One of my favorite love stories, is one told to me by my lover
Once upon a time, before he moved to the city with lights
When he studied under stars and candlelight
He loved a girl with a pure heart
Lying on my bed, he shared with me his journey
Every night in the darkness
Over rocks, mud and potholes
To see the girl with a pure heart
Though he brought her sweets, presents and altruistic kisses
As well as a good part of his dogged devotion
The bricks and metal of her walls remained impervious to his charm
But my lover, he’s from the East, he stays true
Big heart, unyielding determination
Night in, night out
He sat patiently on one side of a gate
For the chance to lock fingers with the girl with a pure heart
My dad tells me that way before I was born, his first job was as a driver. He left home when he was 14 years old to explore a world beyond what his village could offer him. The man did not like to farm at all. So he forged some documents, added two years to his DOB and got a commercial driver’s license to pay the bills. No food for lazy man.
It is hard work being a bus driver en Afrique. You wake well before everyone else and you are usually the last to go to bed. Otherwise, how would the masses move around? In between, you deal with irate passengers, corrupt traffic police, overworked shock absorbers, dishonest mechanics and a very snarky assistant who probably skims the fare. If you’re one of the lucky ones, you actually own your bus, if not you have one paranoid owner perpetually questioning your integrity. Monkey work baboon chop.
The buses are called different things in different countries. Poda Poda (not to be confused with the bodas of Uganda) in Sierra Leone, Danfo in Nigeria, Tro Tro in Ghana and Magbana in Guinea to name a few. Different names, same equation. There is a bus, there is a driver and there is an assistant who lets people on and off the bus, collects fares and dishes insults in between. God dey.
Across nations, the Poda Podas also all share a very captivating feature. Hand painted nuggets of wisdom! Think about it and be grateful, folks. In addition to all that he does, your local bus driver is also your mobile philosopher. There are things you need to know and he’s charged his bus to tell the good news. I tell you, if you are ever short on inspiration, just take a stroll around the city. The Poda Podas will tell you as it is. No mincing words. After all, Fish nor get bizness wit raincoat.
Waiting on that pay raise?- God’s Time is the Best
Hate your job?– Lazy Man no Chop
Having self esteem issues?– Monkey Ugly But Him Mama Like Am
Feeling let down or broke?– No Condition is Permanent
Need to show off to your enemies?– Who God has bless no man can curse/No weapon fashioned against me shall prosper
Just got your secret lover pregnant?– To Be a Man is Not Easy/Every Year Bring its own Trouble
Got that pay raise?– Allah is Great!/To God be the Glory/When you are rich, you have many friends/Oluwa is involved
Feening for Guiness over your local brew?— Cut your cloth according to your size
Your Sunday dress two sizes big?— Eye Wey Dey Cry Dey See Road
And of course, the all popular, A friend in need is a friend indeed because you know, one day I will be at your door at 6am to ask for a favor. 🙂
Speaking of favors, please let me know if you have any of your own Poda Poda philosophies to add to this list and a big thank you Chelsea hater, Gooner lover and Eddie for your additions! Friends indeed!
Happy New Year all!! My very modest year 2014 in review. 🙂
Here’s an excerpt:
A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 690 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 12 trips to carry that many people.
The 2014/15 Premiership season is well underway, with few, if any, major talking points. Stingy Wenger spent some money on new players, my Man Utd is steadily finding its feet, and the pre-season favorites, Chelsea and Man City, are topping the table.
Ever since the big move to ‘Murica, I have found it hard to keep close tabs on my Premiership boys or any other league really. So everytime, right before World Cup season, I’m obliged to furiously scramble for four years worth of facts, figures and juicy back stories for my repetoire. Yes, na Kongosa and Lie.
After months of being outside the loop, it’s never enough to just watch and play armchair referee. I like to gather enough information to reliably predict things like Muntari losing his mind on the field and a 2-2-4 starting formation for the Black Stars results in terrible things.
Somehow, this year I’ve stayed in the loop. Two of my friends were extraordinarily generous with their time in bringing me up to speed and their knowledge and wisdom of all things football, I think, gave me the much needed momentum to move on from WC fan-girling to Premiership-shipping. If not for thier close association with the Gooners over there (ew), I would crown them the bestest people ever. But this is life and life is not perfect so we I take what I can get. In this case, it’s two Gooner fanatics. Ms. EJ and Sensei. #LuvLuv #YouGuysAreTheBest #2018Encore?
