Kajsa Featured on 3FM’s segment Women Mean Business

Last week, I was a featured woman on the Women MEan Business segment on newish radio channel 3FM. I spoke to the host Winston about my work at Ashesi and with BloggingGhana, higher education, Ghanaian food and more!

I was surprised to see 2000 people have seen the Facebook Live version of my interview. Now you can too!

My Week Following The @Sweden Curatorship Experience, #SMWiAccra

So last week, I had the honor of being the curator of the twitter account @Sweden. With a click, I increased my following by 10 and was the seven-day temporary face of my native Sweden. In a tropical setting. I thought I’d sum up my experience and also share what this week, following all the excitement, was like.

Monday, I woke up sick, with a swollen (!) nose. Had I been in a fist fight? The doctor said it was rather a sinusitis infection in my nose and I was on antibiotics before I knew it. I am not sure it was the curator experience that made me sick, but it was a day lost to pain and rest.

Tuesday, my children both started their new school. I accompanied and excited three-year-old to Nursery school and my husband took our six-year-old to Primary 1.

My school girls! ????? #maryjane #sisters #schooluniforms #mahjong #vamlingbolaget #233moments

A post shared by Kajsa Hallberg Adu (@kajsaha) on

On Wednesday, I was well enough to share some of my thoughts about the @Sweden experience on the Citi Breakfast Show on Ghanaian radio station Citi FM. IN an interview with the brilliant Bernard Avle, I talked about 

  • Traffic (I was late to the studio)
  • Knowing my audience
  • Missing my TL
  • Thinking about Swedishness
  • Wanting to be a Ghanaian citizen

Find the full program here, I come on around 9.40am.

In the afternoon, I met with a researcher, Hanne Geirbo from the interesting research project Learning Flexibility. We spoke about social media activism, solar energy adoption and strategies for infrastructure challenges.

Last, I attended the Social Media Week Accra, and was a speaker under the heading “Social Media: The Ghana Case”.

I tried to give a quick overview of how blogging has developed in Ghana since BloggingGhana started in 2008, but also to critique the use of social media as heavily entertainment, one way, consumeristic instead of appreciating the true revolution of social media and harnessing the promise of social change. I suggested we support each-other ventures more, create and use more hashtags to curate content and campaigns, we produce more content.

On Thursday, I met with my Ashesi students for the first time. Ambitious, fresh-faced future leaders make me so happy. I also finalized the contract with two final year students who I will supervise on their papers. Two very interesting projects, I will tell you more about later.

Today, Friday is for research and preparing for next week. I will also fit in some meetings. This evening, I’ll be seeing my friend to celebrate her birthday.

 

I feel like this week was as intense and interesting as last week, but I was back on my own social media accounts and I had missed the people I am following and learning from. The Sweden curatorship, made me rethink what I publish and how much I share my personal life. While I have a high sense of integrity, and usually post quite minimal “this was my day”, “this is my breakfast”- content, I now think there is also value to sharing more personal details and life circumstances as that goes to the heart of the prospects of social media: bringing people closer together by showing how diverse and how similar we all are.

Do you think it’s useful or interesting to read about other people’s daily lives?

Salad with my Favorite Vinaigrette

This post is a collaboration with Eden Tree.

***

I love a good salad, especially on a hot day at home, and feel a vinaigrette takes it to the next level. My Favorite Vinaigrette is more like a life hack than a recipe (no measurements, just guidelines!) that I hope will bring you joy! I make my vinaigrette in big batches and keep in a bottle in the fridge.

 

Favorite Vinaigrette
  • A generous splash of a good vinegar ( I like Apple Cider Vinegar right now, but anything goes)
  • Two generous splashes of oil, preferably Extra Virgin olive oil
  • Something sweet (Just a little Ghanaian honey is fab)
  • One or two cloves of garlic
  • A dollop of French mustard
  • Dried herbs like Thyme, Oregano, Tarragon, or a mix like Herbes the Provence
  • Black Pepper and Salt to taste

Combine all the wet ingredients in a bottle with a reliable cap. I like to put the cloves in the bottle whole, but for them to release their garlicky taste better, you can bruise, break, or if in a hurry to gobble up the vinaigrette, press them. Add the dry spices and the mustard and shake. In my experience, it runs out before it goes bad (but can probably sit safely for a few weeks in the fridge).

 

Salad
  • A bag of Eden Tree Lettuce
  • Half a bag of Eden Tree Basil
  • Half a bag of Eden Tree Parsley
  • Diced Eden Tree Tomatoes
  • Slanted Eden Tree Cucumber or unripe pawpaw
  • Possibly: Smoked fish, olives, lightly boiled green beans, boiled eggs, a good bread etc.

Separate and rinse lettuce leaves and the herbs. It is not strictly needed as Eden Tree vegetables are ready to eat off the shelf, but I always wash veg for freshness. Cut the dried leaves (wet leaves repel vinaigrette, dry leaves soak them up!) and combine with the other cut ingredients. With green beans, eggs, and smoked fish it turns into a Salad Nicoise, with olives and feta cheese it is a Greek Salad, with a bread and some olives it is a good lunch!

