You got back from a long day lecture. You took a shower and turned on your radio set to listen to some soothing melodies to take a nap. You heard breaking news and it was a report about a small village in Senegal known as Fatik, where some people have died, strangely from a virus.
It was not the guinea worm infection we already knew. It was a kind that had not been seen or heard before. It was also not influenza, but only three people were reported dead.
The ministry of health was going to dispatch some specialist to the place to investigate the cause of that outbreak.
The first things that came to your mind was: “Why should people travel all the way from this country to the Senegal because of the death of three people?”
“Why should the government put the lives of faithful Ghanaians into danger?”
“This is probably the way the government is taking to amass wealth in the guise of international relations”. You didn’t think much about it because men die every day.
Coming from Church the next Sunday, you heard another story in the news at 12:00pm in the car you boarded. This time, the casualties were not just three people but four thousand men with an additional two thousand in the hospitals in critical conditions. The whole village of Fatik had been wiped out and experts confirmed that the virus was a strain that had never been seen before.
Unfortunately, the men that were sent to investigate the cause of the virus could not make it. They too died of the virus. The media suddenly found a name for it. They called it “THE EBOLA VIRUS”
On Monday morning, it was the lead story in all the national dailies and social media platforms. It was not now only at Senegal but has spread to Mauritania, Mali, Algeria, Guinea, Sierra Leon, Guinea Bissau and Niger. It still seemed far away from Ghana.
Before you knew, you were hearing the news everywhere, including foreign broadcasting corporations. It was there that you heard the pastors and fetish priests giving comments on the outbreak. Some said it was the scourge of God.
The case became interesting when “Angel Prophet Doctor Obinim” came out and claimed the cause of the outbreak as his orchestration to punish those who spoke against him. Everyone was wondering how we were going to contain this.
The president of Burkina Faso announced that he had closed all borders in a way to prevent the virus from entering the country. That night, you decided to tune in to BBC before you go to bed. Tears almost dripped down your cheeks when a weeping Sudanese woman’s words were translated into English.
You needed much information of the case so you tuned in to the 6:00 am news at GBC in the following morning. There was a man lying in a hospital in Ouagadougou. The virus was already in Burkina. Panic strikes. Ghana finally closed all borders but it was too late for that. Within this few hours Ghana was plunge into an unbelievable fear. The virus has entered Paga, Nandom, Bolgatanga, Takyiman, Kintampo and Yendi. Within hours the virus enveloped the whole of the country like bushfire.
On that faithful Friday, the doctors drained all the blood of the child and he died so that the world could be saved.
Brethren, this is how God though loved his son, approved of his death. A death he did not call for. A death he did not deserve. To die so that we can be cured of our diseases. The disease of ungratefulness, adulatory, fornication, homosexuality, lies, licentiousness, theft, corruption, greediness, laziness, anger, and abusive words.
The next three day, a state burial was to be organized for the young boy who saved the world. The boy who sacrificed his blood so that you and I would be free from our indelible sins. At the state burial, the entire world
were invited so that we could honor this brave boy.
Few came; some gave worthless excuses and some did not even read the invitation. For those who came, after a short while, some became angry saying the program was boring, others said it was lengthy and still other said it was not interesting. Some dozed off, some too were fidgeting with their phones; whatsapping, Facebooking, twitting and snap chatting. Yet others left the grounds to receive their calls and did their own business.
Others too came just to talk to disturb others who were willing to participate in the program. I sat down quietly watching how people were composing themselves. I asked myself; was it the fault of the man to sign the form so that his only son would die to save people he didn’t even know?
We go to church to honor our blessed Lord Jesus Christ. How many times have you given the excuses above?
How many times have you thought you were just wasting your time sitting at church? How many time has your behavior and mannerisms disturbed the sanity of the state burial (church) with your dressing, attention and
composure? The father of the young boy will one day come and ask you of that precious blood. Be in a position to render an account of it.
We are just two months way from the third commemoration of one of the dark days of the country where about 160 souls and property perished in a fire outbreak amidst flood.
While the survivors and families of the victims are still healing from emotional wounds, the Ghana Meteorological Agency (GMeT) has predicted a heavy downpour with lightning flashes as part of this year’s long rainy season.
According to the agency, the rains are expected to start from April and last until the end of July. This supposes that flood prone areas are at risk.
