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Showing posts from August, 2009

The GM TakeOver: Why Ghanaians Won't Be Chewing on Their Chicken Bones

I said I was gonna take a break from writing on development stuff for a while, and technically I have. But this is highly important, and people need to be aware of this, so here goes. I woke up this morning and went online to get my daily doze of global and Ghana news. Head to myjoyonline.com, and what do I see? "Health Alert!: Will Parliament Succumb to US Pressure?" Always one for intrigue, I proceed to read the article. It turns out the Ghanaian parliament and U.S. Congress are working on passing a Bill known as the "Biosafety Act" which will allow the introduction of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) into Ghana's food chain. GMOs are organisms (food, animals etc) made using molecular biological techniques. And far from what the bill's name suggests, these foods are far from being "safe". There have been numerous reports of people suffering from "mysterious" diseases due to the production or consumption of GMOs. I wrote an article…

What Does It Mean To Be A Woman...In Sports?

What does it mean to be a woman? That question might seem out of the blue, but given the whole gender saga concerning South Africa's 18-year old 800m athlete Caster Semenya, I think it's a pretty valid one. Many women would have numerous responses to that question, as would many men. It could range from descriptions of a woman's physique "...It means you have curves, breasts, annoying cramps, etc..." to observations on the emotional state "...Women are sensitive, emotional, caring, loving...", to allusions to women's roles "...She'll most likely have children one day, be a wife, take care of a household...", or it could come down to qualities "...She's strong, dignified, compassionate..."
I googled "what does it mean to be a woman?" and came across some responses on Yahoo Answers (I absolutely love google and yahoo answers lol). Here are some of the responses:
- From cloeen: "To love people! Help teach my chi…

Ramadan Special 2: What exactly does fasting entail?

So it's official! Ramadan has begun!! Muslims in Ghana and other African countries started fasting yesterday, Friday August 21st, while those of us on this side of the Atlantic, and in places like S. Korea, started fasting today on Saturday August 22nd. Whew, that was quite a mouthful. Last week, I was talking to my co-workers and supervisor about what Ramadan entails, and a couple of questions cropped up. How many days do you fast for? Can you drink water? Does EVERY Muslim have to fast? When do you break your fast? Do you still go to school and work? Why do you fast? Is fasting in the US the same as fasting in Ghana? I figured some of you might have the same or similar questions, so this blog is to give you some more insight into the process of fasting in Islam.
Like I mentioned in the first edition of this series, there are quite a number of similarities between Islam and Christianity. Muslims aren't the only ones who fast or are encouraged to fast. Jesus Christ ("Isa&qu…

Ramadan Special: Islam in Ghana

"So-so and so sent you a Ramadan-Mubarak/Ramadan Kareem card! Send one back!" Even facebook heralds the Holy month of Ramadan. In the past, I've written about what Ramadan represents to me as an individual and the difference between observing Ramadan here in the U.S. (in college) and back home in Ghana. (You can read a piece here.) I believe that some of the religious conflict and tension that exists stems from our lack of understanding of one another. Sure, you might know that a certain friend of yours is Muslim/Christian, or you might assume that he or she is a believer in either religion because of his/her name, but do you actually know what his or her religious beliefs entail and stand for? When we don't inform ourselves, it's very easy to fall for media propaganda and to be incited towards hating one another. Hence, this post is going to be the first of several (inshallah) that will give insight into what Islam is about, and particularly what Ramadan is abou…

My Debut as a Film Narrator -The Big Picture: Macroeconomics, Women and HIV/AIDS

I'm on my way to the gym, but before I head out, I just have to put this video up. I did some narration work for a UNIFEM/UNDP film "The Big Picture: Macroeconomics, Women and HIV/AIDS" in January, and the film has finally been produced and published on youtube. It was really interesting to work on, and the topic couldn't have been more ideal for a debut project. Apparently, I handled it like a pro (lol), and the entire recording took less time than anticipated. It's also a testament to the lengths one can go when there's someone who believes in them (Merci Tata). Anyways, I hope you guys get a sense of why I'm passionate about international development, media and all. Nothing is isolated in the development world. Enjoy, and pass along to others.

School & Work (Afi Writes...)

