Tuesday, September 13, 2011

How To Measure Success.

People like to say that success is personal. That each individual must determine what success means for him or her. I've probably said similar things on this blog in the past.

I'm not so sure that success is personal anymore. I think I was wrong.
Success isn't personal. 
Not if you're trying to spread an idea, make an impact, or change something.
It can be objectively measured.

Let's say you want to feed Ghana. You can't just wake up one day after feeding one small school in Madina and say you have achieved personal success. Sure, you have done something. And as my friend Paa Kwesi says...doing something is always better than doing nothing. But if your goal was to feed Ghana, then the only way you measure how well you're doing is by counting how many you feed today, and tomorrow, and the day after that, ten years after that and if the number keeps increasing and the people in Ghana are slowly shifting from eating imported food to eating your home grown food, then maybe someday you'll achieve success. Which in this case is only defined one way: feeding Ghanaians.

On the journey to make any kind of change, it can get confusing. People will start applauding you for change you have not yet made. If you don't take care, you'll start to think that the public recognition is a measure of your progress. It isn't.

Public recognition can be good. Maybe it will help you find more farmers. Maybe it will help you find more buyers. It may remind and encourage you that the task you've set before you is important and worthy of pursuit. 

But it must never be mistaken for progress.

Remember, you did not set out to get public recognition. The task was to feed Ghanaians! Only in doing that, can you say you have succeeded.You measure your success by assessing progress in the task you set for yourself.

Only you will know how well you are doing in the attainment of that goal. So if it looks to you like the media is over-blowing your success, you're right. 

At that point you need to get back to work. To the task of providing Ghanaians food. Not to granting interviews about the thing you have not yet done.

Monday, January 03, 2011

This New Year, Take Over This Blog.

Happy New Year to you.

It's 2 am January 3rd. This is my 1st blog entry for this year.
It is also my last.

Okay don't freak out yet.

Here's the deal.

I started this blog over 2 years ago with a mission. I wanted to document every thing that I loved about Ghana and the life here. At the time, I was very excited about Ghana, and this is what kept me going for 2 years. But 2 years later, I feel that the mission is accomplished. We have in fact documented so much of what makes Ghana awesome. To keep at it just to keep the blog going would be pointless.

I'm still excited about Ghana and my life here but now my focus has changed.

I have grown. I have moved on. In fact, I moved on 6 months ago. Six months ago, I thought of closing this blog. I told my friend Yaw Agyapong about it, and he said no. He wasn't going to let me walk away from another thing in my life. He'd watched me not complete a phd. I'd upped and left America. I'd quit 2 jobs. He was like..."this is not your facebook profile page". You can't just erase it and start anew. Hehe. I really used to do that in college. I had a habit of cleaning my facebook wall. I would sort of re-invent myself every few months. haha. He wasn't going to let me quit this one too.

I listened to him. I shouldn't have.

See, the world tells us that quitting is bad. That winners don't quit. That you need to have follow through. You need to fight to the end. You have to complete what you start.

Bullshit.

I am a quitter.
That is my strength.
And there is space in the world for people like me.

I quit the things I no longer have energy for and find new passions. It also means that I do the things I do well because I am fully present when I'm doing them. Unlike most people, I like beginnings. I like creating. I hate managing. I hate maintaining.

The kind of experience a person like me needs is not one that is gotten from doing one thing for a very long time. I need experience in creating new things. This means that I need to create fast, then move, then do it again, then move and again and again.  Seth Godin would call this shipping. To stay in a place really long, the place has to be the kind that allows me to ship lots and lots of things. Advertising was a good career fit. As is entrepreneurship.
The reason I should have quit 6 months ago is that it would have saved us all the last 6 months of sporadic blogging. Mediocre entries. No love posts. No fun stuff. I'm surprised you put up with it.
I was boring myself to tears!

You deserve better. This blog didn't become the most loved blog in Ghana by being okay. It was awesome. The posts were beyond funny. Stuff you force your husband and your friends to read. Stuff you share with your co-workers. That's us. That's what we do here.

So, I think that if we are to continue this blog, it needs to get better, not worse. I'm not the person to do that job.

Believe me.