The effects of flood waters have become a perennial problem in Ghana dating back to the early 1990s.
After the tragic June 3 incident, a committee was set and among the recommendations made, the committee proposed dredging of the Odaw and the Korle Lagoons, a ban on the use of plastic bags and certification and licensing of filling station.
The then Chief Executive of The Accra Metropolitan Assembly, Mr. Alfred Okoe Vanderpuie contracted the Dredge Masters Limited, a subsidiary of Zoomlion to desilt the lagoons, where all the flood waters congregate.
All hopes were that such fatalities would not occur after the drainage of these lagoons was done. Verily, the subsequent rains have not created such flooding havoc; however, there still exist places that experience flooding with the slightest downpour.
Few months ago, it was reported that over 3,000 residents of six Districts in the Northern Region were rendered homeless after severe rainstorm battered communities.
Not to mention of the rain that locked people indoors at the Kaneshie, Abossey Okai, Circle, Nima Highway, East Legon and Tantra Hill areas some weeks ago.
That rain and its resulting floods caused massive traffic in the capital city and causing some damages to properties.
With almost three years from the tragic occurrence, what has happened to the committee’s recommendation, especially on banning plastic bags and containers? Are we prepared enough to prevent similar occurrences as the GMeT has predicted a heavy downpour in the upcoming rainy season?
If the cleaning of the Odaw and Korle lagoons has prevented the re-occurrence of the flooding havoc, then the nation risks another fatal flood as plastic containers and bags have choked up these drainage.
Take a walk along the banks of the two main drainage; i.e. Odaw and Korle, and see how the lagoons have become garbage soups with plastic bags and containers floating on the water. This has made the levels of the water rise up.
With the slightest rain, the lagoons, especially Korle, will overflow its bank causing a lot of flood in the city.
This, among others, is clear indication that we are lingering behind as far as preparations towards the prevention of floods are concerned.
I don’t know where I’m going from here, but I promise it won’t be boring.” – David Bowie
Here we go, had same claim come from a graduate, who has no journalistic background or any other related discipline, especially from one of these dime a dozen universities, I will find it spurious, conclusively suspecting him of wanting to use journalism to explore something I had not yet seen – money or fame, if you want.
But being a graduate of journalism, how can I spurn his claim when he will be doing what he studied in school.
However – and here I run into a barricade I did not know was going to be in my way – in light of the countless privileges in a whole legion of journalism have been doing to influence the public, making the occupation one of the most powerful and influential organs than ever before in the country.
Wait a minute, did I say that?, thereby suggesting that I was the only “mouse” among “cats” who had to adopt the professional fiber of journalism without having any formal education about it?
There are a lot of us who find ourselves in professions that we did not envisage, either for our internship, national service or permanent work.
For someone who had nothing to do with journalism and was only focused on becoming something else aside from journalism more than anything in the world should be ashamed of myself for my smugness to the profession now.
It is with no doubts therefore when Andre Gide said ” It is only in adventure that some people succeed in knowing themselves – in finding themselves”
Being in the meadow of journalism, looking at every nook and cranny for something for public consumption has given “me too” a certain power to influence the public.
There are people who are more intelligent and have cavernous submission to make on matters of national concern, but how can they be heard? That is the kind of power I am talking about – the power to tell your mind to everyone regardless of the wit in it.
Everyone stands equal opportunity in excelling in whatever profession he may find himself in. Very little advantage is at the disposal of those who happen to get the profession they really studied for.
Please let me take this opportunity to clear the misconception about not having our desired profession. Though I haven’t been everywhere, this has been an experience on my list.
Finding myself in journalism has brought me to understand that the key to our being made captive audience to the rash for news and trendy issues is not that journalists are ‘gods’.
Far from being the fourth arm of government, journalists have got a power which is not so common to everyone. They are not all knowing, however are able to sway the public to spur up issues.
I, the wandering soul, have also joined this influential sorority either by chance or fate with my opinions, reports and ideas.
Let us then accept traveling far enough into other professions. It is there that we can meet yourself.
Till next time, this is from the mind’s mind.
I am a year closer to eternity.
They call it birthday, but it is death-day!
Indeed, I thank God eternally
for this demise journey.
It is the saddest day
that brings joy internally.
Life’s paradox is the reality.
It presents me with beautiful fraternity
and takes my strength gradually;
with its wonderful serenity.
