Thursday, October 22, 2009

Giving up on illusions

Last year I complained ad nauseum about tha fact that I moved into a little village in a small state, and I didnt have a life. This, in fact, was one of the reasons I decided to start this blog. This year however, I think I've given up. So, I dont have a life, probably wont have the exciting fun-filled dynamic life I think a 20 something should have.......ok......time to move on.

I've been told that I'll make money one day and that will make this worth it. And in my mind I think "sure, I'll have money which will go into paying bills, mortgage, school fees etc etc. fun times ahead!!!" And then after that though, my natural apathy sets in, I shrug and move on with what I'm doing- i.e. studying, about to study, thinking about starting to study, or thinking about how I'm wasting valuable time that I could be using to study.

It seems that no matter how hard I try. Its hard (read impossible) to "have a fun dynamic exciting 20 something life" when you're a student on a fixed income, living in the middle of nowhere, dont drink as a way to have fun/be social/drown stress or whatever, without friends who want to go partying every other night and more importantly, when a fun weekend activity entails staying in bed with a book that has no relevance to life in the least. So, it seems that the stereotypical "life" is not/has never been/will never be my thing.

Thats ok. But why do I also feel like I'm missing an important part of my 20's? Why is the angst still lurking under the surface? Have I really given up on this illusion, or have I simply suppressed it? In a perfect world where I could do whatever whenever, would I be out partying every other night? even every weekend? likely not. No one here expects me to have a fun filled awesome weekend all the time....not even myself. So what/who am I comparing myself to, and where is this illusion from? Many of my working friends who are making a ton of money in wonderful fun big cities are overworked, stressed and in increasing numbers, returning to school. So, in a few years, we'll all be at the same level anyway. So again, what is my problem?!?!?!?

Ok, clearly I'm somewhat frustrated with myself. But whatever, gotta go study :)

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Can men and women just be friends?

I'm daddy's girl. Unapologetically and unabashedly. I'm also very close to my mother, make no mistake, but while Mom and I are very very good friends, I'm Dad's baby. I also grew up with 2 big brothers and many uncles, so perhaps this has skwewed my outlook a bit.

Some of my most favorite people over the years have been guys. I have more female friends, and some of them are very very close, but some of my all time favorite people, the people whose friendships I mourn when they end or grow distant are guys. You see with guys I can be rough, mischevious, playful etc. Maybe its because some of these guys I'm thinking about are basically good men whom I trust absolutely and maybe its because when we were at our closest, we were young, innocent and playful.

Whatever. I just wonder though, why this question is even asked. Can men and women be friends? Why on earth not? Maybe it may be inappropriate for someones best friend to be of the opposite gender when there are significant others involved. I can see how this can be thorny. But why cant a man and a women be good friends? Do someones feelings always have to get involved? And if there are feelings involved and they're unrequited, then, tough for whoever gets hurt. That's life. Get over it.

Is it because I'm a woman and so dont understand the things that make men tick and respond etc. But some of the people who have said an adamant no in response to this question have been women, not men. The men I've asked (granted a very small sample size) dont seem to have much of a problem.

So, is it self-preservation that makes people say no, men and women can't be friends? Am I missing something?

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Why I dont think I'm going to be an Ob/Gyn

Just did a practice pelvic exam.
Not my cup of tea. That's all I will say about the topic without grossing anyone out. But more grease to the elbows of all the gyns out there.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Back to................

So I'm back in my little corner of New England, and maaan, I miss Accra with some serious passion. I had so many things to say/write in Accra, buy thanks to spotty internet access none of this came out. Now my natural apathy is setting in, and I'm not sure how much I care anymore :)

Anyways, so here are some of my thoughts from Accra:

1. I hate the phrase "we're appealing to government.........."

See, Ghana is a country of beggers. From the so called government that is being appealed to, to the random people standing in the street, obstructing traffic and begging. Churches beg, schools beg, individuals beg, the whole country is constantly begging.

Case in point-

Accra was all excited before Obama came. Why, well because he's a great guy, he's part African (of course we claim that very happily) etc etc etc, but also because they were expecting a boon. Clinton brought aid, Bush brought even more aid, of course Obama was going to bring half of America's fortune to pay homage to "the first sub-saharan country he visited on official duty". The man came and said, well Africa (we read, well Ghana), you have to do something for yourself. The west cannot continue to give blind aid, what you do, we'll help you do. And what you dont do, well thats up to you.

