Sanitation in Ghana: A Disaster or a Challenge?

Ghana 3After many years of independence Ghana is one of the countries in Africa facing waste disposal, recycling and poor drainage problems.

Original article published in Huffingtonpost.com by Karen Curley

When one walks down the streets in Makola Market, you are overwhelmed by all of the trash that litters the streets. Trash and waste are everywhere. Accra is the capital of Ghana and is a modern city, yet there is garbage all over. There are many reasons for this:

Lack of Proper Sanitation Only 77.5% of homes have toilets. Only 30% have flush toilets. The average person in Accra has to share toilets with 10 or more persons in public latrines. Lack of plumbing has led to huge amounts of water being dumped on the streets.

Lack of a Working Sanitation System Waste removal is for the wealthy because they can afford it. Only 60% of the population has regular waste collection. As of June 17th, all 3 refuse dump sites were closed down. Because of this open sewers and rains are full of trash. Most of the pipes are in polluted gutters. Broken or vandalized ones are open to germs.

Lack of Public Awareness and Proper Education about Causes and Prevention of Diseases There is a lack of information to the public about how diseases spread because of germs and poor sanitation.

Most people are not aware that Accra’s trash problem is a growing cause of many of its diseases. In 2008 over 700US million dollars was spent on treating malaria in Ghana. That figure has not slowed down. Malaria is the number one health problem all over Ghana, especially in Accra.

Malaria accounted for 53% of Accra’s illnesses last year. According to the National Malaria Control Programme, “During 2009, a person in Ghana died from malaria about every 3 hours. This means about 3,000 people died of malaria in Ghana that year alone, most of them children. Cholera is another big problem in Ghana. As of November 2011, cholera has claimed 101 lives.

There have been 10,002 cases reported in Ghana. The cholera outbreak has been directly linked to a lack of proper refuse dumping sites and improper disposal of waste. Deputy Health Minister Rojo Mettle Nunoo has asked assemblies to implement their sanitation by-laws.

Ghana 4

When will Africa or Ghana rise above this? Ghana needs to embark on underground drainage system. 

He has stated that Accra and other larger cities face a 13% chance of a cholera epidemic. He also stated that frequent occurrences of the outbreak happen because many homes, work places, and public places do not have facilities.

So where does Accra go from here? The biggest problem facing Accra is that of mindset. Accra’s people need to adjust their mindset to the changing times. It is no longer ok to throw trash on the ground and in their gutters.

People must educate themselves on the dangers of inadequate sanitation and begin using garbage containers. Authorities from the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) must implement proper sanitation planning. Without, the above Accra will continue on its course with disease and death.

The Writer

Karen 2

Karen Curley is an international photographer based out of Los Angeles, CA. Her pictures have been seen in many publications including Spin Magazine, US Weekly, and InStyle Magazine.

Her pictures have also been featured on the Conan O’Brien show. She has worked internationally for The Accra Mail in Ghana Africa. Her passion is urban photography. Her work with the homeless has been shown in galleries all over Los Angeles.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/karen-curley/sanitation-in-ghana-a-dis_b_1197217.html

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The Cost Of Terror In Brussels

Brussels 5Brussels, the heart of Belgium’s capital in the night

Article originally published in Global Risks Insight: Know Your World

Brussels, the capital of Belgium and the European Union, is experiencing some immediate economic effects resulting from recent terror threats in 2015. This city’s experience may prove to be a blueprint for other cities in 2016.

Following the deadly terrorist attacks that shocked France and the world on November 13th 2015, the global attention turned to Brussels as the majority of the Islamist militants that took part in the French massacre had links to the European capital. In addition, in late November Belgian authorities temporarily raised the terrorist threat level to its highest tier given the presence of a reportedly imminent terrorist threat.

This led to substantial disruptions in the capital in what came to be defined as “Brussels Lockdown”. The terrorist threat again came as an obstacle to the normal life of Brussels’ residents when authorities banned all public New Year’s Eve festivities on December 31st because of a reported plan to carry out an attack in the capital.

This prolonged state of insecurity has had a negative impact on the economic and social life of the capital. Since November 2015, Brussels, along with other European capitals, has been experiencing first-hand the cost of terror. The most overt statistics pertaining to touristic activities, social outings, and public gatherings show a general change in the perception of the city and an overall evolution in the local mood.

