Saturday, November 30, 2013

Owning and building a culture of development in Kumasi and beyond

+Barcamp Kumasi 2013 was organized on September 28 at the College of Science auditorium at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology. This was the fourth +Barcamp Kumasi event. The theme was "Owning and building a culture of development". You could think of it as "cultivating and maintaining a culture of development" too. The goal was to get Kumasi-based people to own Kumasi's development and build towards it.

The event started with a discussion around the theme led by Kumasi's own +Kojo Akoto Boateng. Participants discussed leadership by example and change from within. Attendees also understood that we must all be responsible for development and that it's not something we leave for others to champion and handle. Some of the comments made hearkened thoughts back to last year's +Barcamp Accra which talked about the "removing the fear of failure as a start of success". You can see a Storify story around this discussion here. People really loved the sobolo aka bissap juice served. Sobolo seems to be a feature at many events and forums in Ghana now. More vim for that. Attendees were encouraged to write on a large sheet of paper what their dreams for Ghana were. Another cool idea meted by the organizing team was for participants to share where in Ghana they were from (by region).

The speed mentoring session featured as many female mentors as male mentors, a first for all Barcamps.
The speed mentors (resource personnel) had 1-on-1 mentoring sessions with attendees for 10 minutes at a time. The Barcamp Kumasi mentors included +Kuukuwa Manful (ArchiAfrika), +Yayra Tay (Brand Consultant), Kojo Akoto Boateng (, +Piesie Okyere-Darko Nyamenna (Ashanti Gold), Francis Fosu (CalBank), +Mawuli Amedofu (SpringVerve), +Rasheeda Yehuza (Nasara Mobile), +Vanessa Kavi (S.A.L.T.), +Paa Kweku Woode (of +Sygil Media), Alex Faux (of Engineers Without Borders), Donnay (NOK Couture), Akyana Britwum (KNUST Physics), and +Cynthia Eyram Ofori-Dwumfuo (of Ultimate Radio). Read this Storify story capturing the speed mentoring session.

There was enough time for two sets of breakout sessions. Another first for Barcamps this year and in a long while. Read about the first set here on Storify. These included one about Kumasi at large led by +Ato Ulzen-Appiah, an ideation and business session led by +Mark Boots, a working and freelancing session led by +Odoi-Lartey Benjamin, and a Google opportunities session led by +Kobe Subramaniam. Read about the second set here on Storify. There are a lot of great notes in there that the attendees captured in realtime on Twitter that you can all learn from. These included a Blogging and Social media session run by +kofi yeboah, a volunteering session led by +Ela Asare who had led the National Volunteer Day initiative a week before, a Teach for Charity session and a showbiz and the media in Kumasi session run by +Kojo Akoto Boateng.

Barcamp Kumasi 2013 was the 24th +Barcamp Ghana event. Check out this Storify story and catch the pulse. The organizing team was made up of +Watson Bedzrah +sampson deklu +Alloysius Attah +courage ahiati Paa Kweku, Kuukuwa, Yayra and +kofi yeboah. Many other thanks and kudos to the various +GhanaThink Foundation members who played great roles to make the event successful, especially those who were present like +Seyram Freddy Ahiabor +Ela Asare +Ali Bukari Maiga +William Boampong Osilaja +Kobe Subramaniam and others. Check out #bcksi on Google+ and Twitter. Also, check out the My Kumasi project that was born out of this event on Facebook and Twitter

Solving unemployment by creating work in Cape Coast and beyond

+Barcamp Cape Coast 2013 was organized on September 14th at the Faculty of Education Lecture Theatre 9 at the University of Cape Coast. This followed the first ever +TedxCapeCoastED Ghana which shared some organizing team members with the Barcamp as well. The theme was "Solving unemployment by creating work". This was the third Barcamp Cape Coast event and the focus was on tackling unemployment. The transcendent statement from the event was "There might be a shortage of jobs, but there is no shortage of work". It was key to enlighten many attendees about using their education to solve problems and by creating work, creating employment for themselves and others as well.

Speed mentoring was a hit this year just like for the 2012 event. The speed mentors (resource personnel) had 1-on-1 mentoring sessions with attendees for 10 minutes at a time. They included Joseph Hudson (Tigo), Careercoach Emmanuel Woyome, Josephina Lynn-Halm (Manasseh Collections - Fashion), David Egyir (Life Coach), Frank Entsi Williams (Tutor), Rosemond Boohene (UCC School of Business), +Samuel Ekem (Cape Coast Guide), Patrick Ekow Acquah (Youth Activist) and +Ato Ulzen-Appiah (of +Rancard Solutions).

