A Hairdresser’s Hurt

Dear Customer, the moment you walked into my shop i felt my apron flutter in excitement. That feeling was however nothing compared to the moment my fingers touched your scalp. I must say, i fell in love with your hair. I promised myself that i would remain faithful and give my best to you anytime you called on me.
I remember listening to you talk about how your ex hairdresser treated you and your hair. You told me of how she ignored you when she had had enough of your scalp. You said she called your hair dirty and dandruff prone and complained of how much water she had to use for your hair alone. She ignored you one time because a rich customer came to have her hair done. Remember how she tossed you to one of her apprentices? You cried when you told me that story and i wiped your tears away. With new towels i massaged your scalp like a queen. I listened and promised to hold you close to my apron.

Even when you did not have money to pay me, i still stuck with you. You paid half the price for several months because you were broke but i still stuck by you. You were like a hair roller and i was the pin- that was how i held you down. We completed each other’s sentences- when i said ‘setting’, you said ‘lotion’. When i said ‘slow’, you said ‘motion’. When i said ‘morning’, you said ‘devotion’. In fact, i’m so hurt i think i should write a few poetry lines……….

Your loyalty was a sham, and on my trust you did poo- shampoo
It wasn’t just the hair, we were supposed to stick like glue- hair glue
You dawged me dear, at the slightest chance you took me for a fool, thank you!
Roses are red, violets are blue
But you broke my heart, you destroyed it true true

So what happened really? Your female friends told you about that new hairdresser in that new plush salon? Where were your friends when you had nothing? Where were your friends when i used my shampoo and setting lotion on you for free? Where were your friends when i sat up the whole day to do twist braids for you? I did it alone! Took me two whole days! We gossiped together. I even gave you relationship advice a couple of times. Remember that make up i did for you? You went around telling your friends that i was using you for practice. I heard that but i just swept it under the carpet cos i felt we all made mistakes.

Right now, see how you have handed me over to my enemies to be ridiculed. When you bought ‘Amina hair extentions’, you brought it to me to fix but when you bought the Peruvian hair, you sent it to your new hairdresser. When you bought the cheap Darling Hair mesh, you brought it to me. When you bought the Brazilian hair, you took it elsewhere.

And you didn’t choose any other time to cheat on me than this Christmas season? How wicked can you be? I wish you and your new hairdresser the best buh remember, all you see in her new salon would become just like mine one day.

Yours faithfully,
The Hairdresser you cheated on.

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Sites and Sights (Research trip photos)

There are too many stories i cannot possibly share on the data collection trip my colleagues and i undertook about two or so months ago. I therefore have decided to catalogue some of the photos on this blog for your viewing pleasure.

I don’t even know why i uploaded this photo. I guess i just like the photo. That’s me and sir Ike on a previous trip.
Training period at the University of Cape Coast led by Prof. Lay of the University of Gottengen
Women coming from their farms after harvesting plantain. Village name- Ango Dotiem

The Ango Dotiem kids were fun!
You cannot start work in the village without the permission of the elders.
Time to get water from the borehole.
An abandoned train at a village known as Buabin. It’s become a sleeping place for some of the indigenes.

Came across a rubber plantation. The rubber sap is collected in the black container you see there. Village name is Anangkrom..it’s on a very difficult hill.
Your banku stick came from here probably
Believe it or not, this is a classroom block at Ehiamankyeni. A small village close to Buabin
Normal? No. That’s a hen raising the chicks of a guinea fowl. The owner took the eggs of the hen and replace them with that of the guinea fowl. Eggs hatch,hen thinks they’re her kids…lol
My favourite photo of the trip. Ever seen mushrooms that big?
When you walk for that far a distance, at least stop and take a selfie.
Cocoa farming is a very tedious job. This is not the end of the process. After gathering the pods, farmer must get people to help him or her break them. He must ferment the seeds for a week before transporting it home to dry. The drying process is a whole job on its own.
The boys decided to pound fufu on one of the ‘resting’ days .( Insert is the fufu..lol)

You don’t need to be told….lol
Most times bush, sometimes hotel room
Believe it or not, the stick you see is the communication centre. That’s the only place you would get network to make or receive calls
Trying my hands at close shots. Phone photographer baako p3
Jungle things
Last but one day

My CRAZIEST Trosky Ride

CRAZIEST TROSKY RIDE

I picked a trosky from the Amrahia area heading towards Madina after running an errand for my boss. It was my first time in that area so I wasn’t even confident stopping the trosky I boarded. I was afraid I’d signal a trosky to stop and then find out it was headed elsewhere.( I didn’t want any insults from the passengers.) Thankfully, they were also headed to Madina…phew!

Things began to go bad when the (conductor)’mate’ asked where I was going. “Kaneshie”, I replied. Everyone turned and looked at my face like I was some idiot. The uncomfortable stares jump-started my bearings. ” Ei sorry, Madina”, I corrected myself. Even a baby strapped at the back of his mother turned and looked at my face. The baby kraa knew that Kaneshie and Madina were in different parts of Accra. Charley, ‘dull things’ but how we go do am? I paid the fare and the journey continued.

