Sunday Night Ramblings

May 24, 2012 § 6 Comments

Accra Update:
– Hmm… Glo sucks. I can make calls, but for some reason most incoming calls meet a busy dial tone. I can’t walk into their store to sort out getting voicemail because a three weeks after launching, they’re still spending all their time registering customers. What’s more important? Offering good service, or registering customers who can afford to wait. Not surprising. A lil’ disappointing, but, hell…we’re Africans, it’s almost branded into our DNA not to do things right. I never have my hopes up, when I’m not in control. My left leg still hurts. I’ve began walking again. There’s this natural high I get from working out…I’d almost forgotten about it. Today, I walked to Ayi Mensah. I think it’s the last town before you climb up into the Akuapem hills. The cedi keeps falling. If I had money, I’d short it. What’s sad is I saw this problem a year ago; the jokers in power are pumping dollars out to reverse the trend. That’s like putting sand bags in the path of a tsunami. Did you see the mess a few years ago at Banda Ache? Until we start producing and exporting products, this freefall will continue.
It’s raining almost daily now. Early last week, I tried running away from the rain. It’s one of the coolest things to experience. It sounded like a freight train slowly gaining on me. I think whoever came up with the term “heavy down pour” was traveling around these parts. Here, the drops feel heavy and they get you fully drenched in seconds! I filled up four 65-gallon drums in 20 minutes with water from one roof rain gutter from a 40-minute storm on Saturday. I could easily store enough water for a year from a week’s worth of rainfall if I had storage for it…and yet, we manage to have water shortage in Accra. If the storms allow, I should finish building a brick oven by this week’s end. I haven’t watched TV almost all month and I don’t read local newspapers, so no politics today.
– Writing is proving to be more difficult lately. The lights just came on. ECG has been turning off my power on an almost daily basis now. It’s really unhandy. I was lucky the lights came on just in time for the last 10 minutes of regulation of the Champions League final yesterday. I’ve spent most of the month chasing drivers, builders, and basically over-stressing myself with starting a food business. The worst is that I’m doing all this by myself. If you want anything to succeed in this country, you have to do it yourself, or micromanage people to get it done. Here, they stand back and watch you without offering any kind of support. If you succeed, they’ll be right there to mooch off you; if you fail, they’ll whisper and laugh behind your back about how you were in over your head. Yesterday and this morning, three young ladies approached me for work. These are the same the same people who ran around my village trying to spoil my name (like I truly gave a fuck about making any name with these people) all because I had the nerve to reject their advances last year. I can only imagine what new gossip they’ll concoct this time as I’ve said no to them again.
A truck was supposed to bring clay to my home, which would be used to build a brick oven. There was a nasty storm Saturday which was plenty enough excuse for the driver to push delivery to Tuesday. If I hadn’t called him, I’d had no idea that the dude wasn’t coming. I’m paying him for a service with money he could really use, and this guy didn’t even have the courtesy to call me and let me know he wasn’t coming. When you always have a storm brewing around you, it’s hard to find that brief quiet moment to share your thoughts in a web diary.