Cape Coast native, +kobla nyomi did a presentation on his Oware 3D game. It's currently an Android app and which is built on the Unity platform. Attendees were really impressed with his work and how he was able to bring alive a simple Ghanaian game which has worldwide appeal. A lot of developers were at the event and were inspired by Kobla's work.

After lunch, there was a panel on the theme moderated by +Rachel Hormeku. The panelists were Joseph, Emmanuel, Frank and David, who had all speed mentored earlier. Frank was really pleased that many of the attendees had stayed to participate in the event after lunch was done as this is not the case for many events of the same nature in Ghana. A lot of insight was shared around starting businesses, and succeeding at work. Barcamp Cape Coast attendees learnt that they could create job positions by doing various types of work at the work places.
Ato shared a information about the upcoming National Volunteer Day and the first promo video for the initiative was premiered at Barcamp Cape Coast.

The breakout sessions were the last features of the event. There were these sessions - Google Developer Tools run by +Kobe Subramaniam & +Benjamin Dadson, extra-curricular activities session run by +Kwasi Adu-Gyamfi, Getting more info about Cape Coast online run by +Felix Nartey representing +Planning WIKIMEDIA GHANA and a session around resourcing for business.

This was the 23rd +Barcamp Ghana event. You know 23 is a special number in Ghana right? #233moments things. Check out this Storify story. The organizing team was made up of Kobe, Rachel, +kofi yeboah +William Boampong Osilaja +Papa Baffoe Aikins +Kwesi Quagraine +sampson oboh +Mantey Joshua etc. +Seyram Freddy Ahiabor +David Nikoi and +Felix Nartey were also there to support. Many other thanks and kudos to the various +GhanaThink Foundation members who played great roles to make the event successful. Check out #bccapecoast on Google+ and Twitter

Growing a connected and attractive entreprising market in Tamale and beyond

+Barcamp Tamale 2013, the third +Barcamp Ghana event in Tamale, came off at the Tamale Sports Stadium on August 17. A day before it, a couple of pre-Barcamp events were organized in conjunction with a +Google Africa sponsorship - a Google Developer tools workshop led by +GDG Ghana and a Google Business Networking event led by +GBG Ghana in Tamale. The main event was themed - "Growing a connected and attractive entreprising market". The focus was on ensuring that people in Tamale and the Northern Region at large were more connected and that the area was more attractive to local and outside entrepreneurs.

+GhanaThink Foundation's "Less Talk, More Action" Polo T-shirts were premiered at this event and were received very favourably. This motto has since become popular and is becoming a bedfellow to "More vim". The emcees +Ato Ulzen-Appiah & +Donald Ward led a short discussion on Tamale and what's synonymous with it, and one major talking point was shea and shea products. About 40 students of Tamale Secondary School (Tamasco) attended the event as well. There were about 180 attendees for Barcamp Tamale in total.

The speed mentoring session was next. The mentors included Sidney Rockson (Plus Distributions), Rafiatu Lawal (Entrepreneur), +Stephen Agbenyo (of +Savana Signatures), +Jemila Abdulai (of +Circumspect), +Doris Anson-Yevu (of +Kafuiday Photography), +Peter Awin (Afrilead Institute), +Abdul-Nasser Alidu (of +Tigo Ghana),  +Karen Sagoe (Doctor), Abdul-Aziz Ibn Shiraz (Marriage Counselor) and +maccarthy lomotey (of Hopin academy). They had 1-on-1 mentoring sessions with attendees for 10 minutes at a time. While this was going on, two female attendees who was a Tamasco alum, gathered the female Tamasco students and started mentoring them. Another attendee followed their lead as he gathered the male Tamasco students as well. We'd seen something very similar at +Barcamp Tema 2012 and it's always beautiful to see these things happen.

Jake Morrison represented one of the main sponsors, DKT International, at the event. He did a small session on sexual health and protection and unlike Barcamp Tema a week before, he had props to use and more T-shirts to give away. +Kobe Subramaniam talked about various Google tools as he represented the other key sponsor +Google Africa. After lunch, a panel discussion ensued and was moderated by Ato. The panelists were +Mohammed-Sani Abdulai (of the University of Professional Studies & Adminstration), Abdul-Nasser Alidu of Tigo and +Senyo Kpelly (of Sekaf Ghana Limited who produces Tama products). They talked about the theme and touched on the importance of connecting and networking as well as grabbing opportunities in the Northern region, being entreprising and building businesses out of them.

