COVID-19 lockdown restricting church meetings was needed in curtailing the spread. In Germany, restrictions were since March, though since early May, with precaution, some churches meet.  At the outset, the ‘shutdown’ of churches was met with mixed reactions. This ban was historical, affecting church, mosques and other religious gatherings. For some, it was church persecution, no disease should keep them from worshipping God. Others wondered why preachers who claim to heal everything could not do same with CoVID-19 but closed church. While some preachers protested in the way they knew best, others asked their members to stay home.

In the following days, the church if I may use this collective phrase, bombarded the Internet. I thought this was marvellous! I could be part of any service in the world! I could listen to any preacher on Sunday I wanted to! My fantasies were short lived, that would be overwhelming, not to be talk of time zones. But it was nice to watch the few services I could from Ghana.

I belong to a tightly knit Ghanaian church and this virtual thingy has been a learning curve for us. I first titled this piece “church on a conference call”, I wanted to share how the experience of church on a call was. As I was used to conference calls for work purposes. It changed into this title because we transitioned to video conferencing and I thought to add that experience too.

The church phone conferencing was new experience. Initially I found it irritating with technical intrusions and background sounds from persons who were unaware. This was new to us all. Thus, sometimes people made other calls putting ours on hold, intruding private conversations, or TV. Later, repeated stressing of muting made a huge difference. When we switched to Zoom it was livelier, nice to see faces I had not seen in a while, with most people putting in the effort to dress up which was also nice. And Zoom made it easy to control unwanted background sounds. But video conferencing can be daunting, people come into your home, they are just not touching anything. For a church service, it will be awkward if someone or something  you prefer to keep private launches in your video like this situation.   

The positives I find are that church online has made uncomfortable places becoming comfort places for many. For example, for some, with the use of technology, though I believe a few are left behind. I like the convenience of being in church and on a walk at the same time. I like not travelling or dressing up and mostly being on time. It has as well been a wonderful bonding session for us as a district of four assemblies (churches) which seems like a convention each Sunday.  

But we (I) do miss church, face-to-face church I mean. Church is not only church. For some, church is the one time in a week they dress up, dance, clap or sing. For some, therapy. For me, church is the one time weekly, I meet Ghanaians face-to-face and get in touch with my Ghanaian roots. I imagine that when we meet each other soon,  we will appreciate each other more or better. I only imagine. But one thing I am sure of is that there will be people dancing, singing, clapping and shouting out loud like never before.

When do the little cees become big cees?

When learning to write the english alphabets, most children start with capitals (upper cases). Two common arguments educators use are that upper cases are easier for children to master. They have less curves. Upper cases are found effortlessly by children in their environments. For example, shop signboards are every so often in capital letters.  Thus, children start the writing process with capitals before progressing to lower cases. Opposing schools of thought believe that teaching children upper cases can be a form of passing on bad habits. They believe it is detrimental while children encounter less than 10% of texts in lower cases in the future. Most literature is in lower cases, so why not start with lower cases then?

Let us step out of the classroom or pedagogy into the future where children are now adults and do not for a second consider how their writing skills started. Or dare I say, care less of how their writing skills began but appreciate the fact that they can write. And the best part is, they cannot recall or explain how it started, with lower cases or upper cases.  

One major challenge of many economies is corruption. The ability to skirt accepted procedures by concealing an envelope in the folder or squeezing the five Ghana Cedis note in the hands of the policeman who questioned the broken headlights. While this was happening who was watching? Was it a toddler or the new intern? How can a tree be uprooted unless we know the extent of its roots? Abruptly removing that tree can end up destroying something else, even valuable. I think it is not entirely right to believe that corruption is a thing of politicians, unless all politicians are of one family, country and are on loan till their term is over.

I think corruption started from the nursery. It started when the nursery teacher unexpectedly turned into a more loving person because mama gave them a sack of rice and box of oil for Christmas last year. As a child this lesson was learnt, little favours like toffees can turn enemies into friends. And that is why when standing for the class prefect position, upon request, mama buys a carton of pencils and pens for the class before the election day. Even though Akwasi would be a better class prefect, the pens and the pencils help the class in the decision-making process.

The trend carries on in senior high school and then tertiary. Then the day comes when the Tender folder can only be forwarded to the germane desk with an envelope hidden inside. Or the day when squeezing the five Ghana Cedis into their hand allows one to hurriedly proceed to drop the young one at childcare. The normality of corruption is what challenges the fight. The word fight suggests a battle against a foreign thing, when it is us, a sibling or a neighbour that is corrupt. No one from space.

Detangling the tentacles  that is interwoven into the defining elements of a society is challenging but possible hard work. Where are the lines drawn? What am I doing now that is infringing on another’s rights? How do I answer that question when I think all I do is normal as per the society I come from? How can I work to remove the grips of these tentacles and learn to realise that I am passing them on to my child and the new intern?

A Ghanaian girl travelling Europe…


A quick glance at countries in Europe I have been to: 

  1. Germany: Of course, my first country I travelled to in Europe was Germany in 2013. That was my first time as an adult on an airplane out of Africa to another country. As much as it might sound scary it was exciting for me. My first trip was a holiday trip with a direct flight from Ghana to Frankfurt.
  2. Barcelona, Spain: Barcelona was the first country I had been to after Germany. It was the first country I could contrast with Germany. I was blown away by the people first of all, the warmth they had in their hearts. In the public transport, it was amazing that music was played, that people talked to each other, that children played on the street. I loved walking around in the evenings enjoying the people. It reminded me of home and reminded me of a place where black people were free and open to live as they pleased.
  3. Prague, Czech Republic: Prague remains one of the few beautiful cities I have visited. In some cities, the people move me and in others the architecture does. Architecture was what Prague offered me.
  4. Szczecin, Poland
  5. Copenhagen, Denmark: Expensive city, full of culture and advanced in, technology – credit card use everywhere.
  6. Antalya, Turkey: Everyone looked good, the food was great! people were friendly and mostly trying to sell us something.
  7. Salzburg, Austria: Austria always reminds me of Hitler. However, Salzburg was sort of interesting to me especially the tiny streets of shopping we went to. As a black person we were the only ones who were asked to identify ourselves when on the public transport. Moving through several countries in Europe teaches you how many people in these countries struggle with accepting the fact that there are people of several races and you do not need to oppress any of them.
  8. Amsterdam, Netherlands: I have been to Amsterdam two times already and each time I have literally fallen in love. I love the city and the people. I contrast it to Germany and often look for something that makes it feel like home to me. I love Amsterdam for the culture. It remains one of the first cities I have been to in Europe that music from Africa was played on the radio, well that is not true because in Turkey I heard Open and Close by Dr. Sid on the radio in a public transport I was in.
  9. Brussels, Belgium: Travel Tips: My train trip to Brussels from Amsterdam cost only 25 euros because there was a special end of year offer. I additionally bought a day ticket which entitled me to travel with bus, tram or train as I was told for only 7,5 Euros. I slept in a dormitory and the hostel was only 45 euros for two nights which included breakfast. This was my first French speaking country, the first I have ever been to, and it is amazing to me to feel at home and not be looked at as if there was something wrong with me. I find it amazing to see black people not being segregated and a part of the community. When I think in these terms, I believe that Germany has a really long way to go in terms of integration.
  10. Paris, France
  11. Luxembourg