Which is why I am looking for someone to take it over. A friend suggested this too:) So many of you love this blog and want it never to end. Some of you still email me suggestions for blog posts.  I would like to find someone to be the Resident Blogger for 6 months. After 6 months, we can find a new Resident Blogger.  I will support the resident blogger with blog ideas.

Time check: 2:52 am.

Shit, I have to go to work tomorrow.

Okay, let's round this up.

If you want to be the Resident Blogger, or know someone who gets excited by all things Ghana, let me know. If I don't find anyone to take over the blogging here, then this blog will officially close and I will at some point publish a book of the best stories and those who have read and loved this blog can have copies to share with your friends and children 20 years from now:)

If you're wondering how you can keep in touch with me, I have just launched a new blog where I talk about my current interests. Come visit me there, follow the blog, and spread the love.

Time check 3:52 am

Monday, December 20, 2010

Ghanaian Banks Should Be Offering Speed.

If you were looking for a really quick loan, say in 1week, or 3 days, or even 2 days, which bank in Ghana would you go to?

UT Bank. That was easy.

What if you were looking for a home loan? You'd try Ghana Home Loans or maybe HFC bank. Right?

Well, instead of a quick loan or a home loan, what if you were looking for something else. Something like quick service? If you didn't have hours to spend in a line. And really really wanted a bank where you'd never spend more than 10 minutes in line. Which bank in Ghana would you go to?

Err...I don't know.

If you do, please tell me because I would close all my other accounts and sign up with them pronto. After my husbands horrific experience last week...spending hours in an Ecobank branch to simply withdraw money (because the bank was again slow with giving him a checkbook and an atm card), I'm sure he'd join too. I would be so thrilled about finding such a bank that I would probably blog about it, and I'd tell everyone. Because it would be a remarkable find indeed.

And all the bank would have to do to steal me from Ecobank is offer me the only thing I really care about  when I walk into a bank...which is speed. 


But none of the banks is offering speed. And no, not the drug:)

Instead they're offering products. Lots and lots of products. Every company has their own special package for small businesses, for personal banking, this and that. The average person doesn't know what the packages do. And frankly we're okay without them. What we really care about, no one is addressing. Banks are trying so hard to distinguish themselves with these products and yet but the slight advantages that one bank's product has over the next bank's is not compelling to me or you.

We really just want to do our simple transactions and go home. Thank you.

Two banker friends pestered me so much about opening accounts with their banks. One was successful...but only because I felt sorry for him. Not because I was convinced that Barclays (his bank) was any better than Ecobank.

According to readers of this blog, the other banks are as bad as Ecobank or worse. Assuming that we're representative of Ghanaians, one could say that Ghanaians believe that all the banks offer the same thing. Crappy service. Except, maybe UT (Well, I don't know about their service, but hey, at least I know I can get a quick loan from them).

Since the banks are really trying so hard to distinguish themselves and are failing miserably, instead of offering complex packages, how about if they just went back to the basics. And tried to do a simple thing extraordinarily well? How about a true commitment to getting every customer out of their doors in just 5 minutes. Now that would be compelling and the next time an Ecobank customer complained about long lines, you'd better believe I'd let them know (and gleefully too) that there is now a new bank that does all this in just 5 minutes. 

Slowly but surely, Ecobank would be forced to improve their service or risk going down.This isn't about doing the customer (me) good. This is about how Ghanaian banks can actually improve their bottom line by stealing more clients from under-performing banks by actually addressing the customer's pressing needs. 

I'd love to hear your thoughts on this one. Bankers...join the conversation.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

3 Ways To Build Brand Loyalty - Lessons From a Makola Woman

I want to share 3 business lessons that I've learned from Auntie Rosemund, a fabric seller in Makola Market.

1. It Pays To Be Nice
We needed to buy fabric for AfroChic. Adwoa (my business partner) suggested we ask Woodin to sell to us at the wholesale price since we were buying lots of fabric. As it turned out, Woodin only sells at the wholesale price if you're buying at least 100 pieces of fabric. (A piece = 4 yards or 6 yards). That was about double what we wanted to buy. 

So the Woodin shop in Osu referred us to two Woodin dealers in Makola. Both of them had left business cards at Woodin so they furnished us with business cards. Adwoa brought me the business cards and I set about trying to contact these women. I called the first number. The woman on the other end of the phone sounded almost abusive in demanding how many pieces I wanted to buy. I tried to set an appointment to go see her.She told me that they're there so when I'm ready I can come. She was almost shouting at me. Okay...