Breakout sessions at Barcamp Tamale happened as usual with the topics being around cleanliness and waste management, the election petition, finding resources to run businesses amongst many others. The event ended with some of the attendees singing "Tingban nyela ti ba tingban" which is the Dagbani version of the popular patriotic song "Yen ara asaase ni". Watch the video here

This was the 22nd Barcamp in Ghana. You can read what is captured about the event in realtime via this Storify story. The organizing team was made up of Peter, Jemila, +Yakubu H.Yakubu +Mohammed Muntasir Nashiru +cecilia amoafowaa sefa +Kwaching Jessica +Naomi Selorm & +Ibn Shiraz+Kwabena Akuamoah-Boateng was also present handling photos and social media for the event. Many other thanks and kudos to the various +GhanaThink Foundation members who played great roles to make the event successful. Check out #bctamale on Google+ and Twitter

Building industries for our communities in and out of Tema

+Barcamp Tema 2013 was the second +Barcamp Ghana event of the year after +Barcamp Kasoa. It came off on August 10 at the Rotary Centre in Tema. This cool venue was secured in conjunction with the Rotaract Club of Tema. The theme was 'Building Industries for our Communities'. Given that Tema is an industrial city with many communities, you could see that this theme was very carefully chosen. With Tema being popular for music and musicians, the idea was to help spring more industries for similar communities in Tema.

The event began with Samuel Abakah, the admin manager at the Tema Development Corporation (TDC), talking about the history of Tema and talking about the work of the TDC. Tema is about the only town in Ghana with a dedicated development corporation helping build it. This stems from the formation of Tema during Kwame Nkrumah's time, another feather in his cap. While Tema Municipal Assembly (TMA) maintains Tema like others around the country, TDC facilitates large scale development in Tema. You can find out many of what Mr. Abakah said via +GhanaThink Foundation's Storify story. He shared a lot of great tidbits and that generated a lot of chatter and learning. We learnt about Tema's other name 'Tormang' and that municipal Tema was hitting 2 million inhabitants. Many Tema residents asked questions about their communities, we had a little town hall going.

The speed mentoring session was the next on the agenda. In the spirit of catering for many communities of interest, many people from varied disciplines were invited as resource personnel. They had 1-on-1 mentoring sessions with attendees for 10 minutes at a time. We had +chemphe (Musician), +Ali Bukari Maiga (a Google champion who currently heads +GBG Tema), +Benjamin Gregory Aggrey (Woman 2.1 Summit), +Ob Abenser (of +FashionistaGH), +Nana Kofi Asihene (NKACC - video production & fashion), Felicia Joan Oppong (Finance), +Gregory Rockson (Entrepreneur), +Nana Asaase Philip Boakye Dua Oyinka (Spoken Word Artist), +Emeka Okoye (Technologist), +Emmanuel Okyere (Hutspace), +Basil Anthony (TicketGhana), Vickie Remoe (GoWomanAfrica), Daniel Antwi-Boasiako (Doctor) and Seth Otu Larbi (Oil & Gas). You can see what people were saying about this via Storify as well.

The event continued with sponsor presentations. Jake Morrison, an ambassador for Kiss Condoms (DKT International), did a small session around sexual health and the need for protection. +Doris Anson-Yevu+Kobe Subramaniam and +Donald Ward collectively presented about various Google tools for developers and business people, representing +Google Africa. Maxwell of the Rotaract Club talked about their work as well. Other sponsors for the event were the +Mpwr show, Nandimobile and the Ghana News Agency. The theme was dissected as part of a panel discussion. +Senam Aseye Bridget moderated the discussion which featured Cecilia Anderson (Global Children Action Network), Seth Otu Larbi, Chemphe and Daniel Antwi-Boasiako. The discussion was captured on Twitter too and thanks to Storify, you can follow it here.

Various breakout sessions were the last line in the agenda in bringing +Barcamp Tema to a close. The breakout sessions were the Election Petition session led by +Ghana Decides (of +BloggingGhana), Open Data session led by Emeka Okoye & Emmanuel Okyere, Blogging and social media session led by +Delalorm Semabia, Insurance session led by rep from an insurance company, Google Business and Developer Tools session by Donald Ward, Doris Anson-Yevu and Kobe Subramaniam, Matters of the brain and SHS session led by Andrews of Rotaract Club in IPS, and the Getting content about Tema online led by +Enock Seth Nyamador of +Planning WIKIMEDIA GHANA. You can read about actions and reactions here on Storify.

Many of the 230 attendees connected, networked and are collaborating to make various things happen. Some attendees were inspired to start their own businesses. A lot of conversations about the election verdict happened as well. The Wikimedia team took a lot of notes about Tema that would help populate the Tema Wikipedia page with better information. There were a lot of SHS students who attended the event and learnt a lot. It's always great to see the enthusiasm to either support future Barcamps, be part of the next Barcamp teams or get inspired to organize and do similar things.