Each day, I wake up groggily
to see the stubborn grace go rapidly,
leaving me with life’s adversity.
Life’s paradox is the reality.
All started when Benjamin Ansah tried to recreate beauty out of what society was gradually rejecting, something he thought had been lost in the society.
And before trying to recreate that, he was only trying to answer a question he had asked himself about what to do after his undergraduate studies in art. He gradually progressed from that moment of contemplation when he realised that the locally manufactured cast utensil known as “dadesen” was gradually losing its market in the country.
Ansah chanced on his artistic prowess and has manufactured monumental metal fountains out of these aluminium cast utensils.
“I used the aluminium cast utensils because my observation and interaction with producers of the utensils showed that the local utensil market was gradually going down.”
He told the GRAPHIC BUSINESS that due to the competition the local utensil had with the flashy and much easy to handle utensils, popularly called the “non-stick”, the locally manufactured utensils were no longer opted for especially in the cities.
Though the utensils were still on the market, they were mostly patronised by the local restaurant operators and households in the village dwellings. People who use these utensils in the cities especially were seen as primitive.
Ansah thought the reason for the fall of the utensil market in the cities would eventually hit the villages as well. He ,therefore, had to recreate something out of it so that the products would still be opted for in the cities, thereby sustaining the market in the cities as well.
Ansah’s artistic life
Ansah will attend art festivals and showcases to gaze on the colourful paintings and other artistic works when he was a child. “I wanted to be like those who painted on the wall anytime I saw them”, he told the GRAPHIC BUSINESS in an interview on October 10, in Accra.
Growing up, Ansah was always in a world of his own, both sketching and colouring cartoons in the Junior Graphic, a brand of the Graphic Communications Group Limited (GCGL) or listening to classical pieces.
The older he got, the better he came to understand his passion for art and music and further developed them into a more artistic production. “I was very good at drawing when I was in the Koforidua Secondary Technical School and everyone would love to see my work,” he said.
Gaining admission to the department of Integrated Rural Art and Industry in the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) was a dream come true.
While in school, he was introduced to wood work, bamboo, leather, ceramics and rattan.
However, the illustrious artistic pieces at the department at the time he was schooling will eventually reflect the kind of beauty he aspired to create and when he started to make his own art work, metals became his primary product instead of his initial fondness to leather and painting.
Few months for him to graduate from school, Ansah’s aesthetic life was greatly influenced with sound and light generated from metals.
“My deep affection to classical romanticism draws me closer to appreciating what nature has to give such as the soothing sound of a waterfall and the beaming sunshine in the early mornings”.
Though he liked leather, he was met with the challenge of entering into the leather making industry which was already populated.
Right after school, he knew he would be an artist but was not sure where he was going to specialise, either leather or metal works.
In the course of his contemplation, an intriguing discovery led Ansah to resolve this conflict by adding his modern twist to the traditional aluminium cast utensil known as “dadesen” by developing them into monumental metal fountains.
His decision to take another dimension in the art industry has made strides. Initially, he made only one sample of the fountains while he was in his undergraduate studies. Upon request from friends for some of the fountains for their offices and homes, and encouragements from his lecturers gave him the spotlight that the industry could be lucrative.
The popular demand of the fountains also influenced him to produce other models and add value to the production which would suit offices and rooms.
“Light, artificial flowers and shiny marbles were used to decorate the fountain to make it more modernise” he told the GRAPHIC BUSINSS how the combination of lights that reflected the metal and shiny marbles unleashed the aesthetic beauty of the fountains.
The production of the metal fountains explored the possible potentials the aluminium cast utensils had aside serving as household cooking utensil.
Irrigo Fountains Company (IFC)
Right after school, Ansah pool resources together and founded the Irrigo Fountains Company which specialises in meatal fountain making.
With the formation of the (IFC), Ansah had been giving young artists a new taste of art through training and empowering them not to just focus on the abstract in the art industry which only gave pleasure but to also look into making art something economical.
He said, “if the production of metal fountains is greatly looked at, the gradually displacing local utensil market could be sustained.”
This will increase the patronage of the utensils, especially when such fountains were in higher demands. It will also serve as employment in the production and retail of the utensils.
The company is also aimed at developing the tourism sector and adding up to the built environment in terms of decorations while sustaining the local aluminium utensil production.