Photo: Chrisanthus Macaulay celebrates his second goal against Haiti. He's got 5 goals now making him the leading scorer in the tournament. Courtesy Fifa.com
Sorry I haven't been around for a while. I'm quite busy these days and can't find time to write. It's a quiet Saturday here in Accra and I'm just looking to have it go pretty cool. Earlier today, the Golden Eaglets pummeled Haiti 4-1 in Korea and I enjoyed every little bit of the action. Except the first five minutes when I was in the bath after having done some running and weight training.
Sure I gotta stay in shape for my modelling prospects.
I hope the Eaglets and the Starlets can go all the way to the finals and only God knows who I'll be supporting when that time comes. My loyalty will be divided between both teams I tell you. Having met the Ghanaian boys shortly before they traveled to Asia, I must say I have grown close to them and just love their humility. I hope they do better after the disastrous defeat to Germany.
Here's wishing you a great weekend and hopefully next week I'll do better by putting more photos and even videos on here for your viewing pleasure.
**This is my latest photo. It was taken this morning by my colleague Mudirat.
Bonne anniversaire did I hear you say? Thank you. My birthday came early this year. I almost forgot about it until I got an early email from a university classmate yesterday evening just as I was leaving the office. Wakeel, my classmate, had sent me an email from Abuja letting me know that he appreciated my own message on his birthday last week. He in turn wrote about how we August-born folks are meant to be leaders. Great talk I must say. I've always believed that Leos are born leaders and all.
Anyway that's by the way. My first text message was from my lil' bro Lawale and I got it around 11:05 pm. It was already after midnight in Nigeria so he thought I was already in my new year.
Next was a call from Akua at about midnight. And then more SMSs from Lagos. My sisters all sent congratulatory messages and then my Mom called at about 5 a.m to pour some words of heavy prayers on me. It was refreshing getting such heavy words. Then Pamela sent a message.
And then I got a message around 6:30a.m from Sekalia who asked me to turn on the radio and listen to Atlantis FM. Immediately afterwards, the presenter, Rudy Kwakye's voice, boomed out my name in a thick Ghanaian pronunciation that if I had not been alerted, I wouldn't have believed it was me he was referring to. Anyway it was a first for me, getting congratulated on the radio and getting a song dedicated to me. I didn't get the title anyway as it was one old school song which I didn't really dig.
But it's been fun having a few friends call me. Some people who I assumed would have forgotten about me even sent messages and later called me. If I was a party person I would have said we would be hitting the dance floors tonight. But seeing that I'm tired and a little broke, I'll just sit in my house and watch TV tonight. Who knows what tomorrow will bring?
But I got myself a list of things to do before I turn 28. Ten things I want to achieve when I look back next year. I'm going to write it here for you to read so you can follow up on it. And make sure you ask me about it next August.
1. Get a Masters degree 2. Get a qualification in Broadcast Journalism 3. Host my own radio show 4. Get a job with CNN as a reporter (would like to be side kicks with Christiane Amanpour or Richard Quest. I just respect them for their professionalism) 5. Write a best selling book 6. Travel around the country by road (more like on bicycle or motorbike for more adventure) and write about it. "The Adventures of Sinbad in the land of the Twis" 7. Become a top male model. 8. Become an authority on making the impossible possible. 9. Buy my own professional camera equipment. 10. Think about getting married.
Now that's a long list and I bet I can do them all before my next birthday if I set my mind to it. Well, just to lighten things up, I saw this taxi today with this legend on it: What is written is written, only not in those same words.
On the Motorway link between Accra and Tema at a small village called Agyingona lies many hectares of beautiful green fields dedicated to lovely rows of onion plants. A set of brothers from Bawku in the Northern Region have found it an arable piece of land to cultivate lovely onions.
When Abubakar Mohammed discovered the piece of land a year ago, it was a bushy plot that was always giving the local authorities a hectic time to trim. The men from the Metropolitan office were planting tree seedlings at the site when he approached them about helping to clear the bush while also growing some plants for subsistence.
“I asked if I could use the place for farming and they said yes”, says husband and father of three Abubakar. Since last year, he has cultivated maize and peppers and is about reaping his onions this year. What began on a small plot has been extended to over one hectare of luscious green onion bulbs that would be ready for the market in late August.
Abubakar has brought in more hands to assist him in his growing venture. His younger brother Mumuni and another friend Muhammed Yakubu have all come from Bawku to help cultivate the many rows of onion bulbs on the farm.