This was the 21st Barcamp in Ghana and the second Barcamp Tema. The organizing team was made up of Senam, +Felix Nartey+Leonard Hagan+ELOM ALFONSO+Sophia Amenyah and Maxwell Seshie. Many other thanks and kudos to the various +GhanaThink Foundation members who played great roles to make the event successful. Check out #bctema on Google+ & Twitter

Bringing Tema together and building industries for its communities

The first +Barcamp Tema at Central University College (CUC) in Miotso near Tema went very well and created impact in many lives. Especially the 31 or so Ketasco students who attended and where their interest and the impact the event had on them created what is now the +Junior Camp Ghana program. People wondered aloud why Barcamp Tema had to be organized in Prampram or a place outside Tema. +Felix Nartey and +Leonard Hagan, after attending +Barcamp Ghana 2011, were very interested in bringing a +Barcamp Ghana event to their school (CUC). There had already been calls to have a Barcamp Tema, to cater for those who lived in Tema and especially for those living in Accra who couldn't wait till December for the next +Barcamp Accra. A lot of Tema conversations ensued at the Barcamp, just the way it was meant to be.

I felt that the next Barcamp Tema had to be held in Tema proper so when the Rotary Centre was mentioned as a potential venue by team member +Senam Aseye Bridget (who's coincidentally celebrating a birthday today), we had a good opportunity. We were able to have Barcamp Tema hosted at the Rotary Centre in Tema on August 10, 2013 thanks to a partnership with the Rotaract Club of Tema. Maxwell Seshie, the club president, joined the team with Felix (who is a Tema native), Leonard and Senam, as well as the returning +ELOM ALFONSO and +Sophia Amenyah. It also helped to have Tema residents +Donald Ward +Nehemiah Attigah also on the +GhanaThink Foundation team, ably supported by folks like +Seyram Freddy Ahiabor and +Ali Bukari Maiga.

We had a surprise waiting for us at the Rotary Centre that morning. Some friend of a Rotary member had 'overtaken' us and had taken our place as the rightful 'owner' of that August 10 slot. Clear case of an old person overstepping order and using seniorism and 'authority' to take over a venue we had booked. They were going to have a wedding at the venue at 2pm while our event would start at 9am. We re-strategized and used another part of the venue. Maxwell, the Rotaract Club President, showed a lot of resourcefulness with this tough situation. We managed to get some canopies mounted and some chairs and tables to organize the event. After the Barcamp, seeing how impactful, great and resourceful the event was, the Rotary Centre leads apologized for the mixup and said to ensure this didn't happen again. Now, we have a ready venue for Barcamp Tema for ensuing years.

During the event, I checked to see the number of attendees based in Tema, and they were well over 50%. Many Rotaracters attended, and it was cool to hear them sing some of their club songs and proclaim some club chants. There aren't a lot of established tertiary institutions in Tema unlike other Ghanaian towns, there isn't a polytechnic for instance. Furthermore, it seems many young residents of Tema school elsewhere in other popular senior high schools or universities. Many young professionals who live in Tema also work in Accra. It's a very interesting dynamic. Barcamp Tema was able to gather a lot of Tema-based youth which will ensure that they commune together and network more now and in the future.

The theme for the event was 'Building industries for our communities'. Many know that Tema is synonymous with living communities; community 1, 2, 3 and up to about 25 now. Many also know that Tema is home to many top musicians in Ghana like +Sarkodie Obidi +R2Bees +chemphe and +Elom Adablah (EL). However, there are many other communities of interest in Tema - be it techonlogy (IT), fashion, literature, engineering, education, etc. Through the success of the aforementioned musicians, a music industry has been built in Tema with many key cogs oiling this engine and many young people in Tema wanting to enter the music business. By bringing a lot of young people who are leading in communities other than music to the Barcamp, it was a great start towards building more industries. And the rest of Ghana could learn from Tema when it comes to communities and why they work well. Whether they be communities of living or communities of interest.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Na twitter stori o, una come hear am!

Then I say I go write blog post for Pidgin inside. Thank you, Nigeria. :-) Now, we for search wife give Ayoolouwaato Eze. From Ajawo to Ikeja and everyweya. About time. This na regular day I dey create. Enjoy.
All the things wey happen today make I dey speak Pidgin.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

