Saturday, December 22, 2007

Griot's Journey Poster

My favorite poster (and also DVD cover) by far: The Griot's Journey. The DVD is available, check out Soon the book "African Legends" will accompany this amazing storytelling/ black history/African cultural resource. A Canada Council for the Arts grant was accessed for this Performance-DVD project. God bless Canada!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Recent Favourite Poster

What do you do with the poster once the event is over? Answer: Blog it! One thing we are dramatically short of is photographs for our December 16th event. I hope someone from the audience sends me one.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

CHRISTMAS BASKET -Afehyiapa Basket

The very first photo of our Sunday event is in. It is a beautiful Ghanaian-Canadian basket of goodness for Christmas which was tastefully put together by Dorothy Odartey-Wellington, professor of Spanish at the University of Guelph and donated for the Northern Ghana Benefit 'An African Christmas Celebration. ' The basket held a wooden African mask, an inviting red-orange drink, cakes by Dorothy( Ghana style) and the best milk chocolate bars and chocolate drink made from the finest cocoa, Ghana's own Golden Tree brand. The basket was won at a bid of $70! I have said to Dorothy: here's an alternative business idea for her, when she wearies of teaching Spanish at university. We thank all the bidders and wish everyone a Happy Christmas and the best of the New Year. Afehyiapa!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Tomorrow We Dance

photo by Anuta of Translucence, Guelph.
Tomorrow, December 16th, we dance to celebrate Christmas in warmth, with the community of friends in Guelph and to give a small gift to people faraway!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The River and the Path

wading across the floods
There's an Akan proverb which says:
"The River crosses the Path; The Path crosses the River-which of these is the elder? The Path crosses the River; the River crosses the Path- which of these is older? We cut the Path to cross the River but the River is from long, long ago."
My take: We can choose wisely where to place the path, so long as we are aware of the River and the area of its overflow.
We have chosen to make a pathway of relief through celebration. You can help make this path across the river! You can help to make a bridge!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Celebrate Generousity!

A performance of River Bride by Adwoa Badoe's class of dance students
When I was growing up in Ghana, we didn't believe in Santa and it wasn't because we didn't want to, but we had no fire places with chimney entries to let him through! Santa was only ever at the Kingsway Store, and he was black. Besides he had very little to give for the price one paid for the short miniature train ride which one took across the department store floor. This did not agree with the books we read where Santa was Caucasian, and rode reindeer accross the sky. Yet his songs found their way across the ocean to our homes and schools and we learned to sing them. Still, Christmas was fun for the new clothes we received and the few toys we got but particularly for the food we ate: jolof rice with beef, chicken light soup, spicy goat meat- stewed or fried and fufu, gari-foto, fried ripe plantains and custard-and-cake. My mother made the best European desserts at Christmas! There was that thing she call "Blancmange", I have never seen it anywhere else! Then there were the bands of masqueraders, as though we were mixed up between Christmas and Mardi Gras, and visitors coming in and out all day, bringing good wishes for the year end, and the old Huntley and Palmers gem biscuits with or without the frosting on the top, which we ate and strung together for necklaces and tree decorations. In spite of Santa's absence, Christmas was good and filled with generousity and we sang of Jesus all season long! This Christmas I am looking out for fun and rest and recreation. We want to celebrate the year end with greetings of Afehyiapa, literally a good meeting of the ends of the year, as though time was a circle which began and ended at the same point. We now translate this greeting as "Happy New Year!" We want to remember the generousity of God and in so doing motivate ourselves to be generous to people. This is why in celebrating an African Christmas at the GYMC on 16th December, we give a gift to some others to make both ends of the year meet well, for them and for us too.

Saturday, December 08, 2007


"Rub-a-dub-dub, three men in a tub."

My anatomy teacher, Mr. Ramaswamy, was completely befuddled by the nonsensical English nursery rhymes they were forced to learn in India. Befuddling perhaps to the adult mind searching for meaning in words but not to the child who hears the rhythm inside the words and the music within the rhymes.

" Trick-a true-too, three in a canoe." (This one is mine, stretched to the these men were who rowed a canoe accross a flooded field.) I wonder if these three are farmers, going to look at their wasted fields, or relief workers going to help, or stranded victims being rowed to safety or perhaps journalists looking for a story. Maybe they are fishermen looking for a river. In any case it must have been the safest way to travel , with broken bridges and washed out roads. At least they would arrive safe and dry.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

In Just TEN Days- HOMES

flooded house credited to Ghana Web
The homes of the poor may be constructed without complexity, using the commonest cheapest materials, earth! But it still takes effort and skill to build! And for those who live there with the fewest of possessions, there is still the pride of ownership of a piece of God's earth and the sense of security and belonging which bind a household together. A home is where life begins, food is shared, stories are told and dreams dreamt at night for the better tomorrows just around the bend of the horizon. .....Perhaps, there will be a good harvest and God willing, the children will be healthy, some money may be saved toward the next year and those dreams of a new house built of cement with a shiny aluminum roof, may find the magic to come to life.

Sunday, December 02, 2007


A cornfield is devasted after the September floods of Northern Ghana.

The expectation of the children, when they open hands and mouths to be fed, is among the most basic of needs. Food is the first inspiration for human activity, the primal urge to rise, search, gather, farm, emigrate and... fight. It is the primary impulse of the infant who finds her mama's breast with closed eyes and whose thirst is quenched and hunger fed, by the one activity of nursing. Food determines survival, growth, health, security, opportunity, possibility, dreams and vision. Food reassures the individual and the community of the love of God and that of their fellow man. A self sustaining people gain in confidence and self respect . They expect more of themselves because they are assured of their place in nature and their equality with all other people.
In many areas of the world the acquisition of a well balanced diet is no small feat. Even in places where food production is subsidized and food is abundant, there are some who starve and many who eat poorly. Sometimes people spend much money to eat substandard fare leading to the unprecedented rise in obesity, in wealthy nations. Starvation may kill faster than overeating. In the end, food and a well balanced diet is a basic human right which must be won for humanity!
I have heard parents cry foul when children leave food uneaten on their plates. "Think of all those hungry people in Africa!" They say. I say, don't just think of all those hungry people and gripe about a little wasted food on a plate, "Feed someone somewhere and better still help someone to feed themselves." What does food mean to you?

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Fifteen More Days to Our Benefit for Northern Ghana friends from northern Ghana holding a drumming party for me in Accra....

