What Was Never Mine

Note: Fictitious persona.

What Was Never Mine 

It’s easy to rush into things without properly examining the consequences. That is not to say that I regret my actions.

It is always a great pleasure to watch my genius walk in through the door with his laptop bag, set it down and give me a tired smile – but a smile nonetheless. Then we’d eat and talk and update each other until he became too tired to remain conscious, and I’d continue working for a good while after, without his intelligence to aid me or draw upon.

It didn’t start out this way. We were once a force to be reckoned with; a united body for two separate but similar kinds of smart who could solve every problem and rule the world. we were invincible, and I was his, and he was mine. We complemented each other like black and white. Then I fell in love and so I married him.

Thus, my genius became, quite legally, mine. In marriage, I thought I’d find what I believed was security – a right of partial ownership of the potential of my spouse’s brain. Instead, to my dulled surprise, it became my duty instead, to share my possessions with the world. Keeping all that intelligence to myself was undeniably selfish, and though I felt I had a right to, I never could bring myself to do it. Also, God knows he himself would have never agreed.

By gaining a personal bondage, I had effectively bound myself to a life of constant charity, relinquishing the service of the one thing I valued most, but had never really owned.

Fundamentally, I am, once again, alone.



This Thing Ghanaians Call Education

In IB, there’s this thing called CAS, which stands for Creativity, Action and Service. Explaining it in detail is tedious, especially since that is not the goal of this particular post, so go to ibo.org or something. I’ll just say here that in essence, what it is is community service in an attempt to better the world.

My class’ CAS project, dubbed REACH, is a plan to better a certain small school in Aklamador, by building classrooms to accommodate more pupils, since the school has been ‘successful’ so far, and more students are enrolling, and the facilities are just not enough. So, you see, that’s a problem that we’re trying to solve.

To familiarise ourselves with the people we are working for, my class took a trip to Aklamador, which is in the Volta Region, where we were scheduled to teach the kids in the classrooms about hygiene or friendship, depending on where we were designated.

Aklamador School was built by SOS.
Aklamador School was built by SOS.
A classmate teaching her group a poem about friendship.

My group was teaching JHS 1 about hygiene, never mind that this was all Class 2 Environmental Studies stuff, and that these kids were as old as we were. And you know what I learnt from this experience? I learnt that Accra is a metropolis, despite all its shortcomings, and it’s a fraction of the country I live in, which happens to be a better fraction than Ghana’s other fractions. Accra is not Ghana. (Neither is Kumasi, by the way, according to my grandfather.)

The children we were teaching’s frist language was Ewe, and none of my classmates in my group knew how to speak it. Their English was very limited, and explaining things to them required rather a lot of simplification. Even then, you’d see ten out of the twenty faces still blissfully vacant. When we asked them questions and I heard their answers, I was just like, “Oh my goodness. What do these people actually know?” Given their mostly uninformed answers to questions that were really more of common knowledge, I wondered what they were wasting their time with in the classrooms. I mean, they didn’t know that burning rubbish was a bad or unhealthy thing for themselves and for the environment. Their solution to everything was the phrase “community labour” without an inkling of what it actually meant.

Wanting to discover some answers, I went to make friends with a girl in the class called Rebecca. She looked really young. I asked her how old she was. She said fifteen. I’m sixteen. There was barely a difference. I asked her if she enjoyed school. She smiled and said yes. I asked her what her favourite subject was. She said science and math. I asked her what topics they were studying in science. She gave very vague answers like “Just…like…integrated science…like plants and the environment and like…integrated science.” After a while, I realised that my questioning was going nowhere.

I noticed a couple of posters at the front of the classroom with detailed, labelled diagrams of plant and animal cells, and if a student in that classroom had done it, unlikely as that was, I was going to be very impressed. I asked Rebecca who had made those posters. She said the teacher had. There we go. I wanted to know if she herself knew the parts of a plant cell. Rebecca was a beautiful kid, but she could barely pronounce any of the words. I helped her, prompting her, as she struggles to pronounce words like “thy-to-plazin.” That, by the way, was meant to be cytoplasm.