Now, I can tell you that Ghanaians were fairly disappointed. They couldn't come out and say that to his face, clearly not, but it was there. So, the same media that went on and on about how "you dont go to a country empty handed" and "what is bro. Obama bringing us" etc etc now quickly turned the tune to "he says we should do things for ourselves, and by golly we must!!" It was entertaining how quicky their "mouths changed". The conversations that ensued from the whole visited died down very quicky,see, because there was no begging to be done. As a society there isn't a whole lot we can say about what we're doing for ourselves, so there isnt much so say about how Obama and his land of milk and honey can help us. I thought this would have been a good teaching moment, but alas, I'm not a politician or a teacher or community leader. Apart from my poor family who heard my views ad-nauseum, no one else was taught.

Another case in point-

Some parts of Accra are flood prone. This is no new knowledge. Every year in June/July, it rains, places flood, people loose property and a few unfortunate souls die. The people affected cry and wail and appeal to government to come to their aid. A few big men from the government walk around affected areas, give a few speeches about how this is a big shame, people shouldn't build in water-ways, the government will come and save everyone yadiyadiya.......Almost exactly a year later, the same story plays itself out.

Now I ask myself......why is it that as a nation, we're so unwilling to do anything for ourselves, even when we know that there's a good chance that we're going to lose some property and God-forbid, some lives? How about if the people who live in flood prone areas actually invest a little of their time, money and effort into protecting their communities, thus themselves? Take the time to clear the refuse that THEY dump into the gutters in front of THEIR houses; or better yet- simply do not dump refuse into said gutters; Contribute a little money to fix the gutters and roads that cause problems; As a community prevent people from building in places that are obviously wrong OR better yet, DO NOT BUILD in unauthorized/unwise locations...............

Yet another case in point-

Church services have become avenues for begging. At least they have in my church. There is always something being launched, sold, bought, asked for. Very very very rarely will a church group come before the entire congregation and say that they, in celebration of some anniversary or other, will provide a service to the church or community for free. Week in, week out, there are always requests for yet more money. I do know and understand that a church needs money to run, and often needs substantial amounts. I also understand that groups need funds in order to run and must fund-raise. I have no problem with that. I do have a problem however, when this fund-raising is the only thing that we hear about. Its always give, give, give- that gets annoying.

2. We seem to be a very passive nation

It seems as though everyone has a little store in front of their house or something, and are prefectly happy to make money from that. I have nothing against the little store. But it seems to me that its a slight upgrade from subsistence farming. I know that there are many factors that determine how someone makes their living- education, capital etc etc, and these often work against a vast majority of our population. That said, I wish we had more risk takers, bolder businessmen, more unique opportunities. Not the kind of risk takers who have no qualms doing illegal things to get ahead etc, but just something a little extra. We cry about how poor we are as a nation, but our growth is partly limited by our own inability/unwillingness to be bold and innovative. As long as we stay within the confines of subsistence farming, subsistence selling, subsistence hair dressing etc our progress will be slow.

What's the solution? I'm not entirely sure. I imagine the situation is very complex and there are many factors beyond the control of the ordinary person. But at the same time, we also bear some responsibility for the lack of initiative and all that.

'Nuff said.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

warmth, sunshine and a good thunderstorm

I'm very open about how much the cold, grey, incessant New England rain simply drags my mood down. It doesn't help that May is usually around the end of the semester/year and I'm tired, stressed out and really just want to be done- the greyness really doesn't help around that time. And yeah, on the random day in May when the sun actually dares to shine in Ct, I break out my lovely skirts and skip along enjoying the warmth and sunshine.

Fast foward a few weeks, and for the first time in years and years, I'm in Ghana during the rainy season. We've had 2 wonderful thunderstorms- complete with lightening and thunder and all :) Of course, seeing as our house is not in danger of being flooded and these storms were at night, I could smile to myself, turn around and settle in for a good night's sleep with the sound of rain lulling me to sleep without worrying about potential damage etc. But yeah, this is just to say how much I love the weather here. Yeah, its hot- often uncomfortably so. But its also sunny and there are birds singing and plants blooming and every now and then, there's a good thunderstorm. People are more laid back, less uptight- yeah, that usually means slower- but still- it's a refreshing change.