In September, floods ravaged the Northern and Upper regions of Ghana as well as Burkina Faso. Burkina Faso opened up sluice gates to a dam built on the Volta River, further flooding the region. More than twenty people died and 300000 people were displaced as their homes were swept away. Nine or more bridges were lost and the roads all but dissolved under the rising waters. The Northern and Upper Regions of Ghana, areas which are drier than most parts of Ghana, received about half of it's annual rain fall in those few days of incessant and heavy rains. Cropped fields were swept away and people fled here and there to join already overcrowded families living in difficult situations. The aftermath of such floods include water born diseases such as dysentery and cholera which can spread so quickly among vulnerable societies, not to mention malaria of the drug resistant types which is already endemic in Ghana. Then there are the mental health and emotional concerns for those with so little who have lost everything, for up to 80 percent of the people in this area earn less than $1.00 a day.

It is several months since the disaster itself but responses and actions tend to be more hesistant and difficult to achieve in certain places, and even in the USA where Katrina spilled her waters a while ago, we saw the helplessness of the mighty USA. The thing about disaster is that, while it is so devastating, it gives the worldwide community a chance to embrace a certain part of the world, if only for a short time. And within this embrace, if it is done with the right spirit, is the culture of our communal worldwide healing as humanity.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


Jiwani performing Sunrise Village at the GCDF 2006 at the Exhibition Park
The end of November has brought the snow at last and also rain. December calls already and Christmas lights are strung here and there on denuded trees, welcoming the season. The lights cheer us up, giving us something to look forward to, as darkness overcomes the greyness of our days.

I have heard back from my publishers, and it is looking good for one picture book and my young adult novel. I am so pleased; so thankful! The good news includes a publishing break in Ghana, West Africa, so November's end has brought me great news. In Guelph I am in the thick of producing an epic storytelling CD to be released in the new year. I can't wait!

We are planning a Christmas Concert for December 16th: Jiwani in Concert with Adwoa Badoe. Two Ghanaian singers, Janet Akuamoah and Araba Badoe will also sing for us and Organic Groove will also be performing. It is looking good. Tickets are only $10 and will go toward relief for the victims of the devastating floods of Norhern Ghana which caused a number of deaths and displaced 300000 people.
email me at if you want information of this fun warmth-giving performance in December. Enjoy and be a blessing!

Sunday, November 11, 2007


There is this gratitude we have for those flowering plants which bloom late, just as fall gives up all her fiery leaves for mulch and the sun kisses the sky a sleepy goodnight or good-day. It's hard to distinguish between dawn and dusk and the sometimes even the middle of the day deceives. And in my garden, a late blooming Black-eyed Susan or a cousin to her, unbelievably winks at me while the garden has already began the dirge, that Requiem in a minor key, which will sound for months for the dead and the dying. It is the Late Bloomer: the forgotten, the dismissed, the outcast, whose time has come to shine. What hope that nature advances to expectant hearts: for SARAH, a child in her old age!

I came accross information that Morgan Freeman acted in his first recognizable movie part after age 50 and yet at 70 years he has risen to become one of the best known actors, black or white, while those early birds may have long since thrown in the towel. He is known for acting authority parts whether he is a jail-bird, or a chauffeur, full of advice and wisdom and those extra smarts that catches the felon. He's even acted God in Bruce Almighty!

Cheers to those who are still waiting to bloom, the season is changing!

photo credit:

Friday, November 02, 2007


People say we are not necessarily what we do but I do think that to some variable degree we are indeed what we do. So much of the way we see ourselves, how we portray ourselves, our self assurance and self confidence arises from the fact that we are professional world class chess players or we teach at university or have published a book, or that we treat patients at a hospital or play major league baseball or mother children in comfortable child secure homes. It's just the nature of things, even though we believe that before God, we are simply human and who we are is defined by the essence of our spirituality, personality or attitude.

Ever since I entered the outcast world of the artist, I have struggled to define myself. The centrality of my themes and ideas lie within Africa yet I find myself composing in various media and oftentimes crossing geographies and histories inhabited by people of African descent. It has occurred to me that I am quite simply, a teller of stories, whether, I write them in picture books, or collections, anthologies or novels; also when I perform oral telling or song or dance and even when I'm privilleged to teach or preach or take medical histories of those patients of mine, once upon a time, in far away Ghana, and write a daily report of their well being on a hospital ward. I have discovered that in all of these the connecting link is the STORY and how it tells through me!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Young Street Mission

Storytelling at YSM over the months, to a great group of seniors has brought many storytellers to the fore. I began during the winter regaling the seniors with stories and songs and of course the drum, all the time with the aim of getting their memories awakened and their tongues telling. From an uncertain beginning after lunch on Tuesdays or Thursdays, we began to explore personal stories of all kinds, folktales and humourous short stories and jokes. I often began by singing, and followed up by telling folktales. Most of the seniors from the Caribbean recognized Anansi stories. Then I began to work in the personal stories and if anyone was counting they'd be amazed at the stories we shared. I learned three songs from the seniors and I taught them about five songs. We even danced to our songs and also to the drum.

Today the children from the homework club were invited to share stories, song and dance with the seniors. The many who had never heard a story from a grandparent did so, as well as a poem, two dances, a chant and a rhythmic song. Such a blast. It was pleasant to hear a good story from one of our young guests today. It was a story she had heard from her grandfather. I will be putting the stories together for the seniors soon. I am grateful to them for allowing me to observe the workings of story in their midst!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Late Great October

My 'funlight' this month has been storytelling for seniors at Young Street Mission. There I recounted a personal bike accident story as well as a song story I had learned in elementary school. My teacher Miss Quao had a particular affinity for what I might call English blues and it was with much fun that I sang "I Married a Wife, O then," to a rousing chorus from my senior audience. I have been telling stories to the seniors for months and now some of them tell their own stories, mainly personal stories which make for much laughter and nostalgia. We also sing together remembering Caribbean songs, Linstead Market and "There's a Coloured Girl in the Ring." To this we add African call and response songs and sing about peace and food, as we tell of Anansi and Ijapa and other rascally story characters.

I am getting stories ready for the recording of my next project Song of Wagadu, Song of Africa and looking to show this performance in other venues. I have been thinking about beauty, destiny and the beauty of destiny. I like to think that I am like ancient Wagadu. Whenever the guilt of men causes her to be lost, she gains a new beauty which makes the splendour of her next appearance even more glorious. With this in mind, I enter into greater freedom as my birrthday approaches. I have chosen the beauty of the flamboyant tree of Ghana to represent my soul aflame with passion and liberty. Hooo Dierra, Agada, Gana, Silla, Hooo Adwoa!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Great October

Interactive storytelling at it's greatest 'get down and do it.'

Two competing energies in October: I'm still in the grip of the writers' itch and have indeed sent off one manuscript and close to sending two more, perhaps next week. It's been a very creative fall so far, story plots for oral telling and for writing are falling into place in my mind and on paper. My stories are written down for the February show. I'm thinking of calling it, 'Song of Wagadu, Song of Africa! I keep changing the title and who knows what I'll end up with?

