My Greyhound Coach Experience, Traveling Through America.

Port Authority, New York City

One of the great ways to see the sights and sound of any country is the road experience. I planned to see the  country side while traveling the different States of America.

My journey began from New York and the Greyhound experience to Delaware county was great with slight hitches of the bus slowing down because of overheating. From the middle aged pleasant woman who helped me get my paper ticket from the vending machine, to  meeting Jamie, the new friend I made while waiting to get on the coach, was great. Not sure if its the State I was in, but the experience in New York is nothing compared to what I received in Philadelphia.

The reception on arrival was plain and laid back at the coach station and a not responsive customer engagement. Perhaps, I concluded quickly, but I soon observed that it must be the way things are done in this State, again, I may be wrong. Everything took longer to happen, at least from my observation at the station.

30th St. Philadelphia Greyhound Station

My next Greyhound experience was on a Saturday, a day after a bad storm that affected the rail lines as well as shut down transportation in certain States, Washington been no exception. The nightmare began when my schedule was moved from 12:30 to 14:30 and the long wait in Richmond,Virginia after arriving at 23:00 and expected to wait until 5:40am the next morning to connect. I realized how serious the situation was when some passengers couldn’t hold it and an elderly woman burst out crying because of the frustrations of waiting. Certainly, been at a coach station for hours isn’t a pleasant feeling.

Thankfully, Chris from the station helped me get on the 1:00am schedule to Fayetteville where he assured me that connection to Atlanta was easy to find. So on arrival at about 5:30am on Sunday morning, I had updated my ticket to depart at 07:35am and even though I sat close to the staff and frequently went to check if the bus will be on schedule, I was disappointed to hear when I asked again at 8:00am that the bus had left! Well, I couldn’t hide my distress and vented out my displeasure to the staff whose responsibility it was to ensure that she made the announcement. While her defense wasn’t good enough, the harm had already been done and I had to wait for the 12:30pm schedule.

Richmond Greyhound Station

Its what happened during the wait that got me not only calm, but admire the leadership of Miss Whitaker,  who initially was not my favorite person, but  ended up liking her a lot because she took responsibility and ensured that all the passengers who were distressed, hungry and tired, had food and drinks and ensured that she made the necessary announcement to get everyone on schedule to their destinations.

So I guess, the bad experience  I had of the transport company always had one person in there whose light shone and exhibited that service magic, giving me a good experience afterwards.

The driver  of the South East coach from Fayetteville to Atlanta, was another humorous, pleasant middle aged man who ensured that we were relaxed for the long trip. The trip was smooth without hitches, but once again the craziness at the station in down town Atlanta was not surprising with crowded, weary and anxious passengers willing to get on their buses.
While I will not get on any long distance bus ride via the Greyhound at least not soon, I will consider a bus ride only when its with family and friends and we have to take turns driving, I think this will be a lot of fun too.

If you want a great experience, a bus trip like the one I had, will give you a lot to observe and write about, you get to understand people from different backgrounds and culture. The entire drama at the coach stations and the different blend of people from all over the world is an experience you must have as a tourist.
Please note that there usually are a lot of cancellations if you are riding the Greyhound, so pay attention and always check your schedule to avoid any surprises.

 

What’s In Store For Black History Month In Barrie?

Black History Month

Ebenezer Inkumsah has organized two events as part of Barrie’s Black History Month celebration. – Chris Simon/Metroland

The Barrie resident has been organizing local Black History Month activities for more than two decades. This year’s celebration includes two large events planned in February.

A concert honouring late Nigerian Afrobeat pioneer Fela Kuti runs Feb. 9. The concert will feature Femi Abosede. Kuti was an Afro Jazz innovator who shaped the music scene on continental Africa, Inkumsah said.

“We put events together every year,” he said. “History is skewed because it’s always told by the victors. But Black History (Month) celebrates the accomplishments. We just want the community to come out, celebrate and enjoy.”

Admission to the Kuti tribute is $25 and it takes place at Five Points Theatre, 1 Dunlop St. W., at 7:30 p.m.

On Feb. 23, Sankofa Through Sound with Tuku, Lisa Michelle, Najla Nubyanluv and Amina Alfred will be held at Georgian Theatre, 1 Georgian Dr. Admission is free and the event, which is geared toward students, begins at 9:30 a.m.

Sankofa translates into ‘go back and get it’ in Ghana’s Twi language. The event is intended to be a musical and visual odyssey, told from the viewpoint of people of African descent living away from home.

“It’s not what is (typically) in the media; it’s for us, by us,” Inkumsah said. “It’s our narrative. We’re there to share our heritage and culture while we highlight the contributions of African people around the world.”