Three minutes later, the vehicle slowed to a halt. “What’s the problem?”, one passenger asked. Then everyone in the three quarter full vehicle started murmuring. The ‘mate’ asked the driver what the problem was. Driver said nothing but tried vigorously to turn on the ignition. One guy at the back asked if it was the fuel that was finished. The driver nodded in agreement. “I think the fuel is exhausted”, he admitted. ” Ahhhh”, the passengers exclaimed in unison. You can just imagine the bashing he received. One individual who was also bashing the driver shockingly was…..guess who…..the mate! Herh, the mate verbally abused the driver like it was no one’s business. Even all the passengers were shocked. Never had we seen such a spectacle. Drivers usually have a go at their mates, not the other way round. Here was a conductor, angrily asking the driver if he wasn’t aware he had to buy fuel. He also warned the driver to stop his reckless spending and love for money. Our mouths opened ajar in disbelief. This mate was no ordinary mate oo.

He got down, went behind the trosky, opened the back door and brought out a gallon. He asked the driver where the nearest fuel station was and began jogging towards there. At this point, the confused driver had parked at the side of the road and most of the passengers were throwing verbal jabs at him. He was apologising at every turn. For me, I was just thinking about security. I was carrying a MacBook Pro that I had gone to pick from some USA returnees for my boss in my bag and it was getting dark.

Fifteen minutes later, the conductor returned with the fuel. He was panting. The driver filled his tank and started the vehicle. The ignition still failed to come alive. I saw the passengers getting agitated. The driver suggested that maybe the vehicle needed a little push. Since it was a busy road, we pushed the trosky onto an untarred road close by. All the passengers got out to come help. The female passengers however conveniently moved away from the vehicle to watch us (the men) do the pushing. (So much for affirmative action..smh) There were about six guys left. I promise on my honour, I had never pushed a vehicle over so far a distance like I did with this trosky! We pushed and pushed, sometimes trying to get into a running momentum. This damn trosky would just not budge. We even did a reverse pushing to see if it would work. I don’t think I would even push my own car like that. Ah! It was really hell. My footware was dusty, I was sweating and totally drained.

The other men were also tired. We had been trying for about fifteen minutes and it was completely dark now- almost 7pm. One of my fellow passengers told the mate to give him back his fare so he can go board a different vehicle home. That should have been an easy solution right? Well, the mate said he had no money on him. The money he had, was what he used in buying the fuel for the vehicle. “Whaaaat!”, I exclaimed in my head. You pick us on the road, you take our fares, your vehicle stopped along the journey, you use our monies to buy fuel, vehicle is still not starting and now you cannot give us back our monies to find alternative means of transportation back home? What kind of trouble was this?

That passenger would have none of it! He wanted his money immediately and he got more angry as the rather sorry looking driver pleaded that we pushed the trosky some more. The mate’s attitude only got the passengers more annoyed as he started exchanging words with some of them. In a flash, there was a full blown fight between the mate and one of the passengers. It was no small fight. In fact, the fight was so fierce that people in that vicinity came out of their rooms to watch. I can confirm that the punches that were traded were better than that of Mayweather and Pacquiao match. Ghana we get talent oo. Laaawd have mercey!!!

I just turned and headed for the main road. The mate and his driver can take my money for all I care. After becoming a trosky pusher, they want me to become a boxing referee too? I’m sorry, I can’t.

THE GREEN IN OUR FLAG

As i sat at the backseat of the 4*4 vehicle with other colleagues headed back to Cape Coast, my mind could not stop roving about the happenings and the experiences the last month and a half had brought my way. Trust me when i say i had seen many interesting things. I mean it’s not everyday you see a dog voraciously munch a papaya fruit. It’s not everyday you walk on a makeshift bridge that submerges when you cross it, putting you in danger of slipping and falling into the river. And it’s definitely not everyday you come back to your hotel and hear your colleages tell you stories of how they met snakes and other dangerous reptiles on their way to the job. It was a tough tough job but somebody had to do it. I was part of the team that undertook a research project for the German Institute of Global and Area Studies and CeVal on cocoa production in Ghana and i would tell you about it…not much, just a little so that…well, so that you can read.

I was very much confused about what title to give to this write up. However when i remember the joke i made about me seeing more ‘greens’ than all my ancestors and family members combined, i think this title, even if it is not the most appropriate, would suffice. As a guy born and bred in Accra, the most greens i had seen before my first research trip two years ago was the green pepper and french beans my mother used in preparing her stews. That’s a bit of an exaggeration, i concede. However for someone whose first trip outside of Greater Accra region was at the age of 21, you can tell it was a big deal for me being a part of the team that was touring about ninety villages in three or four regions to collect data for the research project.