In the end, I did not complete my transitions and I'm living within a complex system of tides, rising and falling, shifting me this way and that. I've been dancing, but it was hard getting back into it. Thankfully our end performance for the Guelph Go-Go Grandmothers was very well appreciated. It seems we needed the energy of performance to bring it all together. We got our edge back and I was pleased to perform Spirit Alive as a solo piece.

I met the writer Gail Nyoka, lovely lady, and purchased her book: Mella and the Nánga. Abeeku came to visit after a couple of years. My eyes are opening more to see the wonders hidden inside our ordinary lives. Wynne came to visit for Thanksgiving, which this year ended up exclusively family. He came and left and I didn't fall apart, although I experienced emotional fragility. I waited alone until the bus left with all the blessings I could call for. The season's established with cold winds and rainfall and the leaves in bright reds and orange littering the grass and the side walk.

My thoughts remain circular: I want to write more. How do I get better? How do I solve the problem of marketing and distribution. I have to think more business. I want to stay creative. At least I'm writing. At least I'm happy and I celebrated my anniversary!

Friday, September 28, 2007


The month is rushing by at an incredible speed and I have blogged less than ever since blogging fever overtook me. I think for me, it is still about seasons changing and transitions. I'm looking for the ledge to the next level. My mind has never been busier, creating and networking. I perform too but that's not really part of my preoccupation now. No I'm thinking business promotion and marketing, SUSTAINABILITY. I like that word.

I like to think and I like to pray. Sometimes my prayers are just my thoughts and in all this I hope I am finding the path through the complexities of my creative and productive life. I trust I am daily approaching the light.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Eden Mills

Stephen signing books at Eden Mills
It's one week since the Eden Mills Writers Festival at the Hamlet of Eden Mills. For the first time, I saw the opening ceremony and not just a poster of it. I saw the sunshade bearers holding up their fanciful umbrellas in mustard yellow and red following the Mayor/ town crier who rang his bell every few steps or so. And of course we applauded the speeches given in the car park of the community centre.
The reason I actually saw the opening was because I was in Eden Mills early to attend church, on the invitation of Dr. Mary Rogers who subsequently hosted my books and me at the church tent, set up for the festival. It was a moist grey day and chilly. It reminded me of the UK. But I was in a great mood because Maureen had accompanied me. Where Maureen goes, adventure follows. Our day was eventful in many small ways but I must make a note of the readings we heard.
The first reading was by Stephen Henighan, writer, professor of Spanish literature and my friend. He read from "A Grave in the Sky" which will be launched in Guelph on September 25th. Last year Stephen and I listened to Sandra Sabattini and Margaret Attwood read from the same lectern at "The Common." Incidentally they all read short stories. Is that telling me to try short stories next, hmmm....
Later on I listened to Lawrence Hill read at "The Mill" from "The Book of Negroes". I had missed his reading at Waterloo earlier in the year, although I later bought the signed book from Wordsworth, the book store. I heard another reader whose famous name I can't remember, and finally I heard Edeet Ravel, my friend and writer read from one of her Pauline books at "The Mill". This year, for the first time, I missed out on the Jenny's Place readings for children. However, I stopped opposite Jenny's place to say hello, to Renna Bruce who writes the Jazlyn J series. I bought two of her books and had my caricature done by Robin Oakes, cartoonist/illustrator.
More or less that was my day at Eden Mills, except I met Chris Wilson, Janet Ragan, Jo Ellen Bogart and Eddie, singer songwriter, Bea, dancer, and Evelyn, who has a road named after her family in Eden Mills. I also met Nathan and Zadok, two dogs, and Malachi and Hannah, two cats and Elizabeth and Donna two women who shared the tent with us. I ate Rice Masala at the Bombay Cafe stand and begged Maureen for some of her butter chicken, but the coffee run out, which wasn't good on a moist chilly day. There were friends and laughter and hugs and weatherproof jackets and as usual I enjoyed my day at Eden Mills.

Friday, September 14, 2007


Performance of "Rhythmic Joe" to djembe at St Marys Storytelling Festival. It's my back!

It's no wonder I haven't blogged for a while. I am in transition. Transition, reminds me of child birth, it describes a moment in labour when the cervix is very nearly effaced and all the mom's impulses are to bear down and push. Everything is ready, well almost, just a bit of cervix which is rapidly giving way....what a moment! The pain, the anticipaton, the anxiety the madness......

I have sent one manuscript to the editor, I have had two returned..."we kept it so long because we thought it was worthwhile, so it had to make the rounds for all those who read for us. We found them both worthwhile, especially one, but in the end we are a small publisher and we are not able....." end of quote, beginning of disappointment. No! Hope! It's a good ms. and now I know.

My poetry is back too with much useful critique...hmm, but there is more hope. And am waiting for news of the big manuscript. I keep so much hope and courage in my chest. Someone said if we kept bees in our chests they may turn our failures into sweet honey. Who can keep bees in their chest?

This week I have reworked Griot's Journey, performance DVD, into a manuscript and now I work in secrecy on my new idea. It's the BIG one! I work within stolen time because the season has changed already and I have began classes, and performance.
TRANSITION....tension, anxiety, madness.

Other things are changing too. I will be giving up stuff close to me to attain to new goals as I come close to certain facts. Someone said for Vision you must look out of the window, and for Mission, into a mirror. I looked into the mirror and now I must change.

TRANSITION...imminent happenings. Vision won't change but it could grow. Mission may change as we see better, and if that doesn't, strategies definitely should.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007


recently at their prom and.....
Still on the journey of seasonal change: the kids are back in school. Last Sunday we drove five hours to leave our eldest at university. What a hodge podge of emotional soup as we found our way about and got him registered and settled in his house and then met with long time friends, who we hope will act as surrogate families for him. Not that he is wishing for that, at his age it's all about freedom from family rules but hopefully not expectations. Support is so essential, I keep telling him, particularly for my peace of mind...ha ha.

Speaking of support, we found the university welcome so assuring and supportive. Helpers everywhere, and so willing, lugging luggage cheerfully while hiphop music blares from ghetto blasters, identifying the area as youth zone! I am still in transition, folding his left behind stuff, praying twice daily for him and still connecting with the support staff, I'm building all around him. I pause and laugh, I remember when I was just beginning university in Ghana: what an absolute blast it was and I never once felt my parents' anxiety, after all I was the fifth to go. They had seen it all before!

