THE VALUE OF SUMMER AS BOTH SEASON AND FESTIVAL

Mini 3

Mini-skirts: One of the fashion temptations during summer

There are only two seasons in West Africa, the dry and the wet, and sometimes the experience of the harmattan, a dry, dusty cold north-east trade winds from December to February. 

Africa never misses the sun or summer as it is known among the four seasons in Europe and America because the sun blazes for nine months, accompanied by rainfall within three months.

Unfortunately, sometimes the rain fails to fall, and when it continues for a longer period, means impending danger. The reason East Africa is often threatened by worst drought. Rwanda, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Zambia, Somalia etc, have all experienced the effect of drought.

The sun in Africa is used to doing many things including drying of washed clothes, preservation of foods, and on health issues good for the skin. Since the sun is very common in Africa, they don’t see or value it as something special, but when summer arrives in Europe and America, it’s like they have seen magic or god.

In fact, summer is just a season but what accompanies with it in Europe and America seems like the season is a festival. Europeans and Americans go crazy with all kinds of dresses and fashions which may baffle you.

Mini-skirts, the exposure of long beautiful legs and other parts of the body which can steal your attention and put you into temptation are some of the common scenes in the city, shopping malls, restaurants, cinema halls etc, and at the naked beaches.

Europe is now entering the summer but just yesterday the beautiful weather brought some fashions one may be stupefied to see. The question is: What are we going to see when summer fully arrives? I will definitely steal a glance but hoping I will not be caught by any lady.

Advertisements

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/

Tourism: Step Into The Paradise Taste Of Tropical Fruits In Ghana

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Home sweet home: Joel Savage enjoys the sweet juicy water of fresh coconut.

The axiom, “All work and no play, makes Jack a dull boy” might have originally been conceived by a domestic idealist, who knows the truth. Working hard without a break can affect your health. The impact can take its toll on you.

This is the reason I decided to visit my mother at the age of 80, in Ghana, after five years. Seeing her grey hair, but strong and healthy, boosted my happiness. In my daily prayers I always ask God to give her long life, to enjoy her fruits of labour, and it seems He has answered my prayers.

My mother after losing her husband at the age of 44, in 1976, (The Writer Died) https://goo.gl/hLBqj4, left with eight children, without any support, took the responsibility alone to make sure that we were fed, clothed, accommodated and educated.

In Ghana, I visited many places including the Cape Coast castle, in the central region of Ghana and some villages, such as ‘Akatechiwa’ which has intriguing story leading to the village’s name. I will be sharing all the interesting articles pertaining my visit with you very soon on social media.

Apart from my adventure and exploration, I enjoyed the fresh tropical fruits, such as coconut, mango, sweet apple etc. Many in foreign countries, such as Europeans and Americans may have the experience of tasting juicy canned tropical fruits, but nothing compares to the original fresh taste of tropical fruits taken moments from the trees in Ghana or Africa generally.

Many Europeans and Americans yearly make a trip to Ghana to explore its ancient castles and forts and some have settled finally in the country, saying good bye to Europe and America. Don’t let the foreign media deceive you. Be part of those visiting Ghana.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The Coconut tree: I know that there are thousands of readers interested in non-fiction genre of books, thus; one of my goals is to share my non-fiction books through diversity of culture. My utterly and compelling collections are destined to capture the reader’s attention and interest, to learn about other people’s culture and heritage.

My books are in the categories of travel, immigration, health and entertainment. The personal account of the stories reflect on the places I visited in Africa, such as Ghana, Guinea, Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Sierra Leone, Togo, Benin and Gambia. And in Europe, it’s about life in Barcelona, Spain, Aahus, Denmark, England, Amsterdam, Holland, Rome, Italy and Antwerp, Belgium.

The African stories act like a guide to European and Americans tourists. The books will teach you how to avoid being a victim to thieves, armed robbers and immigration crooks, that prey on nationals and foreigners, while the Europeans stories teach Africans how to survive in Europe, without papers and crime.