The baseline survey of two years ago came with its own challenges. With this midline survey however, i tried to wipe my slate clean of the memories of the previous. I did not want to carry the frustrations of the earlier one into this one. Yes, i would use the on-the-field experiences to manoeuvre my way through this but I’d do well to forget the negatives. They would only drain you and make you feel like you’re in an unending cycle-especially if you’re having a bad day.

The Team: We had a team of twelve men, a coordinator and a driver. We were divided into four groups. Some were married, some weren’t, some were about to, others wondered what marriage was and some were ‘baptised’ to marry right after the project. Some had diarrhoea on the field, others didn’t. Some met girls a.k.a jollof on the field, others didn’t. Some went for NABCO registration, others didn’t. All in all, it was a great team and we blended very well and worked hand in hand towards the success of the project.

The Farmers: The most important people in the survey were the cocoa farmers we had to interview. How do we explain to them that we came to conduct another RESEARCH? Many of them simply did not understand it. What’s research? “We want fertilizer!”,they would say firmly. Many of them felt that we should be carrying fertlizer and other inputs to them, not a long questionnaire.

On The Field: One of my worst fears came alive at a village called Ehiamankyene. It was the kind of village every interviewer prayed not to get. Households in this kind of villages did not live at one particular area. Rather, they lived on their farms which were sometimes several kilometres apart. Imagine if you had two or three farmers to interview at a place like that. No, don’t even imagine it. Spare yourself the stress charley. It happened that i got one interview to do in that village and i got a guide and a friend to take me there. First of all, our sense of distance and time is not the same as that of people who live in the villages. When they tell you, “O it’s not far, it’s just here”, it means it’s an hour walk at least. When they therefore tell you that the place you’re looking for is far, trust me, it must REEEEEEALLY be far. In that case, roll up your sleeves and get your mind and energy sorted before you start the journey.

When i walk on those narrow bush paths and under the cocoa trees, i always look straight ahead. I resist the temptation to look in the tree branches. I had heard too many stories, from the farmers themselves, of snake bites. One farmer i spoke to told me of how a snake had bitten her just the previous week while she was working on her cocoa farm. Thoughts of this scare the hell out of me and since i know snakes climb trees and all, i usually don’t want to look up. What would i gain if i look up and actually see one? I look forward! If i don’t see a snake, then there’s none there, simple. Let me continue my Ehiamankyene story. As we walked along the path, we came to a small river. There, my heart sunk in horror. Everybody that’s being with me on this trip knows i detest rivers and streams. The sea is bigger but i find it safer. With rivers and ponds and streams that have weeds and water lilies covering a part of them, who knows what anaconda could be hiding in the water? Who is that saying anacondas only live in the Amazon? I hear you Mr. Zoologist. Thank you for your unsolicited knowledge. Whether anacondas or pythons or boas or garden snakes, once it slithers without limbs, it’s damn dangerous! Now would you allow me to continue my story? Thank you!

Our guide had on Wellington boots…good for him! When he stepped on the so-called bridge, the plank submerged under water. The water touched his shin. He got to the other side of the river and beckoned at us to follow. Before i could say jack, Stephen, my colleague and friend had removed his sneakers and was already half way on the bridge. Guess whose turn it was….mine! I reluctantly removed my smelly sneakers and started. I prayed feverishly in my mind for God to forgive all my sins and wash me with the blood of Jesus. I didn’t know how deep the river was, and who knows what trick this slippery plank- that was underwater at that time- could pull on me. I think I didn’t breathe the whole time i was crossing. That was why i took gulps of air when i managed to get to the other side. Just when i was about to wear my shoes again, our guide said, “Don’t wear your shoes yet. There are three more rivers to cross.” I cursed the god of research and data collection in my mind. I walked barefooted in the muddy disgusting forest floors, cr

A photo of another group crossing a stream

ossed all the rivers, got to the farmer, conducted the interview and crossed the damn rivers again back to the vehicle. Do you know how long i stayed in the shower when i got to the hotel? Your guess is as good as mine.
For the stories, they are unending. I have many. The trip to Nape Krom, lawd that alone is a book. For crying out loud, some of these farmers live too faraway! Anyway, let’s talk about something else.

My reason for this title ‘The green in our flag’ is just to remind us of our vegetation and environment. Two years ago after the baseline data collection, i wrote an article which was published on myjoyonline.com which was titled “Our Rivers flow as Milk and Poison”. It sought to talk about how illegal mining also known as galamsey was ravaging our environment. All the rivers i saw two years ago with my naked eyes had been polluted. I therefore looked forward to this trip having at the back of my mind that government had banned this galamsey thing. I found out that the illegality was in full swing at certain parts of where we visited. The rivers had become worse. I started calling the River Offin the Galamffin River because the galamsey had destroyed it. It now looks like a milo drink with a lot of milk. All you need for the river is bread. Even the little streams that passed under the vegetation had also been affected. My heart also pounded hard when i saw vehicles carrying huge logs of timber from only God knows where. It was very frequent and very worrying. I wondered if those logs i was seeing were being procured legally and even if they were acquired legally, were they being replaced? Research has shown that our forest cover as a country is being depleted at a very fast rate that if care is not taking, the green in our flag would only be a symbol of our past. There would be no forest to talk of.