And I wondered, as I listened, what relevance at all cytoplasm and chloroplast had in her life, when people in the class didn’t even have a clean toilet to defecate in, and no clue that washing your hands with water alone was not enough.

After the lessons, we told the kids to write essays. Every essay was basically the same, just like the way all of their answers to our questions were the same. There were definitely a few over-averagely bright kids, more confident, knowledgeable and eloquent than the others – but the essays? They were all the same.

I stopped wondering how these kids were taught, because it was easy to guess. They were taught technical things that I was taught in primary school – but not as well as they were taught to me. They were taught things that didn’t actually matter to them. It’s like they skipped everything basic and moved on to elementary. They were taught to be the same, begin the answer to every question in the same style, answer every question with the same thing, write every essay with the same words, think inside the frame of a textbook, because everything outside of a textbook is “wrong.”

And after everything, I thought: when we leave this place, we’re going to work towards improving its infrastructure. Then I’m going to go back to school and learn the history of complex numbers and other stuff about impulse and momentum. Maybe, by the time we’re done, Rebecca will know the distance in kilometres between the Sun and the Earth. But will she understand why hundreds of Ghanaians, in the present day, are still dying from easily preventable diseases such as cholera? Will she be urinating into water bodies the village drinks from? What about the other kids in that school?


We can make the poor school look like paradise if we tried hard enough. But I think I’d much rather like to monitor what goes into kids’ heads as they sit in this “paradise” and whether the knowledge is doing anything to better their lives. Goodness knows the whole concept of school has bored me for years.

Anyway, this is all a very good cause, and if you want to know how you can donate to REACH, all you have to do is contact me. We really need and value your support.

Here, have a video: REACH

Akotowaa =)

My Thoughts: The Shadow of the Wind

(Recommended by Akua Kwakwa 🙂 )

There are storybooks, and then there are novels. Books take you through them and tell you the story they have planned for you. You finish them, they either satisfy or dissatisfy you, either way, probably achieving their purpose, and you, as a reader, may walk away. But a novel – ah! A novel is a collection of words that pull a reader so deep into the world between its pages/words that lifting your eyes is like being awakened from a disorienting dream that was vivid in full-colour and HD. A novel is such that a reader knows, as he is submerged in it, that what he is witnessing is not just a story; it is an art form as good as – or better than – any painting can over. At the end of it, you’re either left speechless and contemplating the meaning of life, or convinced that in there is reality and what you’re living in is a mirage. The Shadow of the Wind, by Carlos Ruiz Zafon, is one such book.


It’s a book called The Shadow of the Wind, about a book called The Shadow of the Wind. (Remind you of Inkheart, doesn’t it?) You’d think that was cool enough, but no, it has to go and overcompensate with all these round characters who have layers upon layers of personalities, so distinct in their individuality, offering up pearls of wisdom at random times that just make you go “Ugh! Yes! Exactly!” It’s so easy to fall in love with the characters.

It’s a book for true lovers of books, with characters who are intimate book lovers. My new dream: to see or create a version of the Cemetery of Forgotten Books before I die.

The language used in this book is beautiful, and right now, the best I can think of to compare it to is the language used in Marcus Zusak’s The Book Thief, or Khaled Hosseini’s And The Mountains Echoed. Just look at this: “A labyrinth of passageways and crammed bookshelves rose from base to pinnacle like a beehive, woven with tunnels, steps, platforms, and bridges that presaged an immense library of seemingly impossible geometry.”

As for its tone and content – well, I couldn’t understand how a book could be so deep and profound and yet so comical at the same time. It has foolish word-play jokes like “armed with a missal” and “advising him not to leave his employment as a pianist, as it was obvious that he was not going to hit the right note in literature.” Then you see things like, “People talk too much. Humans aren’t descended from monkeys. They come from parrots.”

