ECG chronicles

The black outs are normal now,we even follow a schedule. ECG is the unifying factor in Ghana now; When the lights go off, both the poor and rich shout OOOO, when they come back on, both the young and old shout YEAH!! ECG is that childhood bully who took your lunch money and in case you were never bullied, ECG is that hungry macho man who crosses you in the waakye queue and buys for his whole family (before I go on, let me share this, never complain when a macho man crosses you in a waakye queue, 2 things not to joke with, a hungry man and a macho man. I have done my part).

Back to ECG, We play the blame game when the lights go off;the president this, the president that. We forget he has appointed people to work and ensure we have lights, yes, the president isn’t the ECG boss(surprised?). One morning, I received a message from my friend, a first class graduate from business school who said, “Let’s go and be sweepers at ECG” O_0 then she mentioned how much a clerk there earned: GHC 2100, they earn 21 million old Ghana cedis (I almost sent my CV there) so you can imagine how much a boss there is earning, meaning they are being paid well, yet… Our lights aren’t assured. Have I talked about how they are planning to increase our bills by 200% ? When its the big companies who most of the time don’t pay their bills?

The blame game isn’t working, let’s try another method. Have we considered another source of electricity apart from the one we have? We always complain every time the lights go off ( Don’t you get tired?) We have so much sunlight and it scorches more nowadays (maybe God is bringing it to our attention), people have started selling solar panels but apart from solar, what else? There are a lot of things around we could convert to electricity. We should start thinking about different and cheaper ways to generate electricity (I hate generators because of the noise,and cost of fuel). I think that would be more beneficial. When I get one, I would just call ECG and tell them to come for their cables. Till then, let’s remain innovative, a solution is always close by.

ECG can’t put the lights off at the end of your tunnel,
ME.

The Question- The System

An organisation I am a part of(NSBE-National Society of Black Engineers) organised an event where we went to secondary schools to talk to science students about science and engineering courses they could pursue in the university. After the talk, it was question time then they asked” If we have scientists and engineers coming from the university every year, why does government and other companies employ foreigners to undertake projects, because we should be qualified enough to do most of the work ourselves. Some also said they know Chinese children build gadgets. We said we have Civil engineers but its mostly white men who build our roads. Why?”

Their questions got me thinking, but I gave them the most obvious answers; Ghana doesn’t have the resources like machines and equipment to undertake such projects.We still buy the equipment from the foreigners. So its cheaper like that and when they come, they employ us. It was a lame answer but I got away with it, but the question troubled me because I was about to graduate(finally) and I for once looked at life after school, and got scared.

I’m not scared because we will not get jobs, my fear is this, I’ve seen very intelligent students with brilliant ideas that would change the nation, but what will happen to them after school? They will get sucked in by the SYSTEM. The system that doesn’t allow graduates to think, they just do. Some will travel outside to seek higher education, some will just join these inefficient Ghana something something companies, get brainwashed and made to believe their quota is to get used to the system and live in it. After, they will buy a house, a car, get married, give birth and wait for retirement. That’s the end of the education.

I will limit myself to sciences and engineering. Most of these engineering firms and telcos import their software and are taught how the system works, by a year, they would be experts in the system then all innovation is killed. Scientists? lol the most prominent one I know in Ghana is Prof Allotey. What happened to the others? Some became tellers, businessmen etc. What about starting something? Entrepreneurship? Go to linked in and check, you will see Entrepreneurs who are working for people. Honestly, I think the term Entrepreneurship has been abused in Ghana, that is another article.

Maybe the reason why we employ foreigners is because we aren’t well taught, we are mostly taught to use and maintain what the foreigners have built. Innovation and brainstorming is not encouraged, after all, do you know more than your lecturer? What about the government buying the equipment so the locals here can use? Do we always have to import everything, even mental work?

Well, we can change this. We must. The SYSTEM isn’t good enough and we must not allow the younger generation to suffer what we suffer, that would be wickedness. We can build a better Ghana by restructuring our educational system.