I called the second number.That number was for TROSEMUND ENT. The response was more friendly. warmer. The person at the other end asked when I wanted to come. I suggested a day, and she told me to call her when I get to Rawlings Park in Makola so that she'd send someone to come get me.

That's when the first unfriendly woman got eliminated from the list. It wasn't conscious. I didn't decide to not go to her shop,but when the day came to go fabric shopping, it was to TROSEMUND that I went. Who could blame me? I'm  human. I prefer to deal with people I like...not those who will bark at me.

TROSEMUND kept their promise and sent someone to walk me from Rawlings Park to their shop. After buying, Auntie Rosemund got someone to carry the fabric to the car for me. I was happy. I left their shop and would have forgotten all about them until my next purchase.

2. Follow Up With A Thank You Call
After about 3 weeks, I got a call from Auntie Rosemund! She had saved my number the first time I called. And was calling not to ask me when I would come and buy from her again...she called to find out how MY business was going. Wow! In a whole year of buying lots of fabric from lots of Makola women, this was the only time someone had followed up with us. I was impressed. It made me feel like an important customer.

Now I'm sure Auntie Rosemund does not call every single person who enters her shop. But  having spent over a 1000 cedis at her shop, she realized I was a customer worth keeping and she made me feel important.As she should. It took very little for her to do that but that small act set her apart from all the other fabric sellers. I was blown away. 

And the next time I'm going fabric shopping, guess who will be  at the top of my mind?


3. Give And You Shall Receive

When I got to her shop, I was hungry. So I told her I would be back. I wanted to find something to eat. I asked where I might find food. What did Auntie Rosemund do? She bought me lunch. Free. 
After I had eaten, I shopped. This time I didn't need to buy as many pieces of fabric as the first time. Yet I found myself trying to buy as much from her as possible. I even bought a few pieces of fabric for personal use. 

And now I can't wait for January when I'll again be buying lots of fabric for AfroChic. I can't wait to reward her for treating me like an important customer.

See, Ghanaians often complain about customer service because we think of how people made us feel or wasted our time or whatever. How about seeing it from her perspective. Because she was nice on the phone, because she followed up with me after my first visit, because she bought me lunch...think about how much more business I'm going to send her. 

Think about me putting her name on this blog and holding her up as the go to person for fabric in Makola. Her number is 024-443-8788. 

Auntie Rosemund set herself apart from the other fabric sellers in a business where the offerings are pretty much the same. The fabrics you'll find in one shop aren't that different from what's in the other shops. The prices are also about the same among the wholesale dealers. From the outside looking it, it would seem obvious that in such a business where there isn't much product or price  differentiation, you need to give your customers a reason to choose you. The reason can be your relationship with them. Relationships can make the difference between successful shops and those that struggle. 

Here's my advice for you.

If relationship-building is key for your business like in fabric-retail at Makola, then learn 3 tips from Auntie Rosemund. Number one, be friendly. Number two, follow up, and Three attend to your customers needs even if it means buying lunch for them. It seems obvious...yet remember that in a whole year of buying fabric, only Auntie Rosemund did it. 


It seems obvious. But are you nice to your customers? Do you call back the ones who give you big business to thank them? Have you ever done something nice for them as a way to build relationship? It seems obvious but I know I haven't done these things consistently. Last Saturday at AfroChic, we launched our Festive collection. There were customers who bought 10 clothes at once. Even if I can't call everyone who bought to thank them, I should call these big buyers. All the tips seem obvious, but if I hadn't written this blog post today, I wouldn't have acted on them.

