crazy weekends

Dear Nii Kpakpo,

This is the month of love and interestingly the love going around is just like a rose growing in a thistle field. well, that is the way i feel and this love is very hard love where people are showing love but then there are so much conditionalities to the love portions. but how for do. we will take it like that.

Kpakpo as for me you know my love for the children and your cousin is unconditional and that is why when i was dared to write love poems a week prior to the day of the chocolate love feast, i did not participate but on the day of the feast i had to write ten love epistles with accompanying music from YouTube to celebrate her and what she means to me.

Chale the gal says she will marry me again on our anniversary oh.. Eish! isn’t she tired of being with this rubble rouser for this long?

Well, the third edition of the AYWO Read Write clinic started at the weekend and i was there as usual to make the thirty participating children know what they were gonna be expecting in the sixteen weeks of the clinic and what we expect from them at the end. This year it is bigger and expanded because you know my boss Portia is now a Mandela Washington Fellow and as such has secured some online classroom video interactions with schools in the USA and even the venue is now the ultra modern Hop In Academy, the only entrepreneurial hub incubator in the northern region. This is to let the children have access to the latest trends in computer technology and also benefit from interacting with young entrepreneurs in addition to the volunteers that come over to help in the clinic.

This is a bigger and better package and we hope to replicate it in other areas. We really hope the clinic model will be the standard for other clinics set up anywhere else up north and in the whole country.

The local athletics association in Ghana also held athletics meet at the Tamale sports stadium and it was interesting to go watch. you know i used to run the marathon and long distance meters on the tracks and watching these young ones and a few veterans who are now coaches, gave me nostalgic memories.

Nii, I however have a problem with how these circuit sports events are organized. We have placed all our eggs in the football basket and even though in other sports we have some very talented sportsmen and women we wont give them attention and when they are fed up and struggle to go abroad and naturalize for other countries then we go claiming that they are home grown.

Anyemi! they are lucky i’m using me fingers to type this letter to you otherwise i would have given a very heartfelt Chorkor Thumps Up to these officials at the sports ministry.

Imagine the story of Margaret Simson or whatever her name is who qualified to go for the Olympics but living in Kumasi had to go to Accra to catch a flight to the event but due to lack of funds had to take a bus from home to Accra. however though the official that was to accompany her also living in Kumasi rather flew to Accra to catch a flight out of the country  for that same event. The cheek of it!

Whenever i  hear such stories of officials getting fat off sports people i go livid and reminds me of my days of bilateral games in the university when we traveled usually to Nigeria.Then i’m also reminded of the disgrace with the Golden Goose Black Stars as we were held to ransom to fly their bonuses to them against some aluta.

But that slap though. well deserved and handed down properly by a left footed winger. i am sure the slap was an in swinger with a deep curvature on it and would have probably knocked the official off his feet. That kinda slap takes you two minutes to realign your jaw and get your voice back – even more vehemently to avoid disgrace.

Kpakpo, the Scrabble club got bigger  and with more people getting interested we have acquired more boards. Now there is chess and even cards although the latter isn’t played often – just a one time when some people requested for it. We have now relocated from the VRA Club house to the new headquarters of the Northern Command officers mess known as the Eagles Mess. Cooler and much more serene atmosphere for the elitist club that we are.

Last weekend i was in Wa for a departmental Barcamp and i had to mentor 83 students and only 12 were male. Honestly, the students made me feel like i wanted to go back to school and belong to a class like that. Intelligent and beautiful women, a mixture of beauty and brains packed in one room for over six hours. This was bliss i tell you just giving a lecture and interacting on the topic of Using Social Media for Effective Communication.

Kpakpo, i think i have cut down too much on my traveling up north and i intend to pick it up after March. There are more places i have only heard about but not been yet and i feel bad every time i hear the place names. My new office and new role should enable me to see these places but this new office too and its own wahala. That is a story for another day.

Anyemi! i have been typing on the office pc and i have taken over two hours because as the new member in the office everybody comes to bully me off it and uses it and i can only use it when i’m done. Let me wrap up this story here and i will get back to you when my gadgets get into better conditions.