My graduation speech is very simple: I thank God, I thank my parents, and thanks to all the passco!! Hasta La Vista, so long and thanks for all the fish. May the Force be with us all…

#233Entrepreneurs – The Beads Jewelry Maker

So I’m starting a new category where I talk about young Ghanaian entrepreneurs and change makers. There are plenty young people out there not waiting for others to do stuff for them, but who are creating their own opportunities.

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I’ll start with someone who makes jewelry from beads, Naa Adjeley Mensah of “adjeley”. I follow her on Instagram and I saw some beautiful jewelry made from beads. I thought she was advertising for someone but I later found out she makes and sells them herself. I was impressed, not only by the beads and designs but the fact that she is venturing into a new field, doing what she is passionate about which has a potential of making money, all as a university student. Our educational system doesn’t really encourage activities which are not book oriented.

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She started making beads in Jhs 1 and she sold her first jewelry in Jhs 1 too. She learnt how to make them on her own, she researches, watches videos and reads books, she didn’t really get an expert to learn from on the job. Design ideas come to her and she figures out how to make them. She didn’t end there, she went ahead to brand herself, everyone wants to be associated with something trustworthy and branding helps with that. In her experience so far, she has had good days and bad days but she is happy knowing that  people know about her and her jewelry. And yes, she is considering starting her own business after school. One important thing she has learnt is that, once something is beautiful, people will get interested and some would buy it.
I won’t say she is the only jewelry maker in Ghana, but she is doing something she loves and I think instead of the youth having the “get rich quick” attitude, they should have the “I love my job” attitude . The future is bright. Watch out for adjeley designs, made with love…

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Was woman made to be enslaved?

Strange question, but yes, it has popped up in my thought train a thousand times and more. I look at society and wonder what went wrong. Every day we hear of one rape situation here, domestic violence here, broken heart leading to insanity there, single parenting, cheating in marriage etc.

I recently saw a quote, “Men are supposed to respect women, but women are supposed to give man something to respect”, and I was like hey, even the fact that you stayed in a woman for 9 months gives you a reason to respect her or? Well not everyone thinks that way. But right now, I want to rest the man oppressing woman talk for just this post, I want to talk about another. “Women,give man something to respect”, I encountered, actively and passively some situations in my university. First, A guy slapping and beating his GIRLFRIEND, his reason was, the girl wasn’t showing him respect. The guy practically dragged her back to his room and she was apologizing amidst tears. Second one, a girl whose boyfriend has given her a set of rules, who she can talk to and who she can’t talk to. She goes to do his housekeeping and in the case she doesn’t clean well, the guy gets angry and she apologizes for not doing the “work” well, he can decide not to talk to her and she gets all upset and worried and cries for days even to the extent of not attending classes. Third one, this guy who emotionally abuses his girlfriend, always calling her nasty names, leaving her sad and depressed, and she is still with him, she once caught him having sex with another girl, she got angry, packed her stuff from his room and left, a few days later she went to apologize to the guy for reacting like that. Please, the girls I’m talking about here are university girls, they all wrote WASSCE and they are offering courses like engineering, sciences, social sciences, etc.

You might be saying, “Ah these girls are stupid, why don’t they just leave the guys”. There is this audio clip where a girl asks her boyfriend for GhC5000 for a phone and other stuff and the guy goes like “Herh!! The number you are calling is either switched off or out of coverage area”.

The question I’m asking here is, we as women, are we giving men something to respect? Because I honestly don’t see any self respecting woman taking that kind of abuse and staying. Do we even know our worth as women or we are just following the woman empowerment- feminism train? Do we even understand it? It’s different when men disrespect you for being a woman, and it’s different when we allow ourselves to be disrespected by man all in the name of love. Woman was not meant to be dependent on man, in fact, unless you are a child or handicapped (Even they don’t like being dependent), you have absolutely no right to be totally and completely dependent on another human being. Women, let’s make all those who died fighting for us to get the right to speak, proud. We have found our voices, let’s not enslave ourselves again.