Throughout the duration of the “Brussels Lockdown”, thousands of travellers planning to reach the capital cancelled their flights. At the highest point of this trend, more than 2,000 flight cancellations were recorded on November 25th. While this push to avoid Brussels slowly stopped after the terrorist threat level was lowered, there were in average 6,000 flights per day to Brussels in early December 2015, approximately 1,500 less than in the same period of 2014.

A similar trend has been verified for the overall occupation rate of hotels in the capital. In early December, approximately 55% of Brussels’ hotel rooms were occupied against more than 73% during the same period of 2014.

Ubiquitous precautions

This situation had a direct impact on the economic and social life of the European capital throughout the Christmas and New Year’s festivities. The annual Christmas market organised and held in the historical centre of Brussels has experienced a drop in attendance of more than 30%. In addition, New Year’s Eve saw a major drop in demand for restaurant bookings and, as such, at least one out of every two restaurants in the capital closed their doors on the last night of 2015.

The aforementioned statistics are only an initial effect of the impact that the emergence of a new terror threat is having on western European economies. The Belgian example is noteworthy as local security and intelligence agencies have so far been successful in countering the threat posed by Islamist militants, and no major mass-casualty attack has occurred in the country.

However, the enhanced presence of military personnel in the streets of Brussels as well as the ongoing discourse over the current will of terrorist organisations to target the capital led to a mood change among the local population. The fear of potential attacks is playing as a long-term obstacle to private expenditures, tourism and the participation in major public social events.

As such, beyond the immediate security concerns raised by the risk of terrorist attacks, public officials face the need to adapt the ongoing counter-terrorist strategy in order not to hinder the socio-economic life of western European countries.

http://globalriskinsights.com/2016/01/the-cost-of-terror-in-brussels/

Antwerp Under The Administration of Mayor Bart De Wever

Could Bart De Wever be the best mayor of Antwerp?

The major of Antwerp, Bart De Wever and writer Joel Savage

The Mayor of Antwerp, Bart De Wever and the writer, Joel Savage. Photo:@Kouablan Dominique.

Not quite long in Belgium, but fifteen years in Antwerp is enough to write a narrative essay, whenever I meet this challenge at an examination hall. Even though Antwerp is a famous city, known for its rich diamond collection and flourishing seaport, in the early 2000’s, the city was very rough and unsafe for both tourists and citizens.

It was this period Leona Detiége, a Belgian politician and member of the Flemish social-democratic party, then mayor of Antwerp, did her best to tackle the problems destroying the reputation of the city of Antwerp, as a tourist attraction center.

She swung into action, focusing on the notorious places, such as De Conincksplein, a neighbourhood that harboured all criminal activities, including drug peddling, prostitution, bag snatching, pickpockets, pimps etc, and De Falconplein, another notorious neighbourhood, serving as a red light district for prostitutes, pimps, and drug couriers.

Her undertakings weren’t just a bluff, it did really paralyzed the prostitution industry. Many prostitutes were arrested and deported to their countries of origin and the pimp industry collapsed. The Antwerp police received a letter from a group calling themselves ‘The Nigerian Mafia,’ threatening and ready to fight the police to death, for taking their prostitutes off the streets.

Leona stationed a mobile police van at the center of Conincksplein 24 hours daily, and all the nefarious activities and crimes subsided. Apart from that Leona made it uneasy for landlords that stole money from tenants. It was a period, criminal-landlords was known as ‘huismelkers’ were making a lot of money from tenants. Like a farmer milking his cow, they steal the three months guarantee paid by tenants. Her actions worked and totally reduced this menace which had taken over Antwerp.

Unfortunately, all the hard efforts of Leona came to a fruitless end, when she left office and Patrick Janssens, a member of the SP.a, succeeded her, as the next mayor of Antwerp. Patrick Janssens probably thought the best way to serve Antwerp, is be friendly with everyone. It was his time drug peddling, which Leona had fought to subdue, increased significantly.

There was time, Moroccans in Antwerp, believe or thought the city is for them. They drive, stop on the street, talk to friends, with a long queue of traffic behind them. Who dares to talk? You will be surrounded and if the police are not around, you will be beaten mercilessly.