Nii Kpakpo Thompson, independence i coming again oh and we are rehearsing in the 38 degree heat practicing for marching past on the D day. As for me, i am headed your way to come and eat kenkey at Kenkey Festival 2017 at the same venue at Mantse Agbona on March 4, under the shadow of the lighthouse. Hope to see you there this time too against a plate of fried shrimps.

Ba ni wor ye komi!

Until i write to you again, i still remain

Your Cousin in Law

Savannah Boy .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Proverbial Lessons 

Dear Nii Kpakpo,

So I was riding pillion on a motorbike and my driver went past another and spoke some taunting words in Dagbani to the other, an older man who just looked aloof and kept riding straight on. 

Further on my driver stopped and waited for the other man we had passed down the road to ride up and he flagged him down and greeted him explaining to me that that this was his uncle. 

When the other man reached us he was wondering why we had stopped him even after saying something to him on the road. 
Kpakpo, then my driver mentioned his uncle’s traditional name and recognition set in. Then pleasantries started followed by a conversation. This was a conversation like any other between two relatives anywhere in Ghana checking up on everybody in the family. I hear in their greetings our brothers from across the bridge will even ask about the cup that was used to serve them water the last time they visited the family house. Lol 

However the uncle said a proverb that has stayed with me that precipitated this letter to you.  He said that he didn’t respond to our first taunt on the road because “when you wake up in the morning and a chicken chases you without provocation, then you just have to run because it might have developed teeth overnight”.

Anyemi, indeed I was really blown away by this proverb and how it ties into the perception that northerners do not run away from a confrontation. Such proverbial sayings indicate that there are times when you just have to walk away from a conflict just so you can save your life.. 

Indeed lots of lessons to be learnt from our oral traditions.. 

Kpakpo, as for me life in itself is a whole university and I’m in class everyday no truancy. 

Until I write another missive, let’s just keep upgrading ourselves in this school of life. 

I still remain 

Your Cousin in Law, 

Savannah Boy 

Heritage Tourism

Dear Nii Kpakpo,

I have been in Tamale for almost five years and i have still not been to the famous Mole Game Reserve where the elephants are and most tourists to the north constantly visit. Anyemi, i have gone as far as the gates and lost interest and come back for one reason or the other. Other times i have just missed the bus to the game reserve since they usually leave at dawn when i am now going to sleep. Insomnia tinz!

Now you will wonder why i am writing this letter at this time. chale it is because now i am taking my travels to a new level by helping set up a tour agancy to specialize in travel sites and draw tour packages all over Ghana. Nii Kpakpo you know back in the Bearded Man City whilst i was at the Historical Society, i used to draw tour programs for the oyibo students from California and others from all over the world. This experience, in partnership with others, with experience in other fields, will be put together to start this tour company.

Nii Kpakpo, The Heritage Concept International is a management and consultancy organization that is established to preserve and promote the rich cultural heritage of Ghana and Africa. This company is committed to organize and host a cutting edge, organized and well mapped out professional events and programs inspired by the customs and traditions of the various parts of Ghana. This will be for both the young and the old.

We want to set it up in such a way that adults can bring in their families on vacations and to let the children see the sites all over Ghana, they read about in their textbooks.

Kpakpo the vision of the company is geared towards serving our community, country and continent by preserving and showcasing our cultural heritage whilst rekindling our passion for tourism. This also feeds into the mission of creating a lifetime expericence for people through our programs, projects and events uniquely blending tradition and modernity.

Nii Kpakpo Thompson, this is my pet project for the new year and i believe in the vision so much that i am ready to get others to see Ghana the way i see it from traveling all over the place. Furthermore i believe that Africa as a continent has a lot to offer in our traditions and it is important that we preserve these traditions in our own small ways and this is one of the ways in which we can.

The savanna has been good to me and i believe that with this project i am sure i have your support to be an advocate with others in this regard.