I wish you the best with your business...as I go to make some phone calls. I should take my own advice:)



Monday, December 06, 2010

10 Ghanaian Gift Ideas For This Christmas...For Those Who Usually Give Goats.

Christmas is nearly here. If you’re like me, you’re going to wait till the last minute to get gifts. By then you won’t have the time to think of, and get thoughtful gifts. So you’ll end up giving a goat. Seriously. A goat?! For Christmas? Hehe. That might have worked for our parents' generation but I wouldn't know what to do with a goat if you gave me one this Christmas. Where to kill it? Where to smoke it? Space for a whole goat in my little fridge? Okay enough goat talk. Many of you really liked the gift ideas I gave you last year, so this year, I’ve come up with a new list of Ghanaian things that I think would make kickass gifts. You don’t have to get these, but whatever you get, please

DON’T BE BORING. This Christmas, I’m banning boring. Here we go:

1.    Give Music
Give M.anifest music. Or Efya’s new album. Or Becca. Or Amakye Dede. Here’s why I think a CD would actually make a great gift. You know us. We’re not buying CDs. Most of us only hear the most popular singles from the radio or youtube but you don’t fall in love with an artist by listening to a lone song. You have to experience the album. You have to play it over and over. And Methinks these three musicians actually make music you can fall in love with. I would love to get a pack of three CDS. One from Becca, One from Efya and one from M.anifest. Throw in the best of Amakye Dede and I'm yours.

2.    Give Art
I’m actually kind of pissed with Nanoff because I sent him my painting to be framed 2 whole months ago and he asked me to come for them in a week, and can you believe it? 2 whole months and he’s only just finished. I haven’t even picked it up. I’ve had to go to his gallery at least 6 times chasing after my painting so I don’t know why I’m recommending him. Well, he’s good. I like his paintings because they have details that make them stand out as Ghanaian art…not just African art. Recently, he’s created artworks with newspaper headlines from Ghanaian newspapers. I thought that was special. And his frames are to die for. If only he’d get them made on time…I also really like his sculptures. My favorite is the Pianist. It’s going for $800. I want!


You should also consider Korkor Kugblenu. I was dissatisfied with the painting in my living room because it was merely beautiful but it wasn’t me. It didn’t speak to me. It was just hanging there not inspiring me. So I pulled it down and Korkor made me a painting of a woman with an afro. All in reds. She delivered on time and on budget:)  Will post a photo soon.


3.    Give Books

Here, I’m going to cheat and ask for your help in suggesting interesting books that have been written by Ghanaian authors in the past year. Any ideas? 


4.    Give Something From Shopafrica53.com

Because it’s live and people abroad can shop for their relatives in Ghana. Check it out.

5.    Give Jewelry
After the post on waistbeads, I’ve gone and gotten 4 strings from Nadel. I’ll post her number soon. But she’s at the first left turn off the Kanda Highway if you’re heading towards Kanda from Gold House.  They cost 20 cedis a pop so 80 GHC total, which is on the pricey side BUT gosh, they pop! And to be fair, they were made with pearls and beads. I think the glass and beads strings are cheaper. I keep looking for reasons to take off my clothes so people can see and admire. Ah, some things you can’t be pepei about them o. Plan to wear them for a long time so you’ll get your money’s worth.


There’s also Nelly’s Duaba Serwaah. I bought 2 gorgeous sets sometime last year for 40 GHC each. I don’t know if her prices have gone up or not. But check out her stuff here:
http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=178307208850962&set=a.178307112184305.49252.165788520102831#!/pages/DUABA-SERWA/186312377635
I also discovered a beads shop at East- Legon just this past weekend.The shop is called BEADS. And their number is 024-397-9508. Ask for Jackie. You can find them on the same street at the A&C mall but closer to the end that has the American International School. Their regular waistbeads cost 12 cedis and the ones made with pearls cost 20 cedis just like at Nadels.


6.    Give Dramatic Photography

Emmanuel Bobbie is your guy. Me and my two girls went to the A-lounge and were impressed by some blown up photo he’d taken. A love. By all means.  You can even consider nudes. Ask Emmanuel. He might do them. Then have them framed. Hang it in your boudoir. I just wanted to use the word boudoir. Makes me feel sexy already. lol.

7.    Give Sisterlocs
Because I want to start it and the only thing standing between me and it is the price. I hear it’s around $500. Ya, that’s killer. I mean that kind of money can buy a kindle! Lol. Why would I spend it on hair? Lol. But if someone gave me a gift of sisterlocs…got me started on this journey, I would always remember that.

And natural hair is in right now…so if your woman is into that, suggest that you’d pay for her to get started, and watch her reaction.