Now, I'm sure that when things start to not work effectively (eg light goes out for days, phone reception is spotty etc etc) I'll get annoyed and wish for the efficiency and orderliness of New England. But for now, I'm going to enjoy the sun and the rain :)

Wanting something very badly

It appears that stress and busyness are my creative juices. So of course, in my last week of school with exams looming ahead of me, this seems like a good time to start a post.

Have you ever wanted something very very badly? A new job? A promotion? Top grades in exams? Kids? That admission letter? whatever?
What do you do then?
1. Tell yourself if doesn't really matter that much and you dont want it as badly as you do?

2. Tell yourself that if you stop wanting it so badly, you'll actually stop wanting it (and secretely hope that you get it anyway)

3. Do everything in your power to get it? What if it's out of your hands?

4. Pray and pray and pray till God delivers it? What if He doesn't want it for you?

Do any of these options work? and if they don't then what? This post doesn't make as much sense now- there was a point to it sometime when I started it. Eitherway, I think the question is still valid.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

10 things about me

I avoided this on facebook, but a fellow blogger tagged me, so I figured why not. It wont be that interesting, but oh well, here goes:

1. I can be very impatient. I know this and I think I know where I got it from. I know it's bad and patience is afterall a virtue. But seriously, I have no time or patience for people who are in my way, or are wasting my time or are driving slowly or...........
Yeah, I'm working on that though. For real.

2. I'm very much my mothers daughter. I love my mother to pieces and I'm very very close to her. She's like my rock and I have mad respect and love for that woman. But in a perverse way, I used to want to be different from her.....I guess it was my misguided way of asserting some form of independence. And yet, the more I grow up, the more I realize that I'm so much like her. I have her body shape, her face, her strengths etc. I've even come to like the color red much more than I thought I ever would, and my dislike of red was just one of the many things I held on tightly to show how different I was from her. Absolutely foolish I know. Now, I love the fact that I'm like her. She's an awesome woman, and I'm mad proud of her.

3. I really cant stand people being in my personal space. At all. Only a select few are allowed to be in very close proximity to me without me instinctively moving away. So if you stand near me and I move or I tell you to move, please dont be offended. Its nothing personal.

4. I worry more than I should. Since I know I shouldn't I often hide my worry behind the "right" words. But again, it's a work in progress.

5. I whine a whole lot more than I should. I annoys me a lot actually, but sometimes I cant seem to help it. I've been told its the last born syndrome.

6. I'm finally making peace with my body. I'm done wishing I was as tall as this person, or as thin as this other one, or had this other person's proportions or that person's face. I am wonderfully and fearfully made, and real beauty isn't on the outside, but inside. These sound like cliches but they are true. God looks closely at my heart and is more concerned that I'm right with Him. And all the human beings that matter seem to like me just the way I am so it cant be that bad :)

7. I really desperately wish I was funny. I am not. I laugh easily and a lot. But alas, I cant induce laughter in others.

8. I like sappy books, movies etc. The whole idea of intellectualism is often lost on me.

9. I like to play devils advocate. I sometimes think I should have gone to law school instead.

10. Sometimes I can be very insecure. And about the most random things too. I have to keep reminding myself that my worth is in God. Not in how smart or popular or pretty or funny I am. It can be hard to remember though. Oh well, one day, the lesson will stick.

11. I know I said 10 but I want to end on a positive note. I get very excited as I watch my friends and family reach milestones. It makes me happy to see them happy and thriving and doing well.

Monday, April 27, 2009

the worth of an individual

One of the things I've noticed and sometimes struggled to understand is how the worth of a woman is determined in Ghana. I remember someone telling me when I was 13, that if i didnt learn to like cooking, I'd get married and have my husband send me back to my mother's house because I cant cook. Fast foward about ten years and half serious/half joking conversations between some of my friends and I is about how lucky/unlucky our husbands will be because of our cooking skills.