Thursday, August 30, 2007


Holidays are nearly over, and school is here!
It's the time of year, the changes are bigger than occur on January 1st every year. We should be saying Happy New Year as the new school year begins. So many lives and activities follow the school calendar, other than kids going to the next class, which on its own is big enough. All over the world, millions of children are caught in the same activity whether they are advancing through university or walking miles barefoot to attend elementary school in remote villages. Extracurricular activities are linked to the school calendar: kids in sports, music and the arts are beginning new things or continuing with fresh impetus. People choose this period to relocate and purchase new homes so they can begin at new jobs, and new schools etc. And we are caught in the thick of things, with our kids advancing through the school systems, changing schools or changing classes. I am in transition as my mind grapples with what is passing and what is coming. I have struggled to end things well as the days sweep by in a big hurry and the future presses into the present. Am I ready for classes and recordings, performances and workshops? Is my writing done? When will I find the time to perfect draft manuscripts as the season changes. Transitions are hard and unsettling, yet they are real and necessary. In the rush it's important to find the time to rest and think as well as to pray and give thanks for what has been done, what there is to do, and what will be done. This the reason I have been silent for a week: TRANSITIONS!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007


One week, at peace
Between the lake and the dining hall,
You cajole the sun to smile
Erasing dark lines on a sleep-starved face
Morning has broken
And among strangers
The sound of voices and violins
The clarinet, the oboe, the flute
And the jembay
In choral harmony
And for a little while
Peace fills the spaces between
Fallen leaves in summer

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Back to Blogging

So we are back from an awesome week at CAMMAC camp at Lakefield where music meets nature, and for me, a curious ability to write with ease. I finished the second draft/ edit of my young adult novel: Some way to grow. I almost can't believe it! I even have a new poem for CAMMAC and photos too.

Lakefield College School reminds me somewhat of Achimota School in Ghana which I attended in my teens, except that the dorms have two or three beds and not twenty, also Achimota School didn't have its own lake but a swimming pool. This may be the reason I have such an affinity with the CAMMAC camp. We made several new friends, Toni Riccarda with whom I share a friend from my high school days, Julia who took my class last year, Fran who took my class years ago in Guelph, Maria who has invited me to stay when I'm over at Don Mills. I also met a fellow Guelph dance teacher/enthusiast, who taught me a swing step or two.

It was great to reconnect with some of the members of the faculty: Jenny Crober, Marion Roy, Joy Simmonds, Ilana Ilic, Colin Clark and to meet others anew, Barry Peters, Gabriel Spiegelschrift and the talented Kraus family. The young people at CAMMAC were such a delight to work with even more so than usual.

I'm also very pleased to be blogging again.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

CAMMAC at Lakefield Peterborough

If you don't read new stuff it's because am away at CAMMAC camp!

For the love of music,
All paths lead to Lakefield, Peterborough
To play in orchestras and companies
Latin groove bands and Steel Pan too.
There'll be Djembe drumming,
dance and theatre
All things connected to music and fun
in nature's bosom,
complete with lake, trees, grass
And tennis courts too,
never mind the insects
they belong there
where CAMMAC meets
At summer time.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Living in Tents- new bonds of friendship

My friends Joyce and Sally at the Multicultural Festival in Guelph in June.

The idea comes clear out of the blue skies: leave your father and mother and the land you have known since birth to a place that I shall show you...., well that was more like Abraham's call from UR to Canaan where he settled, living in tents. How did the rest of us embark on this quest for the good life? The stories are many, and not only about refuge or adventure but almost always, it is about a perceived better life for self and family. The greatest disruptions, once one begins on the path of immigration, has to do with the fracturing of significant relationships, leading to loneliness, as one begins to explore and find themselves again, changed and yet the same. For me the greatest impact was on my career, and as that changed, I changed too as a result of the struggle, the letting go and the development or acquisition of new ideas of being.
The joy one finds through all this, is the forming of new bonds of friendship, a newer appreciation of the past that was left behind and the manipulation of the future to suit ones dreams. But there is always the grief for what was lost, nostalgia, intangible and persistent.

You will find a part of my story in the anthology, "My Wedding Dress", under the title Witness in Silk, published by Vintage Canada, Random House.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Pot of Wisdom and other works

After a a trying and emotional week, I tried to return to my writing, between workshops and performances. It's been an uphill task. I must admit a curious depression, such as people like I have, who live on the edge of our adrenal glands. So I have struggled but I have also managed to learn a bit more about RSS feeds, (Feed Burner in particular )and I have joined two aggregators: African women's blogs and Afrigator. I have also added Koranteng's Toli to my links, and to what I browse on the web. For the first time I submitted someone else's article on my blog- and I'm getting ideas.....oooh!
My writing finally began to pick up and my second draft has started on a good footing, my confidence grows. My working title is Between Sisters/ Someway to grow but I am sure it will change. I wonder if that is worth starting a blog over.
Koranteng is a very very interesting blogger and I suggest you read his blog by clicking on my link. He gives the definition of Toli and proceeds to tell you more. And he's got tons of photos on Flickr. If you're interested in what Africans are saying, got to Afrigator. Google will bring it up for you.

Why did I call this post Pot of Wisdom? Because Koranteng was looking at the book recently and mentioned it. Also Pot of Wisdom has done best so far, opening doors for me in performance storytelling, with rights sold in Ghana for a made in Ghana version and translated into Portuguese for the Brazillian market: Historias de Ananse.

Wait it's not my only book in transaltion: My Sister Julie is now Ma Soeur Julie and I will keep you posted on what is going into Kinyarwandan and French as they happen. But I move on, forward ever, waiting to hear from three different publishers, if they will publish my works. Oh how I hope; how I pray for good news and all the while I push on with Between Sisters soon to be named as her character develops. This uncertainty, the priceless life of a writer!

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

The New Ghana Cedi

Guelph is an artsy city with budding festivals, which has developed around its university. Artists and academics hang out together at the many eating places in the downtown core and the places where live music plays, where we dance, or nod or chat. Atsu is a dear friend from Ghana with a great intellect and the best dance moves. There's so much I learn from him. A.B.