As our new commander in chief has emphasized, we need to be the change we want to see and like i always say, it begins with YOU!

Nii Kpakpo, till i write to you again i still remain

Your Cousin in Law,

Savannah Boy

The Impressionist

Dear Nii Kpakpo,

so i had to attend a meeting in town with regards to my previous letter when i said we were setting up a travel company to help inculcate cultural heritage and tourism back into the country. i left the office with a colleague who dropped me off in town and since i was quire early for the meeting i decided to trek to the venue. the walk to the venue from the Tigo office in Tamale to the Yamusa building at Waterworks, Choggu, in Accra mileage will be like walking from Joy Fm to GBC

so Kpakpo here i was walking by the roadside having an interesting conversation with myself. you know walking usually enhances my thinking capabilities and is good for me to clear my head with issues here and there that are on my mind and bothering me. being hungry i bought fried yam to eat and i just trudged on to my destination.

anyemi, all of a sudden one dude walks past me dressed in all white and i could not make out whether he was a trainee nurse of from the School of Hygiene or just a hairdressing apprentice (these days you cant even tell) and he just kept looking behind him and strutting in front of me like he was better than me talking on his sophisticated cell phone. i found it pretty amusing  that i thought this guy was trying to impress me or anybody along the street. then he had to make a detour and in his haste to turn he tripped and nearly fell.

oh my! i had a good laugh at his demise.

Nii Kpakpo but that singular act set me thinking about myself. here i was just eating my yam, minding my own business, walking streetside in this 38 degree savanna heat, and some random dude is trying to show off to me or impress me. what did i do?  one great thing i love about my stay in Tamale is my anonymity, albeit fast eroding, which is bliss. i could not have done this long walk in Accra without somebody shouting my name from a passing vehicle. here i was a grown balding man eating fried yam in a polythene bag and backpack hiking to a meeting in twenty minutes and who should i bother to impress but myself.

Nii Kpakpo suffice it to say i got to the meeting feeling all bubbly and drank three sachets of pure water before i could even say hello to anybody  and ironically that was even an ice breaker to a successful meeting. the transport company is on board our project and oh i even managed to write  you a letter afterwards in my excitement.

so you see, sometimes we do not have anybody to impress but ourselves and life goes on.

till i write to you again,

i still remain

your cousin in law

savannah boy..

I Can’t Think Far

Dear Nii Kpakpo, 

I know this article has been long overdue but like our elders say it is better late than never. So here I am after several weeks after the fact  I get to write the story. Stage drama has taken a different turn in this country  and surely we the patrons are very happy with recent developments. 

 Back in the day when we were students of the premier university we used to troop to the Efua Sutherland Drama studio at the least provocation to watch live drama and this choice we made  over going to the movies or to the more popular food joints. I mean this was the place when we told the gals on campus  we’re taking them out we frequently went to have some  fun.  This place was unparalleled to any video center or eatery for that matter.  

Nii Kpakpo these were days of lore.  But right after school it all and died down in the end more movies are coming out and stage drama became lost in the fray either becoming the exclusive preserve of church auditoriums and a few playwrights emerging there too.. 

Recently Uncle Ebo Whyte has a become like the paragon of traditional stage craft having the flair file molding amateurs into players on the stage to very good results and I will say it has been successful in creating his brand . Furthermore since the audience is diverse in a metropolitan world these plays can be staged anywhere to a particular audience. 

Nii Kpakpo quire recently Uncle Ebo brought one of his plays to us in Tamale for those who can not always travel down for them and admitted how expensive it was for such a thing to be possible . It was in this vein that I was wondering when my tall and lanky friend Latif will bring one of his scintillating plays to us in the far flung regions too.  You should hear my joy when after finally getting in touch with him he told me not to think far because he was bringing a political satire I Can’t Think Far on a road tour and Tamale was on the list.  

Anyemi being an election year I believed the title was apt since it was really about political tolerance and how politicians go about running their campaigns.  The play bears several themes all treated effectively in humor and satire and the audience was thrilled right from the beginning to the end . A typical Latif play had quibs that the audience could identify with and who could miss the obvious flamboyant promises of the braggart politicians on what they can do for their electorate when voted for. 

