Monday, October 24, 2011

jhr AUCC Official Executive Handing Over

JHR-AUCC President Ernest Lartey delivers his welcome address.
As the start of classes drew closer at the African University College of Communications, members of theJournalists for Human Rights School Chapter held their official Handing Over Ceremony.
“For me, this was significant in the history of the chaper,” says Danny Bannah, two-term president of the school chapter. “This is the first time JHR AUCC is handing over – officially handing over.”
The event was to officialize the transfer of administrative responsibilities from previous executives to the newly elected team. The event was also in recognition of the accomplishments of the previous year’s executive team and as an induction for the administration of the chapters new leaders.
The event began, as all events in Ghana do, with a prayer of blessing, followed by a welcome address. As the theme chosen was African Wear, the room was filled with bright colours and beautiful patterns. All which matched the uplifting energy of a room filled with empowered students passionate about human rights education.

Rotary Launches Road Safety Campaign

Local street vendor Cornelius Apeku receives free eye exam during the Make Roads Safe Campaign
The Rotary Club of Accra-Labone in partnership with the Motor Traffic and Transport Unit and the Driver and Vehicle Licencing bureaux have launched a Road Safety Campaign aimed at educating Ghana’s motoring public.

This initiative is a result of increased numbers in traffic related deaths, as according to the MTTU’s nation wide accident statistics. These are numbers Officer Simon Tenkuu of the MTTU says the country can not be proud of.
“The traffic situation in Accra is becoming quite disturbing,” he says. “When it comes to the accident rate at the metro police, it is high – due mostly to indiscipline of drivers.”
According to the MTTU nation wide accident statistics, traffic related deaths were up to 1,679 in only nine months, between January to September 2011 and traffic related deaths remain the number one cause of fatality between those aged ten to 24 in Ghana.

Thanksgiving in Ghana

Thanksgiving dinner in Ghana
Our Thanksgiving adventure began with a three hour trip to the one place we figured we could get a turkey – Shoprite. This meant hoping on a tro-tro, switching over twice, and patiently waiting as the process took it’s sweet time. Most often we shop at local markets or roadside stands, but for this occasion we wanted to go all out.
On our way, we stopped along the roadside to buy hardboiled eggs and salsa then flagged down the bicycle carrying fanmilk – the closest comparison to an ice cream truck in Ghana. As we waited for the next tro-tro to come, we couldn’t help but laugh at how different – and to us random – the daily events of our lives had become since leaving Canada three short months ago.
We wandering the aisles of Shoprite, a typical Westernized grocery store located in the largest mall in Accra, and chose items for our dinner celebration, eliminating those that could still be purchased at the market closer to home. The cost of a turkey was an arm and a leg – and since we each only had two – we decided to scratch that and improvise with chicken.

Friday, October 14, 2011

It's Time to Get Writing

Writing has proven difficult. Wether it be finding the time, the words, the energy or ability I have found it difficult to express my thoughts, feelings and experiences.

I could describe at length why I feel this is but will synthesis by saying at the end of the day it was a chose. Our time is our own, our words are an essence of our experiences and our energy a result of the combination. 

Reflecting back, so much has happened and all with significance to be shared but at that point time, for whatever reason I could not. And this, I would like to change. 

Since by arrival and after my lapse in writing, there have been moments when I look back and think, “I should have wrote about this, I can't believe I didn't share that,” and I grow angry with myself. A result of this is the continuous inability to express my stories and experiences - for I feel I will never be able to catch up.

Part of me believes part of the struggle has been that the past few months have seemed like a roller coaster – waiting so long in line and then here, it's your turn. You're living it and you're scared, excited, energized, nervous, liberated, confused and sometimes disoriented and sometimes you keep your eyes closed and then all of a sudden – it's over.

I think I fell into this pattern. This experience has been an array of overwhelming emotions, something I expected and what I was looking for. 

My mistake, was not taking ownership of these emotions at the time of. As they are a result of only myself - my thoughts, my values, my beliefs, my experiences and my expectations. I made a mistake, I didn't take the time to properly reflect and identify what was taking place around me – or within me - and I feared so greatly the inability to catch up I forgot I could just start over. Pick up, and begin again. 

My words should not portray an image of unfortunate events but rather a journey of personal exploration and self discovery. This journey has had it's ups and downs – as every journey does. You'll pass through valleys and gulfs. Climbs hills and pass shorelines, sometimes you excel and others slow down. It is all part of the journey and what makes each unique.

I must strongly state that I have enjoyed every aspect of this experience and am thankful - to the point of near explosion, but I choose not to romanticize the process and give equal recognition to the struggles of this journey as well as the overall accomplishments. I have enjoyed every moment - challenges, bumps and bruises, sunny days, rainbows and lollipops - but we've had them all. 

And no real story would be complete - if not honest - without them. 

This small piece of writing is my acknowledgement of the fear that I have been carrying with me – fear to share my experiences for how they may be perceived. “Is this good enough? Will people understand? Will they judge me? Does it do the truth justice?”

These thoughts continue to run through my mind and cause me much grief. 

Chances are, many may not understand, people will always judge and everything can't always be good enough.  But words will never justify experience - real life experience - but that does not mean they are not worth writing down.  As it is the best option we have for sharing ideas, provoking thought and proving to the world certain events took place.

It's time to get writing. 
I have decided to make a choice and commit to making time to exchange my experiences with those interested in reading. I would rather attempt and fail then not try again - and if I don't begin now, I will return to Canada and will not have anything written of my experiences to reflect on. An if I don't begin now, I may not begin at all. 

So, I am going to write. I will reflect. I will do my best to express myself to an audience that is just like me – passionate but unsure, intrigued, cautious and best of all, curious.

Without struggle there can't be accomplishment and without celebration we can never acknowledge success.