Is the value of the new Ghana Cedi higher than the value of the US dollar?
by J. Atsu Amegashie

In July 2007, the cedi was redenominated through the introduction of a new currency, the Ghana cedi. One Ghana cedi is equivalent to 10,000 cedis. Currently, approximately 0.92 Ghana cedi = $1. Based on this, I have heard people argue that one Ghana cedi has a higher value than $1. This article is triggered by such erroneous arguments.Suppose your monthly salary is $4000 and the price of food is $100. Then you can buy a maximum of 4000/100 = 40 units of food. Suppose now that the government or your employer takes two zeros off your salary. Simultaneously, two zeros are also taken off the price of food. Then the new salary and price that you face are $40 and $1. Again, you can buy 40/1 = 40 units of food. So the quantity of food that you can buy has not changed. Economists say that your nominal (monetary) income and prices have changed but your real income, which is the quantity of good and services that you can buy, has not changed. It is still 40 units of food. Since money is not an end but a means to an end,economic performance is judged by real values not nominal values.In general, when all nominal incomes in an economy increase (decrease) by x% and all prices also increase (decrease) by x%, there will be no change in real income. The inability to understand this is referred to by economists as "money illusion". Money illusion is an example of what psychologists refer to as "framing effects".Suppose the price of kenkey is 10,000 old cedis, then one new cedi (i.e., Ghana cedi) is enough to buy a ball of kenkey because the price of kenkey in terms of the new cedi is 1 Ghana cedi. In effect, the government has taken four zeros off the old cedi but it has also taken four zeros off the price of kenkey and all other goods and services in the economy. Someone whose salary is 500,000 cedis will now receive 50 Ghana cedis. By taking four zeros off the old cedi, all incomes (in terms of the old cedi) have been multiplied by 1/10,000 to get the Ghana cedi (new cedi) equivalent. Similarly, all prices (in terms of the old cedi) have also been multiplied by 1/10,000 to get the Ghana cedi equivalent. So just like the argument above, there is no change in real income.Like any currency, the old cedi could be used to buy bread, kenkey, waakye, the US dollar, etc. The price of the US dollar in terms of the old cedi is 9200 cedis. Once we understand that the US dollar could be treated as a commodity like kenkey, the exchange rate of 0.92 Ghana cedi = $1 is simply the consequence of scaling all prices and income by a factor of 1/10,000. The exchange rate of 0.92 Ghana cedi = $1 does not mean thatthe cedi is valued higher than the dollar. This is the monetary or nominal value of the cedi. The real value of the cedi is measured by the quantity of goods and services that the cedi can buy. As argued above, this has not changed. Indeed, ask yourself this: can 1 Ghana cedi buy more in Ghana than $1 in the USA? The answer is no. This is basis of the distinction in economics between nominal exchange rates and real exchange rates.
What the government of Ghana has done can be illustrated by using Fahrenheitand Celsius scales for measuring temperature. We know that 32 degrees Fahrenheit = 0 degree Celsius. If we were to rescale or redefine this to be 50 degrees Fahrenheit = 0 degree Celsius, this will not make the USA warmer or colder than Canada and other countries that use the Celsius scale. We have only changed the nominal value for “measuring” temperature but not its real value.Recall that prior to 1983 when we had a fixed exchange rate regime (remember there were no Forex bureaux then), there were periodic devaluations of the cedi announced by the government. However, devaluation is different from redenomination. In the case of Ghana, devaluation meant a given percentage change in the nominal price of the dollar in terms of the cedi, without a corresponding percentage change in the prices of all other goods, services and incomes in the economy. Since not all incomes and prices were changed by the same percentage, this had real effects on the economy even more so because the cedi was over-valued. In contrast under redenomination, the prices of all goods, services, and incomes are changed (in the same direction) and by the same percentage.The crucial ingredients for sustained economic growth are good political leadership, accountability, and sound macro economic management. As argued above, this redenomination per se will produce no magic wand. The Bank of Ghana somewhat shares this view in its document titled “Redenomination of the Cedi”: However, the good thing is that redenomination solves the problem of carrying money around in plastic bags, at least for a significant period of time.

*The author, J. Atsu Amegashie, teaches economics at the University of Guelph, Canada.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Going Somewhere?

We bought the shoes on the same day. We bought them at different shops. We were going to the same place, The River Run Centre on May 10th, where we had both been nominated for the Women of Distinction Awards. We don't usually wear high heels, especially the pointy kind but this was a day we both thought elegance was in demand. We met and connected, two artsy women in similar shoes: Jessica and Adwoa. Jessica is a potter, who does fine art with ceramics. Her beautiful mural adorns the wall of the Guelph Youth Music Centre.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Strong Women

what a resemblance!

Quite by chance, I met Anna Aidoo at the offices of Kingdom Covenant Ministries. She was there to see the overseer, Dr. Pat Francis. I was there accompanying a friend who had business at the church. Anna's organization had just hosted the African Canadian Women's Achievement Awards in Toronto on the 28th of July, which she said was a tremendous success. Unfortunately I was unable to attend. She had a select group of women, including Dr. Pat Francis and Joy Nneji receive awards. Anna is a great encourager of women of Africa and Diaspora. She made a comment to me that she planned to go to Ghana, to see what strong women were doing there. "Yaa Asantewa cannot be the only woman of note in our entire history," she said.

I acknowledge that I am one of the many fixated on Yaa Asantewa, Queen of Edweso. My first novel, "Hidden Peace" which is yet to be published touches on the history of Ashanti and Yaa Asantewa. While I was in Ghana in April, my sisters told me of an excellent play they had seen recently,"Atuo ato Bari", translated "There's a gunshot at Bari", one of the many ways Ghana was celebrated in her 50th year of independence. Ghanaians love the entire legend of the courageous queen of Edweso who took the final stand against the English at the colonization of Ashanti, and lost.

Here's a fun photo we took with this rather short statue of Yaa Asantewa, which doesn't do justice to the descripton in the history books that she was a a tall and formidable woman. This statue stands in the sculpture park next to the National Museum in Accra. Contrary to what some people think, Asantewa did not fight as an Amazon or a Dahomeyan woman warrior in the last war, although she was the commander in chief.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

A Day Like This

(for Hetty)

A day like this,
like no other recorded
A day like this
like no other created
Or composed, or ordered
or painted
but allowed to drip water colours
the tears in my eyes
glimpses of affect
which pass between
my heart and my mind
reflecting thoughts of you
in pink and purple
only you
while paths connect
in degrees related
by your being here
on a day like this

Sunday, July 29, 2007


Especially the children enjoy the sound of the drum and the activity of drumming. "Listen to the rhythm of my soul!

Friday, July 27, 2007


So what does it mean to be fourteen? Is the world your oyster? Not yet, I hope. There are dreams and hopes of eventful days, discoveries... all kinds and possibilities. July is one of those months which mean so much to me. Apart from it being the heart of summer and holidays there are dear ones to celebrate: There's Yaw, Kofi, Dorothy, Ako, Araba, Matthew and a little girl who is one today. Happy Birthday!!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Storytellers of Canada-Conteurs du Canada

Cellphone picture of the storytellers at the Niagara Doll house on the Freedom Trail. In this picture, we sing the chorus as Lorne sings and plays his banjo.

