This post was requested and to be honest it isn't really aimed at the wider public just the young people I had the pleasure of beginning my summer with. I secretly wanted to do it a week ago but at the same time the cheesiness would have been cringeworthy and this is not a space for cheese or cringe. Here's five of my favourite memories there's more but I've got a dissertation to write ya get me?!
1. So obviously there's the marathon religion discussion that I spoke about in my reasons for ramadan post. That happened on the second night. Those involved will know how that conversation began... I resist the urge to make a joke right here. Arguably Top 3 best night along with the camp fire, and british bulldog. It wasn't because the two teams had a real conversation that I loved that night, it's simply the hilarity of what sparked it. Big lads were sleeping with one eye open ahahahahahaaa!
2. So, then there was of course British Bulldog. Yeh so British bulldog is a disgustingly violent game! I sprained my ankle in that game. Perhaps it's advised not to play BB in a soggy, slippy, slide-y field but we London kids get our kicks when and where we can! It's still a frinkin' awesome game and nothing would stop me from playing in the sunset of a wet Somerset field ever again, but just know... it's an extreme sport! Of course it becomes even more dangerous when you're the last person left and the entire field (some 50/60 people) are all out to get you with a slightly hench Nigerian man commanding them and goading you into making your first move across the line. I would not like to be that girl, it was sumink like a Gaddafi biopic!
3. First day of the week two, one boy - not in my team - asked me and my colleague to teach him and the others how to Azonto. (p.s. guys great track Lapaz Toyota.) We stood in a circle trying to teach them the basics, which they picked up... but then failed when things got slightly complex - we be adding little Sarkodie shuffles in there and whatnot! Jheez! ... Oh, and reminiscing about being 18 in a club to the young people was also quite funny. I don't know if we've prepared them well or scarred them for life. A mixture of the two will suffice.
4. The worst thing you could tell a group of young people staying in London walking passed Tescos everyday is that they can't go to Tescos any day! You know me and rules we don't mix so I promised my team I would take them to Tescos except that all had to change when one lad screamed in front of my boss "when are we going Tescos?!" You've gotta forgive him, he's not known for been tactical or discrete with anything really. But obviously I had to SHUT - THAT - DOWN before I end up getting a little word in the ear about sticking to rules and being a role model. No Tescos, half the young people frustrated with one boy and no ice cream for anyone. There's always September.
5. Finally, (BY FAR THE BEST DAY/NIGHT) camping with these ones was hilarious from the start. After getting all but one person to abseil down the side of a stone quarry we walked to a "camp site" in a farm of sheep. Of course there's gonna be the loud lad who's looked at the map like once but thinks he can direct everything. Of course instead of taking a first left out of the quarry he makes us take a right. Of course faced with a fork road where one option is gated off and the other is free he'll have us climb the gate, because of course! he knows the way cos he can read maps(!?!) And then we'll put up tents... yeh that'll be easy. I shouldn't go into the complications of putting up a tent. It's not easy and it's not like I was any real help at all. And I won't go into the food we had to eat because that was frankly quite erm.. yeh.
Thank God there was a camp fire with marshmallows and wood and "21 dares" turned into "31 truths" (a game that just had to make a second appearance on the last day of residential even though we didn't really get into it due to annoying people who really just wanted to hear secrets - gossipers ;D)! If your a young person and you wanna play 31 truths to find out who likes whom in the circle, don't take the piss by asking stupid questions like "what's your favourite ice cream flavour?" or questions of that calibre. Ask REAL questions. On the spot questions. And don't lie about liking or not liking the girl next to you because as they came to realise, there'll be a Charlene ready to shine the spotlight on you, quite literally.
That obviously was the first day that the information stock exchange started trading. It would then grow into a massive dinner time gossipfest in Kitchen F on the girls floor. What happens in the information stock exchange stays in the information stock exchange...
6. For a certain someone...
I think that's it though. No more to say cos this is a public platform. This wouldn't be a legit post if we didn't pay homage to the demi-god that is Trey Songz able to get many a girl to do many a thing without realising (as dodgy as that sounds its sadly probably true). In fact here is a song he blessed us with just in case you don't know what the hype's about:
Amazing right?! What was my life without him?