My favourite character is Fermin Romero de Torres. I think that is predictable if you know me.

Hey, if you want to read a book that can mess with your head until you are even tired, this is actually the book for you – no lie. It’s as good as any series with a sensible write, man. Honestly, even when you think the book is over, it will assure you that it has more shocks in store. Plot twists be what!

The Shadow of the Wind is long, but it’s worth it. I love it. I love it. I love it!

Favourite Quotes:

“After a while, it occurred to me that between the covers of each of these books lay a boundless universe waiting to be discovered, while beyond those walls, in the outside world, people allowed life to pass by in afternoons of football and radio soaps, content to do little more than gaze at their navels.”

“There’s no such thing as a dead language, only dormant minds.”

“Clara brought me no more than suffering. Perhaps for that very reason, I adored her all the more, because of the eternal human stupidity of pursuing those who hurt us the most.”

“Nobody knows much about women, not even Freud, not even women themselves. But it’s like electricity: you don’t have to know how it works to get a shock.”

“In this world, the only opinion that holds court is prejudice.”

“Disarmed, I realised how easily you can lose all animosity towards someone you’ve deemed your enemy as soon as that person stops behaving as such.”

“Not evil…Moronic, which isn’t quite the same thing. Evil presupposes a moral decision, intention and some forethought. A moron or a lout, however, doesn’t stop to think or reason. He acts on instinct, like an animal, convinced that he’s doing good, that he’s always doing right, and sanctimoniously proud to go around fucking up, if you’ll excuse the French, anyone he perceives to be different from himself, be it because of skin colour, creed, language, nationality or…his leisure pursuits. What the world really needs are more thoroughly evil people and fewer borderline pigheads.”

“Things have always been like this, here and everywhere else. The trouble is, there are some low moments, and when those strike close to home, everything looks blacker.”

“There are worse prisons than words.”

“…a stranger sees us the way we are, not as they wish us to be.”

“I couldn’t give a fly’s fart for the respect of this chorus of simians we call humanity…”

“Books are mirrors: you only see in them what you already have inside you.”

“Making money isn’t hard in itself…What’s hard is to earn it doing something worth devoting your life to.”

“A story is a letter the author writes to himself to tell himself things that he would be unable to discover otherwise.”

“As long as we are remembered, we remain alive.”

-Akotowaa =)



Cristian Mihai

words“Words are loneliness.”Henry Miller

You find yourself late at night in a quiet room. There’s no one around; no movement, no noise, nothing to break time into small pieces. You are alone. And you begin to type words on a computer. While the entire world seems to dream, you type away all the dreams you have stored up in your heart. Slowly, maybe even painfully at times, you write all those dreams into existence. They take a different form… not quite alive, but not as dead as they feel when they’re trapped inside your mind.

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Why I Write

(I was inspired to write this partly by something Orhan Pamuk wrote, which Sharon Darko showed me.)

Why I Write

One of the things I aspire to be most is a writer. I hope I already am. I don’t consider myself simply a person who knows how to use the English language. That wouldn’t be enough. It’s how I use it and what I use it for that matters.

I write at random times because I like it. It’s fun. Only words can bring some of my most absurd ideas to life – the ones which are inspired by the oddest, most unexpected things. I find inspiration in the oddest, most unexpected places. I find inspiration in everything. I write my ideas down because I like to create. I’m creative and full of imaginative nonsense. When people laugh at stuff I’ve created, I like to believe that perhaps, I can be funny. It’s a nice thing to know that I’ve brought some amusement into someone’s day personally.

I’m a writer because of what I use the English language for, not just that I can use it. It’s why I consider myself a writer, not a journalist. I kind of wish people would stop telling me to be a journalist.

I write to express…me. Writing is the only thing I can do that I feel I have the capacity to do anything close to ‘well’. I write because I feel insignificant and incompetent in too many other things. I write because I’m a teenager who has too many problems she doesn’t know how to solve. I use words to try and understand myself better, because when what is in my head is represented outside of it, it can finally be examined, by myself and by others. I write when my heart is too full and spilling over. I turn the excess that it can’t hold into lyrics. I write for personal reasons, because I am a person.