Dear Diary,
I have just had the most upsetting experience in my entire career as a student, my entire career as a living being even. I never understood why the Cowries Television Network insisted on airing that segment on strange happenings but I do know that my experience ought to be aired on their show.
I flunked on the last major assignment for literature class and it’s not even my fault! Ms. Ashie gave us the assignment three weeks back and I did it. No cat pooped on it, no dog or hamster chewed on it, nothing of the sort. I actually submitted it on time! But…(You should be feeling all apprehensive right about now) When she handed it back, there, staring me right in the face, in a thick red marker, and embolden to about twice Ms. Ashie’s handwriting was “UNACCEPTABLE!” Talk about absurd!
What’s more is the fact that the assignment was issued in groups. Objective: research into the life of Efua Sutherland. Unfortunately, I landed in the worst group ever created; Vugo, T…

School & Work (Mash Writes...)

Dear Diary,
Hey yourself, I just got back from work and boy, am I tired! On the whole, work is pretty cool but (there’s always a but), it does get frustrating as hell. Talk about “hard to please” customers, rebellious machines, power cuts etc. Working in a café ain’t easy; especially with the special group of people I refer to as the “Alicia Keys peeps.” (Take note: They ain’t half as cool as her though). They just take pride in walking all around the café (braids swaying like crazy) acting all bossy like they own the place you know? I mean who do they think they are?
And then we have the rebels (machines), now they are something else. From the computers, through to the printers and the photocopiers. Its just hell dealing with these guys. I mean, we created them but now they wanna control us? Goodness! We deserve more respect than that. Does it have to do with me not having an IP address or something? God!
Oh, let’s not forget the service providers, They have an irritable …

School & Work (Bolade Writes...)

Dear Diary,I still can’t believe that in barely a year, I’ll be in university. I mean, how did this happen so fast? It was just yesterday that I was kidding around with my boys after the BECE.
Anyways, I have been doing some thinking with regards to my tertiary education, Thinking about what I’ll major in, how it would feel to live an independent life, which girls I’ll meet (hey, don’t be surprised, there’s always the issue of girls you know), partying….I can’t wait. Did I say can’t? I meant couldn’t. That was last week.
Sundiata came to visit yesterday, and we had a chat. He was telling me about all the clubbing and chilling he’s been doing and all. I was real impressed cos his grades are good despite all the chilling he does. So what did I do? I asked him how he manages. Hmm… I sometimes wish I didn’t cos he started talking about how he has to wake up at dawn to study and read ahead of the class and all. I mean, come on! Who’d want to sit at a desk studying when he cou…

School & Work (Tungtaeya Writes...)

Dear Diary,
Have you ever felt like you just want everything going on around you to stop; if even for a second? Yea, well I’m feeling like that right this moment! What’s it about this time? I’ll tell you: its about people making a choice to be dedicated to a cause and failing. Its amazing the effect the slogan “Globe Trekkers -we trek the world” seems to have on the juniors. But I’m not surprised; it had the same effect on me when I was a junior. I mean, when the juniors hear that slogan, they’re thinking fun, fun and more fun! Yea, that’s true. But for us executives, its more like work, work and more WORK! I can hardly imagine how the President of the country manages his affairs, because I can barely handle mine as the President of the Globe Trekkers Club! I’m telling you, I had to stop myself about a zillion times over the past week from handing in my resignation letter.
This last week has got to be the worst week of my entire life! Ok, maybe not the worst week, but its…

The Death of Traditional Journalism?

Over the past couple of weeks I have been contemplating switching back to real journal writing ie. using a pen and a notebook made of paper. For some reason, I find it more personal, more enjoyable and more artistic than sitting at a PC typing away. Especially considering the fact that the ideas for my book project just seem to vanish when I open up Word and attempt to build up the characters, setting and what-not. So yesterday, I decided to head out to South Hadley's very own Odyssey Bookshop, and make it official. I got a journal for personal thoughts (I hardly ever stick to writing daily entries so I wonder if I should even call it a journal = journee/jour in French = day) and a regular notebook for my book project. For me, finding the right journal is a very personal thing because it is in essence a documentation of my very existence. Sure, there's the birth certificate, but if someone where to find that a good number of years after my demise, it wouldn't tell them muc…

