Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Season's Greatings!!!!

Gradually, the year is winding up. I am not usually given in to the incidental fuss and ado that usually accompanies the Christmas season. Do not get me wrong. I am no ingrate neither am i indifferent to the excitement that this season brings(How can i be? After all, i am a Christian and i subscribe to the Westminster Shorter Catechism, a portion of which my mentor, John Piper, so beautifully rephrase as "The chief end of man is to glorify God BY enjoying Him forever")...May be, my lackadaisical attitude may be due to my self-effacing nature and the fact that i'm feeling kinda broke hehehe

In spite of this, i'm glad to see people go through all the hustle and bustle just to buy gifts for their loved ones(though the the traffic congestion induced by these activities is most disconcerting arrrggghhh )...i think this beautifully captures one of the essential themes of Christmas which is the idea that God gave His beloved Son to the world! So the occasion to remember the birth of my Savior does fill my heart with joy.

Anyway, all i'm getting at is wishing all loved ones a very merry Christmas and a fruitful New Year! Cheers!!!

Monday, November 12, 2012

My Aggrey Days

I enrolled in Aggrey Memorial from 2001 – 2004 where I pursued General Science. I wasn’t particularly happy when I gained admission as it wasn’t my first choice (Adisadel College was my first choice) and became sadder still as I realized that the situation was same with many of my classmates. It dawned on me that Aggrey wasn’t a school of choice. But now with the benefit of hindsight, I’m pleased that I attended the school. I will briefly attempt to elucidate why.

 Firstly, there was this inexplicable pang of fear that struck me upon seeing Casford House atop the hill when approaching the school. I have been trying to make sense of it but thus far, it appears to me there are two possible reasons. The first being that one was hit with the crude realization that one was going to face those dreaded seniors again. During those days, the seniors were so big and fearsome that I perceived even some of the teachers feared them (how much less us puny form one boys). One had to contend with such dreaded seniors as Okwonkwo, Pinky, Anyaa Popo, Bashiru, Sakyi and their ilk but gradually, I realized the easiest way to appease these seniors was through paying ntuahoo 1. The second possible reason was school authority. Though students generally respected the staff, there was one particular man that I perceived every single student from form one to three feared the most. We nicknamed him Pire (pronounced pa-yaa, a truncation of the word Vampire). I immediately understood why he was named such. He had two of this front teeth sticking out like the vampire characters in movies. Though I never personally witness this man punish any student, the mere mention of his name warrants a buee2. Whenever he attended assembly, students (even the seniors) could be seen running helter-skelter just to avoid an encounter with him. He still remains an enigma to me till this day wherever he is.

Secondly, dining was an integral part of my days especially when I was in form one as I often spent a chunk of my spending money paying ntuahoo.  We had a reasonable array of meals to choose from but there was one particular meal that featured prominently in the menu. We called it moftoto. This meal though deeply satisfying was particularly notorious for inducing acute flatulence. On nights that this meal was served, I never enjoyed prep as i’ll be too uncomfortable to study (due to gas buildup in my stomach) and also because I have to keep holding my breath due to obnoxious gas emissions from other students suffering the same fate or worse. One remarkable thing I observed during my years in Aggrey was that the girls never attended breakfast. This was truly impressive as the girls demonstrated they had ‘flex’ (I believe the word swag is its modern equivalent) but I later found out the girls usually ate heavy gar-shit before attending class.

Thirdly, there was fun entertainment nights every Saturdays with a variety of activities to keep me occupied. This was a time I usually looked forward to as it was the only form of break I had from school work. On these nights, I got to admire the girls as they dressed down to perform beautiful dance formations to popular tunes of the day. One such dance still rings in my mind like it happened yesterday. About four girls had don colorful shirts with tight jeans and they were performing to a hit song then entitled “mi mgbo” (I’m dying). This they did beautifully interspersing it with the famous Aggrey Dance3. Boy, they were a sight to behold. Moreover, amid the merriment, I will often observe groups of boys and girls engaged in intense dabor4 and this will often go on till entertainment session ends. The dabor often turned even more intimate when the boys are escorting the girls to the girls’ side and they converge at the Y-Junction (which was incidentally nicknamed dabor junction).