We should not one day realise suddenly that our country has been destroyed. Not with guns or war but with shovels and pickaxes and chainsaws.

Some members of the research team

RUN IN YOUR OWN TRACK

Why? Why?
Why do you allow the faintest smiles that form on your face to suddenly fade?
As if your little successes were mosquitoes and that of others was the repellent called Raid.
Everything you do, you compare with that of others
When you hear your friend has done this, instead of you to be happy, it gives you the shudders
You look in the mirror and you feel like you’ve failed
You are still on your track but you feel like you’ve derailed
You will never be happy when you compare
It will bring you nothing, it would only bring you despair….and that’s beyond repair

Run in your own track because you can never be the same as the next person
We run in different tracks and in different tournaments
And each of us would be drapped with different ornaments
Stop looking down on your achievements
You envy your colleague’s promotion, would you envy his interment?

Concentrate on getting YOURSELF better
Because if you would look critically at it, you would find out……
Your east would always be someone’s west
Your good may be someone’s best
Your enemy, obviously someone’s guest
What you call a pet is someone’s pest
What American’s would call head restraint, the Brits may call headrest
What may taste so sweet to you, someone else would detest. Kofi Annan died in his sleep, someone else died through cardiac arrest
So why do you worry your heart? Haven’t you realised life’s not a contest?

Run your track with contentment
Don’t veer into someone’s track

Usain Bolt and Gabriel Sellasie both wear spikes but it would make no sense for them to race
Our tracks are different!
Mine may be longer than yours. Yours may be a faster run than mine
In all however, understand that your race is with yourself….getting better than you were yesterday, not with another person.

Wrong ‘meat’

Setho had been fruitlessly searching for a job for three years after leaving the university. To say life was frustrating for him would be an understatement. He had tried so hard to find one but everywhere he passed, he hit a brick wall. He met an old friend from junior high school and after telling his plight, his old pal introduced him to a trade he himself was involved in….. scamming. He gasped in disbelief and disappointment at the beginning but his fears were allayed somewhat when his friend explained that his kind of scamming did not involve the use of blood money or ‘sakawa’ or anything of that sort. It just involved the use of the ‘adwen’, the mind.
“The mind eh?”, he asked. “Just the mind bro. Look at me very well. I was just like you, probably worse. I have been in this mind business for just two months, two months! And now look at me”, his friend said, turning around so that Setho would properly look at his Ralph Lauren shirt and Gucci jeans. Setho caught a glimpse of his friend’s gleaming Rolex watch. “Just two months? What have i been doing with my life Oko?”, Seth asked. “Probably just wasting it my friend. Just look at how old you’re looking”, his friend remarked sarcastically. The words Oko said forged themselves into a jack knife and shredded Setho’s heart into small pieces, the sizes of kelewele.

“O charley, but you too, have some restraint with your words eh. Things are hard for me but chill”,Setho,”at least be empathetic.” Oko laughed sarcastically and sort of apologised. After that, he asked, “Are you more bothered about what I said or because what i said is true? Anyway, i would teach you to fish. This job as i said earlier makes use of the mind. You know what people fear most in this world?”
Setho thought for a second. “Death?”, he asked. “Look at you! You see you’re not that dumb afterall. People fear death. So why don’t you use that knowledge to your advantage?”, Seth said.
“Cos that would be unfair?”, Setho uttered. Oko frowned. “You i can see you want to remain in the poverty”, he said, turning to leave the scene. Setho held him and begged him to stay. “Sorry sorry, go on. I’m listening please”, he apologised. Oko continued. “As i know and you also said, everyone fears death. Imagine that? The thing that’s most assured in this life is what we fear the most. Euphemistic isn’t it?” “You mean ironic?”,Setho tried to correct.
Oko got upset again with Setho. “Aboa! You know literal devices but i have the money”, he blurted angrily. Setho apologised again and begged him to continue. Oko continued,”Okay, i make my money strategically, i call it the SCT. SCT meaning Scare and Collect Tactic. Call someone, scare them enough and wait for money transfer notification. I cannot say everything here. Let’s go sit somewhere private.”

Days later, Setho felt he was ready for business. He had been under Oko’s tutelage for days and he felt definitely ready. First, he had to visit a busy mobile money shop, keenly listen to the customers as they give their phone numbers to the operator, write down as many numbers as you can, select a ‘victim’ and start work. ‘Victim’ selection was perhaps the most daunting of all. The temperament of the victim, amount of money the victim deposited or withdrew from his or her account, demeanour, how the person speaks and their looks were of paramount importance. He had watched Oko get a 300cedi transfer the day before and despite all the promptings from his conscience, he knew there was no turning back. What has his conscience given him after school? Nothing!