A recent conversation I had with a family member touched on the issue of the worth of a woman. Now, since this family member loves me dearly and beyond all things, there's no doubt that for this person and the rest of my family, my worth is inherent in myself. We talked about how the role of an educated woman in the home and I heard second hand, the views of some young men and women my age about the role of a woman and how "difficult"it can be to live with an educated woman because these women are "too known" and will have the guts to argue with a man.
Err, are all human beings not allowed to express their opinions? I think the sad part for me, was that these views are held by men and women in universities. If 25 y/o men and women still think like this, what hope is there for changing the roles that women have found themselves in over the course of history? Why are some of our male collegues so "intimidated" by or "uncomfortable" with us?

I also realize that a woman in my society is either referred to as so and so's daughter, asimasi's wife, this person's mother. A man however is Mr X. So why is there that double standard? On one hand,women and girls being encouraged to go to school as far as they can, to climb the cooperate ladder, to be involved in politics and healthcare and reform and education and engineering and in all aspects of life.......and yet on the other hand, some people are still uncomfortable with women rubbing shoulders with men. Why is this? what am I not getting?

Don't get me wrong, I dont think men=women. I think that both genders are different and beautiful in their own right and have their strengths and weaknesses. My worth as a modern woman has nothing to do with how like a man I can be in whatever field or regard. I dont even think that this should be the case. But seriously, I'd like to be known as "me". Not always this person's sister or daughter or wife or mother. Yes those are roles that I play or God willing will play, but I dont think that my entire identity hangs on those.

So again, the point of this post is not immediately clear. I'm simply putting my thoughts to paper (or a screen). Please share any and all thoughts....I'd love to hear them.

Angst, uncertainty and life

A friend of mine sent me a word document. It was a medical school graduation address and I loved it. Why? Well, because it's good to remember that there's a point to this journey and there's an end to this phase. But more importantly, it cleared up some things for me. The article is long and I wont put it all here (who knows what copyright rules I might break) but the gist of the article was this: this author, an MD, is full of angst. He describes medicine as the best and the worst thing he's ever done with himself and sometimes he's not entirely sure why he chose to become a doctor. Why do I care? because this re-assures me that angst and uncertainty are ok. They are part of life and of growing up and sometimes, in working out the why's, how's, when's and wherefores (not sure if that's a word, but I like the sound of it), some measure of clarity can be found. Yes, even in confusion.

So it doesn't matter if this post makes a whole lot of sense. And it doesn't matter if I always make sense of my life and my calling. It's ok if I sometimes wonder why I chose this and what that will look like and when will I move to Gh finally and where will I do residency............questions are ok, answers are nice but are not always readily available or clear........that's ok too.

I'm beating a dead horse I know, but this to me is very very liberating. I dont have all the answers, and I dont have to have all the answers. How cool is that? :)

Anyways to a shout-out to my friend who may never read this blog. Thanks for helping me find clarity in my confusion. God bless you!

Friday, March 27, 2009

The Proverbs 31 woman

I've been thinking about this topic for a while, and I figured I might as well start this conversation now.

For people who are not familiar with this topic, proverbs is a book in the Bible and Proverbs 31 is a tribute to a "virtuous" woman. This lady takes care of her family and her home, she works in the field, she trades.....she's really very great, and she's the standard that Christian women look or should look to. Why do I care and why is this even an issue? well, because over the past few years I've read, heard and even participated in conversations that try to hash out what being a good christian woman looks like. And this debate gets interesting when it comes to the issue of whether a mother should hold a paying job.

There's the camp that says that no respectable woman, particularly a christian one, should work outside her home. Her sole business is to be a devoted mother and wife and be there when her kids and husband come home. Then there's the other camp that says that women should work as many hours and as hard as men, and of course, should be compensated as well as men. Then there are camps that fall somewhere between these two.

Clearly, I dont believe that my sole purpose as a christian woman is to only be a devoted mother and wife. If that was true, I wouldn't be spending so much time, effort and money in school. Most of my friends are probably also in the same camp as I, so this is probably not the best place for this debate. That said, I really would like to hear more from people in the other camp and about how they think about these things and what their justifications are. It's clearly not an easy thing to be a working mother and wife, but several women do it with varying levels of success and satisfaction as they define it.

