Friday, January 2, 2015

Do we need to recycle polythene bags, or find an alternative?

Enactus CUCG's paper bags
The '80s and '90s in Ghana saw a country that dealt with sanitation consciousness in an almost 'effective' way.
Not recycling though. The practice of going green (mostly recycling) is one that is still alien to most Ghanaians.
Food sellers used natural materials: waakye was served in leaves, hausa koko was served in bowls/cups. Heck, Ghanaians went about buying food with their own containers (bowls, cups). 
The narrative is different now. Plastic and polythene everywhere. We are invariably generating filth in the name of packaging -- and branding.
It's as if we've developed an unspoken slogan, "If it's not in plastic/polythene, it's not edible".
But that should change -- and indeed it will change. A number of individuals are doing their bit to help grow a green economy. These include The Green Ghanaian (@AkyaaN), Golda Addo, The Wheel Story House .
A couple of initiatives I'd wish to share with you are from two student organisations at the Catholic University College of Ghana.
Enactus CUCG has embarked on a project of dealing with plastic bags being used as grocery bags, and packaging for fast food and other products. They are designing paper bags. These are biodegradable, above all other considerable reasons. I read of a young man in Kenya who's also began an enterprise, making such paper bags.
Aiesec CUCG also had an intern last semester who collected used water sachets, and designed dust bins from them. These he donated to some primary schools in some deprived communities.
I'm yet to learn this skill, and produce some free dust bins too. ;-) 
I know of a number of initiatives coming out this year. Do watch the Green Ghanaian space for updates.
We should harness the power of the sun.
We should get some energy from our shit.
We should sort out our rubbish, so recycling is easier.
We should ... we should ... we should stop complaining and start from somewhere.
Brainstorm. Collaborate. Just. Do. It.

Dust bins made from used water sachets

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Listen

When I ask you to listen to me, and you start giving me advice,
you have not done what I have asked.
When I ask you to listen to me, and you begin to tell me why I shouldn’t feel that way,
you are trampling on my feelings.
When I ask you to listen to me, and you feel you have to do something to solve my problems,
you have failed me, strange as that may seem.
So please, just listen and hear me.
And if you want to talk, wait a few minutes for your turn and I promise I’ll listen to you.
~ANONYMOUS

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Why artisans fail to flourish in Ghana?

A study space I long for. Source: not known
In the middle of August 2014, I moved into a new apartment. I decided to engage the services of a carpenter who would make new furniture for me.
I was fortunate to 'accidentally' meet one at my house. He had come to deliver a set of beautifully crafted furniture to my neighbour.
We got talking -- an negotiating.
He was to make a couple of trap doors, and a study table with chairs.
Delivery was to be expected in a month.
This transaction took place in the second week of September.
On the 20th September, I paid 50% of the TOTAL amount.
I got my trap doors in the second week of October, but the table has STILL not been delivered.
Truth is, he has not even started it!
I wonder how our 'local' artisans are going to expand their businesses, when their work ethics is this bad. I've been in touch with this carpenter from the word go, but have only been getting flimsy excuses.
I just realised he'd actually taken a number of jobs and is finding it difficult meeting deadlines.
Greed.
I feel bad for him though because other neighbours of mine would want him to make stuff for them, but they have second thoughts.
Why can't we just take things as they come? Taking them one day at a time?
Hmm.