Setho decided to use one of his very old sim cards for his trade. After going through the process of selecting his victim and all, he placed the call. As the line started to beep, his heart rate increased. The line dropped. He breathed easy now. “Whoa….this isn’t child’s play oo”, he thought. After taking three deep breaths, he called again. Someone at the end of the line picked.
“Yes, who is this?”, the voice asked. Kofi backed away from the phone momentarily, cleared his throat and with all the acting skills he could garner and spoke in a hoarse voice. “Allo, am i talking to Cynthia? Cynthia Twumasi?” The line was silent for a moment. “Allo!”,Setho called again. “Yes, yes this is Cynthia, who are you and what can i do for you?” Setho recited some incantations he made up and said, “Ma name be Gbagbatome and i be powerful spiritualist. Cynthia eh…you get enemies o. Plentey plentey enemies. Yua friend just getting up from here. She bring me yua photo to killing you. I almost killing you spiritually eh but the gods say i should waiting small.”

Setho heard Cynthia sigh at the other end of the line. “Someone wants to kill me? Who and why?”, she asked. “It is eh, not importante rat now. I was just about kill you when the gods gave me yua number. They say you be special woman. So make i aaa give you option. Erhhh either you send me money to call back the spiritual arrow wey i send back to me or better, or better, make i send the arrow to da person wey she wan kill you. You understand what adey talk?”
Cynthia replied,” So you mean the spiritual arrow is destined to come hit me where i am presently and when it does, would it be painful??” Setho was taken aback briefly but held his own. “It would hit you..and you would die without knowing.” Setho noticed he had spoken a clean sentence in English. Afraid that his cover would be blown, he threw in a couple of pidgin. “You go die oo. You go die sudden sudden.”

There was a long pause, then Cynthia said calmly, “I think i would prefer that.” Setho’s composure was thrown off gear for a second. “What you are saying? You want to die?”, he asked. “Yes i want to die”, Cynthia replied,”As we speak now,whoever you are, i am holding a revolver to my head. (She turned the cylinder of the revolver. It revolved for a while before she stopped it abruptly with some dexterity) The only problem now is that i don’t really like my bedsheet to be stained with so much blood when they come for my body.”

Setho instinctively hanged up. What the heck did he just hear? The lady he wants to scam with the fear of death already wants to die? This wasn’t in the script. Whew! His phone rang. It was Cynthia. He yelped in fear and cut the line. As he was thinking about what just happened? He had a text alert which read, “Hey Seth Mensah, right? You’re surprised i know your name? I would have lied and said the gods gave me your name. Well, an electronic god did give me your name…Trucaller app? Have you heard of it? You better call back or i would write a letter with your name in it and accuse you of threatening me with murder.”
“Lord God of mercy!”, Setho exclaimed, sweating profusely at this point. “What on earth had he gotten himself into?”, he asked himself. He had heard the unmistakable sound of the revolver and he knew it was real. He called Oko, his scamming teacher. Nothing broke his heart more than hearing “The number you have dialled cannot be reached at this moment.” Cynthia called again. His hand shook as he picked the call.

“Yes. Cynthia i’m sorry”, Setho started. Cynthia laughed at the other side of the line and asked ,”So you speak good english now? Anyway, i really want to die right now. I was hoping to kill myself quietly but when you first called, i thought it was just someone idly calling. Then you called the second time and i was like wow, maybe this caller wants to play audience to my suicide. And then i picked up and heard all your gibberish and i was impressed you know. You Ghanaian right? You did so well with the strange accent, are you an actor?” Setho was silent. A harsh voice erupted. “I said are you an actor?!!!”, Cynthia asked angrily. “No madam, no please. I am just an unemployed idiot who followed wrong advice. Please i am sorry”, Setho replied.
Cynthia calmly said, “You know in my life, no one even looked at me for a second…my parents even. I have no friends, no one i can call family, i don’t even have enemies to call my own. I have always always Seth, i have always been alone. Really, it’s tiring. I’m tired Seth. That’s why i want to leave. I wanted to leave silently when you came, i realised i did not have to leave alone. You are the audience i need to see me off. I don’t know why but i feel i have the attention i needed, the attention i have always asked for but never got. So thank you. Stay on the line and hear me breathe my last please. That’s all i ask. If you cut the line, i would write your name and get the police on your heels. You know they can now always find us with phone numbers, right?

Setho had no idea the lady he saw that morning at the mobile money shop was planning suicide. She looked pretty and well groomed. She looked like someone who would have a lot to lose if she dies. That was one reason he selected her. The other reason obviously was the amount she had deposited in her account. It was quite substantial. Setho tried to advise. “Cynthia, you don’t have to kill yourself. Life is more important. It would get better. Trust me i have been there. I have had moments where i have wished to end it all. I have suffered insults and depression due to unemployment but i believe it would get better. Maybe not today, but tomorrow. Hey why don’t we meet and talk?”, Setho tried to reason with her.
“Bye Seth and thanks for your time”, Cynthia said almost inaudibly. Setho felt the unthinkable was just about to happen. His eyes opened widely and he loudly called out, “Cynthia! Please!” But then he heard the loudest bang in his ears. It was so loud he dropped the phone like it was a hot metal. He held his ears in pain and felt a tear streak down his cheek. This prey he chose was wrong ‘meat’.