As they sit under a small tree to have a lunch of mashed beans and rice in palm oil under the sweltering heat, Abubakar narrates his interesting family history. He and his brother had never been to school because their father never believed in education. They had all been sent to the farm in Bawku at an early age like many northern kids. He had worked hard at his farm and came visiting his brother in Accra where he fell in love with the city. He would then bring his farm produce all the way from Bawku to the markets in Accra, a process that meant he lost a large quantity of the perishable goods on the long journey.
But now he can easily ferry his goods to the market where he is assured of good profit due to his proximity to Accra. He hopes to harvest over a hundred sacks of onions this year and sell them for between c350,000 and c500,000 depending on the forces of demand and supply.
Onion bulbs grow beneath the soil and take three months to mature. They are of the family Alliaceae and are generally used as spices and as vegetables. China is the largest producer of onions as it had 19,793 tonnes in 2005 (FAO figures).
The plant does suffer from a number of plant diseases with leaf variegation one of the major problems farmers in Accra are experiencing. The leaves of the onion plant become yellowish with longitudinal segments. This disease makes the plant’s bulb not to grow big.
“We need government’s help to give us chemicals that we will use in treating our farm”, Abubakar says.
“We also need more land so that we can expand. If they can give us more land we will be happy”.
The onion farmers of Accra have shown dedication to duty and one can be sure they will prove themselves better if given the necessary resources. They really seem to know their onions.
It's the middle of the week and things have been going so so. Attended a conference for entrepreneurs yesterday at the National Theatre where Kweku Sintim-Misa, Chinery-Hesse and Dr. Mensa Otabil spoke on entrepreneurial dedication in an information-based society.
Don't we hear it all the time? My high point of the day was getting the venue wrong and having to go on the back of a free trip off a photographer who saw me carrying my own camera. I had taken a taxi with my last dough to the Conference Centre only to find that I had gotten wrong info. The photographer colleague then helped me across to the ok venue. Thats what I call trade benefits.
My embarrassment was just veiled under a veneer of confidence. Deep inside I was seething. How can one spend his last kish and still go the wrong way? Beats me.
Will be going back there today as I got a call by the organisers to come handle their photo shoot.
Been broke this week, this should bring a little respite...
As the Premiership returns this weekend, it brings with it plenty of excitement and nail biting suspense. As a Gunner, it is only natural that I wish Arsenal triumph. But there will be trying times in the next ten months.
I want to dedicate this to the greatest fan in the world, my friend Titi Ademola. We are on opposing sides but I acknowledge her passion for her team. Back in June, the Chelsea team was in Ghana to support some charities. Titi is so enthusiastic about her team that she made her way to the airport to catch a glimpse of the team on their arrival at the airport. Even though she isn't a journalist (she's a fasion designer), she found her way among the press corps into the VIP lounge just to get to meet her favourite players.
That process didn't work so she went to the press conference the next day. Most unaccredited journos didn't gain entrance but my friend Titi did. Such is her passion for football that she arrived earlier than usual to claim a seat. At the end of the day, she got a worthy photo time with Chelsea coach Jose 'the special one' Mourinho. What more can one say? She is the dame!
During the coming season, our interests will clash a couple of times as our teams play against one another but after the game we would share the usual banter. Such is the life of great fans.
Soccer makes Saturdays worth looking forward to again. Therefore I say, Let the games begin!
Photo: The lure of the open road consumes the lonely traveler. Courtesy www.horizonsunlimited.com
Yeah, so I did it. I seem to be hooked on the message of popular consumer brands these days. After my Guinness Greatness write up last week, I woke up on Saturday morning and felt like I could do something exciting with my free day which doesn’t come too often. I decided to take my usual walk around town, only this time a little bit farther.
I jumped into my China-made Tommys (seeing these days China gets all the knocks) and bolted out of the house with no definite destination in mind. On getting to the Tetteh Quarshie Interchange I suddenly felt the urge to run to Tema! Tema is a town almost 30 km from Accra. In my mind I never knew how I could achieve that feat. Something told me just do it and I started jogging as I made my way past Game and then Action Chapel. As I approached Action Chapel on the Motorway, I suddenly felt my throat dry up, it was the first sign of dehydration.
