautiful.

My legs move almost automatically.

I stop and become standing for a while trying to cross the busy Hospital Road to get to my destination, a pool. There I will emerge in the water to chill myself, because even though it is just eight in the morning I am sweating. Before I enter the pool premises I pass by the Christian Vertical(!) School. Kids are sweeping the schoolyard, attending to a fire of scraps and rubbish when they suddenly get interrupted by the bell. They line up as I watch them from the dirt road and start to sing.

God bless our homeland Ghana.

In the pic the jogging shoe that does not impress taxi drivers.

Crab News

For your information, Da Vinci has been released. Apparantly, he was "bush crab" (according to my know-it-all husband) and consequently let loose in the bush not far from our house. Good luck to you, dear Da Vinci!

Goat News

Today, I have a bunch of fun errands to run in Accra. I have to look at some cars (will be buying one soon!) with a mechanic friend, do some journalistic digging (for an article I will link to here if it gets published), have fika with some Swedish friends I have reconnected with through SVIV and then finish off with dinner and "Varieté" at Alliance Francaise (8PM, probably a few cedis entrance fee). Maya informed me there is now a page that vows to collect all events in Ghana. The initiative which Ghana's Ministry for Communication and UNDP stands behind is called Aponkye - goat! I thought that was hilarious!

This type of webpage is exactly what I was talking about. However, after a quick browse I wonder - why are many events taking place in the US?

In the pic the abovementioned goat.

I Am Not Alone

Sometimes when I think of what to write here on my blog I feel like my overall topic -"Africa can be nice"- is off the chart. What am I trying to do here? Convince all of you that there acctually is good news (aka "rain") in Africa?

How can I think of doing this when there are very serious problems out there. When we all read about draught and floods, rebel leaders and dictators impressively cold to their subjects, continous cases of malaria and HIV/AIDS, diamond and oil findings making no change for people close to them, corruption being so widespread that it appears ironic and international aid hitting historical highs, people dying on the poor roads or in bloody rituals and yet again other Africans fleeing for their lives or to be able to use their degree to make some more money.

What can the other perspective (a crab running around in the backyard, a concert, a fellow blogger) really do? According to Ugandan journalist Andrew Mwenda it makes all the difference. See his TED speech here. Of course I agree with him to some extent, otherwise I'd stopped blogging long time ago - or blogged about something else, more likely. Now I am rather thinking about how to expand my writing on this topic I have become so passionate about.

Because - and this is what I am trying to blog about - there is also just enough sun and just enough rain to grow wonderful vegetables and fruits grow, good leaders and cooperation between people who have a lot to contest, there are nurses who work even though their workload is heavy and the pay isn't much. There are small steps being taken to minimize traffic accidents an an example, there are rituals that are important and healing and many of those who emigrate send money home especially in support of education.

And I am not alone. Blog portals like Global Voices Online are out there trying to broaden the picture and maybe most importantly highlight that all media is being written/edited by individuals with an agenda. At the African Loft where, according to the site itself "the people and friends of Africa mingle" the Positive Africa is being debated.

The blog Africa Works basically does the same thing and also have a bunch if interesting links, among others to African newspapers. Also I found some more Ghanaian bloggers adding their perspective. I especially liked this one. See Blogs in Ghana on the right.

If we don't talk about the good things that is going on in Africa we might be too tired and sad to critically look into the pitfalls of foreign aid, for instance. Or how to really combat corruption.

Isn't this how the web ultimately should be used? Adding the news that doesn't make it to print.

In the pic: A scared, hungry child hiding - or a content, joyful child playing hide-and-seek?


Our crab is now called Da Vinci. And yeah, we have high expectations on his future achievements.

New Pet

The other day when my husband was entering our house in the evening he saw something running sideways next to his foot... turned out to be a 15 cm (6 inches) long crab with big claws!

Since we live a 10 minute drive from the seaside, it probably didn't walk to our neigborhood, but more likely escaped from someone who had bought it to make soup. The local specialty Palmnut soup is not quite the same without whole, fresh crabs, hence they are bought alive.

The - in my eyes enormous - crab has now been adopted as our pet and lives in a cold box in our kitchen feeding off toast and tomato. However, it doesn't have a name yet. What do you think we should name it?

In conclusion, there is not only rain in Africa, but also plenty of seafood!

World Artist in Town!

This Saturday, May 17th, the Jazz Society of Ghana (JSG) and Nooq Entertainment presents Richard Bona in Concert. This worldknown bassplayer and singer just came from Berlin, Stockholm, Copenhagen, Krakow, Amsterdam, Oslo and will after Accra continue his tour in US and Europe. He is by some called "the African Sting".