A country of blackmailers

I could only watch about 8 seconds of the Ashaiman accident video. The sight of our women lying bloodied on the street with boxes of tomatoes scattered after being ‘plowed’ by a truck sickened me. I hear one person has been confirmed dead and scores have been severely injured. I thought about what would happen after- it would be on the news, local assemblies and government officials would go inspect the scene, donations would be made then that’s it. Life would return to normal.

We are a country made up of blackmailers who are not ready for development! I’d tell you why i say that with four examples starting with the Ashaiman accident. Imagine what would have happened if say three days ago, a task force was sent to evict those sellers from the streets. You would watch the news later that evening and hear the street sellers with red bands on their arms and heads saying things like “Where does government want us to sell? This is where we get our daily bread from. We have gone for loans to do this business. How are we going to repay these loans? Government is wicked. Is this what you promised us? The elections would soon come around and we know what to do!” Selling on the streets is not only bad but it’s dangerous, and they know it, however the task force would have been met with serious resistance.

Just look at how filthy our streets and drains are! Plastics everywhere! Plastics are drowning us! Serious countries that actually wanted to solve this problem banned plastics outright. In this country, whenever there is a call to ban plastics, that is when some so-called associations would come out and say “O if there is a ban, about hundred thousand people would lose their source of livelihood. We must go back to the negotiation table. This ban would affect people, etc”. You would wonder, so our country should remain filthy just because of the pockets of some people? The will to ban the plastics would just die like it wasn’t even alive in the first place. It would rain, the towns would flood, people would die, there would be a memorial fund for the familes, cycle continues.

Let’s go to our banking sector. We all have knowledge of the two banks that went under last year. What you might not know is that that incident cost the Ghanaian tax payer over 2billion cedis. Yeah, that’s what it cost us. There’s this 400 million cedis minimum capital requirement that Bank of Ghana has directed for banks to have at the end of 2018. This is just to ensure that in times of crisis like what happened last year, depositors would not lose their monies, at least the BoG can secure funds to pay depositors. Just last week, some local banks started saying that due to they having difficulty in raising that amount, they would need more time, else 5000 jobs would be lost before the year ends. You see the blackmail there? If another bank goes down, we the same people would accuse the BoG of looking on while the banks do what they like.

Fisherfolk for years have been complaining about the dwindling fish stocks. The ministry of fisheries therefore decided that to help save the fish stock, there would be a ban on fishing for a month to help the fish population recuperate. The same people who claim they need help now turn and accuse those they asked to help of trying to take away their livelihoood. It’s crazy if you think about it.

The saddest part of the story is that governments usually yield to the blackmails. Governments are afraid to lose the next elections and therefore cowardly put away their plans. I have seen this over and over again with different governments. Are we ready for development at all? I do not think so. We are not ready to change! And we sure do know how to blackmail!

Some sh** just won’t go away

Abena lowered herself onto the seat and straightened her back as per her usual protocol. Her eyes fell on the funny inscription sellotaped to the back of the toilet door which read ‘See how much fun you’re having?’. To cap the entertainment, the inscription had a big smiley emoji that looked straight into the eyes of the guest. It made her giggle. She giggled the more when she realized she was in her boyfriend’s family guest toilet, transfixed on an inscription and giggling to herself. She wondered why someone would go to the extent of creating amusement in a visitors toilet. But she quickly remembered what Fred often told her about his family: they are very funny people. Anytime he said that, she felt it was just a ploy to get her to meet his parents. Now she knew it wasn’t.

She froze for a second as she felt a big escape from her rectal cavity and into the toilet bowl almost simultaneously confirmed by a splash and an unmistakable sound. She hoped no one heard that from outside. The visitors toilet was not too far from the dining area where she, Fred and the rest of the family were having lunch. Or, was it dinner? Whatever it was, the situation was still too delicate to give herself bad press. Only God knew how she managed to quieten the farts that preceded the bowel emptying process. How she hoped Fred had taken her to the toilet in his room upstairs.

Things had escalated pretty quickly between her and her new found love. She had dumped the not-too-serious Akwesi and his useless love games! Beyond funny inscriptions, Fred’s parents were really nice people. The little time she spent with them at the table was great. They tried to make her feel at home, but, you know, meeting your prospective in-laws for the first time can be very disconcerting. You ought to act like this perfect angel. Sometimes you have to fake smiles and laugh like a psychopath, polish your diction and feign interest in whatever crap they’re talking about. It’s in such settings that words like really, wow, and yes please come to the party.