So, I think it'd also be interesting to hear how women currently/plan to navigate such issues and also get the male perspective on what work/family/life balance looks or should look like. So people, please comment and let the conversation flow. I really would love to read your views.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Annoying people who think Africa is a country

I was reading a blog that asked the question "what's your ideal mission trip", and can I just say how disgusted and annoyed I was by the many people who talked about "going to Africa to help AIDS orphans". Seriously. Like Africa is one big deserted country with poor AIDS orphans walking around who are all just waiting for the kind hearted American from wisconsin to come and save them from the perils of life!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This is a bit of a rant because this issue really really really annoys me. I'm not saying that there aren't kid in some countries who have lost both parents to HIV and who are now in dire straits. And I'm not denying the incredibly large burden on disease and illness that many African countries bear. I'm not disputing the fact that there are people in some countries who are starving and whom may not know where their next meal is coming from. But really, this generalization is so so annoying!

I know that I'm fairly ignorant about a lot of places and a lot of things, but seriously, is some one really wants to go and save a few poor African kids, at least give them the curtesy of knowing which country they live in.

Ok. Rant done for now.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Yen ara y'asase ni

Who remembers the song "Ghana, my happy home" ?

I was so homesick in my first year of college that I sang that song aaah. I screeched it in my head papa (tr: I sang it a whole lot).

These days, I have a much better handle on my homesickness, so I dont have to comfort myself with the song which I actually never even sang in primary school (NRL deprived us of some small pleasures. But we'll live). However, my love affair with the land of my birth is still going strong.

I wont bore y'all with a whole long dissertation about what works or doesnt work in Ghana. Those can be for another post. But I want to wish the land of my birth, the nation which for better or worse has shaped me and all my other brothers and sisters, the country of people who entertain, encourage and annoy me etc etc etc

I just want to wish Ghana and her children a very very happy 52nd birthday.

And while we reflect on how far we've come/how far behind we still are, let us think about Ephraim Amu's "Yen ara y'asase ni" (tr: this is our own native land). The chorus reminds us that it is the character and behavior of its citizens that will determine whether or not we prosper. Not Yankee, not hipic, not ecowas, not AU- nah we noo wei we go do am.

(p.s. sorry to all non-akan readers/speakers. I dont have the translation for the song, and I cant translate all of it. )

Yɛn ara asaase ni
Ɛyɛ abɔdenden ma yɛn
Mogya a nananom hwie gu, nya de too hɔ maa yɛn
Aduru me ne wo nso so
Sɛ yɛbɛyɛ bi atoa so
Nimdeɛ ntraso nkotokrane ne apɛsɛmenkomenya
Ato yɛn bra mo dem na ye'sase ho do atɔm sɛ
Adi yɛn bra mu dɛm ama yen Asaase hɔ do atɔmu sɛ

Chorus 2x
Ɔman no sɛ ɛbɛ yɛ yie oo
Ɔman no se ɛnyɛ yie oo
Ɛyɛ sɛ na ɔsɛ, ɔmanfo bra na yɛnnkyerɛ

Monday, March 2, 2009

Slum dog millionnaire .........

A friend of mine wrote an entry on her blog on Slum Dog Millionnaire, and that inspired me to pick up this topic.

I watched Slum Dog Millionnaire this weekend, and I thought it was good. I dont know a whole lot about India, but the movie portrays scenes and events that I can totally see happening in Accra. It's a movie, and the likelyhood of everything working together the way it did is somewhat slim (I think), but I also think it could have been a realistic, if not necessarily flattering portrayal of a section of Mumbai.

We sometimes get offended and upset when we see the pictures of the poverty in Africa. But the fact is that many Africans live in abject poverty. Accra has about 2m people, and while there has been great development and progress in the city, there are still many many many people in the city who live in pretty bad conditions. If someone made a movie about that part of Accra, yes, I'd be very annoyed and offended, but it wouldn't change the fact that there are slums in the city, and life isnt fully comfortable and rosy for everyone.

I get annoyed when I see the images of a hungry child with a cracker and flies all over, and when some random caucasian holds the child's hand and asks the watching TV audience to donate $5 to feed this poor child. But maybe, instead of simplt boiling in my comfy seat behind the TV, I should do something about the poverty and hardship in my backyard. I cant save the world, but maybe I can help one child get better healthcare or better education or something.