At Schijnpoort, a neighbourhood in Antwerp, a Belgium driving, stops and asks a Moroccan for help, as he couldn’t find a street he was looking for. As soon as his window came down, right in front of me, the Moroccan accumulated a thick saliva in his mouth and spits onto the face of the driver. He picks up a tissue paper, wipes the saliva from his face and drove away. My heart ached when I witnessed this scene.

Under the administration of Patrick Janssens,   the situation in Antwerp grew from bad to worse. More drug trafficking at coffee shops run by foreigners. By the time he decides to take drastic action, it was too late. The people in Antwerp are fed up and really want a change.

I will always remember Patrick Janssens for saving the citizens of Antwerp from dog’s waste explosion. It was a period one always comes home with a dog’s waste because they are everywhere. He did well to impose a fine against dog owners that leave dogs’ waste in the city after excretion.

The coming in of  Bart De Wever, the leader of N-VA party, as the mayor of Antwerp, took many by surprise. As a politician who has dreams including the creation of an independent state for the province of Antwerp, many don’t like him much, but that didn’t prevent him from winning the seat as mayor of Antwerp.

The man knows that coming into office as a mayor is not all that is important but one’s achievement. De Wever is destined to carve his name as one of the best or probably the best mayor in the political history of Belgium. Since he assumed office, De Wever has done a lot within the shortest period many past mayors couldn’t achieve.

In regard to security and safety, Antwerp is now a safe city any time of the day, including night. Conincksplein, which used to be a dangerous place in Antwerp, is now a safe community for citizens.

The newly completed library adds glamour to the beauty of the area. Antwerp also remains clean since the administration introduced fine for litterers. Alcohol forbidden zones are now in force within the city.

Despite all his achievements, many still don’t agree with him. Some say he is a good man or bad man, others think he is wicked, but whatever name they call him, there is no doubt that Bart De Wever is the best mayor Antwerp has ever got or probably the best in the political history of Belgium.

The Controversy Surrounding Child Adoption By Homosexuals

Two men can't make a baby so they don't need a child

Gay Child adoption must be considered as a crime because innocent children get lost in the wilderness through ‘Gay-Child’ adoption.

Two men adopted a child. At home, they introduced themselves to the innocent child as their new parents. “Every child has a father and mother, where is my mother if you are my new parents?” The child asked. The homosexuals looked at each other’s face and scratched their heads and said to the small child, “We are just two men to take care of you.” That’s where the psychological turmoil of a child begins.

He has immediately realized that he has nothing called happiness in his world. Firstly, he has lost his real parents because of drug and alcohol issues, now he under the care of two fearful men, telling him we are your new parents. As young as he is the child realizes his future is bleak and uncertain. The men gave him assurance that he is going to be a happy child.

No matter how two men take care of a child, it will never be the same like a child growing with a man and woman. Some people are selfish, greedy, wicked and unfaithful. Sins of the flesh, uncontrollable evil desires, and bad habits prevent people to do the right thing even though they know perfectly well that what they are doing is wrong.

You choose to be gay because you are not interested in a woman, why then interested in a child, when two men can’t make a baby? Society is in decay, facing the threat of collapse, yet if one speaks about it, including homosexuality, he immediately becomes an enemy. Black people have endured and continue to endure the effects of slavery, racism, discrimination and medical crimes.

The world witnessed the killing of over 10 million Africans, including children, by a crazy Belgian king, called Leopold II, in Congo, yet Belgium built statues  and named streets after him. No one criticized Belgium for doing that. But Europe and America are against Africa, for saying “No We Don’t Want Homosexuality.” Stinking hypocrites. Do people think Africans are stupid? Not at all, Africans don’t feel stupid.

No African leader tells European and American leaders what to do, so America and Europe shouldn’t force Africa to accept homosexuality.  We simply don’t want it, but I’m strongly against the way some of the leaders are dealing with homosexual issues in Africa. Many Africans have suffered persecution and killings for just being gay. That’s inhuman.

Even though there are thousands of orphans and children from drug abused homes, governments shouldn’t decide that the only way to help these children is to allow homosexuals to adopt them. It’s a wrong decision. A real happy child runs to the bedroom of his mother and father every morning, not the bedroom of two mustaches.

I don’t hate homosexuals, but I don’t agree with them when it comes to child adoption. They force a child to smile and think the child is happy. We need to create a better world for the benefit of the future generation including children. Every intelligent person that cares about the future should rise on his feet, to tell the world “Homosexuals must stop adopting children.”