My Motherland Offers Riches To The Tourist, So Why Are So Many Ghanaians Queuing Up To Come To Britain?

Culture 3

Ghana Says ‘Awaaba’- Welcome

A tale of two countries

Article by Henry Bonsu: A journalist and broadcaster (Originally published in TheGuardian)

While my primary government, in London, has been struggling to persuade people in Britain it has done enough to keep out the huddled masses from eastern Europe, my secondary government, in Accra, has also been preoccupied with travel. But rather than keeping undesirables out, Ghana’s government is more concerned with bringing people in: to spend their pounds, dollars and euros on business and tourism. And Ghanaians living in Britain are being asked to do their bit to help turn their country into Africa’s number one destination.

The tourism minister, Jake Obestebi-Lamptey, wants us to tell people that the former Gold Coast has become a “bird-watcher’s paradise, eco-tourism haven and an adventurer’s dream”. I’ve been wondering, though, how we can persuade the locals that they are sitting on such a goldmine. Stroll past the British high commission in Accra on any given evening and you’ll see Ghanaians bedding down, hoping to be the first in the visa queue the next morning.

And the 35,000 Ghanaians who were granted short-term entry to Britain this year, and the similar number of rejects, are just a fraction of those who dream of fleeing poverty. With doctors, nurses and teachers in the vanguard, ministers have been insisting on loyalty clauses for ambitious graduates. Not for nothing are we called the “Jews of Africa”, with an estimated 200,000 Ghanaians and their descendants settling in this country alone since independence.

Some people are used to thinking of Ghana as a “beacon” country of stability and inward investment – the symbolic destination for African-Caribbeans and Americans who wish to reclaim their heritage. Didn’t the IMF and World Bank lavish praise on former president Jerry Rawlings and his successor John Kufuor for their growth rates of 5%? Haven’t Japan and the EU given Ghana millions of dollars for skills training and poverty reduction?

Indeed they have. But when I visit my motherland this summer, it will, once again, be a tale of two countries. I’ll marvel at the beach hotels, luxury estates and free press, and revel in the power of the pound, which takes me from bohemian Brixton to the elite of Ghanaian society in six hours.

But this is the Ghana of the expatriate, and the rich business and political classes, who travel in and out of Britain, but have no intention of staying because their standard of living cannot be replicated in any European country.

The other Ghana is that of my cousin, a pastor, who ministers in the densely populated areas of Greater Accra. Maamobi is typical; a district of shanty housing, open sewers, malaria and mass unemployment. If you are lucky enough to have a job, your minimum wage has just gone up to 11,000 cedis (65p) a day.

My aunt is a typical resident, full of incredible hospitality, but she talks about her own future with little ambition, investing all hope in the children she’s managed to send abroad. Swatting away flies under the burning sun, she chats about whether things can change in “Mother Ghana”, with frequent references to gye nyame (“only God can help us”).

Perhaps such fatalism is understandable in a 60-year-old, who has witnessed colonial rule followed by decades of strong-man politics. But it is more distressing to see the fight go out of younger people, who can spend years in limbo, waiting for an overseas relative to pay some middle man a £3,000 “connection fee” to ease their passage. Ironically these are the same Ghanaians who, once here, will hold down two or three jobs, and contribute their share of an annual $1.5bn in remittances to sustain their family.

When cousins ask me how life is in Britain, I warn that although the 60s Nkrumah generation – which includes my parents – have largely succeeded in grooming their children for a middle-class future, things are more unpleasant for recent arrivals; that unless they have key qualifications (medical, educational or social work), they will have few choices – hence around 60% of London’s parking attendants are Ghanaian or Nigerian.