So on the whole, my Aggrey days were nothing short of eventful with a roller-coaster of emotions with alternating highs and lows. Besides the teeming student population and the much extortion by seniors, the school also afforded me the chance to meet people from the various strata of society thus grooming me on how to coexist with others and also sat under the tutelage of seasoned teachers like Kriss-Kross who immensely contributed to my success as a student. I AM DEFINITELY A PROUD AMOSA!!!!!!!

[1]Some sort of goodwill money (or bribe if you like) paid to avoid extortion.
[2]Alarm call made to alert students to flee impending danger.
[3] A dance form exclusive to Aggrey Memorial. It involves forming a K – shape with one’s leg and the swaying from side to side to the rhythm of a song.
[4] Basically describes a conversation between a male and female student

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Friday, October 12, 2012

The Enchanted Land. Jude Deveraux

Morgan grew up with her embittered mother in their affluent Trahern House without her father. Both of her parents die and when the will is read, Morgan discovers her late father has bequeathed all his property to her. But there is a condition. Morgan must marry and live with her spouse in New Mexico, which incidentally happens to be her birthplace and the reason for her parent’s separation.
Morgan meets Seth(a suave young man) at a party and offers him a contractual marriage proposal at a named fee to which Seth agrees.
Will their marriage remain a mere marriage of convenience or will it blossom into a real marriage with both partners falling in love?

This is the very first romance novel I’ve ever read and I must confess I was blown away. Before I read it, I imagined it will be sappy and soppy like the many telenovelas that are shown on television but the story felt nothing of the sort. I guess it’s true what they say that ‘Never judge a book by its cover’.

Morgan comes across as one who is averse to any relationship with men due to the ideas(which she seems to confirm as true anytime she has a quarrel with Seth and for which ironically, Seth also chides her because according to him, those notions are misplaced stereotypes) she has gathered from her late mother while growing up. Morgan however seem to mature from a naive girl into a mature woman through the many heart wrenching episodes she encounters in her marriage.

Seth at the beginning of the novel appears to be a young ambitious man who seeks independence and is not willing to inherit his father’s estate (which would have fallen to him automatically being the only son of his parents) but wants to be a self made man and has even left home to start his own ranch. He is however not much of a lover. Throughout the book, all his acquaintances and family seem to know that Seth is not one to fall in love especially with one as Morgan who is plain and self-effacing. Seth goes through agonizing soul searching in their marriage and then finally admits to himself that he is in love. This however does not make their relationship any less easy as they (Seth and Morgan) each learn to trust each other amid many scandals and accusations in their relationship.

However, my favorite character was Gordon (Morgan’s foster cousin) who though in love with Morgan, decides it is best she remains with Seth and then deliberately schedules his activities and travels to allow for them to get close to each other and to fall in love again. He is in my view, the true hero of the novel.

The progression of the story beautifully captures the tensions and emotions of real love and the narration is vivid and leaves very little to the imagination. On the whole, The Enchanted Land was a good read.

Click here for more book reviews  by author.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Book Review Devil On The Run. Nicky Cruz

In Devil On The Run, author Nicky cruz recounts his life story of how God delivered him from hardcore gang lifestyle which was precipitated by a childhood spent amid parents heavily involved in spiritism.

In this book, the reader is confronted with the ghastly manner in which people(mostly the young) who dabble in acts of spiritism are tormented by the devil and demons who often reveal themselves to their unsuspecting victims under the guise of friendly benign spirits. One such story is told on page 129 of a sixteen year old Canadian Derek Shaw who shot himself with his father's rifle after he called his girlfriend to inform her the devil has appeared to him. Mind you, this is one of many horrid stories of which the book is replete so readers who are sensitive may find the book disturbing. However, such is the manner in which the devil deals with his victims.