I don’t write for people. I write for persons. My writing is not an act of community service which is meant to “better the world” as a whole. I am writing to speak to individuals, especially individuals like me. I want to know that something I wrote that was funny made a person laugh and brightened up his/her day. I’m writing to express the thoughts of a person who didn’t have the mans to translate them into words on his/her own. I’m writing so that I can show people like me that they are not the only people like themselves. I want to give people who have the same problems I do something to Identify with. I’m different, and I want to show other different people that they’re not insane; they’re just special – slightly radical.

Aside from the importance of the community, I also believe in the importance of the individual. And to any persons who feel insignificant in their communities, I want to show them that being an individual means that no matter how close they get to fractured, they can’t be broken; I want to show them that being an individual means being indivisible, not invisible. I want the people who feel like they only have the power of words not to feel like their power is useless. I want to be an example, a paragon, a model for one person. I write so that perhaps, through my attempt to understand myself, other people will begin to understand themselves better.

I write fiction and poetry because I have things to say, but am scared of who the words might reach. There are walls everywhere, and not only do they have ears, they have eyes. I am writing because I have things to say, so I wish that people would stop telling me what to write. I write to be different, so I wish people would stop telling me to write things that conform.

Yes, I am Ghanaian, and yes, I’m writing as a Ghanaian; forget the fact that I’m legally American. But perhaps, we have forgotten to consider that maybe Ghanaian kids are tired of reading about a teenage Ama who gets impregnated by a teenage Kofi, and are tired of reading stories which may have very significant morals, but tell them nothing about who they are or even who the author is. I’m not writing just because I can use the English language. It’s what I use it for that’s important.

I write because I’m in love with words. I love saying them, hearing them, reading them, the melody of them. Good puns make me happy and word-plays get me excited. Words are art. I love people who not only know how to use language, but know how to use it with flair.

I write because I’m sad most of the time and words make me happy. I write because I get tired of people and places too frequently, so I create new ones. I write because I’m bored and I don’t want to stay that way. I also write because it’s a compulsion. I need to do it. I’d like to believe that people need me to do it.

I write because people expect me to, anyway. But I wish people would stop telling me what to write.

I write because I’m freaking confused and I want to understand things.

To sum it all up: I write for the same reasons I read.

-Akotowaa =)

Symphony of the Light

I love this.

Cries Of An Unheard Shadow

“There’s a song in heaven called the Symphony of Light” – Robert BD.

Here’s what people think. They think music is words and a beat. They think it’s entertainment in the form of pleasure-consuming sounds.

Here’s what they don’t know…
They don’t know that music is a person. A personality who can breathe and feel and see and love and hate.
The drumbeats are music’s heartbeat
The piano are his nerves
The violins are his breath
The lyrics are his life
The duration is his adventure

Over the years music has revolutionized to become what he is now. He began his walk from heaven, in whose hands the Angels caressed and in whom God revealed his eternal glory.
Through music, God thought of human beings. To make one of his own kind – who could be like him. Knowing there was nothing more infinite than what he felt, he sent…

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They selected him in a closed meeting and announced to the rest of the team that they had selected the person to represent the team in the student election.

John Robertson was chewing on a chicken thigh at the team meeting when he heard it.
“And the representative for the Progressive Change Movement Team, is John Krachie Roberston.”

Cheers broke out. The noise in the room was pure excitement and enthusiasm.

John almost choked on his chicken. Then he laughed. Kekelie was always pulling something like this. He was about to make an obscene gesture at the mic stand when he saw Mrs. deGraft, the team patron looking right at him from the stand. This wasn’t a joke.

He walked up to her and started, “Ma’am there must be some mistake, I didn’t apply…”

“Just say thank you, and follow me to the board room.”

He stuttered through the two…

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