Drizzle the Favorite Vinaigratte over your delicious and healthy salad at the table. Soak up any remains with a good bread!

 

We Will Always Have Paris

After a work meeting in the beginning of January, I got to spend a few days in Paris. I shared my experience on Instagram, but typing on my phone in the chilly winds of Paris, I might have left out some details.

Here are my Paris takeaways:

Paris, the city of AMOUR

Even when it rains sideways, this is such a romantic city. The warm lights from the vintage streetlights, the cafes with lovers everywhere, and the sound of the inexplicably romantic French Oui, Oui, mon cheri! Over 10 years ago, when I first started blogging (my first blog post was the complete lyrics of an Edith Piaf chanson) I lived in Paris for 5 months. I did not have any exciting French affairs, but as the city slowly melted (I was there Feb-May) and trees started to blossom, strolling passed La Tour Eiffel, Odeon, Pont Neuf, I was convinced – Paris is the city of romance and amour.

Paris, the city of ART

I saw an art exhibit at the Grand Palais where I do not think I ever went before. The magnificent neoclassical styled building hosted the Expo Mexique (hashtag #ExpoMexique) which covered the dialectic art between France and Mexico in the time period 1900-1950, of course including the world famous artist couple Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera. But much more, it contextualized their work in very interesting ways. I came out with ideas on the political aspect of art and the fact that Kahlo was very much in the centre of a movement, not a unique painter. I crossed the street to Petit Palais and saw Kehinde Wiley’s (follow on Instagram @kehindewiley) political, contemporary art where black bodies have been painted exquisitely and in very large scale into poses usually reserved for the (white) upperclass and (white) saints. Set in detailed ornamented rich, rich, rich backgrounds. Bliss.

Paris, the city of CHEESE

I learned that people in Paris really eat cheese everyday. It is done in a low key way, just munching on a few cheeses after dinner or lunch, of course after that comes the dessert! After my small introduction into the world of cheese by Monseigneur Raphael, I was immediately inspired and bought a 24 month old Compte hard cheese and two goat cheeses, a Mothais a la Feulle and a Crottin de Chavignol. (Links to an interesting online cheese resource I just found!)

Paris, the city of FRIENDSHIP

When I lived in Paris in 2006, it was the beginning of my blogging days, it was also days of important friendships. This time I made new friends and importantly also was able to meet some old ones. In much it was like no time had passed. Although our lives had moved on, our conversation just started from where we were back then. How lovely is not that?

Paris, the city of RACISM and SEXISM?

Not all is dandy and well in Paris, the entire central city seems to be marred with the male white gaze and voice. I saw sexist adverts that would not fly in other places, rode very internationally looking metros to come up to a very white world above ground, and was struck by how on TV there were so many ugly, white men…

Paris, the city of DID I ALREADY SAY FOOD?

In France, the petit dej’ or breakfast is a croissant, a full fat delicious yoghurt, a cafe creme, that is; to die for.  In France, you order a Menu including a glass of red wine and a starter FOR LUNCH.  In France they have a dessert that is called Cafe Gourmand which is – hold on tight – three! OR MORE! different! desserts! in one order! The capital of France is Paris, hence the center of some of the best inventions in food are concentrated here.

Next Time in Paris?

Next Time I go to Paris, I think I might stay a little longer, bring my family (to make the place a bit more female and a bit more brown-skinned), eat more croissants…

Top Three: Cafes in Greater Accra

cafe collage

D Cafe

When this chain first came to town, it meant the world to me. A place where I could go an temporarily be European over a coffee and croissant. The Airport branch opposite the New Koala Supermarket has the most interesting crowd. There is also one at Marina mall and one in Labone. Great and super quick sandwiches, coffee is ok, croissant wobbly quality. Sadly, it has become very expensive.

My typical order: Cappuccino and Roast-Beef Sandwich on brown bread. 37 GHS
Vida E Caffe
This new chain has swooped in with their Portuguese manners – they greet you loudly when you enter and exit! – and make excellent coffee, especially several cold versions that are delicious. Initially their sandwich and pastry section was bleak, during my last visit they had upped their game. Locations at the Junction Mall, opposite the national theatre, Spintex road,  and two branches in Airport City.
My typical order: Latte Grande with a Glaced Donut. 17 GHS
Cafe Kwae
In Airport City, this Ghanaian-owned gem offers salads, light lunch, and coffees and pastries, all very affordable. Cafe Kwae  is also the only cafe to offer Wi-Fi free of charge. Circumspecte and Francis Quarcoopome/Time Out were also here.
My typical order: Cappuccino (comes in a huge, yellow, beautiful cup!) and Cafe Kwae Slide (three mini burgers ) 41 GHS

This post is part of my Top Three-series where I list my favorites!

Update: Fixed the links to my fellow bloggers!