I have to say though that the title of the movie is not at all flattering.....

Have you watched Slum Dog Millionnaire, and even if you haven't what do you think about the portrayal of povery in developing countries?

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

laying of hands

When I started blogging, I made a pact with myself that I would not write about school. Sch can be overwhelming etc etc and this was supposed to be a way for me to occasionally get out of that box. That said, sch is such an integral part of my life that I cant simply ignore it in any part of my life. So I decided to share a little insight that occured to me recently.

Medicine can be a very intimate profession. It often requires getting all up in someone's personal space, talking about some very sensitive things and performing procedures and tests that are invasive on many different levels. One of the most powerful things for me at this point is the amount of touch that goes on. I never really thought about my hands other than for their day to day use, and the concept of laying of hands to heal and to comfort seemed restricted to pastors and other such authorities. For me then, the fact that my hands can be used to heal in a physical sense is........almost amazing and slightly disconcerting.

Its a little difficult to explain what I mean. The best I can say is that I seem to have a newfound respect for hands. For the ability to help heal, reassure or at least to comfort. I'm also humbled at the amount of trust that people give me (a lowly first year who's only halfway through the year) when they allow me to touch them and their children.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

The uni in VR

I just read a story about a medical and technical university to be built in Sokode, in the Volta Region of Ghana. Now as a proud child of the Volta region, that news makes me happy. I think its about time that the country got another public university. This uni is being built by a Swiss based humanitarian group ACORD, has an estimated cost of $850 million, will have funding set aside for needy students and will be run by the government once its done.

I'll admit that when I read the article on joyonline I was a little skeptical. It almost sounds too good to be true. So I had all these questions that were answered by a much closer reading of the article. This is why my teachers have always said "read the entire question!!!!!" But I digress and I still have a few questions:

The website says that "ACORD's response to the challenges of Africa is firmly based on a belief that people themselves are the agents of change and actors of their own development. People's ability to take action on the causes of poverty is what will transform Africa's future." This sounds noble, but I wonder why the government isnt being asked to contribute somehow to the building of the university? Perhaps because the government will have to run and maintain the university which is quite the task..........still, I wonder if it'll be maintained and run a little more carefully because the government's thus the people's money has gone into raising the infrastructure?

Actually, this just show's me that I know very little about how projects are carried out by the country. How much aid money and loans do we live on? How much money does the country generate and where does it come from? Is out tax system anywhere near effective? These are truly random questions- it might actually be fun to find out the answers. As much as I tend to distrust politicians, it will be kinda cool to sit and talk to one who is knowledgeable about the nuts and bolts of running a country.....

So if anyone has some knowledge or info or insight, please let a sister know......

That said, I wonder how the med school in the North is doing? I hear so little about it that I sometimes forget that it exists. I do know that a few years ago, students from there had to go to KATH and K'Bu for some part of their training. I wonder if that's all been worked out. Does anyone have any info or fila to pass on?

Anyways, I think it'll be very exciting if things run smoothly with this new school. Lets see how it all pans out.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

The Ghanaian NASA dude

Late last week I got an email from a friend of mine, and it as a link to a bbc article on this Ghanaian guy who's a big man an Nasa. My first though after reading the article was "so what?" Now, I'm not tryna hate on the dude or anything, but talks about how when he left Ghana, people were farming with cattle and hoes, and how when he went back years later things were the same. He goes on to ask "so where are our engineers?" and right then, I wanted to smack him and say "at NASA, that's where".

Here's my thing. I would love for all Ghanaians to go back home and give back their skills to the nation that nurtured them, and for many of the older generation, that literally took them where ever they are. That said, I know its not possible, and perhaps not even necessary. People can still make very valuable contributions to the country from afar, and people who live in the country arent necessailry helpless either. People have been and still are doing some really exciting and beneficial things. Besides, life happens, children get born, credit card debt gets bigger, mortgage happens and the "we'll be in Ghana in 3 years" never really happens. That too is ok. But I get annoyed when people sit somewhere far away and boast about being Ghanaian when they haven't done a single thing to help the country. So what if some brilliant doctor is from Ghana? He hasnt set foot in the country for 20 years, has a very out dated view of the country and its many peoples? does not understand the psyche (which I assure you can be very fluid), still thinks Accra has no paved roads (sometime I do wonder though) and on and on. So tell me, why should I or anyone else be proud that the cellphone technology that Mr NASA has helped build has reached "even" Ghana? all because he happens to have been born there? really?

