The Hills, Lakely

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Today I went to Senchi for the first time in my life. If you are not Ghanaian then you might not get why this event is big enough to warrant a blog.

The Ghanaian economy is in tatters, the stock market is the third worst performing on the continent, the currency is the worst performing in the world and last month local producers witnessed an inflation rate of over 47%.

A couple of months ago (in May to be precise) about 400 hundred of the top brains in the country went to Senchi to look for solutions and the Senchi Consensus was born.

So Senchi is basically the Davos of Ghana.

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And I went there for the first time today. (are those excited ooos and ahhhhhs i hear?)

Yeah Senchi was green, hilly and kinda reminded me of the lake District in UK,,,only without the snow and mutant killer ducks (that’s a story for another day)

I had to meet with the local government boss there and once the meeting was over we had a leasurely drive through the town that borders Lake Volta.

Honestly the place is serene, postcard picture perfect!

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But we all have to go home sometime, and that is when I saw this…

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Never have a felt more like a JJC …. when I hemmed and hawwed and congratulated Peter for getting the shot, bouncing all over in the car with excitement at such an ‘exotic’ sight.

Only to have the news gently broken to me that it happens all the time….

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How do they get the sheep up there?

Oh they toss it in with the charcoal….

And it doesn’t fall off??? (then squeal in terror as the truck dips precariously into a giant pothole)

No its totally secure….You should see when the boys sit on it

(eyes wide in horror … jealousy …. or a disturbing mixture of both…still trying to define my feelings on this)

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So yes Senchi…. the hills were lush, the lake peaceful and the sheep were touching the skies!

 

ps…also saw this …they helpfully monitored oncoming traffic and indicated when it was safe for us to overtake..

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Eating from a calabash …

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I have been very vociferous about my challenge of the stereotype of the educated African, as my colleagues in the newsroom will attest.

I went to school in both Ghana and Gambia and read African literature as part of comprehensive education.

I liked ‘Things fall apart’ as much as the next African child who has lived in an urban jungle all her life.

Talking about Okonkwo and exploring the themes of post-colonial Africa, not forgetting the rushing feeling of righteous indignation at those wicked white men, was all well and good.

‘Weep not child’ by Ngugi wa’Thiongo was also a favorite of mine….how I wished there was a struggle I could join and die in tragic circumstances, my red blood seeping into the red earth of my continent to nourish the next generation of brave warriors!

‘The dilemma of a ghost’ was the first play i produced in high school (yes i was an active member of the drama club, scrabble club, debate team, wrote for the school mag and instrumental in the formation of an informal wannabe programmer club but i digress….)

That American woman Eulalie! Hmm…she was just full of her self…how can she smoke and drink?! It is simply not done! No African woman will do that!

In short I had been weaned on a steady diet on what it meant to be African… a recipe of strife, turmoil and the constant struggle against the corrupting influence of the west.

I was comfortable, curled up the protective cocoon of my calabash.

UPDATE

Unfortunately I did not grow up in a time of struggle. The white men I knew were disappointingly normal. My History teacher, Mr Devaney (originally from Canada) was the only exception. He could make you suicidal with boredom.

I probably will have continued to ignore the lie of my life, my lack of authentic African experience if I continued to live the upper middle class bubble constructed by my parents.

Unfortunately I ended up in Northern England as a fresher when I was eighteen. That was when I started answering the awkward questions.

‘No I haven’t slept in a hut before’

‘Yes I saw a lion once, in the zoo’

‘The wierdest food I have eaten? Dunno…snail?’

‘Meaning of my name??!!! Uhhhhh….’

‘How do I say hello at home? I guess I just say hello….’

I wasn’t offended by the questions, I was humiliated. I felt like a fraud. I saw the chasm between my true African experience and the ideal I automatically identified myself with…I had not even heard a gong-gong beater before…it was bad.

My name was African, I grew up in Africa, but was cultured in some weird way that meant I knew more about Sesame Street and the Muppet babies than Kweku Ananse and his son (whose name i forget) ….