It was therefore crazy when in the middle of the meal, Abena felt a tug, by her stomach walls, which carried a simple message – Get up. Go to the toilet now!!!
“Really? Really? Here? These my house people do not disappoint. They are at it again”, she almost screamed in her mind.
“No, maybe I could hold on till I get out of here”,she tried to assure herself.
As if her digestive system heard her defiance, it tugged again, much harder than the first.
“Excuse me please, I’d like to use the wash room”, she requested in hesitation.
“Hesitating to leave the hosts by the dining table? What sort of bourgeoisie crap is that?”,she asked herself as she walked awkwardly to the toilet, Fred graciously leading the way. What if there was another guest who got up first to use the washroom? What on earth was she going to do? Abracadabra the poopoo out of her system?
“Sister puleeease!”, she reasoned with herself.

As she sat on the WC musing, straightening her back and thinking about Fred’s family, she felt another escape, smaller than the first. A wave of relief streamed through her body. She had tried to go to toilet that morning but her system just wasn’t ready to let go. It was when the car took off that she felt a ‘missed call’. She was already en route for dinner and so ignore she did. Unfortunately, her system started calling back once the dinner started.
“How long had she been in the toilet?”, she wondered.
“Five minutes”, her wristwatch indicated. It seemed like eternity to Abena. What would her in-laws be thinking? She got up and her eyes met the deposit in the WC. She looked away immediately, not in disgust but in fear. Come see the sizes! Who would have thought that this abomination could come out of such a pretty girl? Four times she pulled the toilet roll and four times she cleaned herself, tossing the defiled tissue into the toilet bowl each time. Her pantie went into position and so did her rather long skirt that had virtually swept half of Fred’s house.

She turned the lever on the cistern and as engineered, the water gushed into the toilet bowl in earnest. “Shhhuuuuuuuuu”,it sounded. She watched the t-rolls suctioned up. The smaller deposits disappeared as well, but the worry started when in the final seconds of the flushing, the very big deposit was still floating majestically in the bowl, looking as if it had not even heard that any material, big or small, paper or faecal was being flushed.
“What the heck!! Sweet Dearie”, she said under her breath. She needed to get back to the table urgently. She heard the water fill up. Vital seconds were going but she had to try the second time. She turned down the lever again; this time harder.

“Shhhhuuuuuuuuuu”,the water gushed again. She looked intensely at the excreta, as if to warn it to vanish this time around. The giant, defiant piece of faecal matter just rolled about like a chief dancing in a palanquin. The gush ended and it was back to square one.
“What one earth did I eat yesterday? Aluminium balls?”,she asked; anxious and perplexed.
She knew Fred and his parents had surely heard her flush twice and would be asking questions. Valuable seconds passed and the cistern filled again.
She tried the third time. The sh*t just wont go away.
Maybe this is a sign she thought. Maybe this was a sign that this relationship wasn’t going to work. Maybe this is a sign that she has to go back to Akwesi and his ‘hwiiiitim’ kind of toilet.
You know what hwiiitim is? The hwiiitim kinda toilet is the toilet facility that you squat over a hand dug pit and when you ‘release’, your deposits gleefully free fall into the bottom of the pit, without a parachute. Yeah, that’s what hwiitim is.

At this point, her sweat pores had opened freely. She was sweating like a pregnant fish blown onto the shore to be shown to the sun for three minutes and to be carried back away.
“God please don’t let this happen, pleeeease”,she prayed.
Just then she heard footsteps coming towards the toilet. Someone knocked.
“Is everything alright in there, Abbie?”, Fred asked.
She had to think fast. “Ermm, not too fine at the moment. Just ermm, a little vomiting, I think I might have eaten something unwholesome in the morning. Don’t worry. Its not that bad, I’ll be fine.”

Abena could have sworn that she heard the unflushable piece of toilet laugh at her lie. How she wished there was a scrubbing brush in the toilet to break it into smaller pieces. There was none, probably because that toilet was hardly used.
“Okay, but I’m here, please let me in so I could help. My mom’s a doctor, you know”,Fred said concerned.

Abena was desperate now. She would try for the last time. If it doesn’t work, she would ask Fred to bring her a bucket of water. The problem with the alternative is that everybody would begin to surmise whats up if they should see Fred carry a bucket of water to the visitors washroom.
She flushed again, it didn’t work and she asked Fred for a bucketful of H2O. With anger and showing the middle finger to the defiant piece of sh*t, she emptied the bucket into the toilet bowl. Everything in the bowl rose up turbulently and even more turbulently disappeared.
“Some sh*t just wont go away till you do something drastic”,she thought, sighing heavily.

YOU CALLED HER A WITCH – a mothers day special

YOU CALLED HER A WITCH- a mothers day special
Jonathan Mensah- February, 2012
(Edited May,2018)

Photo credit: Foreverblackeffusion

You know you actually made her feet swell?
You made the sweetest things taste like a piece of hell in her mouth.
You made her sleep like a log because it was hard for her to sleep in the position she wanted.
Yet, you called her a witch.