A #vimride story from Koforidua to Accra

After the epic night from before after +Barcamp Koforidua, we were just going to have a chillaxing Sunday in Koforidua and head back to Accra. It wasn't to be. Stories abound :-) But wait, it seems I knew more memories would be coming anyway. See what I tweeted after finally waking up :-) We took some group pictures at Whit's house. Beatrice and Bubune took some wearing the same bead necklaces. Some marriage like that. Koforidua is the Ghanaian Vegas. What happens in Koforidua, stays in Koforidua. Nah, you didn't get the full story from the previous blog post.
I had heard that Koforidua had some of the best fufu in Ghana. +Bubune Sorkpor & +Seyram Freddy Ahiabor had conquered some just before Barcamp Koforidua the day before. I was keen to have a feel too. As well as +Victor Ofoegbu. Beatrice is just one of the few Ghanaians, like my brother, who don't eat fufu, so she'd make do with banku & tilapia or something :-)
We left Whit's house a bit late, and at 2:33pm, we were discovering Koforidua as we figured out the route to the recommended fufu joint, Glamour. Glamour Spot was closed though. It was shocking! To top it off, while turning to get out of there to search for the next fufu spot, the #vimride hit a motorbike driver. Okay, we'd have to find a fufu spot near a mechanic then. Great. While the #vimride was getting a patch up at the mechanic's place, we were directed to a chop bar to get some of Koforidua's famous fufu.
We went to "Hwɛ nea Awurade ayɛ" chop bar. It means "Look at what God has done". They only had 'light soup' and it was not even hot. As in it was cold, it did have some spices. The grasscutter was worth 7GHC. It's actually not that much, but the cold soup made the whole fufu experience not the best. It's an award-winning chop bar too o! Not a good look for Koftown. The madam there had won cooking competitions. I addressed her with my concerns and flatly told her I wouldn't be visiting again. She gave me 1GhC for my trouble.
We left right after fufu, hoping to get back to Accra before dark. As we were tailing some other cars in the convoy to Greater Accra, I spotted a flower on the road. She was fine! I was quite sure that she was looking for a car to go to Accra. I was going to give her a free ride as we had a spot in the back seat. I stopped and parked. The other #vimride occupants were surprised. But I was serious. I suggested that Beatrice go call the lady and offer her a ride. She obliged. I was shocked. I like this girl. I don't mean the flower on the road side here, I mean Beatrice. When my sister asked me the night if I had gotten a flower, I took a picture of Beatrice (+ another lady) and whatsapped it to her.

Anyway, Beatrice walked over to the lady who was standing with a guy who seemed to be seeing her off. Beatrice had a chat with them both and started heading over to the car. And then the guy, not the lady, started following her. What the flying fuck? So it's the guy who is going to Accra and not the lady? Shoot. The die was cast. The lady started walking home and giving us a wave. I smiled widely but was not happy inside haha. Victor mentioned, "while we were looking for a Koforidua flower, we are getting a Koforidua tree". Ouch! The guy was a good sport though. The lady is his ex and has said he would share his phone number. He joined our "2 truths and 1 lie" game and we all learnt things about each other. You won't get to know o! What happens in the #vimride, stays in the #vimride

Creating the life of the party in Koforidua

I wasn't going to come to Koforidua for +Barcamp Koforidua and not spend a night there. Well, I got an epic night! Serious +Party Crew type stuff with +Bubune Sorkpor+Victor Ofoegbu & Beatrice. We had some interesting conversations about Koforidua & Koforidua flowers.

Some Koforidua Poly friends, +duncan qwame & +Jemima Abochie had informed us about a party at K-Poly. We were looking for places to go hang out, the special occasions, as opposed to the regular Koftown nightlife. We were informed of a show at Eredec Hotel. Yeap, that hotel that traditionally hosts Miss Eastern Region as part of Miss Ghana. +Jane Arkorful, where you at?
Sɔ me ha na sɔ me ha! Eduwoji was performing for +koforidua polytechnic students. That guy sef, he's not very relevant now but he did get huge airplay with Yɛnko Nkoaa. Eredec Hotel was popping, but the foursome were a little out of place. And we didn't seem to think the venue had what we'd come to think of as Koforidua Flowers. So we bounced.

Following the sub-par experience at Eredec, we set out to go experience Koforidua nightlife. After seeing that the Total Filling station was filled with nothing that would total to fun for us and that nothing was happening at Capital View Hotel, we headed to the one club in town that would function for us. Club Liquid. They were charging 10GhC at the door, which is a bit too much. But hey, they enjoy a monopoly, so we couldn't do foko about it.