Nii Kpakpo Thompson unlike Uncle Ebo whose cast are purely amateurs that he grooms himself Latif takes his cast from both the professional pool and he augments it with the amateur pool.  How he manages this blend is one of his traits that have won the admiration of many of his patrons . In this particular pay he casts Adjetey Annan, the award winning actor and Ecow Smith Asante who is a professional drama expert and consultant . These two he blends with a potpourri of cast from various backgrounds to stage this thrilling action that kept the audience in their seats for over an hour. 

It is true that we love movies anyemi but plays are on their own level of reality where we don’t really need special effects (or maybe we havent gotten there yet)  to thrill audiences and all the issues ate resolved at the end.  There are movies on which issues not resolved and hence the kumawoods kyeiwaas 1-14 parts. 

So Kpakpo I Can’t Think Far passed through the savanna capital with the promise of more to come.  So tell Latif we are waiting . Furthermore the other budding playwrights like Kwabena should know that we are part of Ghana too so they shouldn’t leave us out. 

Brossss!  Till I come your way with another missive keep up putting people on the spot on your show. 

Your Cousin in Law,  

Savanna Boy

Dear Nii Kpakpo,
it has been so long since i wrote you a letter but some events as usual have precipitated me write yet another missive. we have been well here and as you know being an election year, we are feeding on electoral promises and you know for  sure very soon our stomachs will become bloated. talking of stomachs you should see mine now. i am pretty sure i can soon be in a gubernatorial race with that your deejay banker cousin whose own now i see on television hidden behind punditorial tables. chai! that stomach i am sure can be seen from the moon. i pray i don’t get there.
anyemi! that our uncle Ebo Whyte is doing well paa oh. his plays have allowed some of us to enjoy the throwbacks of yesteryears in the university when if we wanted to toast a girl we opened up a new world to her by not taking her to a spot but to the Efua Sutherland drama studio. oh! those were the days we had protocol status there due to our frequency in the place. you miss one and everybody just knew you were off campus.
but recently i am happy to see that there are playwrights determined not to let the tradition of staged drama disappear with Ebo Whyte and Latif Abubakar as the Generals in that charge and several young playwrights coming up. watch out for one Christabel Badzi.
Nii Kpakpo we in the supposed hinterlands have always complained about the centrality of these plays in Accra and Kumasi thus leaving us out of the picture or should i say offstage when the plays come out and i am glad that recently some of the plays have been on road tours and now come to us. our uncle Ebo Whyte tries in that regard paa but the last time he was here in the savanna oboy was in the traffic laden and overcrowded Bearded Man City furious for not being here to see it. so this time when i heard that they were coming back with a play with the title of one of my favorite snacks, bananas and groundnuts, come see ahuprepre(anxiety) and determination that i wasn’t gonna miss this one and oh boy what a play.
Nii Kpakpo Thompson, this our uncle Ebo has an uncanny way of enthralling the audience to his plays that makes one kinda want more even at the end of the play. even to the untrained eye, his plays evoke emotions that are so mixed and varied and if you are in the audience and you an sit quietly to the end and not display any emotion then you deserve to be one of those palace guards in Buckingham Square or we could just make you a statue at the Flagstaff House. sometime whilst the play was going on i turned to look at my friend Obed who is shorter than i am bent to one side looking over my shoulder and since i was seated in front of him assumed i was blocking his view only for him to tell me that his ribs were aching literally. Kpakpo this is one cool dude who wasn’t laughing as hard as i was getting out of my seat and literally rolling on the floor.
Chale another thing that you always take away from a stage play are the lessons in life. stage plays have a way of giving you a reality check of a kind that even documentary movies on a particular subject wont give. our uncle Ebo never fails on that and has maintained the quality of his plays. one friend of mine in the savanna was kinda grumbling about how expensive the tickets cost and i tried to no avail to express how expensive it was to go on a road show and how important it was for our uncle to maintain his audience, the kind of people that actually love theatre and will pay to watch one of such a high quality.
Nii Kpakpo, oh we ate the Bananas and Groundnuts heartily with side dish of popcorn and pure water coupled with plenty snide remarks as the play went on. it was really a night of pure fun and maybe i will tell you later of the pub hopping and the after party that always follow such events. well, you know after that fruity drama we needed proper food so went for ga kenkey and some returnee borga ‘ah confirm’.
Kpakpo now we hear Latif will also be on his way with his latest and truly We Cant Think Far in these times.
Anyemi lemme end here and you know you should expect a letter on the political campaigning up here in the savanna. pretty interesting promises.

