The Week When I Increased My Twitter Following by x10

This week I have the honor of representing my native Sweden as the curator of the Twitter account @Sweden. It is every week run by a new Swede or person living in Sweden (this week a Swede outside Sweden). 

The initiative aims to showcase “the country of Sweden through the mix of skills, experiences and opinions it actually consists of. Through the stories of the various curators, not one Sweden is conveyed, but several.” Housed by the Swedish Institute, the project is a co-initiative with VisitSweden and you can read more about the project Curators of Sweden and see a list of more curators here.

I opened my curatorship with a tweet+video from our garden:


On my personal Twitter account @kajsaha, I have 12 000 followers, but this week I have 127 000! I hope to make good use of the exposure! During my week I will discuss

  • Swedishness,
  • my best online tips,
  • weather (that’s what Swedes like to talk about!),
  • identity politics,
  • why I chose to research migration in West Africa,
  • and of course, share some breakfast photos.

I also hope to use my social media skills to have a very interactive week!

See my posts on


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Extra Toothbrushes in Ghana: AIDS, Orphans and My Daughter’s School Uniform

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!

Children at SOS Nursery School in Tema, Ghana. Photo credit: Extra
Children at SOS Nursery School in Tema, Ghana. Photo credit: Extra
My daughter on first day of school. Photo credit: Me

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 suggests, despite the horror hidden in these numbers, that Ghana still reports one of the lowest rates of HIV in Africa. The number 160 000 mentioned above is a total number for all years since AIDS was discovered. Currently, many individuals diagnosed with HIV are also on retroviral medication, which means the virus is slowed down and life expectancy goes up again.  (By chance, a famous HIV ambassador in Ghana this week told media she never even had HIV! But that is a different story…)

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?

Read also WHO: 10 facts about HIV and this article explaining why a HIV-infected man was acquitted of charges of unprotected sex – he posed no threat to the women he slept with.

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Review: Ariel’s Haven and Day Spa

Last week, I was worn out in a way only a new mother can be. One of my favorite luxuries in life is going for manicure and pedicure and over the years I have lived in Ghana, I have been to many of the salons in Accra. The service is often between 45-65 GHC (20-30 USD) and many times good: someone pampers you and you come out looking great, other times not so great and you come out even more tired after micromanaging an attendant who seems clueless…Ariel's collage 1
This time, I decided to go to a new salon, Ariel’s Haven and Day Spa, located in South La Estates, not far from the La General Hospital. I walked through their beautiful garden and then the receptionist and the owner, Olivia, warmly greeted me before I was shown to a cozy waiting area with comfortable couches.

Ariel’s specialty is private treatment rooms. I am one of those social butterflies who like going to the salon to meet people, but I think Ariel’s dedication to privacy is nice for the times you do not feel chatty, but still want to be pampered.

There is the room for the Domestic Goddess, Corporate Empress, Diva Princess (don’t that sound great!) and also a “Man Cave” for spa needs of guys. The salon is six months old, housed in a nicely refurbished private home and therapists all seemed experienced.

Ariels collage 3

I quickly decided I would do a massage as well and although treatments are by booking, Ariel’s sorted me out for a Swedish massage (90 GHC) in the Tranquility Room. However, first I was to do my nails! I had chosen aromatherapy manicure (30 GHC) and pedicure (40 GHC) and two attendants worked on me efficiently for about one hour, using products from the African Kanshi line and polish is from China Glaze. The treatments were finished off with a nice and thorough foot massage.

Ariels collage 2

Then I was shown into the massage treatment room. The massage was one of the best I have ever had! I know all about the medium-deep tissue massage that is called Swedish as I am Swedish! The one-hour of candlelit bliss allowed me to both doze off and get much needed intense kneading on some of my sore spots (oouch!) The massage room had room for two tables, so you could come with a friend or your partner and a washroom for cleaning up and changing. Again a very private set-up.

Ariels collage 4

The attention to detail at Ariel’s was great – everywhere cosy lighting, a good but not overwhelming scent, relaxing music, water served very cold with a lemon wedge inside and the personnel are kind, efficient and smiley. You can have a facial like my blogging colleague Naa had. Read her review here! The garden has a serving area where you can grab a bite! The salon is also open on Sundays!

All the little things a tired mother needs! Thank you Ariel’s Haven and Day Spa for a very relaxing morning!

This post is a collaboration between Ariel’s Haven and BloggingGhana. If you want a review for your business, please contact



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Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden and Trade Minister on Visit to Ghana

Tomorrow, Tuesday, the Swedish second person to the throne, Crown Princess Victoria will be paying a visit to Sweden.

Victoria mars 2014The Princess arrives together with Minister of Trade Ewa Björling for a “promotional trip” to Ghana. After Ghana, they will visit Tanzania. In a press release, the minister says:

“Ghana and Tanzania represent ‘the new Africa’ in various ways, with strong growth and major potential for increased trade and economic exchange. Crown Princess Victoria and I are traveling to these countries to further develop Sweden’s relations, including trade, with Ghana and Tanzania”

Just late last year, Sweden sent another high level visit to Ghana in Minister of Entrepreneurship Annie Lööf, and recently it was announced that Sweden opens a sectional office in Accra linked to the regional embassy in Abuja.

It looks like I am not the only Swede taking an interest in this green nation of Ghana!

Photo borrowed here.



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