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Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Recent news

Sometimes I worry I'm given too much power here. On the weekend we went up to Tamale where I researched a story on HIV/AIDS work in Northern Ghana. I talked to a guy who said "the media hold the most power in Ghana. Everyboy used to fear the military, now they fear the media." I reflected on how just the other day the TV had picked up a story I did on housing in Ghana and were analysing it in detail. In Tamale Miia saw another program where they were debating a piece I did on rental accomodation. It's common practice here for TV news and radio news to read the paper on air and discuss it.

But the craziest is that I drafted an editorial in which we proposed considering a more central capital, ala Nigeria or Brazil. I picked a random city from the map because it looked the most central, just to illustrate the point. Next thing I know a high up MP is talking about exploring the possibility of making that town the new capital. It's unlikely to happen, but still. That issue has become a hot topic on the chat rooms since our article.

In other news, I got a call from a guy who saw some of my articles and wants me to write for some publication in UK, for Ghanaians I think. I'm meeting him tomorrow to learn more. So, workwise, all is well. Here are some recent samples:

Kofi Annan - A gem, born for greatness - editorial (the day it was published he started talking nonsens about bringing the 'green revolution' to Ghana because it apparently worked so well in Indian and China that there is no starvation there anymore, wha?)

A case for de-monopolising Ghana's cities - editorial by me and Bossman (mine are the more coherent bits, his are the more knowledgeable)

Offices at residential areas pushing up house prices, cover story (this ran the same day as the Kofi Annan editorial and the rentals feature, giving me the equivilent of the triple crown)

The case for rentals - feature

A brief history of housing in Ghana - feature

What is Culture? - feature in special edition (TRCA folks will hopefully recognize some of these concepts)

ovoo with skull, dune jumping

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Canyonero; Wild Cows Chasing me away; tourist fellowship

this last picture includes Niina, from Finland, Luca from Italy, Sally from Australia, JOel from UK, and Andreas from Denmark, as well as the two Mongolian drivers who toted us around for a week. Gigmi, whose face you can see, drove myself, Miia, Andreas and his friend Esben, and a Czech woman.

Central Mongolian Canyon

Philisophic Comedy

"The thieves in Ghana really need to professionalize," she said.

"Yeah, if I'm going to be robbed I'd rather not know about it until I get home."

"It's like that in France," she assured me. "I don't think a single thief has been successful with us here. It's just a constant stream of annoying attempted robberies."

She's like Sartre only funnier.


Drive By

The other night, after a really good day for me during which Bossman said my contribution at the paper was tremendous and he really appreciated my being there, and a terrible one for Miia during which some asshole tried to grab her boobs and she spent most of her time listening to conservative, anti-poor tirades from bigmen and some other asshole who owns a school begging her for money, a car passed us by and the driver actually reached out and tried to grab my shopping bag from my hand! I swore at him, flashed the ole finger, then wished I'd just thrown the bag in his face - it was filled with leftover Chinese food.

Yak-Dog, Driver Gigmi and Andreas

Mongolian Flashback

1. A female dog in heat took a shining to Andreas and followed him around all day; every male dog in the city followed him 2. Our guide Baisa, high-heeled hiker extraordinaire

Fancy English Building at Night

James and Zoe

James and Zoe at their flat near King's Cross. Unfortunately we didn't think to take a picture until the little ones were in bed. They served us a very nice Canadian-style turkey, potatoes and veg dinner; James is a sensational cook!

England Friends

L to R: Chris, Miia, Ali G., Gemma S., Megan, and Pranav (3 Canadians, 2 Brits and a Nepalese eating Indian food in Soho!) --Question: can you see the jetlag on our faces? In our strained smiles? This was a really fun evening all the same.

English Countryside from Plane

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Accra street, Our House, Morning Fishers

Lydia, Jima and Isaac (world's strongest baby)

Paper sunset

Our Guard Dog Spike

Ceremony Honouring our $60 Donation to Ayirebi Community Centre

1. David Firang addressing dignitaries and media, 2. scratchy-mc-chicken, 3. Ahmed, who interpreted for us and founded Evergreen, Ayirebi's environmental organization 4. Chief and entourage

Sundrenched Cocoa in Ayirebi & People in Accra

Latest publications

This week we are running a series on housing issues, so that theme repeats itself in the following stories:

A brief history of housing in Ghana:

What is culture? (this was for the January special issue for Ghana's 50th anniversary, which is in March. We are doing a special issue every month and this month, for which I coordinated the stories, was on history, religion, tradition and identity)

The Outskirts of Housing (the first half of this story is mine and the second half, on environment, I edited but didn't write - the title they used was also not my idea)

How can we achieve housing for all? (the second half of this editorial is mine)

Post Office Statue and Mosque near our house

Farewell Volta

More Christmas Day

Christmas Day