Ghana and West Africa was considered the hub of the slave trade, he said.

The Barrie area played a prominent role in African-Canadian history. Between 1819 and 1831, settlement of black people along Wilberforce Street in Oro Township was sponsored by the government of Upper Canada. Among the black settlers were veterans of the War of 1812.

After generations in Oro-Medonte, the black families moved to find better jobs — some settled as shipbuilders in Collingwood — because soil conditions in the township were poor.

However, the Oro African Methodist Episcopal Church remained and is now a National Historic Site of Canada.

Further details can be found at barrie.ca/theatretickets.

Your Name Is Your Identity

I am blessed as an African to have an identity, but this identity was ridiculed and threatened by my own. While I loved my name and what it meant, I had questioned it a few times based on how my peers made me feel.

It was a difficult thing trying to decipher why they would laugh at the mention of my name  since we all grew up in the same country, until I grew up. I felt sad but at that age, I wanted to change my name  real bad and have one like theirs.

A few of them would ask “how come your name is so local?” I smiled each time and told them because I was local.
That was so they stopped bothering me, but my mother would always have it when I got home that day from school.
“Mum, why don’t I have a name like yours?” I would ask almost angry that I was given this name.


She would smile and say, “son, no one gets confused when their eyes are closed and they hear your name, they immediately know you are African, but I think that they would get confusedif they heard mine because they would be inclined to think that I was European, your name is powerful, your ancestors have blessed you and so anytime you go to school and they bother you,tell them that” She would say.


I felt better and the next day with my chest out, proud and bold, I would tell them how important my name was.
It’s been many years since grade school and now, I see most of my colleagues change their names to assume their local identity.
Love your name and by all means, don’t settle for any compromises.

The Depth of the Ga Language in Ghana

My country Ghana has over 46 dialects spoken all across the country and perhaps a few more that are not documented yet. In a recent conversation with a friend on social media I was inclined to give my response to an observation he made by writing in his local dialect, Ga.

Instead of saying thank you in English, I wrote in Ga “Oyiwaladon” while thank you in my language means “medaasi” the same response is rather in-depth in the Ga language. The delivery of the response is a bestowment  of blessings.

It talks about life, and the extension of it. The statement is an invocation of a certain exoteric order. I am trying to understand why the Ga’s respond in this manner which is different from many other  tribes in Ghana.

Ga is classified as Kwa languages, often specified as New Kwa, are a proposed but as yet undemonstrated family of languages spoken in the south eastern part of Ivory coast, across Southern Ghana, and in central Togo.

The name was introduced in 1895 by Gottlob Krause and derives from the word for ‘people’ (Kwa) in many of these languages, as illustrated by Akan names.

It’s interesting to note that the Ga language is a western representative of the western Kwa subfamily of languages within the Niger-Congo family. It has a closer relationship to Yoruba in its tonality and cognates than to the immediately neighboring sub family of Akan languages and an even closer relationship to its eastern neighbor, Ewe. It’s understandable why it’s similar to Yoruba. I think part of this history is due to the fact that the Ga’s had migrated from Ketu in Nigeria and settled in Ghana. For me, what remains interesting is the composition of the words.

I  have also noticed how the Ga’s refer to the divine presence of God. Ataa Naa Nyumo which translates to represents both male and female. Ataa which means father, elderly and Naa referring to queen. So again, my analysis is why they chose to use the male figure to represent the elderly, father and refer to the female as queen in the God head? Many other tribes refer to God as a male and quite intriguing that the Ga’s see both. Permit me to conclude, that the Ga’s don’t discriminate when it comes to having the best representation of the divine head.

 

Tell Me About Your Accommodation In Ghana?

 

 

Amazing experience, a hustle free rental process

The importance of accommodation can not be over emphasized and the current housing deficit in Ghana presents an opportunity and a challenge at once. While the real estate industry could be the next gold mine in the country, its non enforceable rent control regulations has made the cost of living very expensive and not encouraging a lot of savings.

Not  long ago MoveHub, an international relocation company  rated Ghana as the most expensive country to live in on the African continent. While this is arguable, the research findings was based on a few factors and  assessment on a range of costs, such as the price of groceries, transport, bills, restaurants and rents.

It was easy for me to find accommodation and  arrange a monthly pay plan any where else but Ghana.

The challenge of a rent advance almost impossible for most people, could also be due to a few factors. In my opinion, I think that the lack of credit worthiness of some or most Ghanaians push landlords to charge at least 24 months rent advance. They don’t have to worry about collecting their money until after two years and they can use the bulk sum to solve immediate challenges. This too is understandable.