We decided to sit outside like many other revellers and get some drinks. That's when Beatrice shot the idea of shots our way.
After getting two rounds of shots, and realising each cost 50 pesewas, I called for more. We had had akpeteshie too. Why do we waste money on vodka and co then? My eye open.
We were getting into these shots and loving them. We had an extra seat. We were not going to give it to a guy. Only a lady like Caro. A Koforidua flower.
After another round of shots, I had enjoyed Vanilla Cardinal (or something like that), and some akpeteshie. I had to start asking about their names because I didn't want the night to degenerate into a drunken one.
I realised that one of the shots which was brownish or reddish in colour was a bit on the soft side and sweet. So I claimed I didn't want a drink that had a colourless colour. Like the one that akpeteshie had. You know Koforidua Flowers have colours right? Including the white ones. Oh wait, I am writing like a drunk person. What am I saying? Let me finish this blog post already.
That is an infamous quote that just had to be tweeted. After the shots, we entered the club paying 40GhC for us 4. The bouncer gave us 15GhC, I am not sure why but we didn't give him the money back. I mean, heck, KMJ of Vision FM had attended +Barcamp Koforidua and was our friend. We shouldn't be paying. I went to see the DJ to play some local songs. He saw the Barcamp Koforidua t-shirt and recognized it. The fact that I was able to guess that this was DJ Jah Solo who I had chatted with on Twitter meant I was quite sober. :-)

We spent the time there dancing, playing pool, teaching some Koforidua flowers to play pool, etc. "Girl, your behind is a killer.... see gobe, omo, see gobe" We played that song consistently that night. We listened to it on repeat. In fact, the #vimride might have been popping more than the Koforidua spots we visited. We are the life of the party. #PartyCrewGH things.

Recounting my first real foray into Koforidua

I was in Koforidua this weekend for +Barcamp Koforidua. To say the least, it was epic! Too many interesting things happened. I am capturing some of what happened pre, during and post Barcamp Koforidua on Saturday below. You should check out Buildup & intro and Speed mentoring & Breakout sessions for more info on what happened at Barcamp Koforidua itself. We had some interesting conversations about Koforidua & Koforidua flowers.
I don't know why the police chose us to stop us. Maybe it's because we were in a little traffic and I wasn't smiling. The Koti did chop our money o! It's getting to Christmas, they won't be sparing people koraa. Ask +Bubune Sorkpor & +Seyram Freddy Ahiabor+Victor Ofoegbu would also bear witness.
The Barcamp Koforidua did an awesome job putting the event together! Kudos to +Eric Amonoo +Jemima Abochie +duncan qwame +Nkansah Rexford +Samuel Tinagyei +Xatse Lionel & +Samuel Twum on this.
It was revealing to see how many people actually commute to work from Koforidua to Accra each day. I learnt that Koforidua Flowers actually comes from a local Adinkra symbol. Koforidua Flowers stands for beautiful ladies in popular parlance, you know "bodacious and blessed beloved beauties". A few came to the Barcamp too :-) It was also clear that Koforidua was a place people loved to live at. There is very little traffic because of the good transport network, and the weather is great as well.
I love to eat. I don't always think about food portions when I am about to do justice. I couldn't go eat #LondonMama waakye but I did have some at the Barcamp. Great selection of food choices by the way.

As we do usually at the end of Barcamps, we sang three songs. The national youth anthem - "Arise Ghana Youth for your country". Yɛn ara asaase ni, the unofficial local national anthem for Ghana in Twi, composed by the late Dr. Ephraim Amu. We topped it off by singing the Ghana National Anthem. Interestingly, almost a third of the women at the Barcamp were Nigerians. They paid heed to the patriotic songs though, I think I even caught one lady singing some.

Apparently, it rains a lot in Koforidua, maybe every day at 2pm. The rains started right after the Barcamp ended. They came to rain on the Koforidua flowers. I managed to go through it to get to the #vimride. It wouldn't start. The battery had fallen. One taxi driver refused to help us jumpstart the car. That wasn't beautiful at all. We finally had a Good Samaritan via Samuel Twum and we were on our way to getting Seyram to a station to Accra. I wasn't returning to Accra that night. I had to spend a night in Koftown and sleep here. Literally o! :-)
After the Barcamp, we went over to Whit Alexander's house, he's the founder of Cranium & Burro Brand. Beatrice, Victor, Bubune and myself joined Whit & Carol for dinner. We had really great conversations. Memorable ones too. We talked about how we couldn't find many 'Koforidua Flowers'. Well, see what Whit said lol. We slept over at Whit's place (he had enough beds for all of us). The housing prices at Koforidua are simply awesome.

Whit has a lot of cool paintings in his living room. Kwame Nkrumah. Barack Obama. Bob Marley. JJ Rawlings shaking John Kufuor's hands, etc. And Muammar Gaddhafi. I saw Gaddafi's Green Book for the first time. That guy was nuts lol. Anyway, we had some wine and some beer there as part of dinner. And chocolates too. Probably as a result of that, we had just a little trouble getting out of his area to go party more seriously. And as for partying more seriously, that deserves a whole blog post of its own. So here :-)

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Abocco(?) returns to Koftown in search of Koforidua Flowers?