– I’ve written 4 entries and deleted them all. I dunno if I’m picky, but I’ve found I do this often. If I’m not feeling something, it’s ‘control A’ ‘delete’ and I’m back to clicking these keys. There’s a mosquito circling the room, but thanks to sasso, it’s dead, drowsy, or laying low for the night. It’s not been a good year for these vampires. I’ve built a formidable wall in my bedroom, but I’m still lost as to how they always find a way into the room. My kidneys have started getting warm/hot again. It’s been well over a year since I last saw them suffer. See how my mind works? I have a rolling ticker for a mind- a thought doesn’t stay very long in my head before the next takes over…then the next…and this goes on and on all the time. In some ways, it keeps me very imaginative, and very good at multitasking (although that only happens when I’m under pressure). But on the whole, it can be really tiring and aggravating.
– ANYWAY…I don’t like doing personal. This can make writing a diary a tad difficult. I’m cool with writing how I feel about this and that, but that can be too much to handle for some. So because of that, I’ve deleted or chosen not to post close to half of everything I write. But we won’t dwell on that right now. This entry should be the first and last about a girl. I’d normally call/IM someone in Texas about woman-du jour, but I live 7000 miles away in light-off country where telcos fleece ignorant customers of precious megabits, so that option hasn’t been there lately.
Carrying on…
My aunt lately teasingly asks me about marriage and when I’d have kids; I’d respond that I’m giving myself two years. She reckons I seem ready and will make a great dad. I’ll agree on the latter; the former almost changes by the hour now. I feel I have 7 kids and don’t necessarily need any of my own. I briefly dated someone my aunt knew. She’d almost reminded me that the girl wasn’t up to my standard. This is someone she knows and considers her own, btw. Anyway, she scared the girl off by telling her that because of the way I am, I’ll only marry a white girl. The poor thing once nervously asked me if that was true. What could I possibly say to that? No, I said. No, it wasn’t a lie, but I also wasn’t being very honest. I’m a very complicated person, so skin color is one of the least important things to consider when it comes to this long-term/marriage thing.
I wasn’t being completely honest because after a bit more than a year here, I’ve come to a cold, hard truth: I can never marry a local. If you’ve never lived abroad, it’ll NEVER work. This isn’t elitist Mike. It’s really simple. I’m too old to be teaching any local what makes me different from her and how we could reconcile our differences. Initially, I thought a person having lived in a western society at least one year was the bare minimum, but that was before I met a Legon/Kumasi girl and realized 1 year is nothing as her having spent a lil’ less than a year in France didn’t draw her an inch to my western influences.
ANYWAY… I’m working three Ghanaian/African options right now. I’m not really working anything…I’m not that busy, nor do I have time or the energy for three different people. Number one is this uber Christian soon-to-graduate Legon woman. We seemed to click until she realized I wasn’t a bible beater. I don’t mind if you espouse to any one faith, but don’t think I’ll do the same. I’d chance it and bet I’m more Christian, of a good moral, and have a more caring soul than 99.99% of Christians in this country, but who cares about that. If I’m not doing god talk, there must be something wrong with me. Sometimes, I wish I could really tell you what I’ve personally learned about so-called Christians I know in this country, but doing so would mean I would be breaking marriages, and outing people who would probably never read my blog. Too many Ghanaians have no clue about the faith they claim they belong to, or the god they worship. It’s amazing how much ignorance people have about religion that you’re persona non grata even if you’re barely reflexively non-pro Christian.
The second woman is this South African beauty. This is all fantasy, of course. I’ll probably never meet her, but besides the Legon Christian, Nolo Phiri would be my preferred life partner. I have no clue about her besides a character she plays on TV, but we could always fantasize, eh? I’m basically at the end of my rope when it comes to Ghanaian/black Africans. If this fails, I’ll go back to… 😉
So as not to seem like I’m being unfair, number three is basically any special person I’ve yet to meet. That way, should you ever find this entry, I can always explain that you were that special third charm I was referring to 😉
– Anyway, someone texted me these (below) over the weekend. Glo kept giving me 1 to no signals, so I quit on trying to reply, and I thought, this would be an interesting thing to write about on here.
Who do you take after?
I’ve been told I sound exactly like my dad. It’s worse for some on the phone. A guy who was trying to get business by selling us water kept calling me for several weeks… always starting with “daddy” until I got annoyed one morning and told him I wasn’t the one he was looking for. When my mom came, we went to Madina market, and I’d always trail her (almost like you’d do hawking over your kids). This woman is broad…she’s built almost like a linebacker. My grandma is built similarly, but she’s shrunken lately. Anyway, she kept knocking people coming from the opposite end out of the way with her shoulders. What’s funny was she didn’t notice she was plowing them out of the way until I told her to stop. I went to the same market this Saturday and I normally side-step or give people room even though most of the time I have the right of way. This time, I thought, fuck it, me pim wo-a, maa pim wo (if I hit you, I hit you). I’m just as wide and stocky like her. I swear in less than 2 minutes, four people had walked right into my left shoulder. They always assume, or perhaps expect that you’ll move out of the way for them. Not this time! Eii, bra! Wun hu me mo-bo? (Eh, bra, don’t you have any pity on me?) I just chuckled on the on the inside and thought in Twi ‘tomorrow, when you see me, you’ll learn to move out of the way.”
I have both their emotions- one has a slow simmer that bursts in ways you’d least expect; the other wears her emotions on the surface. I have her height and skin tone. A lil’ advice: if you’re a woman and you think marrying a tall guy will give you tall kids, think again. Women give boys their height, and men, girls. Unluckily, I got some other bad genes: diabetes, hypertension, enlarged heart, and kidney problems. So far, I’ve largely avoided the first two, and hopefully, it’ll stay that way forever. But this question got me thinking how fascinating it is that we don’t just take physical traits, but somehow nature passes on quirky mannerisms and even behavioral types. My kids (nieces & nephew) all look alike when they’re toddlers, even though they are from different mothers. And each grouping takes after their parents’ personalities, too. Come and meet the quiet ones and yappy ones and you could easily tell who belongs to who without looking for like features. Did you walk early? …start talking early? …a bit of a social butterfly? …a bit wimpy? …a bit on the geeky side? They’ll be just like you! Makes me wonder what kind of kids I’ll have.
What’s the best gift you ever received?
For my 30th birthday, all five kids did this song/dance choreographed routine for me. I’d always not cared for celebrating my birthdays. They had become annoying reminders that I was another year older. But this one was special. I was leaving the U.S. They didn’t know it at the time, and it became this very lovely send off that you couldn’t purchase in any store. I guess the best things in life really are free.
Biggest heartache
There’ve been a few, but none worth mentioning here. But there are two I’ll chance mentioning here. Either in late 2010 or early 2011, I found out that my very first or maybe biggest and longest crush was H.I.V. positive. Ever had one of those moments when your heart’s really aching, yet you don’t know what to do to stop the pain? It was one of those. I just felt my heart racing and my hands shaking the whole time. She seemed fine from her facebook pics and a bit of what I read from googling her name, but I couldn’t help but feel very sad. I know having AIDS/HIV is no longer a death sentence, but still… I worshiped this girl for three years. In primary school terms, that’s a lifetime!
The other was from TV. It was a quick switch on to see if I’d be interested in watching some TV. There was Airtel-sponsored show about changing the lives of some Ghanaians. This segment was about the lives of about 4 kids (I didn’t do a hard count) who had lost both parents and were living their Cruela Deville aunt. They couldn’t afford much and watching the youngest one talk about their situation and how they didn’t get any new clothes for Christmas- and how their mother would’ve gotten them something just made me teary-eyed. It was like watching Schindler’s List or Rudy. At some point, you’re going to cry, too! …unless you’re that emotion-less host who seemed more concerned with getting out all the questions on her list than connecting with the lil’ boy. A hug would’ve done just fine.