until then i still remain
Your Cousin in Law,
Savannah Boy

Founders Day 2016

Dear Nii Kpakpo,

just recently another Founder’s Day passed and as usual it was declared a holiday in Ghana. this is the day that has been put aside also as a National Volunteers Day by the GhanaThink Foundation where people are encouraged to get out of their comfort zones and do an activity voluntarily to help their communities. these activities could be any activity that persons recognized as could benefit the society either communally or in general.

several activities were lined up countrywide and these activities included cleaning up designated areas such as lorry parks, town centre or beaches, health awareness walks, health screening and blood donations, donations to orphanages and spending time with the orphans, spending time with basic school children teaching basic ICT skills, rehabilitating school buildings and painting and even community outreaches among several others.

Kpakpo in the savanna for example various activities were lined up to cover several days since the day itself was on a Wednesday and activities were lined up both for the day itself and for the Saturday at the weekend.

For the Wednesday there was a clean up and health awareness walk in the center of Tamale where the main taxi rank area was cleaned to the market area. the health walk was to create awareness on some female diseases where health personnel gave seminars on personal hygiene and how to prevent some female diseases.

the main activity however was the painting of a six classroom block of a basic school in a community in Tamale. anyemi, the people that came out to paint was a motley crew of various professionals and down to earth people who on a regular day will not don overalls or even carry paint brushes but for the sake of volunteerism came out to spend time painting the community school.

Kpakpo, i would lie if i said it wasn’t fun. whilst we painted, various discussions went on with regards to various issues and it was also a time for networking.

after the introductions fellow volunteers just walked up to each other and amidst the banter and lively camaraderie the painting went on. the clothes designer interacted with the lovely women who could be models for his clothing, whilst also keeping a conversation with the award winning photographer to be featured on his blog and the celebrity feature blogger was busy soliciting for a supply of eggs and gizzard from the poultry farmer volunteer whose little two year old boy was being attended to by the high school graduate waiting for her results to go into the university.

the aid worker was being teased that she had missed her calling as a painter or an artist whilst the author showed obvious signs of his childhood forays and his bald head bobbed up and down holding a very long scroll brush painting the upper parts of the wall whilst the tallest painting volunteer was concentrating on putting the Bluetooth music speakers at a point where they would have the most effect so there was music to dance, sing or hum to whilst painting. Kpakpo, i am not forgetting the Hub incubator entrepreneur who’s first act on reaching the painting site was to spread out his waakye and eat first, claiming that without energy no work could be done.

now you understand when i say it was a motley crew of volunteers out to have fun whilst doing something worthwhile for the community. the headmaster of the school was very grateful for the gesture.

Nii Kpakpo Thompson, the activities planned for the weekend included a graduation of the Reading Clinic children and i hear it went pretty well. these children had undergone four months of being taken through reading and writing skills to not only equip them for academia but also be peer mentors in their various communities.

the Founders Day initiative of volunteering on that day has come to stay and for some of us it is not only a one day activity but a daily one for us as we go through our lives getting out of our comfort zones and giving back to the community in any way we can whilst also supporting various initiatives we believe in. let us invite more people to find a cause they can support one way or the other both materially and financially. there are so many causes out there.

well i am done here. till i write to you again let us keep spreading the word of volunteerism and instill the spirit in other people.

i still remain

your cousin in law

Savannah Boy