An empowered me,

Anonymous233

Content is king

I borrowed this title from the upcoming #BlogCamp13 event which happens this Saturday 23rd March, 2013. I was chatting with a friend, talking about my childhood and it occurred to me that content really matters. Blogging is really simple, register with either wordpress or blogger or join twitter and you are a blogger but people stopped blogging because they said it was difficult maintaining a blog and having to deal with the writer’s block disease.

Anyone can write, but not everyone can write well.The contents of the blog or whatever we are reading really matters. Children are naturally curious and reading answers most of their questions, now let’s say we get a child to read, next question is what is he/she reading? This is where content comes in, reading changes lives (I know this) and this makes writers very important people eg. Enid Blyton. Is the child reading quality, life changing English or terrible English(I’ve seen some that confused me)? Their absorbent minds will take everything in, so imagine your child learning all that horrible English we see in books or hear on tv or even read on twitter. It was after I started blogging that I really began to appreciate English as a course. When a person wants to offer English as a course in the University, people can ask silly questions like “What work will you do after school?”, “Do you want to be a teacher?”, The worst I heard was “Ah, did you fail your WASSCE?”. I realized Ghanaians in general, don’t know the effect reading and writing has on our lives. No wonder university students can write and speak English that would send shivers down your spine, and they usually do this using LAFA. -__-

But its great to know there are Ghanaians who still believe in reading and writing and are trying to promote it(They aren’t only talking). This is what we need as a nation, its good to know that slowly but surely books and articles are going to be written with quality content that would shape the future of the nation and change the negative mentality of Ghanaians.

An optimistic me,
Anonymous233

My take on Ghanaian software developers and hype

Software is supposed to solve problems and who better to develop an app to solve a problem in Ghana than a Ghanaian? Its normal when we feel proud that a fellow Ghanaian and African is developing apps, but now, all it takes is for someone to create an app and that person would be hailed as the next Bill Gates, like we have had over 1000 Bill Gates in the space of a year(true talk). Software development in Ghana is becoming like our music industry; from underground to 1 hit song then kaboom! vanish. This is not helping our IT “industry” at all. I am not saying there aren’t good developers; there are and I know a lot and most of them are low key, not basking in the temporary glory of one app that honestly does nothing. Like someone trying to build a Facebook for Ghana, why bother? So is it like we are going to have a Ghanaian version of every app?

Software development takes time, its not a popularity contest. If you want to be as popular as Mark Z then you should read about him, he started Facebook a long time but we heard about it when it became stable. Software has an interesting way of embarrassing people, it might work well with 100 users but once it gets to 1000 or more users, it might crash. Start ups are now the movers and shakers of the IT industry worldwide and as a country, we aren’t far behind, we have a lot of promising Start ups and if they get the RIGHT AMOUNT of hype, it increases our credibility.Start ups are good, not all Start ups will succeed, its normal. We don’t want a situation where no one will trust start ups from Ghana because we hyped every kind of start up!!

We need software products and developers who can compete globally not local champions who get unnecessary hype just by compiling code. When I hear those in the developed world commending us for some apps we develop, I feel more insulted than proud. Its a patronizing attitude, like “wow, people from Africa too can program? they tried, at least they can run “hello world””. When will we also create stuff that will dominate like Facebook, twitter, instagram etc? Or even develop our apps targeted specifically for Ghana but others will see and want to use elsewhere? Apps that solve problems locally but can compete globally? Its a global village after all.

I am not saying software developers should not be given attention, I am saying the hype and recognition should not be the target, the hype should be for the problem the app is solving. How many of us know Herman Chinery-Hesse of Soft tribe? Hype should be given to functionality. Software developer isn’t a celebrity status.

An IT me,
Anonymous233

My 2012 in review

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A review of my 2012, interesting things that happened not everything and I might have forgotten some. I’ll just summarize it, not in chronological order, just how it randomly comes to mind. I started this blog in April 2012 and so far, so good.