Yea, I've never written a blog post whose title has 2 question marks. As I've been thinking about Koforidua as I go to attend +Barcamp Koforidua this weekend, the name 'Koforidua Flowers' has been ringing true a whole lot. It's not just because we've had a popular song called Koforidua Flowers, but that the phrase is used a lot. So I've been looking forward to going to Koforidua and spending a night there and especially learning more about Koforidua Flowers. But that's not all. The name 'Abocco' has something to do with all of this.
Earlier this year, I blogged and wrote about being named the +BloggingGhana Blogger of the Week sometime last year -
Courage also wanted to how I came up with my Twitter handle called "Abocco". I learnt about the name #Abocco while at KNUST JSS. Folks said it meant "Jɛ" or something cool. Apparently, the word is more popular in Koforidua. So I shall finally go to Koforidua proper to do full circle on the Abocco name and see a Koforidua flower. I heard the opposite of Abocco was Abotsi. I liked the name Abocco & I called myself "General Abocco Darling".
I never really watched this 'Koforidua Flowers' music video. This popular song is by Kofi B and Ofori Amponsah aka All4Real. Check out the lyrics here via +Museke. It shouldn't be a surprise that the video is shot in Koftown - The City of the Beautiful. You know another name synonymous with Ghanaian ladies? Especially the beautiful ones? Koforidua Flowers. Read this ode to them. There have to be some cool local on Koforidua Flowers that are not so public yet. Learning these over some drinks, +Party Crew style would be nice, especially Kasapreko. Speak already.
I have learnt this year that beads are quite a big deal in Koforidua. Given that many Ghanaian ladies (including Koforidua Flowers) wear them, it's extra important on the Ghanaian landscape.

But is Koforidua really that Tbeautiful? Is it really Abocco for all intents and purposes? I'd like to find out more seriously this weekend. And in doing so, I hope to meet more blossoming Koforidua Flowers in the young people of every discipline in Koftown. Koforidua should be able to keep its beauty, and grow a community of change makers and garden a number of flowers that blossom and make it even more beautiful. 

The very first Barcamp Koforidua has arrived

The very first Barcamp in Koforidua is happening this Saturday. If you can't make it to the All Nations University Engineering School, you can always follow updates via social media via the hashtag #bckdua. Big ups to organizers like +Nkansah Rexford +Eric Amonoo +Samuel Tinagyei +duncan qwame +Samuel Twum, Lionel Xatse & Jemima Bernice Abochie. Viva +Barcamp Ghana! See the press release below
BarCamp Koforidua 2013 is a free networking event to bring people together for a day of discussion, demos and dialogue about Koforidua, Ghana and beyond. The event will happen at the Engineering School at All Nations University in Koforidua on November 23, 2013. The theme is "Growing a community of change makers". Barcamp Koforidua is organized primarily by the GhanaThink Foundation, an NGO based both in Ghana and the USA, which has successfully organized 26 BarCamps in Ghana. 

+Barcamp Koforidua will be the very first Barcamp in Koforidua, making it the 10th location in Ghana. We would discuss the present state of Koforidua, its emerging growth and how it will be affected by many projects happening around it - Antartic, Ejisu - Oyoko Highway, etc. We would also discuss how Koforidua and its surrounding areas can be positively affected by youth.

Barcamp Koforidua aims to assemble Koforidua stakeholders to network, build a supportive enterprising community and give birth to lasting professional partnerships. It will feature many young inspirational people based in and outside Koforidua. Some of the confirmed resource personnel are Whit Alexander (Burro), +Nkansah Rexford (PWMGH), Dr. Paa Kofi Tinagyei, Vivian Amoako-Atta (Beadmaker), Klexx Maxwell Justice (Vision FM), Mary B Wilson (ANU Lecturer), amongst others. 

Register at You can also register by sending “Barcamp Koforidua, Your Name, Your Email Address” to 1945 on all mobile networks. See you there! BarCamp Koforidua 2013 is sponsored by the +GhanaThink Foundation, All Nations University, Google Ghana, +koforidua polytechnic SRC, +Planning WIKIMEDIA GHANA, and Nandimobile. Media partner is +Spy Ghana.

Stay tuned via our social media.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

@Abocco's Twitter firsts - mention, retweet, hashtag, etc

I have loved checking out my Twitter archive these last couple of weeks. Twitter is definitely my most used website now. I have become a power user in a sense but I had to learn. I present to you my Twitter firsts.

First tweet. What else was I going to say? I hope I could send something cooler though. The first time I really saw Twitter in action a lot was when I attended Barcamp Africa at the Googleplex in Mountain View on October 11, 2008. So right after the event, after seeing the power of what it could do, I created my Twitter account and tweeted this.