July 4-7th was the Conference of SC-CC held at MacMaster University in Hamilton. Storytellers gathered from accross Canada to support the beloved ART which has kept humanity in remembrance from the earliest days, before the advent of rock painting, literature, radio, tv or film.
We heard that the organization was the brain-child of Rosalyn Cohen of Montreal. We heard the story of the organization and met the earliest members who had carried the organization this far, and the many others who have come along to support and learn from it.

During the conference there were lovely stories shared at the evening swaps and it was my pleasure to meet Jan Andrews, author and storyteller who's current project is the Story Save, Jennifer Cayley (co-counders of MASC), Laurel Dee Gugler, the irrepressible Denise Markhame, Kevin MacKenzie and Judith and Mariella who graciously gave us rides in their cars. Celia Lotteridge is a founding member, and Mary Eileen McClear was my favorite teller at the concert. Rene Meshake presented as a Storykeeper, taking us to the roots of his inspiration. I am deeply honoured that I was invited to present a Storykeeper session. I have a sense of kin with these other lovers of story and a deep respect for the way they render story professionally. Three cheers for Carol Leigh Wehking , Glenna Janzen and Barry Rosen , gracious and tireless hosts of this great event.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Ghetto Dude

Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty apologized Sunday to a young job applicant who received an e-mail from a cabinet staffer referring to him as a "ghetto dude."Evon Reid, who is one credit short of a political science degree fromthe University of Toronto, applied for a position as a media analyst with the Ontario government and last week e-mailed the cabinet office to follow up. Aileen Siu, an office worker, replied: "This is the ghetto dude that I spoke to before."Ms. Siu intended to forward the message to co-workers, but mistakenly sent the response to Mr. Reid, who is black.
Source: Globe and Mail

How fortuitous that the email writer hit reply instead of forward. Every now and then it is good to expose the things which reside deeply in our subconcious, behind the political correctness and the well developed outward etiquette of our business and social worlds.

The email was sent by Ms. Siu about Mr. Reid who was seeking a position as a media analyst in the Ontario government. It is interesting that a part time contract employee, (not even a full time worker) had enough confidence to attempt to forward this email with such a racist comment to coworkers with no fear of sanctioning of any sort. The question is how do the full time workers conduct themselves? Are they laughing at racist comments and jokes and encouraging themselves to out do each other in such performances?

As one who is considered a visible minority, I, like many have come into contact with the subtleties of racism. Once, after speaking with a manager for 20 minutes, she asked me while reading through my resumé, "Do you speak English?" We had been speaking then, face to face, for twenty minutes, and she had never once misunderstood me. It is interesting that I now earn most of my income speaking.... and in English.

At another time, I heard a co-worker ( a nice person) make a similar joke about another person she had interviewed, and I protested. What about the many professional level organizations who repeatedly fail immigrants as they write exams of one kind or another to qualify as specialists in medicine or nursing or veterinary medicine or engineering, or law, citing always that the immigrants are in some way inferior, when many of us have met the professionals, trained here and are often amazed at their levels of competence or incompetence ? Yet, the lie continues in spite of the promotion of multiculturalism and political correctness.

So, some people look down on sensitivity training but I think it is a good thing. It speaks to behaviour if not to motives. It gives us time until a new generation grows up on diversity and anti racism training. As cultural beings, we are often programmed to discriminate in one form or another but it is absolutely crucial that people do not use their positions to close doors in other peoples's faces. Believe what you want, as limiting as that is for you. But keep it inside your house, for out here we must not tolerate it.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

The Ansahs at Niagara Falls

If only for once,

we stop

and experience a wonder of God,

the great river Niagara

which won't freeze,

tumble under the finger of God

making splashes and waves

raising mists

and fog

calling people from afar to stop and declare

this beauty inherent

in all
We were the happy hosts of the Ansah family of London, England on this brief, oh so brief turnaround to Ontario and back! Missing from the photo is the indomitable Araba who makes such things uniquely possible.

Monday, July 23, 2007

BME Church, Niagara

Ben Hockley was rescued (twenty miles off course) from the gate he was floating on, as he tried to cross the Niagara River in 1853. Josiah Henson, rolled in the dirt for joy when he crossed the Niagara River on a ferry boat. Oliver Parnall, Burr Pilandro and Dett are some of the names you hear proudly spoken of in Nathaniel Dett BME church in Niagara. And there was this photo of a man who swam across the Niagara River many years ago in pursuit of freedom. His reason, no money to take the ferry across and perhaps fear that the slave catchers were watching the ferries for runaway slaves. He had made it on the Underground Railroad as far as Buffalo, USA where he stayed for a while working for this little girl's dad. The little girl followed him everywhere and one day this old photo was taken. The girl grew up and many years later, the photo was donated to the exhibit at the BME. For me this photo stands for the courage of those who crossed the Niagara river centuries ago, in pursuit of freedom.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Purple Hibiscus

photo credit :

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is an award winning writer of contemporary literature. Her first book Purple Hibiscus is set in Nigeria during a time of political upheaval. Her book explores contemporary Nigerian life and follows a rich and religious family, through an unusual situation of abuse by a very strict and authoritarian dad, who is also a rich businessman and paradoxically, a conscientious employer.

It isn't that abuse is unusual in W. Africa but the reaction of the opressed wife is what is somewhat unusual. Even though she micarries several pregnancies through this man's heavy handed abuse, she covers for her husband and pretends it doesn't happen. Secrecy of this nature is not so common even within the more westernized suburban homes of the nouveaux riches of Africa. Or is it?

Chimamanda tells her story in the soft first person voice of fifteen year old Kambili, a nervous young girl, whose inner voice has been hushed until it is a mere whisper in the continuing noise of her father's superfluous devotion to the Catholic church, his conflicted love for his family and his strange and deviant ways of punishment. A visit to an aunt provides them with a new view of the twin cultures of contemporary and traditional Nigeria and releases them gradually from the silences they have kept inside the high walls of their father's house.

This book sings of freedom and a coming of age. It adresses the nature of the issues of our lives which are never black and white, but all kinds of conflicted greys, which we encounter as we try to negotiate the often layered and intersecting paths of love for family, loyalty, choice, tradition and responsibilty. Chimamanda's prose is engaging. Her setting comes alive before my eyes, making me smell frangipanis in my fledgling North American garden. She is understated for an African, while the story flows out easily, compelling the reader to follow her closely throughout the journey of this family. She has achieved excellence on her first novel and promises more. Her second book, "Half of a Yellow Sun" is on my table waiting to be devoured.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Computer Trouble

Two days ago, I was taking a therapeutic stroll through the mall, trying to free my brain of the tensions created by hours of creative writing, when there was a power hiccup. The lights flickered on and off and all the escalators stopped at once- 'no grinding to a halt' as I might have expected, being a reader and a writer and a storyteller. I used to love expresions like that until I met the term cliche- the 'e' is accented but I haven't figured how to do that on my new laptop.