Anyway, I’d rattle on about other Qs she had for me, but luckily my power just went out again, and we don’t need to read about personal stuff anyway, so… adios. I’ve been trying out these simple asian recipes and hopefully when I have my oven by this weekend, I’ll learn to post a pic or two here for you. I wanted to bake my first pizza pie and show you how I did it, but the starter culture I want is 5000 miles away, so we’ll have to wait a tad bit on that.
A bien tot, mes amis!


§ 6 Responses to Sunday Night Ramblings

  • Jennifer says:

    Fire brick oven baked pizza sounds amazing, you have to let me know how that turns out! I finally figured out the neighborhood we are moving to , called kumsark estates at Oyarifa?? Heard of it? Any helpful info?? I remember you saing you lived off of oyarifa before..Lol we load our container on Tuesday for it to do the month long trek in the ocean so hopefully it will get there before we do. Hopefully I’ll make my way around to running , the hills over there I hear are very pretty 🙂 I hope our power is on when we get there lol

  • Yvonne says:

    Love it Mike!!

    I’m curious about your crush in Primary school who has HIV though!!! I’m sure you are not surprise, someone is asking!
    You don’t have to tell!

    take care

  • Mike says:

    @Jennifer I’ll definitely let you know in the next few weeks (rain permitting). I haven’t heard of this kumsark estates…is that the right spelling? Anyway, I’ve written it down and will ask about it tomorrow. I hope your container makes it here in one piece with no contents growing any legs or wings 😉 and I hope you got yourself a generator. ttyl!

  • Jennifer says:

    Thanks soo much 🙂 I sure hope it gets there too!! You can email me @ , so I’m not cluttering your reply box lol. Thanks!

  • Mike says:

    Yvonne, funny you should ask about crushes. I had 2 in primary school: one was from stage 2-4; the other was during stage 5 & 6. No one knew about the 2nd girl. That one was special b’cos I managed to keep it secret. But then one day, my mom came to pick me up in her car after school and she saw this girl and our friends waving bye and asked if she was my gf. I never let her pick me up after that day. This person lived down the street close to circle…was close friends with Oli…used to be very good at Adowa. She ended up in 1G, slowly ended that crush. Can you guess who? Don’t say it here!
    As for the other person, I’ll tell you on fb.

  • Yvonne says:

    OMG…..hahahaha…..I knew it!!! I believe the feeling was sorta mutual lol…..

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