Monday, November 8, 2010

Library time

            "Our children are no longer having a good command of the English language", "The spate of 'pidgin-English' among the youth is now alarming", "Young Ghanaians these days don't read books" -- these are some comments you hear people pass nowadays.
            Yes, it is true, but what/who is to be blamed for this development; what steps are being taken to remedy the situation?
            We have individuals blaming the Internet (which is quite ridiculous). Others blame mobile technology (i.e. Short Messaging System [SMS]).
             Personally, I believe it has to do with the fact that young people don't read extensively anymore. I don't recommend reading just as an act, but reading very informative, resource-enriched books/articles.
            This brings to mind my Junior high School days in 'saito' (a local government-funded school). Every week, we had 40 minutes of class time, dedicated to what was termed 'library time'. It was a time for the class to read any book at all. We had boxes full of books in the head-teacher's office -- arranged according to the various classes. It was a cherishable moment. Some of us even went further to discuss our books with others.
            Of course, back then we didn't know we were building our vocabulary. We thought we were reading for the fun of it (not forgetting the colourful pictures in the books). Truth, however, is that it did a lot to improve not just our vocabulary in terms of writing, but also in speaking the English language.
             I advocate strongly that this item in our time-tables (for schools), is brought back and sustained.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Politics of traffic & street lights?

        So I have been living in the Sunyani Municipality (of Ghana's Brong-Ahafo Region) for the past 6 years -- and counting. It is a lovely town I must confess, well-planned and a far cry from the country's capital, Accra, in terms of congestion. The region is known as the 'breadbasket of Ghana'.
        One would have thought that the first-class streets, adorned with streetlights and traffic lights, would not just serve as monuments -- as the case is now. More often than not, these streetlights fail to function, and they can be off for over a fortnight with no one (especially the metropolitan assembly) attending to them. You only see the streetlights working again after a lot of 'noise' has been made on the FM Stations.
        Quite recently, we began having traffic wardens (police) directing traffic whenever the traffic lights go off -- which is commendable -- but doesn't solve the problem.
        However, an incident I saw a couple of days ago worried me greatly.
        It was about eight minutes to six in the evening and the traffic was really heavy. Drivers were tooting their horns at one another -- in short, it was chaotic. I wondered where the warden was (as were the other passengers), only to see him at a distance -- on phone! His countenance was one of an individual oblivious to his immediate surroundings.
       But he is not to blamed entirely. What are our leaders doing about such mishaps in our communities? Next to nothing, if you ask me. They spend copious amounts of time on the airwaves talking politics! Discussing issues that are so trivial (sometimes) that, they need not over-hype them.
      Someone calls another a palm-wine tapper -- and so what?
      Another calls his opponent 'kokoase kurasini' (a villager from a cocoa-farming community) -- and so what?
We really need to up our game and stop this 'disgusting' approach to addressing societal issues.
Drivers doing their own thing -- Chaos!
Find your own way?