Thursday, September 25, 2014

Jo'Burg Hawk - Look Up Brother

A great song from South Africa 1971.

University of Ghana Wednesday Morning History Seminars

I have now put together the list of presentations for the Wednesday morning seminars at the History Department at the University of Ghana in Legon. The seminars are at 9:30 am in the History Department library.

History Department Seminars
Fall  2014

J. Otto Pohl
Special Settlement vs. Apartheid: A Comparison of Soviet and South African Ethnos Theory and Practice
Hermann Wilhelm Von Hesse
Reconstruction of Accra's Architectural and Urban History through 19th Century Photographs: A Critical Appraisal.
Larry W. Yarak
"Creative [and] Expedient Misunderstandings": Elmina-Dutch Relations on the Gold Coast in the Nineteenth Century."
Samuel Ntewusu
The Road to Development: The Construction and Use of Ghana's Great North Road, 1900-2000
Humphrey Asamoah Agyekum
The Cyclical Evolution in Ghana's Civil-Military Relations
Philip Atsu Afeadie
Work Anguish, Pleasure and Concern in Colonial Civil Servants in Northern Nigeria
Knut Oyangen
Victoria Smith
Writing for Reading Aloud: Radio Ghana and a New National Literature.
Philip Kumahor
Sanitation in Accra

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

SHARK MOVE - my life

Indonesian Rock from 1970.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

News from here

The Cedi has officially gained over 9% against the dollar in the last month. Of course you can't buy any dollars at the official exchange rate. The actual rate you pay to buy dollars is still around 3.8 rather than the official 3.55 and be as high as 4.1. But, at least the currency has stopped falling. It should hold steady at about 4 for the dollar as the real exchange rate for the next few months. Or at least I hope it remains stable or goes up. So it looks like Ghana will avoid a complete collapse of its currency like Weimar Germany/Zimbabwe. That is good news. In more good news the Nigerians are resuming gas exports to Ghana. But, there is alas some bad news as well. The risk of getting fatal diseases from eating off the street seems to be going up rather than down. A student at University Cape Coast recently died of food poisoning after eating some contaminated wakaaye over the weekend. So I am going back to not eating at the night market after having lunch there once this weekend before I read about the UCC student dying of food poisoning.

Friday, September 19, 2014

The Dark Continent Gets Darker

The power outages are getting more frequent and longer now. The water level in the Akosombo Dam is exceptionally low this year. The recent decision by Nigerian authorities to cut off supplies of gas to Ghana has seriously exacerbated the problem. I had no power all night Tuesday, all night Wednesday, and this morning in my flat. The local news predicts that things will continue to get worse now that the Nigerian gas supplies to Ghana have been stopped. The discovery of oil and gas in Ghana like in Nigeria decades earlier has not prevented Ghana from having consistent and prolonged black outs.

Things Fall Apart

Yesterday the strap on my hand bag broke. The day before that the straps on my right sandal broke. Both the bag and the sandals were purchased in Kyrgyzstan and made in China. For some reason Chinese goods exported to Central Asia are really shoddy. They only last a couple of months before falling apart. I am hoping that the new shoes and bag I purchased here in Ghana will last a bit longer, but I am not optimistic.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

It Really is the Dark Continent

Not only is the street I live on very poorly lit, we have street lights, but they don't work, but my flat frequently has no electricity. Tuesday night evidently is one of the days that Adenta has scheduled black outs. I have not had electricity there ever on a Tuesday night. Since it gets pitch dark here near the equator every single night of the year by about 6:30 pm that means much or maybe even most of my time is spent in darkness. I probably should invest in some alternative forms of light besides the tiny torch on my mobile. This weekend I will see about buying some more battery powered lighting. Today, I had to buy an emergency pair of shoes after the ones I was wearing broke. That is not a good thing when you have to walk in the dark along unpaved roads divided by multiple drainage ditches.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Harold Alexander-Tite Rope

Africa can be dangerous

Saturday night walking home from the tro tro station I stepped in a small ditch and scraped up my shin. I have since liberally applied rubbing alcohol and a topical anti-biotic ointment to the wound to prevent it from becoming infected. I don't expect that I will ever again be living somewhere with good street lighting so I should learn to walk more carefully after it gets pitch dark here at about 6:30pm or so every day.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Ghana should be a net food exporter not an importer

Ghana and other African countries are perfectly capable of producing enough food to feed themselves and having a surplus left over to export. Unfortunately in Ghana most everything including food is now imported from outside of the African continent. If you go to a shop to buy biscuits they are from Sri Lanka. If you want fruit juice it is from South Africa. If you want mayonnaise it is imported from the United Arab Emirates. Ketchup is from Brunei. Even rice which used to be grown in abundance in Ghana is now mostly imported from Thailand. Just about the only two processed foods produced in Ghana that I see on a regular basis are shito sauce and bissap. If I ever do see imported shito sauce though I am pretty sure that is a sign that the Ghanaian economy has no hope what so ever. Agriculture and food processing seem like a logical place to start for an import substitution program to reduce the flow of foreign exchange out of the country. I noticed this summer when I was in Bishkek that locally produced condiments such as ketchup, mayonnaise, and hot sauce could be found in just about every grocery store at prices much lower than imported versions. Except for shito sauce that is not the case here. You can't find Ghanaian ketchup and mayonnaise for the most part at any price yet alone ones that seriously undercut imports from Brunei and the UAE. A buy Ghanaian campaign is only going to work if there are Ghanaian manufactured goods available in the stores to buy at competitive prices. So far policies to effect such a situation have eluded the Ghanaian government.

First Classes of the Semester

Today I finally taught my first classes of the semester. Only two students showed up to the first one and they were over 40 minutes late. The second class had better attendance, but still seemed to be missing the majority of students. For some reason a lot of students here don't think that they have to attend the first class of the semester. I am not sure where this idea came from. But, all my attempts to disabuse students of the notion that the first class of the semester doesn't count have come to nought.