Sunday Reads Nov 29

sundayreads

  1. Enough of aid – let’s talk reparations by Jason Hickel.
  2. Cucumber Agua Fresca – recopy of the lovely Mexican drink i had in Sand Diego.
  3. Everything about Tanzania’s new president Magufuli, for instance Magufuli scraps Independence day celebrations (BBC) and Bah humbug in Tanzania as president cancels Xmas cards (Aljazeerah).

Inspired by personal role models, Ory Okolloh Mwangi and Chris Blattman, I want to share articles I read with my followers on a somehow regular basis. I hope to make Sunday Reads a weekly feature to be shared here and on Twitter!

For Fellow Lovers of Wax Print: KajsaHA on Pinterest

I adore Ghanaian clothes, modern Africa style, and have collected my fav models and brands on Pinterest* (Board: Modern Africa), follow me there if you also love colors, sharp cuts and wax print!

Screenshot 2014-11-25 21.58.34

Except for clothes, I also pin playgroundsgarden ideas and food porn!

*Pinterest is a superb tol for visual folks who like to look at inspirational photos and how-to-articles before embarking on a new project (new haircut, planting an avocado, baking a chocolate cake, getting married). I use Pinterest instead of buying expensive magazines!

 

My 10 Favorite Ghanaian Brands (2/2)

Some time ago, I shared five of my favorite Ghanaian brands, here is the second part! In no particular order, here are companies that deliver in Ghana:

5. Star Beer (no web presence, it seems!)

I am a Star. Woman.

Favorite product: Big bottle (625 ml)

Pic courtesy of Chiara Atik, guestofaguest.com

6. Kayobi Clothing

Favorite product: The classic “Make Fufu, not war!” or the print with mother and child, “Sweet mother”!

Screen Shot 2013-09-23 at 4.57.22 PM

7. Goody Cashew Nuts (No web presence, either!)

Perfectly salted. Healthy snack that can be bought in traffic (stay clear of the others!)

Favorite product: Small bag – lasts surprisingly long

cashew

8. Yenok

The Koney family’s well made wood craft from Takoradi.

Favorite product: A well crafted chair

Screen Shot 2013-09-23 at 5.07.54 PM

9. Eden Tree

Fresh greens is just a basic necessity, this company does it well!

Favorite product: Herbs like Mint and Basil and Fresh Green Beans

Screen Shot 2013-09-23 at 5.12.41 PM

 

10. Upcountry Coffee Company (like them on Facebook!)

One of the items I have been carrying to Ghana from abrokyire since I moved here is coffee. I need a big cup of it every morning, so as someone who both loves coffee AND local produce I was besides myself with happiness when I found Ghanaian coffee! And it is very good!

Favorite product: Ground coffee (250g ) Lasts me two weeks. 

Screen Shot 2013-09-23 at 5.15.28 PM

Now it is your turn, what local products do you love?

Chewing Stars – This is how I celebrated Ghana @56

Independence day and so many ideas on what to do. Parties, beach visits or marches abound or the popular version of sitting in the shade with a drink and complaining….Well this is how my day went.

In the morning, I tried to not do this:

I mean,we do still have issues with water,healthcare and electricity while a country like Malaysia born in the same year as we were is almost totally free of such issues but who’s comparing?

(Yvonne did it for me).

At lunch, I refrained from discussing the Hope City launch featuring a certain Chris Brown.

Why rlg will spend $1M on CB whose popularity and clout has been as mixed and inconsistent as that of his relationship with Rihanna. Again, there have been questions about why a supposedly middle income state on paper but lower income on the ground will dole out a million bucks to a 23 year old who already has too much money for his age. But hey, you and I have no say in what Roland Agambire chooses to use his monies…

(Kwame did it for me)

In the hot afternoon, I wanted to remind myself I wasn’t required to go to work, like Maya maame:

I hope that those in Ghana and around the world have found a way of celebrating today, as unfortunately a very hectic work day has stopped me from trying to celebrate. The only thing I managed to do was check out Google Ghana’s picture of the day:

 

So, I ended up doing a BBQ with family and chewing some Carambole or starfruit to celebrate the star of Africa, Ghana at 56!

Family Fufu

Today being a holiday, I will lay low, spend the day with my daughter and the rest of the family. For a Ghanaian day with family to be complete, there has to be fufu so on my stove a big pot of light soup is simmering away and the starchy foods for the fufu have been peeled and are now boiling.

So don’t wait up for me. I’ll be back here after the long weekend! (And after tonight’s Frontline with Dr. Papa Kwesi Nduom!)

Street “Hawkers” in Ghana, Handiwork and Child Labor

I just came back from a weekend in the Western Region and really enjoyed my time there! On the way back, we stopped a few times along the road to stock up on different food items. Our first stop was Elmina, where we bought crabs.

The street vendors or “hawkers” as they are referred to in Ghana catch these crabs and then tie them in sets of 8 to a large grass straw. How you tie a live crab is beyond me, but it is exquisite, beautiful handiwork! 

 

Crabs and numerous other things you can buy from your car. Many times, just like you see in the collage above, the items are sold by children. In Ghana, 1 million children do this type of job according to the International Labour Organisation.

But that is a different blog post…