I was happy to see that our splendid wedding band Takashi is the opening act when Mr Bona plays at the National Theatre in Accra, 8 PM on Saturday! Tickets are GHC 50 a piece.

Now to connect this piece of info to my previous post, I will stop the celebration and be a bit serious. This information that a world artist is coming to town was given to me in an email from FCA, an art club. The organizers JSG and Nooq seems to have done little to advertize for this concert apart from producing the flyer you can see above. They are also strangely absent on the internet. JSG hasn't uppdated its webpage since 2005 and Nooq doesn't even have one (as far as my searches go).

Sure there are newspaper articles about this, but key information (where, what time, how much) is unfortunately not something they transmit.

So now I hope I will be given a couple of free tickets for my marketing efforts, most likely the only to be found in cyberspace.

Whats Up, Ghana?

Being a curious cultural consumer, I have spent my first year in Ghana trying to experience as much entertainment as is only possible. There are lots of cultural events going on in Accra and its surroundings, many of them free or very cheap, but I have found one major problem. Getting to know about the events - before they take place - is often a mission impossible!

Many institutions rely heavily on placing a banner outside their premises as their only form of marketing (!) The University of Ghana, the British Council and the National Theatre are a few examples. Others place ads in the newspapers, unfortunately these ads easily get overlooked if missing to buy the paper one day. However I have found that some institutions have e-newsletters, which is more visitor friendly in my opinion.

If you want to know what goes on in Accra, sign up for the newsletters of
Goethe Institute,
Alliance Francaise (send an email to and
Foundation for Contemporary Art
to get a few hints.

The Goethe Institute often have events including exhibits and concerts on Tuesday nights, while Mercredis de la Paillote (Wednesdays in the pavillion) have become the trademark for Alliance Francaise. The FCA arrange contemporary art exhibits and exciting, but unfortunately not very well known Meet-the-Artist sessions.

The events page of the Ghana Tourism Council will tell you about the big events, but unfortunately the Ghana Web events page seems sadly nonfunctioning.

The information gap is a big problem not just for the entertainment business, but basically for all sectors in Ghana. I have had similar problems when I wanted to buy furniture, for example. Maybe there is something we bloggers in Ghana could do about this problem? For starters, please let me know if there is more information to be had about events in Greater Accra. I still have some nights open this week!

In the picture Ivorienne artist Dobet Gnahore at Alliance Francaise the 20th of February this year in one of the best concerts I have ever seen (thanks to their newsletter).

Fair Enough

Today is World Fair Trade Day, a day organized by IFAT, the international fair trade organization, to inspire us to engage more in fair trade, meaning buying from producers who make sure the production benefits the workers and community of origin.
These days more customers care about the ethics behind the products they buy and hopefully with a day like this even more people will open their eyes.

In Africa COFTA is the regional organization coordinating the producers and two Ghanaian companies with IFAT certification are Global Mamas and Getrade.

Global Mamas is a wonderful initiative for Ghanaian women in developing their own businesses. Together they form a cooperative selling clothes and home decor. I have bought several gifts and two really cute tie-and-dye tops for myself from them. Global Mamas main store is found in central Cape Coast, a smaller shop in Cape Coast castle and some of their stuff is also sold in lovely handicraft store Wild Gecko in Accra.

Companies like these with a stong sense of CSR are very inspiring, and I have already talked to some friends about starting up a IFAT-certified business in Ghana. I hope you will then buy from me!


Everyday life in Ghana can be mindnumbingly (is that a word?) frustrating at times. Like today when I realize that after twenty phone calls (!) I still have three (!!!) problems with Ghana Telecom.

My Internet has been down for two weeks, since yesterday there is also no tone when I lift the reciever and finally the keys for 1, 8 and 9 are not functioning on my handset. The people I talk to say they will call me back (which they don't), that they will send someone (but noone ever shows up), that I should "relax" (no comment) or that it is not their job to solve Internet issues/handset problems/dead lines (also they don't know who is responsible).

I want to scream, shout and cancel all my business with aforementioned company!

But then, like the sun after a heavy rain, within minutes a van pulls up to fix my line, I can call customer service and they reboot my Internet and, well the handset still cant be used to dial 1, 8 or 9, but I feel fine. And as I go to the market area to pick up a parcel (thanks mom!) I buy two ripe mangoes, two huge avocados and a pineapple for no money and with my heavy load I get the widest smile from a trotro driver.

-Let me help you!
he says in the local language.

And finally I get it.

In the pic: The Community 1 market in Tema.
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