Easter Eggs for Nursing Plants

Through Pinterest I found this thrifty idea, nursing plants in eggs which later can be put in the soil as is.  I am hoping for dill, tomato, basil, ruccola and melissa to pop up from these eggs very soon.

Happy Easter!

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Friends of the National Museum in Ghana

Photo: Kajsa Hallberg Adu

As part of the nation building of the infant national state of Ghana in the late 1950s, Kwame Nkrumah planned for a museum park in central Accra.

None of the museums were completed, but the National Museum moved into the museum auditorium and has since been open for visitors. I wrote an article about the museum in in 2008 for a museum news letter in Sweden.

On Thursday 29 March 2012, a new era starts for the museum as this month’s Adventurers in the Diaspora (AiD) event takes place at the national museum in Accra and inaugurates a support organization, Friends of the National Museum.

The aim of the non-profit is:

“to support the work of the Museum and provide a platform for the museum to engage with the artistic community, benefactors and the general public in a positive, economically viable and purposeful way.”

Friends of the National Museum write on their website that all are invited at 7.30 PM for the launch of the organization and a discussion on why heritage matters.

See you there!

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Project Poultry: Raising Chicken in Our Backyard

Adjoa Smart and Richmond the Rooster
After receiving a beautiful guinea fowl for his birthday, my significant other suddenly started talking about keeping it  ( as opposed to slaughtering it for dinner, which was the giver’s intention?) and adding some chicken.

This topic has been up for discussion before, but then always ending in a mutual agreement that “now is not the time for such a project”. This time, we both felt it was.

Is it our baby that makes us think its a good time? The idea of that it is nice for a child to grow up surrounded by animals? The fact that we are staying in this house another year? The slow farming in our backyard due to all the annoying ants who clearly need an enemy? I can’t say.

Anyway, a few days later we went to buy two hens and a rooster at the Community 1 market. The smallish hens cost 10 GHC each (our nanny claims they are 5 GHC in the village) and the colorful rooster 15 GHC, all in all about 20 USD. The chicken seller promised us that one of the small hens we bought had already started to lay eggs.

We (so not me!) cleared them of their long “flying feathers” and tied them with to our verandah furniture. We tied them with red satin ribbons only because it was the only string we had at home. It looked so beautiful! After the first night on our verandah, they could move into the vintage hen coop my mother-in-law raised chicken in for many years.
Vintage Hen Coop “God is too good!!”


After a day of observing the chicken, the guinea fowl joined the group. Now, the hens Adjoa Smart and  Serwaa Akoto, the rooster Richmond and the guinea fowl Jimmy form an interesting gang in our backyard. Still a bit shy, they graze the paths closest to the compound wall and run off in a haphazard row formation if we come too close.

In the morning we can hear Richmond clearing his throat and crowing as the sun rises. During the day we feed them food leftovers, uncooked rice and other seeds I found in the pantry. In the evening they trot back to their hen coop and stay there for the night.

The first egg

Just a few days into their stay with us, we got our first egg.  Smallish, as the hen that laid it is very young, light brown and luke warm I held it to the morning light.

Project Poultry has so far been most rewarding. I like having them around, I even like being woken up by a rooster crowing! I’ll keep you posted in this space!  

And what happened to the very first egg? Baby Selma ate it for lunch!

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Virtual Outdooring

On Thursday 21st of July, my child was born.

One week after the birth, a Ghanaian traditional welcoming ceremony or outdooring was performed by my husband here in Sweden to welcome our child and introduce her to the world.

It was a beautiful evening (although, according to custom, it should have been performed in the morning). The significance of the event was told to my family and our child got to experience the difference between truth and lie, through tasting opposites such as salty and sweet, water and whiskey(!).  Finally her name was pronounced.

I have since been thinking about what to put here on my blog, how much to disclose, what to say about the miracle that has happened to me and my family. Finally, I thought, let me just outdoor my daughter virtually as well!

So here, I present Selma Miriam Nana Aba to you with some pics from her outdooring ceremony:

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Chale Wote Street Festival in Ghana

At the same time as I am waiting for my life to change here in Sweden, creative friends of mine in Accra under the umbrella “ACCRAdotAlt” (find them here on Facebook) have organized the “Chale Wote Street Festival“.

Chale Wote is the Ghanaian name for the cheap flip-flop that clad many Ghanaian feet. However, the festival was all other than cheap. From the pictures I have seen so far – the best ones you find with Nana Kofi Acquah (like the smashing pic above),  the festival was a meeting opportunity for creative souls like musicians, designers, artists and the local community of James Town in Accra with a beautiful and rich result.

I love events like these as they bring meaning, activity  and fun to peoples’ lives where there before was just business as usual.

UPDATE: See also the festival covered by fellow bloggers Graham, Jemila and Holli.

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Impressions from Marseille

I had such a lovely time in Marseille, in the south of France!

Top left at a visit in a vineyard in Cassis, a small town outside Marseille, a sign at the vineyard which translates to “a meal without wines is like a day without sunshine“…then the lovely local fish soup Bouillabaisse (not too different from a good light soup with fresh fish, I must say…read all about it in the Bouillabaisse charter here) and last but not least with friend since 10 years, Cris, who lives in Marseille and hosted me.


The next collage is showing the time working – which was the lion share of my stay, I promise! Here you see Mary Gentile and symposium/workshop organizer Antony Bueno of Bentley University conversing, the Euromed Management campus, a workshop group session and a presentation by the hilarious Aaron Nurick.