While landlords argue that the cost of building and the investments they make developing the properties doesn’t not give them such flexibility to provide a short term rental service, prospective tenants complain about the long term tenancy agreements.

I have always considered ways of making accommodation affordable but almost always hit with some road block because it didn’t matter how hard I tried, the problem didn’t seem to go away.

During my monthly business light talks called Kasabiz, I was very happy to engage a patriot of the land who has also being concerned about this challenge and had taken proactive measures to ensure that this challenge be come a thing of the past. A true stalwart and an astute individual with a high sense of quality and attention to detail.

He had observed his living standards in his resident country Canada and over the years had tried to offer some level of comfort to Ghanaians by bridging the housing gap and offering an alternative solution in a secure environment with an awesome condominiums to assist Ghanaians.

Dr. George Obeng a well composed almost perfect even in his imperfect state as described his modest self in the very subtle of reaction, is a good example of the many Ghanaians doing amazing. For the first time that I know of, its very simple and easy to rent an estate. Register for a visit, fill up property details form, wait for a response and you are good as gold to have an amazing experience in any of the condos with an all inclusive pay plan.

So when next you are in Ghana with the family and for a longer stay, I recommend you check out www.summerhillestate.com

You may want to consider the options available to you if you live in Ghana and exploring a more flexible way to make rent.

 

Tourism Is A Serious Money Making Business, Let’s Pay More Attention To It

Ghana’s Stand At The World Travel Market

Every time there is the world travel market in London, I see Ghana’s participation, but can close my eyes and be sure that the setting will be the same because it would lack creativity. If its not the usual white tables decorated with the famous Kente cloth, a pride of Ghana, It would perhaps be another color and a few tour companies buying stands and exhibiting their brochures and flyers on the little table they paid for. It looks like petty trading in Ghana and we all know what petty trading is, its petty.

How does a country expect people to be attracted to invest in its  tourism industry if it isn’t projecting it right? So these are a few things that I think Ghana can do to be more attractive and visible.

There are amazing tourist attractions in the country with awesome history. Take for instance the Larabanga Mosque, the Kakum National Park, Cape Coast Castle and the Independence Arch to mention a few.

Ghana, Larabanga Mosque
“After restoration”
I am sure that if the tourist board had a robust team, creative and innovative enough, it will be able to attract funding that would enable the country to have miniature outer models of these attractions to be modeled as space setup during exhibitions,use traditional furniture like the native stools to showcase our furniture. Starting a conversation playing a game of Oware during the exhibition, is a good ice breaker and can tell a lot of stories and give a lot of value to visitors.

If you must take a miss tourism Ghana to showcase the country, please make sure that they are in full kente regalia and not showcasing a contemporary style of the proper wearing of the cloth as this takes away the true value and appreciation of the cloth.

Paa Kwesi Inkumsah With Miss Ghana Tourism 2013 At World Travel Market

I had  a very good impression of Kenya with how they sold the country each time, by bringing real Masai warriors who only don’t wear their clothes just for the  exhibition but to showcase their pride and joy everywhere they went in London. That said a lot got people curious to know more. No wonder this country is a strong tourism haven on the coast of Africa.

My first experience with the Masai warrior was to request a photo opportunity to add to my collection of awesome traditional apparels and to show off that I met a real Masai warrior. During my photo moment with him, I held the spear of the warrior while the shot was taken. Note: The spear of the Masai is only held by him, so I was honored to have this privilege.

Masai Warrior at World Travel Market

My friend who wanted a photo moment too, wasn’t lucky as the warrior resisted and told him to visit Kenya and earn his stripes as a warrior. It would be the only way he would earn the right to hold a spear.

Holding the spear of the Masai is an honor as with that spear, he killed a lion.

I am happy to have had this opportunity.

Masai Warrior Spotted At London tube platform going for WTM

 

So the only way I had access to this information was first the attraction of the Masai in shape and form. Ghana’s Kente has a rich history that can be told to the world, our name “Gold Coast” has a lot of richness too and the display of gold ornaments as main accessories will go a long way to sell the rich resources of the land. Taking the very day plus size Ghanaian woman for these exhibitions depicts the true nature of our people as we are know by our curves and various contours.

Language is one thing we must learn to  use and having Akwaaba Ghana will be an ideal introduction. Depending on which day of the week we are exhibiting, we can have various themes created to present a unique, awesome experience. If I am right, I think Ghana is one of the few countries in the world that names her people depending on the day of week and this I think is clever and something that can be sold to the rest of the world.

I would love to engage any department in tourism regarding the destination of the various areas in the country.