8.    Give A Magazine Subscription
I haven’t bought Canoe in a year.Is Nkwaye better? Is the magazine doing okay? But if someone paid for a year’s subscription for me, I’d be happy. Hey, you’ve got to support local work.

9.    Give a vacation
Everyone’s heard of Little Acre in Aburi and the Axim beaches. And Akosombo hotels. Not all of us have been there. Infact Ms. Cleland here hasn’t been to any of them. So many of us would be thrilled if you gave you paid for a vacation this Christmas. Just do it. Give us a chance to enjoy your money small wai na money yE swine.


10.    Give a Bronya Atar

Allow.  Dis be genuine tin:) Remember when we were kids, it was at Christmas that we got new clothes. We even had a special name for it. The bronya atar. This Christmas, surprise your friends with a bronya atar from any of these Ghanaian clothing brands: Manise, Maksi, Christie Brown, Lola Bello and of course, my very own AfroChic. Preview AfroChic's Festive 2010 Collection.

You must also note that it’s not just about buying a gift, it also matters how you give it. Ghanaians we don't try when it comes to style koraa. But sometimes the how is even more important than the what. If you can deliver it in style, you must! 


Here’s an example:
If you buy AfroChic as a gift for your friends and loved ones, for a small fee, we will gift-wrap and specially deliver them to the recipients’ home or office. Imagine…AfroChic showing up to your friend’s office with a big gift box. Everyone’s going to be looking on, curious about whose gift it is. Imagine her face, when she unwraps the box to find a lovely dress and to discover it’s from you! Ah, what’s not to love? Don’t be boring.
Find AfroChic at a special 2-day event this weekend:

11th Dec, 2010   / Cafe Des Amis (next to Afrikiko) /10 am - 6 pm
12th Dec, 2010 /Marvels Mini Golf Course (Dzorwulu)/ 12 pm - 6 pm
After this weekend, you can either shop the collection online: www.afrochiconline.com or visit the shop at 20 Lower Hill, Univ. of Ghana, Legon.  

Have a fabulous Christmas. And remember, we’re banning boring. So give remarkable gifts. And do it in style.
 

Friday, December 03, 2010

Abi You Wan Sell? Google Trader Launches in Ghana

Yesterday, something quite spectacular happened at Makola market in Accra. And the taxi rank at Circle. And Oxford Street in Osu, and Akuafo Hall  in Legon, and Accra Mall. If you weren't there to see it for yourself, then listen up. I'm going to tell you all about what it was like at Makola.
 
The time was just a little past 8 am. Ghanaians were milling about as usual. Every third person was carrying something on their heads. Something like boxes, and basins. Empty basins. Full basins. Flat basins. Deep, and deeply scarred basins. Between the line of GTP stores which sit across from Rawlings park  and adjacent shops selling everything from imported suitcases to umbrellas, a coconut seller was preparing a coconut for a waiting buyer.

Music started blaring. It was Wanlov the Kuborlor's "Come home plus me".  We were all enjoying it small small, when the music changed. And with it came men and women from all corners dressed in Google t-shirts. Some wore red, others wore yellow. yet others wore green and even blue.  I even spotted someone I knew. Akwele from Ashale-Botwe, now all grown up and dressed in her green google tee and matching green head-band tieing her afro, white shorts, some sneakers. Hoop earrings, tiny bead bracelets and anklets. Nice.
Photo credit: Rodney Quarcoo Visuals
It's called a flash mob. It was like...one moment there was just Makola as usual. The next moment, all these brightly colored people were pouring out of its corners. Then they started dancing. A fully choreographed deal o.  I'd never seen anything quite like it. It was disruptive. Entertaining. And cooooool! The makola traders must have thought so too, because in less than a minute, hundreds had gathered in a file along the street to watch. Some even run towards the action, forgetting for a few minutes the business of the day. 

Photo credit: Rodney Quarcoo Visuals


Abi you wan buy
Abi you wan sell
Google Trader something something something.

That was the song. A special song composed for the launch  by Horsley Samuel Horsfall. Nigerian dude o. Who ever heard of a Nigerian guy with a Fanti sounding name like that. Samuel Horse-what? Ya. Time to google him. But Gosh...we know Nigerian music is hot in Gh. but why couldn't google get some Ghanaian musician Sarkodie or Wanlov or M.anifest to make a song? I'm not feeling that.

