Positive Review

I have by my fellow blogger Nana Yaw in his poetic blog Anti-Rhytm been mentioned as a "Blogger Beloved". The kind words he has for my blog follows.

Kajsa is from Sweden, but as Ghanaian as can be. Her sincere life-views will warm the cockles of your heart.

Thank you!

On Private Universities in Ghana and Africa

Did you know that private higher education in on the rise in Ghana and Africa?

Read about why and what consequences it is having on Ghana in my feature article in University World News - a newsletter about global and local academic trends.

You can subscribe to the African version of the informative newsletter here.

Picture of a sculpture of a graduate from a public Ghanaian university, University of Ghana just outside of Accra. Photo: Kerstin Alm

Rain Rain Go Away! (Rain in Ghana)

This Ghanaian musicvideo "RAiN RAiN" by rapper Scizo and music video director Nii Mantse Aryeequaye/ReDD kaT (more on the video here) is very appropriate for this season. We have rain almost every evening and floods of it. Tropical thunder is also part of the deal.

In the video a popular childrens' rhyme is used in different ways to give a cool familarity to the song. I liked especially the part in the beginning and the end where school children were repeating it, just like one can see them do anywhere in Ghana.
"Rain, rain go away, little children want to play"
Other references to Ghanaian everyday life is Kelewele (fried ripe plantain with chili and ginger), nimtree ( a very medicinal tree) and "hustler life" - does it need an explanation?

Scizo is a new artist but soon coming out with a second video which just as this one will be recorded in Accra's Jamestown reports ghanamusic.com. According to the comments on YouTube, "this video is the illest in GH now".

My Third Midsummer in Ghana

Today is Midsommarafton, one of Sweden's biggest holidays and just as all the other Midsummers in my life - it is celebrated! Here in Ghana the special feel of that "finally it is summer" is difficult to bring out since the tropical weather is constant, but the food and drinks and a few songs can be arranged. Also, I have been celebrating midsummer on the blog since I moved here:

2007 I spent midsummer with some Swedish friends in Accra.

2008 I hosted a big to-do in my garden with the Swedish diaspora that was here then (and later missed home anyways).

This year, it'll be a bit more low key.

A beer on the beach with a friend and a flower in my hair.

In the pic: A hibiscus flower in my garden.

SIDA Fraud in Ghana

A few weeks ago, I saw a job listed on jobsinghana.com that looked interesting. It was with the Swedish International Development Agency, SIDA and they needed people for a medium term project. It sounded perfect. In fact, it sounded too good to be true.

Anyways, against my gut feeling I sent in my CV. I did not think of it again, until yesterday when an email reached my inbox:

Dear Applicant,

Thank you very much for your interest in being part of our team at the Swedish International Development Agency (Sub Regional Office). We are currently responsible for the coordination of the activities of SIDA in 8 West African countries and would be happy to welcome you.
I am happy to inform you that you have been shortlisted for the position of a Project Officer. You are however required to pass a management appraisal case study to be administered at the University of Ghana Business School (Executive MBA Room B1 (Second Floor)).
You are kindly requested to report for the appraisal test on Friday June 19th at 3:00pm. The appraisal is an analysis of a case study with respect to team building, conflict resolution in a project team and general project management issues. There will be only one case study to be handled in 30 minutes.

You are requested to come along with the following documents:
a. A photocopy of your certificates (not necessarily certified, we will verify ourselves)
b. A photocopy of your passport or national ID Card (Information page)
c. The e-mail addresses of your two referees
d. A statement on your salary expectations for your position
e. A self address Global Courier Express International Envelope (You may contact Global Express Agencies at Accra Mall-Mother of the Year (Adjacent to Shoprite), Swanzy Shopping Arcade-Cover girl, Shop No 60, University of Ghana-Partners Bookshop (Central Cafeteria opposite Sarbah Hall), Javon Effects(Channel 5 Adjacent Preseco-Nungua), Challenge Bookshop (Adum- Kumasi). Your application documents are being processed in Lund-Sweden so get an appropriate envelope that can be sent from Lund.

Should you require further information kindly send us an email. Please note that we have not mandated anybody to collect money from applicants, anyone who parts financial reward for assistance to any person purporting to have control over the process does so at his or her own risk. The application process is entirely free of Charge.