And no, sending money to your relatives really doesnt count as helping the country!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

on love and the complexities there of.....

The title sounds a whole lot deeper than the content is going to be. Just a friendly warning.

I read a section on marriage in my Bible today. One that is very well known to many Christians. And while I'm not married it got me thinking about the marriages that have gone before me and that have eventually produced me. Great-grand parents, grandparents, parents and all the many uncles and aunts and even now, one of my siblings. I dont know much about many of these marriages, but it seems that of the ones I do know about, I have some pretty good examples and legacies before me. I know no one (therefore no marriage) is perfect, and I'm sure there are many horror stories in the marriages that I see before me-but even knowing that things are not always as they seem- these examples generally make me feel warm and fuzzy :)

This warm and fuzzy feeling then got me thinking about the rest of the people in my network/circle. All the family members and friends. And I was reminded that love has many dimensions and many shades. You sometimes find it in the most unexpected places and ways. Its kinda hard to kill that strong and secure love that family and friends offer. And sometimes when someone disappoints or hurts you, other people can help heal the hurt.

ok, this is sappy, but sappy is ok once in a while :) The main point I guess is that I'm very grateful for all the love that I get from my friends and family. So happy valentine's day everyone.....

p.s. I held a human heart in my hands today. It's one of the coolest things ever. I think its way cooler than the brain.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Life and balance

If I've heard the word balance once, I've heard it 1000 times. I'll even admit that I'm pretty sick of the word. So why am I writing about balance? Because I wonder if it really is such a big issue or if its all in my head. I've been told that I need to balance out my life. That I cant be a student and a professional who only knows book and work. That people like that are ultimately "sad" people and not very pleasant or fulfilled. I'm going to be working in a service industry-so apparently its even more important for me to be "balanced" so that I'll able to interact and properly deal with people. I agree with all this. I dont want to be a person- professional or not- who only knows books and nothing else. I think it'll be a very boring way to live, and I dont want to be a boring person. Unfortunately though, life right now is not very balanced. There's a whole lot of school and not much of anything else. That is, of course, to be expected, and this is why I've been told time and time again to make time for myself, to find a hobby, to meet different people and on and on.

In very sharp contrast is the lives of medical students I met at home. School is exceedingly busy and stressful to be sure, but they are somehow able to make the time to to be involved in many activities inside and outside school. And I seriously doubt that every conversation that have revolves around anatomy lab or which patient they saw etc etc. I asked a friend of mine how she finds balance in med school. She gave me this wonderfully blank look and said something to the effect of "what exactly do you mean by balance?" To which I replied that she seemed to have so much more going on and she said something like "I don't know- it just is"

This brings me to my point. How exactly do people find balance? I feel like there's some magic equation that's just out of my reach. I can kinda see it, but not really and not quite. What can I do to achieve this balance? How will I go about meeting people and making friends? (male AND female, for those of you who are wondering. Yes, you know yourselves :) ) What kinds of hobbies can I pick up ?(apart from reading) Are there other options that I'm simply missing?

On the flip side, maybe its not such a problem, and maybe its all in my head. Its entirely possibly that I'm just whining and having a hard time taking off rose-colored lenses about what life should be like (probably a more likely option at this point). Maybe I simply need to grow up and realise that life as I've known it has been irrevocably changed. Perhaps my life is as balanced as it should be, and I only need to come around to this realization.

I'm not depressed and I hope this hasn't been a downer of a post. I just have questions, and the answers arent readily apparent to me. So, if anyone out there has suggestions, comments, questions, advice etc about balance, or the lack thereof, then please drop by and share your words.


I'm generally apathetic. This is nothing new. But I'll admit that even I have been caught up with the whole Obama and co craze. Why not? His story- their story- is one of great faith, great encouragement etc. I think it makes us see the possibilities that lie before us.