Anyway I climbed up the dead escalator and went home, and my computer, (the desktop) which I much prefer for emailing and blogging was dead. I'm thinking, I must have left it on and that power hiccup or surge, (whatever) may have damaged it. Well, the next morning, I could not access my internet service and I spent an entire day unable to connect with the cyber world, my close knit community which keeps me connected, (even loved) through emails, comments, google research etc.

Suffering from cyber withdrawal, I focussed my dark energies on my novel and wrote twenty-two new pages on my laptop. With twenty-two desperate pages, I hit page 100. After supper (in the mall), I rented the movie "Miss Potter" and watched it all by myself. It's my kind of story, about woman, dreams, writing , overcoming and becoming. Today, I'm writing this blog from my laptop computer but I have no photos to share with you yet, as all my photos are on the fried desktop.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

The King of the Forest "Kwaebibirem"

Photo credited to Ghanaweb. Osagyefo flanked by Honourable Paul Boateng and Honourable Isaac Osei in London.
Okyeman (or the kingdom of Akyem Abuakwa) is a large traditional area in the Eastern Region of Ghana comprising about five hundred towns and villages. Okyeman is watered by two large rivers, the Birim and Densu, which flow from their source in the Dokyi hills, near Apapam, seven miles from Kyebi – the capital of Okyeman. The Kingdom is home to two mountain ranges. At its highest point, the northern scarp stands 2,585 feet above sea level. The Kyebi or southern range runs from Bunso, 2476 feet above sea level to Akyease.

The density of the Okyeman forest means that it is known as Kwaebibirem, and due to its strategic and geographical location, the Okyenhene has earned the appellation, Kwaebibiremuhene, King of the Forest. He is Osagyefo Amoatia Ofori Panin . The land is rich and endowed with gold, diamond, bauxite, manganese, iron and other mineral deposits. Its lands are extremely fertile and have supported vast plantations of cocoa, cola, rubber, oil palm, coffee and groundnut.

His special interests are the Environment and Reforestation:
Osagyefo is the Chairman of the Governing Board of the Environmental Protection Agency, Ghana. He has also established the Okyeman Environment Foundation.

In 2003 The Okyeman Environment Foundation won the International Green Apple Environment Award in the United Kingdom, held at the House of Commons in London, on November 6, 2003. The Okyeman Environment Foundation is aimed at preserving and protecting forest resources, which are currently under indiscriminate exploitation.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

On the Boat to Bojo Beach

We found Bojo Beach at Kokrobite in Accra, with the purest white sand on the shores of the Gulf of Guinea, no less. A short canoe ride takes people across what must be a lagoon to get to the beach proper. There were life jackets hanging on the boat ramp but nobody to instruct about safety or our choices, to wear or not to wear. When Ako asked the canoeist about safety instructions, he said the water was shallow and there were never any accidents. Accidents wait for precisely such thought. Bojo is a beautiful beach which I would like to visit again.

Monday, July 16, 2007


View message
This blogging thing is getting complex. I have managed to forward a photo message from a cell phone to email, to my blog. (What a mouthful!) But it has become a secret photo which won't show unless you click 'view message.' So go ahead and click on
it until I figure things out.
Doors (under construction)

Doors hold secrets.
They let you in, and you belong
They shut you out,
Alone, excluded, despised.
Doors imprison or set you free
Opens into a garden
Fragrant with memories,
Refreshing the soul,
While another locks thought
Inside a constricted cell,
Of bitter emotion
Or plain old boredom- ennuie.
Coccooned, embraced and reassured,
Forlorn, forsaken in the cold and rain,
One door is death, another is life,
May your door open to the light.

The secret photo hiding behind "View Message" is of our guide on the Freedom Trail, standing by the secret door inside a basement of a house in Niagara where escaped slaves were kept secure after they had crossed the Niagara river, following the North Star to freedom. I only had a cell phone for a camera but one other storyteller on the tour, promised to send me pictures from her camera.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

The Last Day of School

In Ghana, the last day of school was typically called "Our Day!" It was usually a day of feasting and games, when teacher's straps (canes) lay still and forgotten. Why, one could even dress-up for the occassion. In boarding school where most of us spent our high school years, the night before the morning was when we held our midnight feast, then in the morning we cleaned house and waited for our parents to pick us up for home. This June, my son Wynne reminded me when his last day came. The last day of high school, the final day of exams. I could hardly believe it. So fresh were my memories of preschool and the first day of kindergarten. These days he hardly wakes up with enough time to eat breakfast, so we always have breakfast bars, all kinds, to pick up and go. The next thing I knew, the door was open, "Bye Mom,". In the nick of time, I found the camera. I rushed outside with it and said, "Wynne, stop. Say 'bye' again". Then snap! It was an historic moment, made just for Moms. He is due for university. I think he wants to get away from home and find himself, mainly. These days he is thinking about happiness, wondering if he ought to take a year out and pursue his dreams of producing hip- hop. What would I do if I were his age? I went to school to achieve my dreams, granted they were my parents' dreams as well, but I ended up achieving subconcious dreams. I'm still hoping I have the power to achieve all the dreams I ever dreamt. At 17 which path should one take, with the whole world at one's feet?
You can hear Wynne's beats and music at

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Kwame Nkrumah Mausoleum

I thought it right to show The Honourable Dr. Kwame Nkrumah in his glory.
Inside the museum of the Nkrumah mausoleum, you will be told not to take any photos. The walls of the room are lined with photos of all the dignitaries that Nkrumah met on his ascent to the highest echelons of Ghanaian and Pan-African power. The photos are framed in a way to make them difficult to see, as they appear to be pre-wrapped in cellophane. There is also a furniture exhibit including a three-bulb lampstand boasting red, yellow and green pearl lamp bulbs. There are two small single beds, his beds and mattresses used in both Achimota School and Lincoln University in the U.S. (Gosh, I hope it is Lincoln University. I'm pretty sure it starts with an L.) There's a couch which bears an uncanny resemblance to a car seat and I think an armchair. I know there are more things, but this is all I remember.

What would I like to see? Perhaps a film or two starring Nkrumah giving one of his famous speeches; write-ups or audio-visuals of discourses, debates, representing his ideas and ideology, what he did right and what went wrong. What influenced him, who his mentors were, what his fears were and what his detractors had against him. Although it is a mausoleum, I do believe it should be more dynamic, propelling Ghana with its uncertain history of democracy toward a more stable and effective future.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Coup d'Etat

In the sculpture park of the National Museum in Ghana, there are a number of pieces. Here is a damaged piece of sculpture: a statue of Dr. Nkrumah with his arms broken off during the first coup d'etat in 1966.