Sensei, in particular, has taken his role very seriously and continues to school me at any chance he gets ( I have not quite figured out if its Wegner that sent him or if he just doesn’t want to be bothered four years down the line with my thinly veiled friendship overtures). Anyway, Sensei, you’ll be proud. I have been paying attention and would like to share my ‘knowledge’ and shine a spotlight on four
badboy ‘standout’ characters to watch over the course of the season.
The Master of the Dark Arts – Jose Mourinho
A Machiavellian manager, not lacking in self-belief nor success, Mourinho would be happy to be perceived as merely a self-absorbed mischief maker, as this would disguise the meticulous planning his fierce ambition requires.
After winning the 2004 Champions League with FC Porto and taking over the Chelsea job, he waltzed into the Premiership and declared himself ‘The Special One‘. And since then he’s done nothing but underscore just how ‘special’ he is.
His success at Chelsea enhanced his coaching reputation, and his entertaining press conferences (see here and here), taunting sideline runs and poison-laced quips did not go unnoticed either. A year after leaving Chelsea in 2007, Mourinho looked well-positioned to take over at Barcelona, but his brand of “special” was not viewed favourably by Barca and they snubbed him for a then unheralded Pep Guardiola. Mourinho took his bruised ego to Italy, and exacted a small measure of revenge by beating the much revered Barcelona in the 2010 Champions League final, with Inter Milan. That’s payback enough, some might think, but Jose decided he wanted more and left Inter for Real Madrid — Barcelona’s sworn nemesis.
Despite all his craft and planning, Mourinho was unable to exert any dominance over Barca through Real, and he was forced to go dark. The ‘El Classico’ matches between Barcelona and Real, already heated affairs, consistently degenerated into ugly affairs during Mourinho’s reign. Things got so bad that Mourinho himself gauged the eye of one of Barca’s assistant coaches. See for yourself.
The Spanish press accused him of bringing the Spanish game into disrepute. And after three years in Madrid, a slightly more humble Mourinho returned to Chelsea, where he has since established himself as the Premiership’s commander in chief of the mind games. Stingy Wenger is the latest victim of his diabolical efforts.
A Man Misunderstood — Mario Balotelli
Initially described as a precocious young talent, I think it’s safe to say that Balotelli continues to confound the football world. Most would agree that the questions about his talent and physical ability have been answered, few, however, would say the same of his mindset and approach to his chosen profession.
The perception that he lacks consistency, desire and ambition continue to linger. And this is not helped by his off-field exploits:
Throwing darts at youth team players.
After crashing his car, and being questioned by police, Mario is found to be driving around with 5,000 GBP in cash sitting on his front seat — when asked why, Mario cooly replied, “Because I am rich“.
Accidentally setting his bathroom on fire with fireworks.
And then there are the regular punch-ups he gets into with his teammates, Yaya Toure, Micah Richards, Jerome Boateng, Kolarov and lest we forget his fisticuffs with his then manager, Roberto Mancini.
Obviously, something is not quite right with Mario. Whether it’s a case of being a wealthy man-child with no adult supervision, or something more serious is yet to be seen. His recent move to Liverpool will be an interesting one, as he is someone that marches to the beat of his own drum.
At the moment all seems quiet in ‘Super Mario Land’, but I expect to see some fireworks come winter.
The Philosopher – Joey Barton
Joey Barton is another player with anger issues. Hearing Barton speak today, you might be surprised by that. He’s taken to Twitter (@Joey7Barton), where he can be found offering views on everything including the conflict in Gaza and the murderous Pistorius. Some might even think he’s a reasonable man. But Joey has an umm interesting past. In the not-so-distant past he’s:
Served prison time for common assault.
Attacked a 15-year-old supporter of a rival team.
Stubbed out a cigar in a teammate’s eye.
And who can forget his one-man assault on Man City. Haha.
He can be a violent man. Currently he’s warming the bench at QPR, but at some point this season, Joey will make it onto the field again. A-Ho-Ya! I’m watching with unbated breath.
