However, I would like to write a little more here on the blog about my children, things we do together, and challenges we face as a family. I will do so under the category: Parenting.
While some might feel one should not “expose” children online, I see my online life as a part of my life and it feels strange to “hide” them away from my blog. Also as my children grow and frankly become more fun to hang out with, I think I have more to say about them, their activities, and about life with children more generally. I am mindful of that they are their own people who should get to tell their own story, but until they start their own blogs (oh, what a dizzying thought!), I think I can say quite a bit more without compromising their integrity.
If you have ideas on topics you’d like to read relating to life with children, do leave a comment!
It is the time of the year when otherwise gray and black clothed Stockholmers can OHHHH and AAAHHH to beautiful wax print, refined raffia, and curve hugging colour! The African Fashion Week Sweden is on its third year and growing strong! Founder Ayesha Jones who also started the Gambia Fashion Week, explains in a blog interview why she started the week:
“I felt Sweden was lacking a platform for black/African creativity to be uplifted and celebrated. In a society were people are so diverse and multicultural I don’t understand why no one did this before me and I’m a strong believer of not pointing out flaws if I don’t have suggestions on how to adjust them.
I also wanted to do something that hopefully would leave an impact in the world and create a legacy that the next and future generations can be proud of and enjoy.”
I have my agents out and hope to give you more info after the main event today, 3rd Sept.
As a Swede living in Africa, I am so happy the fashion conscious but very conservative Swedes finally get a flavour of African fashion!
This evening, BloggingGhana is doing an event called “PodCast – the New Blog?” (free if you sign up in advance by following the link) and because of that, I wanted to list my top three podcasts out of Ghana.
In Ghana, there is still not much to choose from, but these have made a great effort and are podcasts I return to:
AccraWeDey. A chilled conversation between the guys (Joey, Pokuaa and Nii) and a guest on popular culture, whats new on Twitter, and in town. Great intro song and vibe, but maybe sometimes too much friends just chilling?
Hagtivist. A serious podcast that discusses news in Ghana from a well needed humanist angle. This is definitely an activist pod, but could it be available on iTunes? Have fewer hosts or segments that made listening a bit easier?
The cocoa pod? I can’t even find three…Soon that will change hopefully!
My top three English speaking podcasts are:
Startup by Gimlet. All Gimlet shows are hyper produced and great, but the idea of following a company through their start up process has some original drama to it.
The Tim Feriss Show. I love-hate this pod. It is too much of everything, too American, too much focused on personal improvement, but I also learn great deal when ever I am in the right mood.
Voices of VR. I have just started to listen to this pod, but it embodies something that is inherent to the promise of podcasting. In short 15 min episodes, you can create a universe for people with the same interests, here Virtual Reality, and just nerd it out.
My top three Swedish speaking podcasts are:
Hanna & Amanda. Queens of mixing ordinary talk with adverts and tips, much like AccraWeDey is heading towards I am imagining.
En varg söker sin pod. Articulate “friend-pod” on popculture focusing on film, books, news and other pods intertwined with the lovely flow of intelligent discussion between two best friends in the Swedish creative industry.
Kära barn. A podcast where people ask a midwife and psychologist questions relating to children ages 4-18. The expert’s tone of voice always makes me so calm! (Although I would maybe mot follow all advice)
My secret is I would love to have my own podcast, but can’t seem to get it together. I am hoping to learn from the experienced podcasters this evening what it takes!
This is the first in a series of Top Three on my blog. More to follow soon!
In addition, the EU neighbours (except for Germany) are not pulling their weight and Sweden’s PM said he hopes this will send a signal to them. In detail, the following was announced:
“Sweden’s new asylum regime will apply for three years. Temporary residence permits will be granted to all refugees apart from those relocated to Sweden under the EU’s quota scheme and families with children and unaccompanied children who have already arrived.
Sweden’s border police also announced a doubling of officers on Sweden’s southern coast, where most refugees arrive. Since the imposition of border controls on 12 November, the average number of asylum seekers has fallen from 1,507 per day to 1,222, according to immigration officials.” (the Guardian)
As a Swedish citizen, I feel disappointed with my politicians (I voted for the current PM) and was hoping for a less reactive and conservative leadership. Especially toward the background of Sweden being extremely stable financially – to the point on negative interest rates(!) and according to Swedish Central Bank Director Ingves, Sweden could even benefit economically from a large scale inflow of migrants/refugees as that would grow the economy, increase jobs and make the ageing population younger. Many solutions to infrastructure and service limitations have not been tested!