I felt like this trip connected me to the wide world of teaching (Australia, Taiwan, Uganda, US), opened my eyes to new academic opportunities and at the same time reminded me of how small the world is…

…like this was not enough, French food was of course great, living in a nice hotel was amazing and getting to also see an old friend was a big plus…

…that is a pretty fabulous week, in my opinion!

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Mental Health – Ghana’s Next Crisis?

Photo: Nyani Quarmyne

After water and traffic, will mental health be Ghana’s next big challenge?

According to photographer and fellow blogger Nyani Quarmyne, 2,4 million Ghanaians are estimated to sometime in their life be in need of psychiatric help. With not more than a handful psychiatrists and around 2000 hospital beds, it is clear that most Ghanaians in need will be left without any help.

On Tuesday, I went to see Nyani’s beautiful, hopeful but also deeply disturbing photos, depicting the mental health crisis in Ghana. There were women who had been locked up by their men, men who were starring blankly in front of them, elderly with their mentally ill grown children with no help, but also the man at a health facility that was rearing chicken and the man who had secured a job with Zoomlion after years of mental illness.

The pictures that got to me the most was probably the ones with men fastened to tree trunks (like the one above), one outdoors, seated on a stone, one naked in a dark clay house. Imagine, having your family put your foot through a big chunk of wood and then closing the whole with an ironrod so that you could not escape…keeping you in a dark room…there you are, like an animal…so hopeless somehow…

Then there was the picture of the records keeper at a psychiatric hospital in Accra. In a blue nurse’s dress, between thousands and thousands of  files, she has her desk. The filing system looks ancient and clearly is overflowing the space. Yet, she comes to work every day. I was thinking about human defiance…

Fellow blogger AntiRhythm was also there and voiced his critique this way:

“Families cannot afford about 25 Cedis (about 13 Dollars) a month to pay for the drugs that would create the right chemical balance which would make us call these unfortunates normal.

So they are shackled and manacled to prevent aggression or injury to themselves or embarrassment to their families.

When I saw it, I asked blogger Fiona: What country is this? I knew the answer; I feared the answer; I feared facing up to more evidence about the different layers of existence in this country.”

The NGO that partly sponsored this photoproject, BasicNeeds Ghana, has extensive programs that target thousands of people with mental illness or epilepsy, predominantely in Northern Ghana, but also in Greater Accra. They also have a knowledge project with several worthwhile publications available online, and now also a glossy book with Nyani’s photos – “Ghana, a Picture of Mental Health”.

I wish Ghanaians would have a glance through, we need to know what is happening to the weakest in society right now…

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Dust Magazine Does it Again!

Contributors page including Kajsa HA

A new issue of the Dust Magazine is out! (you might remember I hailed the Dust Magazine last time it came out) And this time, yours truly is a contributor!

Other GhanaBlogging

A blog post of mine on page nine in DUST magazine

members contributing to this issue are Esi Cleland/What your momma never told you about business, Nana Darkoa Sekyiamah /Adventures from the bedrooms of African women and of course Kobby Graham is the editor of Dust Magazine.

The issue also has a beautiful cover photo of Ghanaian musician Ebo Taylor by Tobias Freytag/FAD and several amazing photo collages by facebook celeb Adisa Abeba (a Tema resident like myself!) – all in all, both pictures and texts well worth your time.

Of course, this time around I am slightly biased…

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Ghanaian Funeral Coincidence

This weekend I went to Takoradi for a funeral. I have been to quite a few funerals since I moved to Ghana. However this time,  I was invited to the funeral and my husband accompanied me.

As usual for a Ghanaian funeral, it was a multi-day event for hundreds and hundreds of people, but being closer to the bereaved family, I saw more nuances, had more people to ask and hence understood slightly more than I have before.

This picture is from having a snack on the roadside after the burial. By chance, the newspaper that is wrapped around the smoking hot charcoal-grilled plantains on this day happened to be the Obituary section…

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A Day at the Institute of African Studies

University of GhanaToday I am spending my day at the Institute of African Studies (IAS) at University of Ghana, Legon campus. Not so strange as this now is “my” department and I “their” PhD student!

Likely, you’ll be able to find me in a quiet corner of the IAS library. Around lunchtime, I might pass by the newly opened Photo and Stamps exhibition. In the afternoon, I will go “to the hill” or central administration to find out more about Career Counseling at University of Ghana.

Photo taken last week during the beautiful hour when the sun is low and shadows long…

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Ghana as a Tourism Destination for Swedes

Ghana slavfort SvD Eric MillerMy dad just informed me of that Swedish Newspaper SvD recently ran an article on Ghana as a tourism destination: In the shadow of the slave castle.

As the text is in Swedish only, let me tell you what Swedes who read SvD now know about Ghana:

Slave Trade

The article starts with a visit in Cape Coast castle, formerly named Carolousborg. This castle was once controlled by Sweden and its Svenska Afrikakompaniet and traded in slaves and gold, often payed for with iron and glass beads (!).

Culture and Eco tourism

The rest of the article outlines the current day tourism –  historic tourism around the castle, but also cultural tourism including handicrafts and festivals, and beach vacations with the growing concept of eco tourism.

Currency, Air Fare and Food

Finally, some facts on currency, air fare and food. Although the writer is correct to recommend Star and Club beer, Jollof rice is spelled “jallof rice” and a dinner is said to cost between 10-20 GHC! I had a great lunch for under three GHC yesterday, so let me politely disagree…

I also missed a section on modern day Ghana – hip life, fashion and flavor!

The article has beautiful pictures by Eric Miller. See picture for this post from Cape Coast, photo credit Eric Miller.

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