Perhaps naively I offer to help them do business locally alongside the mechanics, seamstresses and shopkeepers, who somehow manage to make ends meet, but then I hear of Ghana’s frighteningly high interest and inflation rates, the soaring price of utilities (a consequence of foreign-inspired privatisation), and the stop-go electricity supply. If, like my uncle in Kumasi, you take up farming, which comprises 36% of Ghana’s GDP, could you compete with cheap subsidised goods from the west, without being given access to European and US markets?

Would you wait for change to be delivered by Blair and Geldof’s African Commission? No, in those circumstances, £6 an hour as a security guard or a cleaner in a faraway country may sound like a better way to make money. Perhaps, like the dozens of others who’ll be bedding down outside the British high commission tonight, you’d rehearse your lines in preparation for an interview, and perhaps a passport to life in London’s underbelly. So, if you’re a British traveller huffing at the occasional delay at Heathrow, spare a thought for the other kind of global traffic heading in your direction with tourism the last thing on its mind.

Diary Barcelona: What Makes The City Special And The Best Tourists Center In Europe? (Part Two)

Bar 6

Tourists at Port of Barcelona crossing the bridge. Announcements are made often to passengers when the bridge is to be opened for passing vessels. 

There is something special about Barcelona, so unique that one lacks the right words to describe this wonderful city. Barcelona is a city one can’t different night from day, because both the day and night are equally dense with its citizens and people from other countries, since is the second largest and one of the beautiful cities in Spain.

The city has identified itself as one of the most fashionable and adorable cities in Europe. The reason is simple and logical. It’s renowned ancient and architectural buildings, history, culture, food and beautiful coastline beaches, add glamour to Barcelona. No matter what season you visit, the city has everything to offer, it’s therefore not surprising to acknowledge the reason the city has been one of the perfect destination centers in Europe in regard to tourism.

All works and no play makes Jack a dull boy. It will be self neglect if one fails to visit Barcelona once in his or her life time. What makes the city so special? The port of Barcelona has the statue of the explorer Christopher Columbus, pointing to the direction of America. Even though historical facts have proved the claims of Columbus discovering of America as total false, since there were native Americans (Arawak Indians) before he sailed to that part of the continent, that doesn’t prevent tourists to visit his statue at the port of Barcelona.

Bar 9

Cable cars transporting tourists. One of the ways to enjoy Barcelona.

The humans posing as statues along Ramblas, add another spectacular scene among thousands of scenes to see in Barcelona. The cable cars transporting passengers to and flo in the mid air, is something to boast of. In the city I met travellers from all parts of the world, including New Zealand and South Africa. The South African couple told me, they flew to Kenya and joined their second flight to Barcelona. A pretty long journey indeed, but it worth to undertake such journey to come to wonderful Barcelona, they said.

The Ramblas and the Plaza di Catalunya are calling tourists. Newspaper shops, restaurants, shops and flower shops have paraded each side of the Ramblas, offering services in the most fashionably way to tourists. While walking on the Ramblas, I heard a deep voice bellowed “Mr. Savage.” Guess what? A friend I knew in Belgium on holidays with his family. With the streets lined up with beautiful sights and performers, we had a very good time. Next was Plaza Reale where I sat down for hours to watch cultural performers.

Bar 8

The famous statue of Christopher Columbus pointing to the direction of America.

In 1986, I was also in Barcelona, as the first country in Europe to visit from Africa. On the same Ramblas, I decided to polish my shoes. The fact that a White man is polishing a Black man’s shoes, brings the whole world activities to a standstill. Hundreds of tourists stopped and gathered round us, like people watching a football match. The crowd keeps swelling at a very fast rate that eventually, I requested the shoe polisher to discontinue polishing my shoes. I paid him and walked away. Laugh and grow fat or be slim, whichever way you want it, fasten your seat belt and  read Joel Savage’s ‘Road Of Agony.’

Road of Agony

http://www.amazon.com/Road-Agony-Joel-Savage-ebook/dp/B00DUHSAYI

The Eighth Wonder Of The World Is Anokye’s Sword In The Ashanti Kingdom Of Ghana?