+Henry Addo was one of the first Ghanaian Twitter users. I am going to guess this is via influence from Ushahidi folks like +Erik Hersman & +Ory Okolloh. My first Twitter mention mentioned Henry. Idol he is.

This is quite disappointing. I use hashtags religiously. To say the first time I used it was to tag Liverpool & Chelsea is just not ..... I dunno what to say sef.
First Retweet was a retweet of a tweet by +kasahorow. Now. that's more like it. I have loved Rwanda for long as you can see. :-)
No, I didn't really mean to mention myself but this tweet says so. Must be some funny Twitter stomach pain issues. I am always looking for spectacular African movies. Why not reply to this tweet and let me know? ;-)
Mentioning my girlfriend. Yeah, first time I made a succinct note of my girlfriend on Twitter. Tell me it's not important. And all of that in one day. No, I ain't mentioning her name in this blog post. She no dey Google Plus sef like that.
First follow Friday. Shouldn't be surprising who's mentioned. +Museke+Barcamp Ghana+Fienipa. I used to be a huge fan of +Dambisa Moyo. I love +African Proverbs too.
My first Please RT :-) Sometimes you really want that tweet to follow far and you literally beg for it to viral out. This was for a good cause.
First use of DM lol. For the times when it's occurring to you your friends are using Twitter more than they are using their email.
First live tweeting. Missed doing at my first organized Barcamp at +Barcamp Ghana 2008. So did it the second, next opportunity. With folks like +Jemila Abdulai +Henry Barnor +Worlali Senyo +Tracy Pell +Shara Karasic +Justin Dakorah +Papa Baffour-Awuah +Emmanuel A. Gamor @
Citizen journalist, heavy Twitter user, social media fanatic. All from a series of firsts. :-D

Tweet, tweet - Ghana qualifies for World Cup in Brazil 2014

As many of you would know by now, Ghana has just confirmed its qualification to the World Cup in Brazil next year. It was a foregone conclusion after the Black Stars spelt Egypt and walloped the Pharoahs in Kumasi Agoropramaso last month. Congrats to the Black Stars and big ups to all the supporters of the Ghana national football team. I got to watch most of the second half and saw our goal. I missed a lot of tweets too. So for our collective benefit, here are some tweets you may have missed as you were following the Ghana game versus Egypt and the subsequent celebrations. And my comments :-)
We love these kinds of videos. I love Jama too! Just like these guys +Donald Ward +Seyram Freddy Ahiabor and +David Nikoi.
So KPB actually tweeted this. The prodigal son who always kept us in his heart. Or you think he did this also for show?
EL! +Elom Adablah is my mate from Presec. He's surely a Black Star in how he's doing well for Ghana music too.
The men for the job. They made sure the job was done.
Haha, +Efo Dela is too hilarious! I've been to many places..... Enter the net, enter the net, enter the net! Shatta Wale!
I don't enjoy how fickle our support for the Black Stars gets. Too many doomsday sayers in Ghana. It's great we overcome this many-a-time. +M.anifest had to manifest this confidence for many fans today.
From the lady who brought you #olelefacts lol. Great idea by +Achere Buxton hehe.
I shock sef. Seems the subject is done and dusted. Now, we'd see if Richard Olele Kingson goes to the World Cup too as part of the Black Stars squad.
Another funny friend of mine, +Lexis Bill. But on the real though, Ghanaians worried o! I feared for good security for my buddy +Gary Al-Smith but +Rana Kortam assured me not to worry. :-)
More worrying. Especially with the goal lol. +Emmanuel A. Gamor, all clear. Rana, congrats to Egypt on the win. But this is a small footnote in the main story which is captured by the following tweets.
Lovely picture! +Kwabena Akuamoah-Boateng is one of the coolest Ghanaians I know. And one of the biggest proponents of Ghana.
Michael Essien celebrates too. He accepts we didn't have a good game. No more let-offs guys. We want to win the +FIFA WORLD CUP!
I just like this tweet. If it was Mahama, he'd be talking about NDC people. Kudos to +Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo! If you think I am an NPP supporter, your face is in a hurry!
Kwasi Appiah did the job. Proud of my namesake. First local coach to qualify Ghana, confirmed by +AngeloBenjy Agyei-Boateng. We can also do this. We should never forget that.
I really like this tweet because of the #StartBelieving message. Black Stars supporters should really believe.
Definitely. Osee Asamoah Gyan! Let's join +Adwoa Agyemang and big up the whole team.
Your choice? I say we should be discussing the Black Stars. They make us proud! I want to capture the end of this blog post with one tweet.

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