Photo credit: Rodney Quarcoo Visuals
Anyway, so as this spectacular dance died down, one kayayo seller asked me what was going on. How does one explain google trader in simple terms? 

My attempt sounded like this...

Google foɔ enya new product bi. Sɛ wo pɛ sɛ wo tɔn biribi tese wo mpaboa a, wo betumi a text number bi, na w'akyerɛ bebia wo wɔ, ne shoe korɔ a woreton. Na google foɔ no de bɛto ɔmo website no so. Nti obi nso hwehwɛ shoe a, na wafrɛ wo.

Translation.
Google now has a new product. If you want to sell anything, you can text a short code and indicate what kind of shoe, where you are, price and if someone's looking for a shoe, they'll call you.
She nodded vigorously.

Hey, I'd tried.  Maybe I should also have told her she could buy as well. But hopefully she would learn that on radio, or some other means. So I gave the kayayo woman the crude explanation but  exactly is google trader? Well, it's a product, with free classifieds listings similar to Craigslist and Gumtree that Google launched yesterday in Ghana. As at the launch, it already had 8 thousand listings.

You can search the listings online or on your phone.
Here's what you do if you want to sell something.
First, you have to register. You can do that online or on your phone. If you're using your phone, you  text "register" to 6007.
Next, you text "sell" to the same number, followed by a description of your item
e.g. Pen, Accra, 10 cedis.

If you're accessing trader online, then it's also possible to search categories like jobs, clothes, etc.Will Google Trader work for Ghana? Well, that remains to be seen. For now, it looks promising.  As an entrepreneur, the main takeaway from this...is try. Try a lot of things. I mean even Google never knows which of its products is going to hit in which market so they try lots of things, and of course if you try enough times, eventually something will work out, and work out big. 

Whether trader will be that hit for Google in Ghana remains to be seen. I know I'm going to be registering soon. If  I ever try selling some AfroChic on trader, I'll give you an update on how it went. But you need not wait for my account. You can check out  Google Trader for yourself.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Can A Young Woman Have Older Male Mentors in Ghana?

As many of you know by now, I'm now a full-time entrepreneur. I want to succeed. I want to make some millions. Which is why I was heartened to be in the company of people who have already achieved this level of success in Ghana last week. I was truly inspired by these men. They've spent the last 10, 20 years building their businesses and they seem as energetic as ever.

I was excited to meet them, and excited to see that they seemed genuinely interested in me and what I'm doing and considered me the next generation of Ghanaian entrepreneurs. When they gave me their personal numbers, I remember thinking...wow...only in Ghana do I get to meet the business giants and to have this kind of ready access to them. 

A number of them called to check on me and to invite me to events. It's called networking. So I want to go. People don't do business with people they don't know. Or like. Or trust. How will they know and like, and trust me if they don't spend any time at all with me? If I were a guy, I wouldn't have to think twice about this. I'd just accept their invitations and go. And go again, and sleep over, and travel this country with them and learn from them?

But I'm not a guy. I'm a woman. A woman engaged to be married.

So, how can I take advantage of the benefits of networking with people you want to be like when an overwhelming percentage of them are men? If the businesspeople you know and admire are men, can you still learn from them without ending up in their bed?

Exactly 2 years ago, I wrote an article titled a new kind of relationship in which I raised the same concern. At the time, I was aba fresh, and correspondingly naive. Now I know, it's not that simple. You want to impress these men. You don't want to piss them off. But you also don't want to sleep your way to the top. You want to do this entrepreneurship thing for real. You're not interested in chopping anyone's money. You just want to learn from them. How does one go about establishing that kind of relationship? There's a thin line. If you're too hardcore, they'll just not invite you anywhere. And you won't get to know them.

Someone please tell me me how.

XOXO,
Esi

Monday, November 15, 2010

8 New Reasons To Love Ghana's Young Elite

1. We Don't Miss Any Opportunity To Remind You That We're Special

You mean to say you didn't go to CTK? You don't know what CTK stands for?

OMG!

Or say you meet a new group of boys and they ask..
Boss, den you dey Cape?

Your response: No.
Mfantsipim?

No

Achimota?

Naa.