After Kelly Rowland’s collapse on stage in Lagos 2 weeks back as a result of dehydration, I decided it wasn’t wise to go on without making plans for liquid so I stopped at the Action Chapel to see if I could find a shop to buy bottled water. I had observed a few worshipers emerging out of the building obviously from early morning prayers so I thought there might be a few shops open that early. As I walked down the slope to the premises, I met a young man who politely informed me that the shops had not yet opened for business but that I could get water from a school on the other side of the Motorway.
It seemed like a good advice until I got back onto the Motorway only to realize that on the opposite was a huge forest. What to do? I couldn’t go further without water nor did I want to return home without having achieved my aim of getting to Tema. Then I saw a bus slow down not too far from me to drop off a female passenger so I got in it and headed for Tema. I figured if I got to Tema and bought water I could then make my way back to Accra on foot.
On alighting at Tema, I quickly searched for a shop to buy a bottle of water and some biscuit. Luckily, I had taken some money with me. I guzzled the liquid like someone who had been lost in the desert for days until saturation. Afterwards, it was all go as I found my way back to the Motorway and began my return journey to Accra, this time with a bottle of water in hand and a pack of biscuit in my pocket.
It looked daunting at first but something kept telling me that I could do it. I started jogging and after a while I stopped to rest by walking and would later break into jogging again. That process offered me an opportunity to see at close range some of the very interesting sights by the roadside. Things one never takes notice of while in the comfort of a car.
I saw the rolling hills and the undulating plains that make Africa so beautiful to the eyes. I also saw a couple of homeless people sleeping under the shelter of the bridge. They wrapped themselves up in thick polyester sacks to protect themselves from the night’s biting cold. On the hilly part of the bridge were a herd of cattle. They were feeding on grass while their minder stood close by wielding the big stick at the erring ones.
I noticed a church with strange lettering on the other side of the Motorway. The letters looked like Korean. But how would I know, most Oriental languages are written in like manner. I made a mental note to check it out sometime.
I kept on jogging and after about five kilometres I felt my legs no longer able to take it so I stopped to take a rest beside a milestone. It was Kilometre 19 on the road to Accra. I had done more than ten kilometres. At that moment, several scenes of my life flashed across my mind. I thought of the past, the present and what the future holds. I was pretty tired and in such a state, gloomy thoughts could really creep up on one. But I saw the bright side of things. I saw the reports that I’m going to be filing, I saw the books I’m yet to begin, the people I’m yet to meet, the woman of my dreams, the beautiful children we’re going to have; I saw this moment that I’m going to be writing this account and I said to myself, “You can’t give up now, what story will you tell?”
I picked myself up, like all great people have done all through the centuries and dusted myself up and returned to my journey. Slowly and painfully, I trekked the long road from Tema to Accra. Thank God that the sun hid itself behind the clouds for most of that morning. I passed brooks and springs, crossed bridges and was overtaken by many a moving vehicle all speeding away to the city.
Then it occurred to me, life’s journey is a lone road. We might be lucky sometimes to get a companion that would make it with us but as much as possible we do it on our own. The measure of each man is to make life’s journey as bravely as they only can for the shoes will hurt several times and the strength will fail, but we need to always stop and rest to regain energy and plod on because nobody ever received a prize for quitting.
I trudged on until my pace slowed down to a snail’s. And suddenly out of nowhere, I saw a billboard over a hill which led me to think that Accra was just on the other side of the hill. My hopes rose and I quickened my almost dead pace only to get to the top of the hill and realise it was a mirage. I sat down on a concrete slab to rest my aching feet. I had just taken my last drop of water from the bottle and was tempted to hail down cars to ferry me back home. I did hail them but none stopped to carry a weary stranger in the middle of nowhere. So I continued determined to make it on my own.
And just then I saw a sign post which read “End of the Motorway”. It was such a huge relief that broke over me. I screamed “Yeah, I’ve done it” with my parched mouth. Such personal fulfillment that no words can explain filled me up. I felt nothing can take away this experience from me, ever. When I tell people about it I’m told that it was a crazy idea.
“What if something had happened to you? Who would have helped you?”
Well life belongs to only the crazy. You need to be crazy to achieve anything in this world. The lure of the open road is so huge in me now. I can’t wait for Saturday to start another trek. I am all healed up now and this time I’m going to walk to and fro Tema. Consequently, I’m thinking of trekking Ghana. Something in my mind keeps bringing back the Nike pay off line: Just do it, it says. Sure I’m crazy enough to think it can be done.
My elder sister Yetunde was safely delivered of a baby girl in Jos, Nigeria yesterday. It's her second baby. Her husband David is presently in Burundi working as a medic in a tecnical aid corp team. He's been gone for three or four months now.