Babies: Those Who Want Can’t Get And Those Who Get Don’t Want

Unwanted

Unwanted baby deposited in a baby box.

Once I visited a Belgian couple in the neighborhood of Antwerp. They are married for many years and both are in their forties. They dearly love each other and many times, I study the way Peter treats his wife, kindly, gently and respectfully. “Joel, hold a woman like an egg, because when it breaks, you can’t pick it up, you will only miss your water when your well runs dry,” Peter once told me.

I do ask questions, especially when very close to someone. “Peter, you don’t like children,” I said. “I married to have children, but we never had one. I’ve tried everything without success, “said Peter. “After everything failed, did you ask from God,” I asked. “If there is God, then he might be a very wicked God,” said Peter.

I realized the pain and heartache of Peter. His comments are enough to know how dear baby means to him, but frankly speaking, when one seeks God, God will also seek you. His wife couldn’t bring forth a baby and now he hates God for that. It’s not only Peter and his wife facing this bitter experience. Worldwide, there are thousands of women looking for children without success.

Some have spent thousands of dollars just to be pregnant all to no avail. Many are sad in their matrimonial homes, because the child they are longing for never comes. Thousands of women are desperate looking for babies. Without any hope of having own their babies, some adopt children, yet thousands of babies are killed daily through abortion, strangulation and abandonment.

Some mothers are so cruel that one finds it difficult to believe what they did to their own babies, The question is, why babies often end up in the hands of women who don’t want them, when someone else is looking for one without success? Couple of months ago, a woman from New Jersey was arrested and charged with murder for allegedly putting her newborn baby in the middle of the road and setting the infant on fire.

Innocent babies are being dumped in toilets, bushes, roadsides, gutters etc, without any pity or remorse. The need to do more to help mothers with unwanted babies is necessary. Governments worldwide should also find a solution to avoid abandoned babies, because society wouldn’t accept this kind of cruelty. Germany has already found a solution to discourage abandoning of babies, by providing baby bank.

Lee Jong-rak , a pastor in South Korea, saw a devastating problem in the amount of abandoned babies left to die on the streets. He organized a “Baby Drop Box” where unwanted babies are deposited in a box, saving thousands of babies who would have been left on the streets or abandoned to die. Life is precious, people should stop killing babies.

Culture: White People Learning What It Takes To Be An African

 

Africa

Did curiosity really kill the cat? Why so many white people now interested in the diversity of culture, leading them to Africa, the continent the Western and American media never write anything good about, than Aids, Ebola, war, famine, and crime?

The media plays an important role in the society; unfortunately many don’t see it in that way, because of the type of news they disseminate to the public. I was quite impressed and amazed when I met a white man telling me about his visit to Sierra Leone and Ghana. The fact that he could even speak some of the languages inspired me to find out his reasons for leaving his continent of luxury, to a strange hard living continent like Africa.

“If a white man comes to live in Africa for six months or a year, the Western media hails him  brave and adventurous, with publication appearing in the newspapers, but the same places I visited are where Africans have lived from generation to generation but the media fails to praise them on the same issue,” said the white man. He is right. There is crime everywhere in the world, especially Italy, Britain, Columbia, Brazil, and America, but the media has made South Africa the most dangerous country on earth.

Every year thousands of Europeans travel to Africa, just because they want to know how Africans live, despite the lack of electricity in many villages, medical facilities, water shortage and poor sanitation. It is amazing to see many white people on African streets, with families interacting and learning many things including how to make African meals. Surprisingly some participate in cultural and festival activities dressed in African fashions, especially in Kente cloth.

Despite the lack of teachers and poor educational facilities, an African child can be able to tell one geographically, the capital city of every country in the world, yet ask a white child of the same age, the capital city of Ghana, Sierra Leone, South Africa or any African country. He will tell you “I don’t know,” with quick remarks “Africa is poor,” because that’s all that his geography teacher has taught him.

I am hundred percent sure that if African and European children meet in a quiz competition, the African children would win because they know much about Europe and America than what European and American children know about Africa. This is not an exaggeration but facts based on research I did. Imagine an African student of fourteen in a Belgium school, who doesn’t even know who Patrice Lumumba was, even though her parents come from Congo. This is a tragedy, not sadness. I didn’t blame her because teachers have failed to teach European students enough about Africa.