1. The AFCON 2012. I’m mentioning it not because Zambia won but because our best striker missed a crucial penalty (again) then Zambia scored and went ahead to win the AFCON.  After we lost, our Serbian coach was asked to give us reasons why we lost (as if we didn’t know) and he added insult to injury by coming up with a new theory; the players were using black magic on themselves. We all know black magic/African electronics and football but if we are paying that huge amount of money, give us a better excuse. Anyway he was sacked and replaced with a fellow black man who would understand the black magic stuff, hopefully.

2. The Judgement Debt saga starring Alfred Woyome and his Woyometic terms. Then everyone started claiming judgement debts, it was a really big issue. I don’t know if it has been resolved but clearly it didn’t have an effect on Ghanaians during the elections.

3. The Olympics 2012. Our athletes were supposed to make us proud by disappointing us and they did it, wonderfully too! Amazing how an athlete would be diagnosed with a kidney problem a day before her events would begin. The English showed us how opening and closing ceremonies are supposed to be done (Those people are just so cool).

5. The bird that came from the sky to run into a certain trotro on a rainy night. No one in the trotro survived the accident. Its surprising how plane would come and crush crash into a trotro. At least it didn’t hit one of the skyscrapers in Accra. A sad ending to a rainy day.

6. The Azonto reign continued, to be a musician in Ghana now, all you need is the Azonto tune, say a few words and you are there. People just want to dance, you can try it. As I always say, we will know the true musicians after the Azonto season is over. Till then, its Azonto fiesta forever!!

7. How can I forget DKB? To DKB someone: To use your left hand to slap someone till the person loses his/her bearings. It happened in the Big Brother Africa house, when our favorite comedian “funnily” slapped a lady who just wanted to see his “wanlov”.  Eazzy babe too  left her boyfriend in the house because the supply of Brazilian hair wasn’t enough for her, this worried him to the extent that he went on a “I won’t wash my boxers again” strike.

8. Yes, the entertainment scene has made me remember the BET cypher where our beloved Sarkodie went to say he was the missing ingredient in the meal, the irish cream. And we still wonder why the whites think Africa isn’t developed. How would they think we are developed when they think we use irish cream to cook? But on the good side, it was a great year for the best rapper in Ghana, he won many awards and got a verified twitter account. Well done.

9. It’s strange how we made it to the end of the year because the year was supposed to end twice. In May and in December, both of them swerved us. Maybe in a parallel universe somewhere, the world has actually ended so let’s not make fun of it. ok?

10. Then the Melcom building collapsed, another sad event. A building that was up for less than a year came tumbling down like a poorly arranged castle of cards. As usual, everyone wanted to be there and report the event, instead of allowing the police to do their work, they came to stand around watching, with the various poses of putting their hands on their heads and crying and screaming and taking pictures. But some lives were saved, and for that we thank God. Another melcom shop caught fire in swedru too. Hmmm

11. The politican/comedian/pharmacist Ayariga, the man who trended on twitter. He made the IEA presidential debate worth watching. I honestly don’t remember what was said there, all I know is Ayariga dropped some serious lines at the debate. My favorite was his thoughts about corruption “You know free shs is not possible yet you say you will implement free shs, that is corruption”. He had a good aim, to become president of Ghana but he lost terribly, better luck next time? Let’s hope so.

12. Elections 2012 was a major event in the country,same as the other elections that have happened. A lot of things happened from the campaign period to the voting and the turn out recorded was high. At the end of the day, the “peaceful” election turned someway and has become a court issue but let’s hope peace will prevail.

13. Finally, For the first time in this republic, the sitting president died. It had been rumored many times that he was dead, but the news on that fateful Tuesday was real and sad. There was a peaceful movement from then on and his vice took over. Prof. John Fiifi Atta Mills rest in peace because you were a man of peace. We also lost a former vice president Alhaji Aliu Mahama. RIP to all the Ghanaians who lost their lives in the year 2012.

God bless Ghana, and I pray 2013 would be better than 2012.

A patriotic me,
Anonymous233

ps. This year, I am moving to a new level.