The news comes as my colleague in the office also died today.
While some rejoice some cry.
Started reading Brian Tracy's Many Miles To Go last week. I've read a couple of Tracy's books in the past and I think this is good. I hope I can finish it soon. I never seem to finish all the books that I buy. Is it just me or does it happen to everyboy? I don't know.
My colleague Edem Cudjoe died suddenly this morning. He had not reported ill so it's kinda very strange to hear such news.
There had been rumours of his passing but we just dismissed it as lies "from the pits of hell" but the news has just been broken by the family and everyone in the office has suddenly grown quiet.
We had thought Edem didn't want to pick his call maybe he didn't want to come to the office or something... I had even sent him a text jokingly. It read
"Hey Edem heard you're dead is it true? Come on send God a shout out 4 me. Better get ur butt in d office now I got pages for you to lay".
See Edem was on attachment with us as a graphic designer and he was always eager to help out with the work. he would always come up to me in a funny swagger because he loved to wear baggy jeans as a hip hop adherent. He would say "Mr Lolade when are you giving me your sports stories to lay?"
I don't only write sports but he was very cool with my sports pages and even when I lazy he'd remind me about it.
"Okay Mr Lolade I'll help you lay your sports pages tomorrow" and I'll go like okay just nodding my head but not liking the intrusion.
I still don't know whether to believe it. I feel he's gonna come back tomorrow and ask for my sports pages. I need to prepare them before he returns. Sure I think he's gonna come back. He must surely come back.
Hey man it's too early to go. I can't believe it. He was so full of life. He lived rap music and with every breath he lived it. He was such a good man.
Now see how you're making all of us cry. Don't do this man. No not now.
What can one say? This Monday is not like any I've experienced in a long time. All my bones are aching and I was just so tired in the office and felt like sleeping there on the table. But you've gotta respect institutions.
The office is not a sleeping place. Anyway I wasn't the only one as many other folks experienced fatigue too. I wonder what the cause is.
Hope this week doesn't go like Monday as I can't afford to laze around.
American gospel singer Donnie McClurkin headlined the Joseph Project Concert held in Accra on the night of August 4 at the Independence Square in Accra. It was one beautiful event where the spirit of God moved. It was the final lap of the Joseph Project/Emancipation Day/PANAFEST 2007 celebrations.
DOnnie was preceded by Princess Ifeoma, Alabaster Box, Sherwin Gardner and Dilys Sellah. Sherwin Gardner's act was one very energetic performance that sent the whole crowd up into Caribbean praise. I saw former minister Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey and his daughter (don't know her name) grooving to his rock/ragga gospel music.
Dilys Sellah also wowed the crowd with her vocals. Man that lady has got a-s-s-e-t-s.
But it was Donnie that the crowd waited to see and he didn't disappoint them. They suged forward to the stage when he asked why a huge gap had been created between him and the audience. One could see tears of joys falling down some faces as people spoke in tongues. An American photographer beside me also burst out in tongues and I was like hmmm 'let the spirit come down on us all'.
Left the event before it finished as I had to get my head deserved rest after one full week of traveling up and down Ghana, first it was Prampram, then Assin Manso and then Cape Coast(Elmina).
New entrant MTN brought comedy kings Julius Agwu, Basketmouth, I Go Dye and Kojo (UK) to Accra for a beautiful night of laffs last Friday at the National Theatre in Accra. It was one hilarious evening of back breaking laughter as only the dead did not laugh.
After the show I got a couple of photos with the guys and Saturday morning was with them at Erata Hotel where I got interviews with the three Nigerians as my colleague had already done one with Kojo earlier in the week.
Funny how comedy has become a huge money spinning activity for these guys and the new found fame gets all the girls crooning over them. Countless number of girls came back stage to ask them out to a party and I was like hmmmmm...I go like o
Graduate of University of Lagos and Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife. Chief Editor, Goal.com Nigeria edition. Former Online Editor and West African Correspondent based in Ghana for TELL Magazine, Lagos. Alumnus International Institute of Journalism (INWENT), Berlin; Reuters Foundation and Agence France Presse (AFP) Foundation. Photographs published in USAToday, BBC Focus on Africa magazine, AllAfrica.com, The Guardian, ThisDay, The Punch, Showbiz and Daily Graphic (Ghana). Photos exhibited in Krakow, Poland. Nominee Journalist of the year at The Future Awards, Nigeria 2010.