Monday, August 12, 2013

Celebrating International Youth Day in Ghana

I only learnt about International Youth Day coming up when a lady who works in the UN alerted me about it when I emailed her about +Barcamp Tema. She wanted to know if they were connected. They weren't and they still haven't exactly been. Barcamp Tema was the 21st Barcamp organized in Ghana and it's a number that's been seen as highly impressive every time it's been mentioned as this has all happened in 5 years. Yeah, we ain't stopping till we hit Tuabodom, Tain and (Cape) Three Points. Follow the movement.

Earlier this morning, I was made aware that I was going to be featured & highlighted by the +US Embassy Ghana and celebrated as part of International Youth Day celebrations in Ghana. Later, the featuring happened, and just around 2:33pm or as close as possible. I was featured alongside +Alloysius Attah +Kajsa Hallberg Adu +Deborah Ahenkorah and +regina agyare (all of whom have participated in Barcamps before, awesome!) Here's the post about me


Born in Kumasi, Ato Ulzen-Appiah moved to Accra after receiving his university education in the USA and together with the GhanaThink Foundation has organized 21 barcamps in Ghana and brought together over 2,000 young Ghanaians to brainstorm on ways to move their communities forward. Ato is also the founder of an African music startup Museke.
Another young Ghanaian worth celebrating on ‪#‎YouthDay‬‪#‎IYD2013‬

I shared the photo on my Facebook profile with the following message. I'd had a tough day today between joggling work and plans for +Barcamp Tamale this Saturday. This was a welcome post. #Morevim for my Monday! And for you hopefully too. The sweetener was having this post go up just around the time is now becoming synonymous with Ghana - 2:33pm. #233moments indeed. Even though I was being praised, I remain as modest as possible. In fact, my #233moments post today was about learning.

I went to watch a movie at the Silverbird Cinema mall with my brother +Kofi Ulzen-Appiah. We watched a Ghanaian movie, "Cheaters 2". For some reason, I didn't realise this was the second part of a movie series or I might have watched something else. Why watch a Ghanaian movie at the theatres? It's called supporting some of our own. Quite simple. The movie wasn't one I would put in the same sentence as Tsotsi, but then again I've seen many foreign movies of this calibre. I loved that there were many Becca songs as the soundtrack though. The movie had some interesting subplots but I doubt I will be reviewing it. We'd see.

After the movie, I spotted a couple of girls ahead of me leaving the mall. They were likely Nigerian based on their accents. I offered them a ride with the #vimride, asking where they were going but they refused. Because they didn't even know where they were going as they were not from this country. Hope the taxi driver got them to their destination quickly and safely. Just as I was leaving the mall premises, I spotted another 2 girls. I stopped and offered a free ride to their destination so far as it was near. They were going towards Presec. "Oh, I know there, it's my old school". The ladies were not so forthcoming, but after it became clear I wasn't moving soon and I opened the back seat doors, they sat. They stay at Evandy Hostel and I dropped them off just around the ECG station at Legon. One lady was Nigerian and the other was Ghanaian.

Just after passing Presec and knowing that I was close to dropping them off, I told them "Today is International Youth Day, and this is youth helping youth". I told them I wanted to save them some cedis. I Made Ghana Better Today! #IMGBT. After they thanked me, I asked them to thank Ghana. Does that make sense? Not really. But that's how my relationship with Ghana is. It doesn't really make sense some of the time. Innovation and creativity hardly make sense the first time. In fact, love doesn't really make sense sometimes. Me and Ghana? It's loveI love my country Ghana so badly, that love gives me the vim to do what I do with others. These are some of the ways more value is added to the work I do with others.

The theme for International Youth Day is "Youth Migration: Moving Development Forward". I'd like to shout out all the folks who've been involved in +Barcamp Ghana events in one way or the other and those who've been involved in the GhanaThink Foundation from day one till now and continue to follow and support. They are some of young people moving development forward along with many others in Ghana. You can also move development forward. Less talk, more action. Less complaining, more doing. More vim to us all! 
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