I wish exchange of program in education and on moral issues, would take some European children to Africa, to learn the reason why despite immense poverty in many parts of Africa, students don’t smoke, commit suicide, no teenage pregnancy, no shooting, stabbing and above all the reason why respect exists in African schools than any school in Europe and America.

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A Special Interview With The Idi Amin Of Belgium, King Leopold II

Blender 4

Journalist and author Joel Savage, interviews the White Idi Amin of Belgium, King Leopold II

I believe everyone knows or heard of King Leopold II. He was one of Belgium’s greediest and bloodthirstiest kings, who killed and maimed over ten million Africans, including children, during the colonial era in Congo. Despite that there isn’t any statue of Adolf Hitler for killing six million Jews, Belgium built a statue and named streets after this lunatic. So I took a trip to the Neo-Gothic Church of our Lady in Laeken, Brussels, where all the monarchs, including Leopold II, are buried, for this exclusive interview.

Joel: King Leopold, how do you feel about this interview?

Leopold: I need peace in my grave. How can you interview a dead man?

Joel: If the Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (The Mormons) could baptize the dead, then I could possibly interview a dead man.

Leopold: Please allow me to sleep peacefully in my grave. Why are you disturbing me?

Joel: You know what you did. You rendered thousands of villagers homeless, by putting fire into their huts, amputated the hands and limbs of children, mutilated the genitals of fathers and killed wives of husbands, for the greed of rubber and the desire to be the world’s richest king, yet your country praised and applauded your crimes and named streets after you. That’s not the end; you have a statue in addition. Are you happy in your grave for such horrendous crimes you committed?

Leopold: Even if I am not happy at all in my grave, I wasn’t the one responsible for my statue, because I didn’t ask anyone to build my statue and named streets after me.

Joel: Who are you trying to shift the blame to? For remembrance and honor, wreaths are laid at cemeteries for people, including soldiers that sacrificed their lives for your country, but the innocent blood of Africans you shed and the children you murdered are being mocked with your statue. Black Lives Matter, do you think Belgium can mock the dead and be a happy country?

Leopold: I want to repeat it once again if you didn’t hear me. I didn’t tell my country to build statue and name streets after me. They did it out of ignorance and foolish pride. They should be intelligent enough to know that I don’t deserve such statue.

Joel: Many believe you are not human, because during that time span, greed and power propelled you to commit the most serious crimes you deserve to go down the gallows, but nobody gave a damn for what you were doing because everybody else did almost the same. African soil was cut into pieces and confiscated by the foreigners. The way of thinking at that time was black people can be used for everything as a resource and as a disposable and Africa is ours. So who is the ignorant or the one who lacks wisdom, when you wore a sheep’s clothing deceiving the world as a good king, yet on a killing spree?

Leopold: Don’t let me start scratching my head when there isn’t any itching. I have had enough in my grave, tell my people to break down my statue and denounce the name of the streets named after me, because I can feel that my country is doomed because of this evil thing they did.

Joel: Your country is stubborn like a He-goat. They are confused because it’s one of the divided and difficult countries to rule in the world. Their confusion is very deep that they can’t even differentiate good from evil.  They have thousands of journalists but none has written about this because they are not Africans. They don’t care.

Leopold: You have said the right thing, but be careful, else you will be an enemy. I know my people; they are pretenders and bad just like me.

Joel: I want to be an enemy Leopold because that makes me an important person. When you are not important no one hates you in the society.

Joel: I have two questions from my mentor, Professor Johan Dongen for you. The first question is: You killed over ten million Africans, including children. Do you think there will be enough Africans left to kill by your grandchildren?

Leopold: Don’t bring my family into this. I did all those evil things alone.

Joel: I need to bring your family into this, because wickedness and evil acts can be inherited by family, including grandchildren.

Joel: Professor Dongen’s second question is: You always carry a sword on your statues and portraits. He may like see it. Will you give it to him if it’s in your grave?

Leopold: That sword is cursed, because of the evil things I did with it. If I give it to anyone, it will bring more disaster upon Belgium.

Leopold: Before I leave, please ask God to forgive me and let the same God touch the heart of my people that I don’t deserve those statues and streets named after me. If they are wise enough, then they should break down the statue or keep it, because the chicken always comes back home to roost.

Joel: Are you sure you know God King Leopold and you did this? Anyway, thank you for granting me this interview.

Leopold: You are welcome.

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