The Ashanti empire

An Ashanti chief in full gold regalia in Ghana

Without any argument, Africa is a great continent. Europe and America know that the fact that Europe was built on the raw materials, gold, and treasures stolen from Africa. Britain, Holland, Belgium, Portugal etc; all had their share of what was stolen from Africa, then set on the campaign to destroy the continent through ethnic conflict, war and with medical crimes.

 

Africa is only mentioned in the time of crisis, poverty, and diseases but not what it is known for, its vast natural resources, which has fed and continue to feed the advanced countries. According to the ‘Wikipedia,’ The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World is the first known list of the most remarkable creations of classical antiquity; it was based on guidebooks popular among Hellenic sightseers and only includes works located around the Mediterranean rim.

“Christ the Redeemer” statue in Rio de Janeiro,Brazil, a 105-foot-tall (38-meter-tall) statue      is now among the “new seven wonders of the world,” following a global poll to decide a new list of human-made marvels. Human-made marvels? Then the ‘eighth wonder of the world’ may be probably found in the Ashanti region of Ghana.

 

Anokye's golden stool from heaven

Okomfo Anokye’s sacred golden stool which came down from heaven. The stool is still available in the Ashanti kingdom

The story of Okomfo Anokye (Wikipedia)

Okomfo Anokye was born in Awukugua-Akuapim,in Eastern Region of Ghana, West Africa, in the late 1600s. His father, Ano, and mother, Yaa Anubea, were both from Awukugua-Akuapim, part of the Ayade tribe. At the time of his birth, his two palms were firmly held together and could not be separated. Curious to know what he was holding in his hands, his parents tried to separate both palms but to no avail – about two years into his childhood. Inside his palm were totem poles believed to be from the gods.

His parents and family believe he was sent by the gods to lead the Okere people. Later in life, he attained priesthood and was given the title Okomfo; Fetish-Priest. His full name became Okomfo Anokye. His ancestral home (the house he was born in) is opposite the Awukugua Chief Palace. A shrine is also located at Awukugua and is a frequent site of meeting for the Ohum festival in October. The shrine consists of a palm tree, which he climbed wearing his sandals, and a large rock, from which he carved a game of Oware. Other shrine sites are located in Awukugua-Akuapim.

The Golden stool that descended from heaven

The Golden Stool of Ashanti, known as ‘Sika ‘dwa) because it arrived on Friday, is the royal and divine throne of the Akan people (Ashanti people). Okomfo Anokye proved he was a man with powers. With assembled chiefs, he commanded a golden stool to descend from the sky and the stool landed on the lap of the first Asante king, Osei Tutu. Such seats were traditionally symbolic of a chieftain’s leadership, but the Golden Stool is believed to house the spirit of the Asante nation—living, dead and yet to be born.

Is Ghana's Okomfo Anokye's unmovable sword one of the wonders of the world?

Okomfo Anokye’s planted sword : Every means to pull the sword from the ground has failed.

Okomfo Anokye’s planted sword every means to pull from the ground has failed.

As a symbol of the unification of the Ashanti Kingdom, Okomfo Anokye planted a sword and said if anyone removes the sword, then that marks the end of the Ashanti Empire. Dating over three hundred years, the sword Anokye plunged into the earth, remains on the ground of a hospital named after him: Okomfo Anokye Teaching Hospital.

The mysterious sword has invited many tourists worldwide to Kumasi, Ashanti region, but no one has been able to pull it off the ground.  In 1964, when Muhammad Ali visited Ghana, he tried to pull it out, but he couldn’t. Anyway let’s assume that human strength isn’t enough to pull the sword from the earth, but what about other methods including machinery which couldn’t do the job?

In my opinion, the Okomfo Anokye’s sword which no one has been able to pull it from the earth gives the sword the eighth wonder of the world.