*sigh* Right now that I'm over that... Here's to September guys!
The problem of second hand tyres is the problem of second hand everything in Ghana. JoyNews the other day asked second hand tyre dealers their thoughts on the ban of second hand tyres in Ghana. Many of them weirdly said that the new tyres from China were not as good as the used tyres from Europe because, get this, the Chinese tyres were made for a different climate but the Scandinavian and German tyres were made to suit the Ghanaian climate.
If anything this point to the lack of education in Ghana. To think that China's climate is different from Europe's or that non-Mediterranean Europe's climate matched that found in Ghana is frankly too sad to be funny. The lie that has been poured to the African that 'West is Best' is yet again manifesting itself in this saga and it may just cost our lives. What is interesting is that there are many people who feel as though their livelihoods will be taken away from them as of this September. Where is the entrepreneurial spirit Afro-optimists make noise about? In Kwame Nkrumah's day my grandfather faced a number of setbacks due to government bans on goods, it didn't stop him from diversifying and moving forward. Must it be the end of the world?
Unlike my post on the then proposed ban on second hand cars, I support the government on this policy wholeheartedly. No faze out time, just pure and simple, quick and painless cut off of the supply of sub-standard tyres, especially when Ghana suffers such a high rate of road accidents. That being said, second hand tyres serve more than one purpose. They need not find themselves back on the underbelly of a car. The government may wish to explain and suggest to these dealers the various things they can do with a second hand tyre. Yes I did just Google that phrase and offer it as a solution. If I can do that surely ordinary Ghanaian tyre dealers can too.
So once again, I guess all I'm saying is that if the government want people to change their lifestyle, be it hawking or selling second hand tyres surely it isn't too much to ask that they educate the people: Number 1 that new from anywhere is better than used from anywhere, #2 that China and Europe have a more similar climate than any of those places and Ghana, and 3. that tyres don't hand just one purpose, the most exciting, innovative and entrepreneurial brain will find other uses and kickstart the manufacturing revolution in Ghana out of a minor problem like too much stock of waste tyres. I just hoe the enforcers really do enforce this time, for the sake of lives on the road.
I've been working on the National Citizens Service. The last day of the programme was also the first day of Ramadan for the Muslim youths participating, so I decided to join them in solidarity to the fact that they would not be able to eat any of the food at the party being thrown for them and their mates. I'm actually going to be doing the whole month of Ramadan this year and many of my old friends have come out to congratulate me already. It's only been one day!
The core reason why I decided to do it however began on Day 2 of the NCS. A comment by a young person sparked a 4 hour discussion about religion, spirituality and morality between 2 teams of 11 youths (22 in total). From that night, those two separate teams were one big family whereby my colleague and I couldn't distinguish the difference. In my opinion this was because they understood each others perspective. Later in the programme a young lad from my team, who had also been in that marathon discussion was inquiring more about Ramadan. He decided that he "could do it, that's easy". Of course come the day of fasting, he forgot himself a few times but tried to stay true to his fast when he was aware. It's up to you to decide if he officially fasted or not, for me his greatest achievement is understanding his friends better, understanding other communities and religions better. It took me back to thinking of that marathon discussion where one girl asked (I'm paraphrasing) "why are Muslims so violent?" After schooling her on the politics of information I told her and anyone else who was listening that the most important thing about being on a programme like the NCS - although they won't promote it as such - is to explore and discover other cultures, be challenged on one's opinion of someone's religion and be challenged on your opinion of your own religion.
Y'know when Lent comes round, since the UK is a Christian country, we are all asked no matter our faith to consider giving something up, to join in a religious festival and seek to be better people through it. Ramadan speaks so much more to those values for me, because you don't give up just one thing (for which I've often supplemented another) you give up everything, as Christ did. Young people should be encouraged in our schools to partake in Ramadan and to give up something (if everything is too impossible) the same way they are implored to partake in Lent. I reckon like the young lad they would find that it's not very easy, that their friends are extremely strong people who respect something much greater than material worth and that it doesn't take away from who you are to find value in what someone else is or believes in.