My Take: Sir Ken Robinson -"Schools Kill Creativity"

My dad sent me this TED video a couple of weeks back, and I only got a chance to watch it last night. Like all the TED series, I learned something new. Additionally, the presenter, Sir Ken Robinson makes his piece on education very light-hearted, funny, yet to the point. If you don't learn anything at all from this video, you will definitely be awed by this man's ability to bring humor to something as serious as accusing schools of killing creativity.
He notes that education is important because it is what will essentially take us into the "future we can't grasp." He states, "if you think about it, children starting school this year (2007), will be retiring in the year 2065." His point being, we're educating children for the future, yet we can't even determine what will happen in the world in 5 years. At the bottomline, he contends that "creativity is as important as literacy and we should treat it with the same status." Here's the…

The Era of the Gadget-Kids

Meet Ruby Mac. She might look like an ordinary mac computer, but she's far from being commonplace. This special kid has got a mum and a name. The origins of her name reside in the ruby-colored cover on her back and the fact that she's a...take a wild guess...mac! And as to having a mum, no, we're not talking about the parent company Apple Inc. here, we mean Stephanie Frances Ama Otema Adu. Prior to Ruby Mac was Kwame Latrell, who also served his mum well from Oct. 2004 to Aug. 2009. Quite a lifetime of experiences huh? Without a doubt. In this tech age, the bond between a human and a desktop/laptop/ipod/cell phone/ whatever other gadget-kid is out there is amazing! So much to the point where many tech gadget enthusiasts have taken to literally personalizing their gadgets by giving them names! Now you might think that that's pushing it a bit, but it's interesting to note that these gadgets actually imbibe their names.

Take Blanche de Castille for instance. From her …

'Spring' Cleaning

It's about 3am, and I think last night was a night well-spent. As you've probably noticed (or haven't, if you just got on here), Circumspect is all cleaned up, tucked away in drawers, and operating like clockwork. I finally came across a template I liked which was also user friendly and quite classy. For those of you who are bloggers or looking to start a blog, I got it from BTemplates.com.
So, you have the development articles, the personal stuff, the book project (16 journal), and the sharing is caring series which has all the miscellaneous stuff. What else??? Yea, I'm still experimenting with the template a bit since there are some kinks here and there, and maybe even the color...Dunno, we'll see. Must say though, messing with the html code was MUCH EASIER than I anticipated. It's amazing to think how user-friendly all these hardcore tech stuff have become. I actually enjoyed playing around with the code, and trust me, this is in stark contrast to my days at…

Something Different in Staying True

I've been feeling a pull for a while now. A pull towards something else. Something new. Something different. A pull to writing about something non-developmental. Sure development will always be a part of who I am, and inshallah I will pursue my career in that area. But right now, writing about development is missing something important. I feel like I'm at a different point in life right now, and since I've always pulled my inspiration from the immediate things going on in my life, it's kind of hard to continue on the "serious" stuff when I'm not in a straight-jacket academic setting anymore. And I have thought about this one long and hard. I question myself: if I'm not getting the kind of satisfaction I usually get from doing something, should I still do it? And I argue with myself: people expect you to write about this stuff, and some actually encourage you to do so, and learn from some of the stuff, and you learn so much too. True. And I believe i…

Family & Friends (Mash Writes...)

Dear Diary,
To say I love my mom would be an understatement, I totally adore her. Whenever I have a problem I just gotta run to her because she’s so understanding, like most moms are right? Besides, dads just don’t understand, do they? A couple of times(maybe more than a couple), I felt she did me wrong but now when I look back, she did do the right thing. She always makes time for me when I need it and always gives me useful advice. You can say she’s kinda like my guardian angel. One time some loco doctor gave me one too many shots and I almost died. Actually I heard, I ain’t gonna pretend that I remember. I heard mom couldn’t really control herself. When I hear stuff like that, I can’t help but feel more compassion for her. And I won’t stand anyone dissing my mom because I’ll just explode. There’s a whole lot of stuff I could talk about but that would take forever. Simply put, she’s the greatest mom alive.
Observation: I believe if all mothers were like mine, the world would be a bett…