The One-trick Pony – Ashley Young
This one hits home, but I just had to. Haha. Over the last couple of seasons, Ashley Young has developed a reputation as a diver. At first, his performances were greeted with favorable calls from referees, rewarding him with free kicks and penalties galore, but after a while, fewer and fewer people have been swayed by his theatrics. Even Man Utd fans are over his performances. I mean, why? That’s all I have to say on the subject of brother Ashley.
To see some of his best work, look no further:
What is it going to be next? Give this guy a Tony, already.
Yesterday was Guinea’s Independence Day. To celebrate, I decided to pull a slight twist on the “twenty things about me” game as an ode to the nation as well as to help cure the slight grudge that I hold when I think my friends no dey try know my country at all at all :). I first posted it on my Instagram and I figured I should share here as well. Read, memorize and recite the next time you see me please :-).
1. Guinea’s flag colors are the pan-African Red, Yellow and Green. They match up to our motto : Travail, Justice, Solidarité.
2. That makes sense, the pan-African choice. For much of the sixties and beyond, Guinea was home to revolutionaries such as Kwame Ture and Miriam Makeba. Pata Pata
3. Kwame Nkrumah was co-President of Guinea during his exile from Ghana. Unfortunately, he died in Guinea. However, because of him, every Guinean of a certain age can say this in English: “I am going to Ghana” (Nkrumah voice). That makes me sad. No man should be denied the comfort of home. He wanted it so much. Also, I went to school in Ghana, after every visit home on my way back all the grown ups had one thing to say to me. You guessed it. “I’m going to Ghana”. Sigh
4. Guinea, magnanimously, adopted the French language as its official language. Vous etes la bien venue les Francais.
5. Sekou Toure, the first president of Guinea, made sure to pass one of the most progressive gender laws in the region. Imagine this, in a Muslim majority country he managed to make it illegal for men to marry (civil marriage) second wives without their wives’ consent. Sip.
6. The capital city is Conakry, an island city that has an impressive aerial view. Meet me in Conakry!
7. Guinea engaged in some light Marxism, very briefly, back in the day. Vive la revolution!
8. We have so much bauxite, we haven’t a clue what to do with it. Literally and tragic.
9. Like Mali and Senegal, Guinea has a vibrant Griot culture. This means abundant good music and story telling, however obscure. In fact, that J Cole song “Can’t get Enough” samples a Guinean song “Paulette” by Balla et ses Balladins”. How his producer came across that I don’t even know. Much respect.
10. Guineans love holidays so much that if they fall on the weekend, we still take a weekday off to compensate for it! Wenjoyment!
(2 October, 1958) Deux Octobre, Mille Neuf Cent Cinquante Huit!
Enjoy. Relax. Take a moment to yourself. It’s Friday. Another big tune, DoroBucci (pretty sure they made that word up…haha). This time from Nigeria and the Mavin family. Have yourselves a Doro weekend.
I am coming late to this, but I have been reading some things that I feel merit some response in this space.
On Friday, the World Health Organization finally declared an international public health emergency in response to the world’s most recent Ebola virus outbreak that started in Guinea and has spread, at an unprecedented rate, to Sierra Leone, Liberia and Nigeria .
With about a thousand deaths recorded thus far, the current outbreak is the most severe ever. As of today, the reported fatalities are as follows: Guinea: 300+ deaths, Sierra Leone: 298 deaths, Liberia: 294 deaths and Nigeria: 2 deaths. Things look dire right now but they look to get even worse before we see an end to this epidemic.
In between, I feel like there is a standard of conduct that we should all adhere to. For example, do isolate yourself if you have been in close contact with an ebola patient and you start to get a headache, do refrain from eating wild animals at this time, don’t try to personally care for sick relatives, do what you can to help the situation. Depending on where you are, giving money or directly educating people are both ways to help the situation.
What definitely doesn’t help, no matter your location, and in fact will hurt is the promotion of sensationalist discourse around the ebola virus.
To that point, I feel like we have all been subjected to some marginally disingenuous reporting from the NY times and other news outlets. If you don’t have time to click on the link, I am talking about the way some of the reports have dwelt on the point that people in Guinea, or otherwise, would rather go to witch doctors than seek out proper medical care.