Presec? By this time your smile has faded and all that's left is the
awkward silence ringing loudly in your ears.

Even better...you attend one of these gatherings of over-schooled self-important people, and the first person on the panel starts talking, and she's goes like
Back at HBS....

when you hear this, you die a little inside. And if your husband or boyfriend or bff is around, you turn to look at their expression.

Check.

He's already died and come back to life.

Last Sunday in Church, when the first time visitors were asked to introduce themselves, one woman got up. Very confidently...My name is Araba Mensima-Mends. I am here with my husband....Dr. Paa Kwesi Mends. We live at Trassaco. And even though we don't really like dogs, we have 6 rottweilers and 4 dobbermans hehe.

Okay, I made up the dogs and Trassaco bit but you get the idea. I was sitting next to one of my loveables (another name for good friend coined in the Cleland household....see how i just reminded you i'm special?) and he looked at me, and shook his head and I smiled.

We get it. You have a husband and he's a doctor. lovely. Now I wish I had a doctor for a husband too

2. We Love Talking About Starting A Business
Besides our education and our doctor husbands, another of our favorite topics is business ideas. Everyone is registering some business or other. Especially when we're aba fresh (tr: newly arrived). Our small world is abuzz with talk about this business or that business or some deal or other they're trying to broker.

3.We Love Talking About Traveling.
We want you to know that we're traveling. But we don't exactly know how to come out and tell you point blank that we are one of those lucky ones who can up and leave this sorry country behind whenever we want. We love it even more when the trip is only for a week or days. That tells you that we have arrived. Arrived at the stage in life where buying an ordinary plane ticket is well, no biggie. I mean, didn't we go to SA for the World Cup?  And to Paris to visit our old room mater, And Singapore, and Dubai and even Australia. I mean...when my company wants to train me, they don't send me to any locally organised workshops o... they fly me and pay per diem too.

Whether it's the cute text message you get from your friend  at the airport saying "I'm going to Abrokyire" Or someone making a comment about their "globe-trotting" friend, we juuuust want you to know...we fly.

4.  We Love The Toyota Corolla
Dude. Have you looked at the cars on our streets? Everybody is driving a Toyota. According to P. A of Ghana Customs, Toyota Corollas are now called Pure Water. Because well, they're everywhere.

5. Weddings For Show
You're not officially elite unless you have a wedding that get covered in some magazine. And you can't really have one of dem weddings where they hand you the doughnut in tissue paper. Lol. And.....you can't not have a wedding where the wedding dress did not come from Abroad. Nope. Unless you're me, of course:)

6. Sophisticated Outings
I don't know squat about jazz. I don't particularly like it. I think it's okay but give me Koo Nimo or Eugene Kyekyeku anyday. Or even something from Senegal. Music. Good music. I love Reggae. Lucky Dube. Yesssir! Give me some Lauryn. Give me some White boy music. Jason Mraz? Check. Jack Johnson. You have me. But Jazz? Nope. Not my thing. Poetry? Nope, I don't get that. But ask me the number of times I've had to tag along with my sophisticated friends to go to Jazz Clubs, Go listen to  Spoken Word. The Nubuke Foundation hasn't helped matters. lol. Shout out to you, Odile Tevie. Much love to you. I'll be getting in touch.
 I mean +233 is the hottest new joint. Maybe it satisfies the wannebes in us. But I also think it's about broadening horizons. So I approve.  I haven't even mentioned the salsa craze. One of my longtime buddies is a salsero. I know. Ask again. Aboa ben so ne salsero?

Speaking of sophisticated outings, I recently discovered 2 new joints. The A lounge which is inside the trade fair centre and The Whizzy Lounge, which is on the ARS road in Madina. Both places are perfect if you want to get away from the crowds for a cozy romantic time. 

7.We Love To Let You Know We Know Our Alcohol.
We want to remind you that we only drink single malt whisky. We probably have a booklet about the proper way to drink wine. We love names like Grand Marnier, Jack Daniels and Jagermeister. And we want you to know that we drink it straight. 


8. Natural Hair Sisters
Natural hair has become quite big among the young elite sisters in Accra. I dig it.  I don't have much to day about it, except that I hope it trickles down to the masses. 


Can you think of any thing else that characterizes the young elite in Ghana?