After several discussions on social media and at home, I have arrived at the same basic question over and over again:
Where do you draw the line when helping others?
Sadly, its a question with no easy answer. Because how do you make sure your help is sustainable, that you do not sacrifice yourself or your values in the process? But also, Sweden cannot take in all 11 million Syrians fleeing, so no restrictions at all can also not work? However, I feel, and this is based more on feeling than fact, I admit, that Sweden drew this line too soon. One of the richest countries in the world could lead by example – there are already so many great stories in Swedish media on families taking in refugees, schools working collaboratively with Swedish training for newcomers, and citizens contributing with what they can – I feel there was more to build on there, instead of quickly closing the boarders as soon as the going got tough. As Swedes mobilize to demonstrate the new refugee policy, I know I am not the only one who feels this way.
As I came across the Varje Tugga Gor Skillnad (“every Bite Counts”) campaign for dental health education in Ghana, run by a chewing gum brand in Sweden, my mouth opened with surprise at an image of my daughter’s school SOS Tema as the recipient of education and free tooth brushes!
I think what just happened was “them” and “us” melted into one. When aid projects are initiated, an important aspect is to create that difference between “us and “them” so that people will see why giving is necessary. Now when I think of that last month, I went to buy just that school uniform for my daughter, of course I find it difficult to see why those kids need a toothbrush!
Where I was expecting to read about dental health, the campaign states further that:
“Drygt en miljon barn i Ghana har förlorat en eller båda föräldrar, 160 000 av dem på grund av aids. Dessa barn är särskilt utsatta för barnarbete och människohandel, något som utgör allvarliga problem i landet. Majoriteten av människohandeln drabbar fattiga barn från landsbygden.”
(“More than one million children in Ghana have lost one of both parents, 160 000 of them due to AIDS. These children are especially vulnerable for child labor and trafficking, something that constitutes serious problems in the country [Ghana]. The majority of the trafficking concerns poor children from the country side.”) (my translation)
I felt tired that orphans and AIDS was what was on campaign makers minds – was this not about toothbrushes? – and felt their numbers were a bit high. Ghana’s population is 25 million and one million are children without one parent? 160 000 due to AIDS? Anyway, its a good opportunity to learn more about HIV/AIDS in Ghana. The Ghana AIDS Commission reports for 2013:
“The National HIV Prevalence in 2013 is 1.3%
An estimated 224,488 Persons made up of 189,931 adults and 34,557 Children (15%) are living with HIV in Ghana. There were 7,812 new infections, 2,407 in Children 0-14years and 5,405 in adults. There were 10,074 AIDS deaths being 2,248 in Children 0-14 years, and 7,826 adults Estimated Children Orphaned by AIDS is 184,168.”
This campaign has been a very interesting learning opportunity for me: I have meditated on “us” and “them”, learned about the low HIV rate of Ghana, but I am also saddened my new home country has to be portrayed in this sad light, just for a chewing gum/ toothbrush campaign.
What do you think, is it right to highlight the worst to make people donate?
Some weeks ago, I was interviewed for the Swedish magazine Horisont (=horizon in English) about my life in Ghana. They focussed on Ghanaian politics and my personal adjustment to a new country – mixed with full spread photos. Now “my” issue is out!
Here is a sneak peak.
The feeling of seeing one’s own words as captured by a journalist in print is hard to describe. My father sometimes talks about how our time is one of celebrity or wanting to be famous. I guess something like this then is a jackpot. On the other hand, it becomes very clear – when on this side of the magazine – that even those interviewed over colorful spreads of glossy paper are mere mortals.
I first met Umaru last summer at his workplace radio station Citi FM in Accra. I was much impressed with his work (cool when phones start to ring non-stop, quick when to determine what big man or woman to follow up with, a good discussant on critical issues, wide smile) and glad to hear his efforts have been acknowledged internationally.
One year, I came back and everybody was wearing ugly glasses. Last year, when I came back, cash was suddenly not an option when riding the bus (you buy an SMS ticket or charge some kind of top up card). This year, I came back and wherever I looked, people were walking around sporting oversized, colorful headphones – like they were DJ:ing a rave party.
It looks ridiculous – really, are you a grown up walking around with purple, giant disks over your ears while doing errands in town?
It is very anti-social – hello, excuse me do you know where I can..? (response: blank stare plus head-bobbing).
It is strange – you go to town to…listen to your favorite song?
But then a month passes and actually no one talks to me anyways, it is pretty cold, especially for my ears and my favorite song is just very good when walking from the bus.
Where can I get a pair of hot-pink, big-ass headphones?