Several things seemed fishy:
1. How could I've been shortlisted without any interview? And what evaluative case study takes 30 minutes?
2. Also I noticed the email came from a gmail account, which seemed unprofessional for a development agency.
3. I checked SIDA's official jobs' website, but there was no trace of any projects in Ghana (but in Lusaka and Kabul).

I finally wrote an email to the Swedish embassy in Abuja, Nigeria and got my expected reply this morning:

SIDA har inget kontor i Ghana så detta är nog en "scam". in English
SIDA does not have an office in Ghana so this is probably a "scam".

Probably? It is, my friend! I have heard of these things before, to recieve your price (or job opportunity in this case) you go to some deserted place (University of Ghana has vacated) and you get...thats right: robbed.

So this is a warning to all job seekers, there is no SIDA job in Ghana.

12.20 PM Update: Fraudsters get cold feet?

After blogging about this, I decided to also notify the University of Ghana about the planned fraud on their premises.

Also, just now I recieved this email.
Dear Applicant,

Thank you for your interest in joining the project team at the Swedish International Development Agency (Sub Regional Office).

You have been shortlisted as a manager in one of our 8 project offices.We will communicate back to you by the close of the week.

However if you inadvertently received an email intending for shortlisted Project Officers to participate in a management appraisal test at the University of Ghana Business School, Kindly disregard it.

Sorry for the error. Thank You.

Goat Life in Ghana

This is just too funny, thanks to Holli for seeing it on the streets of Accra and capturing it!

GhanaMade and Made in Ghana Magazine - A Trend?

Recently, stores carrying products MADE IN GHANA have popped up all over the place, practically named GhanaMade. Reportedly, there is one on Spintex road, close to the Coca-cola roundabout, three in Tema (C1, C2 and C8) and one close to Accra Poly.

The friend who told me about it was very excited, and so was I. The time has come for Ghana to promote and buy its own products. Yesterday, I read about a magazine called Made in Ghana Magazine to promote products made in this beautiful country (Daily Graphic, unfortunately not on the web). Is it the same person behind both initiatives? Or are they just part of a trend?

Personally, I take agreat intrest in stuff made in Ghana and try to patronize it as much as only possible. In my home you'll find for instance Ghanaian brown rice, spices, canned tuna, cocoa liquor, of course fruits and vegetables, but also furniture (some from Yenok) and cloths (which I posted on here).

So two days ago, equipped with a shopping bag, I made a visit to the small Tema Community 8 branch of GhanaMade (see pic). Unfortunately, I was not too impressed by the messy displays or choice of items (mainly Nestlé stuff that has a relatively low local feel, in my opinion) and nothing I haven't seen before.

However, the stores are new, the initiative is excellent and I'll give them a second chance soon. And I'll keep you posted on the Made in Ghana Magazine.

Kente Houses called Villaggio Vista

The real estate developer Trasacco Group, who is also behind the big suburban area Trasacco Valley in East Legon and the luxury apartments Villaggio Primavera at Tetteh Quarshie interchange has done it again.

This time it is luxury living in three different buildings, Villaggio Vista. The highest of the three buildings "Alto" is planned to have 27 stories they brag on its website- the highest residential building in West Africa - and all three will have a very modern appearance. There are concrete shapes like large upside down letter L:s. Reportedly inspired by Kente cloth, the houses will have colorful geometrical patterned sides. Its not exactly beautiful, but is a completely new style for Accra.

Even though I will probably never afford even one night in the buildings (pool and garden on the roof top, 200+ square meter appartments, lobbies with consierge etc.) I do look forward to seeing Accra enter the 21st architectural century.

Pic borrowed from the developers here.

HOME in Accra

The film "HOME" by photographer Yann Arthus-Bertrand will be showing in Accra on Friday, June 5th, 8 PM at the Alliance Francaise. Free entrance!

At the same time the film will be showing around the world to promote awareness for the environment, for instance beneath the Eiffel Tower in Paris!

Also the film will be visible online at the same time on the film website, see the link above under "HOME".

Since I saw the exhibit "The Earth from Above" in Stockholm a few years back, I have had one of Arthus-Bertrands photos on my wall. He takes his pictures from a helicopter and this picture he has taken flying close to the ground in Ivory Coast - the smiles, welcoming waving hands and colors of this crowd always make me warm and fuzzy inside.

I will definitely be there to watch his film and marvel at the beauty of the earth, our home.
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