One thing i like about the book is that, it doesn't present a lopsided view(which is often the case in many books of this genre and also among certain groups of Christians)in which the power of the devil and his underlings is exaggerated to inordinate proportions thus belittling the power of God Almighty. Nicky does a good job by concluding each account of a victim of satanic attack with how the power of God is able to deliver.

Nicky does a good job in showing that the devil is real and the damage he does to his victims are deadly. The author admonishes readers to be wary of the wiles and seemingly benign ways through which the devils usually entraps his victims which include such things as magic, astrology, mystic auras, astral travels, ouija board "games" etc. The author does an even better job of showing how God is mighty to save anyone so long as we reach out to them with the gospel of Christ in a loving way !

In conclusion, to the Christian, i will say "Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you"(James 4:7). Always remember that "all power has been given unto me(Jesus).."(Matt.28:18) therefore "whom shall i fear"(Psalm 27:1)

You can check out more of author's reviews here

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Black Tuesday

Prof. J. E. A. Mills
This post is sudden as this was necessitated by an equally sudden incident. Ghanaians and the whole world was sent into a sudden jolt by the news of the demise of the president of the Ghana. President John  Evans Atta Mills(aka Uncle Atta as he was affectionately known) passed away. He was said to have fallen unconscious after he suffered a sudden bout of an unnamed ailment. Details as at now still remain terse and are emerging rather sparingly.

Though this is a sad incident by all standards,  i will for now attempt to highlight one good i perceive this incident has brought to our dear nation. This good is the sense of togetherness that is currently pervading throughout the country upon the news of the President's demise. It is clear that no one(regardless of political coloration) wishes death upon their enemy. So far, all political parties( to my knowledge) have suspended all campaigning activities. It is good to know that for now, the sense of division that seemed to be brewing in the heat up to electioneering activities has melted away.

At the risk of wounding sensitive emotions, i will daresay this may well be one of the biggest feats of our late president.

Rest In Peace dear Uncle Atta. You'll forever remain in our hearts as a peace loving man who had the well fare of his people at heart.

Damiri fa Due

Monday, July 23, 2012


A view of the new entrance
On the 16th of July, 2012, I embarked on a trip to Aggrey Memorial AME Zion SHS. This school shaped my life in many ways and reminiscing on the wonderful friends I made and the great times we shared together, I was impelled by such torrent of nostalgia to embark on this trip. I didn’t go alone. I went with a friend who shared similar sentiments. Though the journey to the school wasn’t eventful in itself, upon arrival we were blown away by the things we saw.
Students on a Thursday afternoon

Firstly, I was amazed to realize that after all these years, I have been unable to shake the “dread” I feel upon seeing Casford House afar off on the hilltop. This made my friend and I laugh.
When we got to the school, one couldn’t help but wonder at the new gate with its stylish fencing. Indeed it is an impressive edifice to behold. The entrance is beautifully lined with bright green hedges giving it a surreal feeling which leaves one wondering if it’s really Aggrey you’ve entered or someplace else. The feeling is simply amazing. This feeling I later found out did not resonate with a cross section of the student body (mostly form 1 students). Their beef was that, their colleagues in other schools taunt that their gate is so imposing it must feel like prison. This I strongly countered that, those who pass such comment most likely do so out of sheer jealousy at this new edifice gracing our school. A classic case of sour grapes. Personally, what I perceive as a downside will be that fact that the gate wasn’t painted in our school colors but upon closer examination, I noticed that the edges have already been painted in Aggrey colors so it’s only a matter of time before the whole gate is adorned in our bright yellow and mauve colors. Anyway, I will leave you to make your own judgment as to whether this new gate adds to or take away from the aesthetic value of our school.