Is there any justification for coup d'etats? Since the end of colonialism, African countries and Latin American countries have had an amazing number of coup d'etats. Ghana in its 50 years of independence has had the Kotoka-Afrifa coup, the I.K. Acheampong coup, the Akuffo palace-coup (debatable if this counts as a coup d'etat), the JJ Rawlings coup 1 and the JJ Rawlings Coup 2. -all this in 50 years of independence. For about 20 of those 50 years, JJ Rawlings was the head of state of Ghana, first as an autocratic self-imposed leader and then in his rebirth as a democratic leader. JJ is still fighting for behind the scenes control...ugh!

Recently when I was in Ghana there were frustrated party members of the opposition breathing coup d'etat in the national newspapers. Even in private conversation with a Christian, highly educated woman ex-politician, I was amazed to hear her preferring a coup d'etat as a likely solution for current governmental mismanagement, or whatever. Eiii! When some of us are praying that we could go through the next 8 years with succesful elections, bringing our fledgling democracies, whatever their problems into maturity!

Good governance is key to our survival as citizens of today's world, within our countries. It is important to our health, prosperity, social and mental well being as people. Those aspiring to leadership should know this and commit to this. They ought to study, think, desire, dream, design, debate and hold themselves up to the highest moral standards and commitment. It is important to remember that these days, coup d'etats, no longer involve a small group of leaders and a quick change. More and more blood is spilled in long civil wars and nothing can justify the years of loss, pain, devaluation, devastation, destruction, decay and death.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

The Nkrumah Mausoleum

click on photo to enlarge
Stephanie and the mmenhyenfo, (hornblowers) announcing the elder statesman, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah. This is one of the sites to visit in Ghana, built in memory of Ghana's first president Kwame Nkrumah who was also the first African prime minister , beginning the era of post colonization. Acclaimed as a visionary and pan Africanist he unfortunately resorted to the tactics of a dictator, promulgating into law, a one party state in which the rights of individuals were horribly suppressed. With such a controversial legacy, Ghanaians have often either tended to see only the good (Nkrumaists) or chosen to see only the negative. The party he started, the CPP is still represented in Ghana while other parties often define themselves as sympathetic or opposed to the sentiments aroused by the very idea of Kwame Nkrumah.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Family Tree

photo credit: Kofi Twum-Barima
Nana Twum Barima was the kyidomhene of Kyebi, aka Kibi, Akim Abuakwa up to the mid 1940s. Ooh, I really must check up on dates. I'm using the second world war as my compass because I know my father travelled during the war to study at Trinity College, Cambridge University and his father, Nana Twum- Barima died during his stay in the UK. I never met my father's half-brother. Of his family we knew his sister, our aunt Mary, her children and some of his cousins. Our grandfather was the chief of Kibi, in a position much like the mayor. He was a farmer and a builder. He built (with his bare hands) the popular dance hall of Kibi, and as well the current courthouse and rooms which are presently owned by the extended family, through the Akan matrilineal system. He also built a unique farm house at Potroase, a two story mudhouse. He was educated and would have become a catechist if he hadn't accepted to become a chief, as quoted from some old literature 'ne'er the twain shall mix'.

My father remembered him as very hard working. He kept a vegetable garden in which he grew lettuce and cabbage, which he supplied to the European missionaries, teachers and government officials. He also regularly enjoyed the cakes that the middle school house-craft teachers baked for him in gratitude. It is believed that the cakes may have led partially to his demise as he developed a sweet tooth for desserts while he had diabetes. He could not resist cake! Here is a photo of some of his grandchildren and great grandchildren through his son, the late Professor Kankam Twum-Barima, my father.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007


Birthdays: a time for celebration, again and again. Life deserves to be celebrated for all the good energy released for healing and mending. On birthdays we celebrate for no other reason than that we are alive, we do belong and are grateful. Felicia celebrated her 10th birthday party in style, (I mean style) and we were fortunate to be there to celebrate with her. Today is her Dad's birthday and I hope he finds time to celebrate. God is good and in His time He makes all things beautiful.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Space and Process

Here I am at the amphitheatre, acquainting myself with the space and the good energy available for me. I'm working out a tentative program for the afternoon. I'm in the moment. Photo by Fulé.

On July first, Canada Day, Fule and I were at Franklin's Garden, Centre Island in Toronto performing stories for children. In the outdoor amphitheatre I had forty people as my audience- participators including little children and adults. The drum was an instant draw and we had a pleasant hour together telling stories with music song and dance.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

The View

July 1st, Canada day, Fule and I went to Toronto Island with the rest of Toronto...literally! The ferry ramp was so full but armed with a Toronto parks and rec. pass, we were able to eat breakfast and still find a good place in the line-up. Coming back, we found the best view of Toronto from Centre Island. Isn't Toronto beautiful to behold, once one is not trapped in traffic and sweating it out millimetre by millimetre on the Gardiner Expressway? That expressway has humbled me on more than one occassion. Stay posted and I may reveal why we went to Centre Island with a pass.

Saturday, July 07, 2007


photo by Adwoa

Dundas Valley Conservation Area: A workshop for Child Care Supervisors.

Curiousity may have led to the kitty's trouble but hopefully, satisfaction is enough to make up for everything else. This little boy hid in the bushes to watch us drum, of course his parents weren't very far off. Oh, that we may still be curious about this world's offerings, that we may see, hear, smell, taste, try, travel, engage, interact, understand and assimilate in the things that make us human.

Click on the photo to enlarge it.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Storytellers of Canada Conference July 4-7 2007

The annual conference of the storytellers of Canada is being held in Hamilton Ontario from July 4-7th and that is why you haven't read from me because I was away at the conference. I have had to return early because of other commitments but will fill you in on the conference in the days to come. It has been great for me in many ways.


Tuesday, July 03, 2007

The Naming of HIV

The Naming of HIV

We are required to give you a name
So speak up Kitikrata
Or are you Sonponno?
We are hard pressed to assign you a place
As spirit of air or water or immovable rock
We have asked the carver to make you a mask
And to dress you up in raffia skirt and beaded ankle rings
The song-makers are lost for words
Overwhelmed by inspiration for soulful melodies
At your parade we walk before you
And iron strikes stone at the midnight hour
Ears close to terror
Eyes shut to the wasting of fragile bodies
And the paper thin coffins we carry on our heads
Look and be cursed we call out before you
And mothers cover the eyes of the children
Before they can peek on approaching doom
Sonponno dies Kitikrata lives
What shall we call you?
The talking-drum speaks to those with ears
And strangers dance in your famed masquerades

by Adwoa Badoe