This week I read:
- Female entrepreneurship rates in Sub-Saharan Africa are the highest in the world, according to a new report that says women’s entrepreneurial activity is increasing globally.
- Africa doesn’t need white tech entrepreneurs – it needs a level playing field by Eliza Anyangwe.
- Over Certified & Under Educated a harsh but well-argued piece about Ghana’s higher education sector by Esther Armah.
- Young people and their plants by Lavanya Ramanathan
- A bit of context to the protests in Togo by Benjamin N. Lawrance.
Video I watched: No video! It was the first week of the fall semester for my daughters and myself! I just survived!
Tell me below what you are reading!
This post is part of my #KajsaHASundayReads series. 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.
Ohhh! I just discovered one of Sweden’s most prolific lifestyle bloggers, Elsa Billgren, has bought a summer cottage on Gotland, the island I am from in Sweden.
This means I can get real-time, high-quality photos of my alternative life (should I have been a successful blogger/decorator/celeb). Elsa recounts her second-hand shopping, cottage decorating, fantastic family life, divine dinners with friends, charming garden ideas, professional DIY-projects with beautiful photos to go with. It is the absolute heaven for daydreaming!
An example is this post which highlights a perfect day in the adorable town of Visby. I mean, this is for instance exactly what I would have eaten…
(butter fried fish at Bakfickan with lingonberry jam and mash)
These are the very cobble stones on which I would have walked, dressed in loose jeans or something striped…
(old town Visby, S:t Hansgatan)
…and this is absolutely where I would have gone to do my shopping, ok, window shopping.
I am so happy and grateful. Thank you, Elsa, for bringing all the colors and details of my daydream to me in a convenient blogging format!
Photo credit: Elsa Billgren.
Today, I was invited to the opening of exhibit Our Climate: Think. Act. Change! Organized by Mmofra Foundation in their huge park-to-be in Dzorwulu ( Next to Marvels) and curated by Foundation For Contemporary Art.
I was happy to see such a promising space, lovely trees, a stage and space! I couldn’t even see the end of the park! There was a beautiful breeze as we sat under trees and listened to the speeches of the opening: Minister of Lands gave a personal rendition of his written speech, Architect Ralph Sutherland sat down and gave a heartfelt and touching talk as well as partners like the German Embassy and British High Commission and WASCAL.
I was also sad to think of how rare such an initiative is in Ghana. We build on all plots, chop down trees and lose out on greenery, breeze and relaxation!
The exhibit was varied and fun. I especially liked the “simple” things like the herb garden, the chair under greens and sculptures made from scrap. And the green bird mascot!
I hope many can visit Mmofra Place and be inspired to do something similar close to where they live – plant a tree, clean up a patch and be creative!
Here are some photos to inspire. Find more on Mmofra Foundation’s Facebook Page.
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!
Except for clothes, I also pin playgrounds, garden 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!
Yesterday, I was told a parrot had been seen in a tree in our backyard. The announcement came at a time I felt tired and flustered, but now my whole body shaped up – a parrot?
After sneaking around for a while we saw it (and possibly its partner) in all its green and orange glory. It moved on the branches with the help of its beak, sang in a chirpy way, hid in the greenery and finally – like in a flash- sailed away in a quick orange streak.
My daughter was also excited and called it “a carrot” as she is in the process of learning vegetables and fruits in school.
I went inside and googled that parrot’s ass. Green+parrot+West Africa and there it was.
The Senegalese parrot, or Poicephalus Senagalus Versteri in our backyard. Isn’t it beautiful?
Photo from parrot.org
Four days later my egg shell nursing station looks like this.
Lettuce and basil sprouted first.
Next is finding a way to plant them outside without the yam ants eating all my 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.
Here is a confession. Yesterday, I went on a rampage. I killed thousands of ants.
It all started the day before when I was bitten by a red ant (also called “yam ant” or “fire ant“) as I was hanging laundry. The red ants bite hard and leave an itching swelling that later turns into a small, painful blister that stays with you for days. Anyways, so this red ant bites me twice on the toe next to the big toe and it hurts like a bee sting. I immediately decide on revenge.
So after taking the clothes down (mind you in wellington boots), I look for the ant colony and BINGO – I see some sandy mounds in the lawn with holes where red ants run in and out.
I take a hoe and proceed to work.
As I dig thousands of ants well out, some start climbing the hoe, others my boots. I have anticipated this and shake them off. I continue to dig and do not stop when I start to find white eggs and winged queens.
I dig and I dig and when I feel like I have come to the bottom of their colony, I spread out the soil/ant chaos thinly and go for the water hose.
Many thoughts cross my mind. I think of the ants unfortunate choice of settlement. I think of how I never want to be bitten again. I look for eggs and queens and step on them. Hard. I feel like a mean King Kong. I am impressed with the ants who tirelessly try to organize themselves throughout what must be one of the worst mornings in their life. Noone stops in panic or gives up! I spray water with force onto the fleeing ants. I think of more effective ways of killing them. Salt? Poison? Neem tree? I remember to stomp my feet. I hear by heart beating fast and feel weirdly upbeat about my killing rampage.
When I have filled the hole of what was once a proud red ant colony with water, sprayed as many ants as possible into the muddy waters and stepped on everything with wings, I withdraw.
I am now, with anticipation, awaiting their next move.
Pic from Wikipedia.
So my Swedish summer is over and I am back in Ghana with all that it entails. So far:
1. A Ghanaian wedding in which a vuvuzela played an important role.
“Do you take this… VUUUU! VUUUU!”
2. Getting the updates on our backyard farm from my husband.
“…And here we have tomatoes, watermelon, two kinds of plantain, cassava, paw-paw and there ginger. Don’t step on the pepper!”
3. A visit to the drivers licensing office, DVLA. I was there for an hour and did of course not get my license. I did however read an article about the corruption at the DVLA while I waited.
4. Returning to work where E-V-E-R-Y-B-O-D-Y greeted me whith a heartily:
“Akwaaba! How was your trip?”
5. A function at the University of Ghana where I, to my surprise, got the chance to pitch my research idea to Former Secretary General of UN Kofi Annan.
“I am interested in why Ghanaian students leave this…” Kofi Annan interrupts me excitedly:
“Yes, exactly, this wonderful country”. When he found out I was married here in Ghana to a Ghanaian he and his Swedish wife Nane Annan smiled and said a warm “congratulations!”
Yes, I am back in Ghana! This wonderful country!
My favorite tree in Ghana is the Flamboyant (Delonix Regia) that periodically turns in to a huge, red bouquet.
Which is your favorite tree?
Nothing much has happened the last couple of days which I think is good. Sometimes we modern human beings plan too much, live too fast, see more than we can handle and rather feel stressed than fulfilled.
When an equally relaxed friend came to see me yesterday and had a glance through some of my beloved cook books I thought of that I haven’t really cooked much lately – even though I love food and the cooking process.
The day before, I did some planting of seeds in my backyard. Watered my new plantation for almost and hour and with dirty hands and sweat running down my neck I felt really good, almost refreshed.
What do you do when you to-do-list is empty?
> Today, the time has come to move from buzzling community 8 to the more calm – from the looks of it at least – community 11 here in Tema.
I’m just now going for the key from our landlady and then arranging with my gardener to come move my garden (!).
Today we plan to do the most part of the move – big stuff, books, clothes, TV etc. but then come back here and sleep (and more importantly use the Internet one last time).
Pic: A new door opens…beautiful door of new house.