Members of the S.R.C adorned in their official outfit
Another positive thing that struck me was the sheer reduction in the no. of students. The whole school felt like one big deserted ghost town. It was not until we walked further toward Watson House that we met two smartly dressed female students who informed us that they’re actually in the revision week. This struck me as positive since it implied that the students were actually in class studying. This we found out was partly true. The other side to this story is that, the number of students enrolled has reduced. This is surely a good thing since the school’s facilities will not be over-stretched. This will ensure equitable and easy access to the resources and amenities of our dear Alma Mater.

One other major changes which could be said to be “gargantuan”(excuse the cliché hehehehe) and veritably so is the change in mindset. To say we were surprised will be an understatement. This current crop of student (especially the prefectural board) seem so optimistic and they sound like they’re ready to take on the world. These students seem to know where they want to be (especially as regards tertiary education) and what they want to be. One student we talked to actually is planning on going to Yale (I mean Ivy League YALE!!!)
I guess as an extension of this mindset change, I noticed that there is now a very decent level of respect among students. I was amazed to find that even form 3 students actually accord their colleague prefect respect. There is no sense of dread among the form one students because apparently, bullying is strictly forbidden and amazingly as this may sound, students were actually adhering to this rule. This I must say is no mean feat.

Again, from our observation, it was clear that there is now cordial student-teacher relationship. This may be due to the fact that corporal punishment (caning and the like) is no longer practiced. I believe this should create an environment conducive to studies given that students don’t dread approaching their teachers and so should be able to freely seek information as and when it is required.
I am sure by now, most of us are aware of the new uniforms which makes students look smarter but what may not be so commonly known is that currently, students have special dress for Thursdays and Fridays. This is a really great idea. Aside the fact that these different attires assigned for different days break monotony, I noticed that many of the students (even form 3 students) had uniforms which looked new because they are not overused. In addition to the general change in uniform for the entire student body, the prefectural board have special vests which are beautifully interwoven with the traditional school cloth and the Aggrey colors.

Before you accuse me of being uncritically Pollyannish, there were a few issues students raised which I believe if administration will pay heed to them, will go a long way to further improve the school.
Firstly, there is the issue of sanitation. Though the main compound and dormitories were kept tidy, the case was not same for the washrooms. Many of the washrooms were unsanitary (and this is being charitable) and are in dire need of serious revamp. Students also complained that new and proper lavatories be constructed since the current make-shift lavatories in use are not only unsightly, but actually stinks at night and when it rain.

Speaking of rains, the students also complained that whenever there was a heavy downpour, the rains entered some of the dormitories because there were no louver blades to keep out the rains. So installing new louver blades will see an end to that problem.
The issue they complained most bitterly about was the near absence of entertainment. From what we gathered from the students, they go for entertainment once or twice in a month. This they say makes school really boring and some even confided in us that they’re often tempted to go to some of our sister schools just to attend these function. This is the exact opposite of what was the case during our time.If there was anything we lacked at all, it was never entertainment (aka suudwe) but sadly the case is not the same today. Maybe the new administration wishes to re-brand the school and it making all effort to change the “suudwe” perception but I don’t think doing away with entertainment entirely solves anything…I think it rather exacerbate the problem. But I could be wrong. Last year, the school recoreded 98% pass rate with nearly all entering tertiary institutions. In facts, four students earned 7 As out of eight subjects. The last performing student actually earned two As. Here I will welcome constructive views on how to balance studies with fun so our students will be well rounded.

Finally, there were a plethora of complaints which I think is not exclusive to our school. These range from the quality and quantity of food at dining, classroom, allowing phone usage and what-have-you.
On the whole, It is clear that our school is making steady progress and it behooves on us to rally round her and support in cash or kind so as to ensure our dear alma mater becomes even better than it is now.

Long live Aggrey Memorial! Long live AMOSA!!

Semper Optimo Nitere!!!

You can follow more of Michael's writing at Lost In Thought