Hmmmm. Yes certainly, that can be our focus. We can speak ad nauseum of the naiveté of villagers and the like who probably never had access to a hospital before this epidemic and have never been examined by a doctor. We could do that and fit it well into narrative tropes about Africans.
Alternatively, we could take a step back for a more holistic view of what Guineans, Sierra Leoneans, Liberians and to a smaller extent Nigerians are currently going through. If we make the inquiry about why those countries are failing at battling ebola (or any public health epidemic), I am afraid the answer will not rest on individual citizens who are in their villages trying to get on with their lives the best way they know how. The answer and solution would sound like something those countries can do to succeed in the face of ebola et autre. That is, it would expose the gaps and provide solutions to build and reinforce public healthcare systems.
Healthcare (especially in Guinea) has been broken for decades and citizens have a deep mistrust of the level of care given by doctors and oversight exercised by the government. I hate to generalize but doctors and nurses (the few that are there) routinely misdiagnose and mistreat patients for financial gain among other things. All Guineans have horror stories of doctors prescribing the wrong medication because it was more expensive in lieu of the cheaper option that could have saved a life. I have lost at least two cousins and an aunt that way.
In essence, going to a witch doctor and going to the hospital are both toss ups. Fifty Fifty, dood. In their book, Poor Economics, Esther Duflo and Abhijit Banerjee make a similar point about people in distress. When people (even in the west) feel there is little else they can do to improve their situation, hope becomes very essential. Hope can be manifested in many ways; in those communities, it is manifest through a witch doctor.
The privilege to report on other people’s lives comes with the responsibility to do so in a truthful, thoughtful and responsible way. Honor it. You cannot rely solely on local anecdotes to report on the failing efforts to eradicate ebola, do some more work, learn the context. Thanks.
*”Pray the Devil back to Hell” is the title of Leymah Gbowee’s bestseller where she talks about the Liberian women’s efforts to bring peace during the civil war.
Ebola first appeared in 1976 in 2 simultaneous outbreaks, in Nzara, Sudan, and in Yambuku, Democratic Republic of Congo. The latter was in a village situated near the Ebola River, from which the disease takes its name.
- It is introduced into the human population through close contact with the blood, secretions, organs or other bodily fluids of infected animals ( for e.g. monkeys, bats).
- Ebola then spreads in the community through human-to-human transmission, with infection resulting from direct contact (through broken skin or mucous membranes) with the blood, secretions, organs or other bodily fluids of infected people, and indirect contact with environments contaminated with such fluids.
- A chronology (and additional facts) of the Ebola virus can be found here but before the current outbreak, the last known cases were recorded in Uganda and the DRC in 2012.
This is a repost from my Tumblr from January 2013. At the start of every year, I like to make a list of my favorite things from the past year. Count you blessings, right? Adventures was one of such discoveries from 2012. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
Forget everything you thought you knew about African women and sexuality! Adventures from the bedrooms of African women will take your breath away. I know I forgot to breathe for at least five minutes when I came across it.
Here is a step by step story of how that happened.
1) Retired from facebook.
2) A year or so after coworkers convinced me to join twitter.
3) I acquiese.
4) Once there I naturally begin to follow all and everything African.
5) AWDF naturally topped this list.
6) AWDF FOLLOWS ME BACK!! GASP! I HAVE ARRIVED.
7) I am happy, I am happy, and I want to see who to thank for this amazing follow back.
8) I check out the AWDF website and look up their communications person.
9) She is a fine fine girl.
10) I decide to follow her and silently stalk her.
11) She links her followers to a website she co-authors.
12) BAM! I click on it and got introduced to another new and naughty world.
13) I like. Santa please please stay away!!
Adventures is a blog that provides a safe space where African Women (and occasionally some progressive men..lol) can discuss a variety of sex and sexuality related issues with the intention of learning from each other, having pleasurable and safer sex and encouraging continuous sex education in adults. The blog is managed by Nana Darkoa and Malaka (both of whom are Ghanaian I believe) but they also welcome Guest contributors (from around the world). So if you have a story to tell please share with them! I am working on mine :-).