I was there when the nurses told her to shut up and that she wasn’t the first to give birth and definitely won’t be the last.
She almost slipped that day at the hospital, guess where she held first? She held her protruding belly to keep you safe. I don’t want to go to the delivery room. Her screams of pain are still too vivid in my memory. O I shudder to even think about it.
All these, but you still called her a witch.

Do you know how many parties she missed?
Do you know how many invitations she turned down because her shoes just won’t fit?
She missed her best friend’s wedding because of you and your killer kicks.
You made her once firm breasts fall like the 6:30!
Just because of your insatiable appetite for breast milk-you were always thirsty.
You competed with your dad for the mammary glands and you won.
The poor man had to make do with droopy flaps the rest of his life.
Still, you had the guts to call her a witch?

Do you know how many sleepless nights she had?
How many times she prayed when you were taken ill?
Yet all you did was to cry and pee and poo and cry and pee and poo and cry some more, pee a lot more and poo even more.
It got to a time she couldn’t tell the difference between your pee and your poo; she just cleaned you with a heart as soft as silk.
I still cannot believe you called her a witch.

She shielded you from your dad’s anger.
She pleaded on your behalf when you got into trouble at school. Do you remember when that bully tried to hit you? She rose to your defense like a lioness protecting her cub. The bully never touched you anymore. He ran at the mere sight of you. It was your mother that did it.
Yet, you opened that mouth of yours to call her a witch.

You swore her food was the tastiest. You swore her drinks were the most refreshing.
You swore her hugs were the tightest. You swore her smiles were the truest.
When you saw her, you saw discipline, you saw virtue, and you saw hardwork.
So what changed?
Is it the wrinkles that have grown on her face and skin?
Or the few teeth she has lost that scare you?
Or is it the fact that she cannot stand straight anymore?
Maybe her eyes look gloomy now, like they have no life in them but trust me when I say the gloom in her eyes hasn’t caused her to change the way she sees you.
She still sees you as her precious baby.

Of course she now acts a bit strange.
She cannot remember her own name very well, how much more yours?
However, she’s still the same woman who smiled and said, “I have a child. I have a baby. Look, here’s my baby!”
She’s still that same woman.

Maybe today you see her differently but her love for you is everlasting.
Even when you threw her out of your house, the love never changed.
Even when you dodged her at school because you were ashamed of her dressing, she still loved you.
Even when you refused to eat her food because you were in a hurry, she was sad but her love did not cease.

You called her a witch. You regret it but too bad you realized it when she was lying in a casket!

“David,I’m pregnant”-Bathsheba (Short drama)

When Bathsheba told David she was pregnant. (A short drama)

David: You are such a deceitful treat. You planned this all along, didn’t you? You’re trying to hold me in your entangling mist. I am a king and that makes me a target. How can you get pregnant so fast? How do you convince me that it’s not your kind of ploy?

Bathsheba: O David my king. You accuse me wrongly. How and why would I lie that your baby has held up my monthly bleeding? Have you forgotten the day I begged that you don’t enter my loins? That you don’t bring disgrace to me and to Uriah my husband and your faithful warrior? While he was out there in the wild, defending your territory, you were here, plundering his.

David: I plundered nothing! It was a mistake! This should not have happened. What doubt doesn’t linger in my mind, that your claim is false? And that this child doesn’t belong to someone else?

Bathsheba: Insult me not my king! My pain is already immense. I am crushing already under this pain and guilt I’m suffering. You can accuse me of everything but not of this. It is yours my king and I know in your heart, you know it too.

David: It is not!

Bathsheba: The God of Israel who you worship bears me witness. I could swear on this very throne you so comfortably sit on. I could swear on the day you slew the giant on the battlefield as a boy. My king, this child I carry, is your own flesh and blood. My only mistake was to bath at that hour you were walking on the roof of your palace. I guess it is my curse. It is my very name- Bath-sheba. My name is my curse. My beauty is my curse. The suppleness of the mountains and valleys and ranges of my body twisted your senses and led you on. But..but…remember when you sent for me, I had no hand in it. When I walked into your palace, I had no hand in it. When you led me to your bed, I tried to tell you to stop. When you started undressing me and started…..

David: Enough! Please don’t remind me. I know very well what happened that day. Gosh! What have I become? I led my sheep through the wilderness and not one of them was hurt
Now look at me-i leave my sheep, my soldiers at the mercy of whichever-ites we are fighting now. Which -ites are we fighting now sef? Is it the Amalekites or Jebusites? I cannot even tell. Now I have another problem on my hands. I have to do something.

Bathsheba: My lord, whatever you do (kneels), let no harm come to me your servant and my unborn child I plead. I pray you, let not my name be disgraced. Let me not be used as a ‘hit and run’ statistic.

David: What is a hit and run?

Bathsheba: My king, you do not understand but those reading do. If you know you know.

David: Listen woman, get up. Go home. There is always a way. I remember the day the bear came for my lamb, I found a way to get it back. I am King! I would find a way. I would find a way. Go home, I know what to do.