That said, I really wonder what there is to gain by the ceaseless talk about Obama and his family. I believe I read somewhere that the J Crew website had so many visitors after the inauguration that it crashed- presumably because so many people went to check out the coats that the Obama girls wore. NYT carries countless articles about Obama or Michelle or the girls or Michelle's mother........yeah, they're exciting, but are they really that unusual? Is Michelle's mother the only grandmother to be actively involved with raising her grandchildren? Is Michelle the only succesful, beautiful black woman in America? Really, what were people looking for with the coats? Was it to dress their daughters in the same coat and if so, will that make them or their daughters cool? Then there was the story about how Obama's half-brother in Kenya was jailed. Why should CNN, BBC or anyone else care about what's happening to some young man in Kenya who's simply living his life- only because his last name happens to be Obama? And how is their reporting supposed to make any difference to his life or to ours? Yes Barak and Michelle make a cute couple, but do we really need to stalk them and analyze every "cute/loving" picture of them? Then there are the dolls called Sasha and Malia that were made, and which according to the makers "have nothing to do with any living people". Really??? Some company has a very awful awful PR section. Even I could have come up with a more plausible excuse/statement......

So while I'm a big fan of Obama and co, I do wonder what the point of this incessant reporting on their daily habits is? I wonder if people really care about their lives as individuals or if its all a "lets show how cool we are by being ridiculously concerned with their every breath"................ When will it be enough?

Anyways, I wish them (the Obama's that is) well and I also wish that the media will leave them alone!! Hopefully they'll all get through the next 8 years without damage.

Friday, January 30, 2009

why this part 2

I had a few questions about the blog so I decided to clarify a few things.

1. Who or what is Obla yoo? Well, Obla yoo means young lady in Ga (a Ghanaian language). I'm more of a Daavi (young lady in Ewe) since I'm Ewe, but I like the term Oblaa Yoo, and its a small tribute to the small and latent Ga-Adangbe part of my lineage.

2. Why a blog? Its a part of the re-vamping of myself/my life that I'm attempting to carry out. There are some things that I feel the need to change- I dont really feel like having my whole life be completely over-run by med school. So, this is one way of finding an outlet- balance, so to speak.

b. Also, I met a friend of mine on the flight back here in Jan. I talked about the fact that I googled "Ghanaian blogs" and found very little. He told me about Museke, modern ghana, and then I found his blog. From his blog, I stumbled on many other blogs written by Ghanaian young people. I've become an undercover fan of some of these blogs, and have fallen in love with museke (good source of african music). I guess they are part of my inspiration.

3. How will I find the time to keep up with the blog? Well, that is part of the point of starting the blog. I've been told by many wise people that I need to learn to carve time for myself during this journey and after. So this is a step in that direction. Lets see how it will go.

4. How will this help me keep in touch with people? Hopefully people who visit the blog will comment and join the conversation. This way, I share a little bit on what's going on in my life and in my head, and can hear about what's going on in other people's lives and heads. At the very least, people will know I'm alive and well when I make a post.

4. Do I have any concerns? Several actually. I have a tendency to start projects and not finish them. So this will challenge me to be consistent and to follow a project through over a long period of time. I debated long and hard with myself over the point of a blog. Why, I've asked myself, will anyone care about my thoughts or feelings and why should I subject people to them? I'm still not sure I have a satisfactory answer to those questions, but oh I am. Also, I think that I've become too introspective and thus self-absorbed. Somehow starting a blog seems to be proof of that self-absorbtion......... Hopefully it'll be more of a conversation that a monologue.

Anyway, time to get back to work. Let the games begin............

Thursday, January 29, 2009

why this and why now?

Considering the fact that I have a major exam coming up in a few days, I really do wonder why I've decided to start blogging now. Probably because I dont want to study :) Truth be told, I've been toying with the idea for a while, but somehow, today, this moment, seems like the best time.

It seems that I've always been a little bad at keeping in touch with friends and family, but that has become worse over the last few months (school started). So this might be a good way to share my thoughts with people whom I cant seem to call/keep in touch with. So dear friends, this is partly/mostly for you.

One day, maybe when I take my next study in 10 minutes.........I'll post some deep or otherwise thought. Till then, neuroscience calls. Ciao!!