Letters From My Mother – Looking Back

I grew up in that era where, as a student in a secondary school miles away from your parents, the only means of communication was by you writing a letter to your Mum/Dad or them writing to you. For other students who were fortunate to have their families living close, a visit was a convenient way to catch up with your family. On when my Mum and I moved to Ghana in the 70′s, I entered secondary school form One at the age of 11. My Mum was posted to Dormaa Secondary School to setup the Home Science Department there. After a couple years at Dormaa, my Mum had to leave for another posting in Accra. Instead of uprooting me for a perfectly good school and moving me , she decided to leave me where I was. So this is where we develped our fond habit of writing to each other; the conditions that presented themselves offered one logical means of us communicating, and that was by writing letters to each other. This carried on even during the school holidays because in those days, taking a trip from Darmaa to Accra just for the period of school vacation was not worth it. The roads were herendous, not to mention the time it took to make such a trip. I always looked forward to letters from my Mum. One particular habit of hers was to correct my letters to her and send them back to me to review my mistakes. Of course at that time, i found this annoying. least did I know that she was doing me a huge favour. The other thing I appreciated about her letters to me was her handwriting, She had such lovely handwriting.

I do not think my Mum was one to embrace technology. I suppose it push came to shove, she would have made some effort. She never had a telephone installed at home. Even through she was an avid reader and was up to speed with how things were changing in terms of Information Technology, I strongly feel that information technology was the least of her worries.

When I moved back to the UK after my National Service, are main means of commnication was through letters. Whiles most people tend to throw away or distroy letters from a loved one, I have kept most of the letters my Mum wrote to me. I am sure if I search properly, I will find some more letters from her hidden away somewhere in my study.

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My Saturday Morning Interlude – A Walk to SurfLine Offices Osu. Accra

I am currently in Accra, Ghana preparing for a project to be kicked off. Prior my trip, I happened to come across an advert regarding fast internet access via 4G supplied by a new company in Ghana called SurfLine. I immediately became interested for a reason. My previous visits to Ghana have found me using mobile internet provided by Vodafone, MTN and TiGo. Non of them, I am afraid to say, were able to fulfil my needs. My current job with Rockwell Automation enables me to work anywhere in the world providing the location I am in has a good internet connection and that management also approves. My bandwidth requirements are not extreme. I use IP Communicator [aka CISCO phone] and access to emails, all through VPN connection to my company network. Vodafone, MTN and TiGo failed miserably in attempting to give me a constant reliable connect to the internet. So you can imagine my delight when I came across SurfLine’s advert. I arrived in Accra on Friday evening and the next day, Saturday, took a walk from Nyaniba to SurfLine’s offices just off Oxford Street.

Customer Service was very good. I was disappointed that they needed an ID card from me before they could register their SIM card in my name. I immediately informed the lady attending to me that this should have been a bold stipulation on their website. Anyway, with that out of the way, I was directed to another part of the office where my SurfLine Router was configured.

I am yet to take SurfLine through its pace. I will fire up my  work laptop tomorrow and see how it handles Voice Over IP. Using SurfLine on my Macbook Pro to surf the net has been a pleasant experience. I have had no break/drop in connections as I did when using Vodafone, MTN and TiGo wireless internet packages.

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CHALE! Trotro Diaries

One of the many reasons why I love  Accra, there is never a dull day in this City.

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At Church Today – Everyday Champions Church

Everyday Champions Church is simply an awesome place to be – at least every Sunday. As part of my duties as a church member, I  help out with car parking on a rota basis every other Sunday. Today was my turn and here I am with two other church members, Phil and Dave, who assisted in performing this task this morning.
We are currently going through a series “Be Stirred, Not Shaken” and had, yet another blessed opportunity to listen a to an exceptionally gifted young man – Sam Gill. Another description I normally tag to Sam is that he is ‘Articulately Gifted” in delivering the word of God. Keep up the good work Sam!

Time for a quick optic before it gets hectic parking cars

Time for a quick optic before it gets hectic parking cars

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Ideas For Open Offices – Riding Off Rockwell’s Office Renovation

The UK Head Office of Rockwell Automation, where I work, are currently renovation Building 3 and 4 in Milton Keynes, where they are currently based. The renovation started off with Building 3, which is now completed. The next phase is to now renovate Building 4. The transformation has been absolutely amazing. Unfortunately I did not capture any optics of the office environment “before”. I did however manage to get optics of “after” the renovation; before users IT kit was shipped back their desks locations. I am very impressed, although I am sure quite a lot of money was spent in bring the offices up to its current standard.

Anyway, I took optics of various parts of the office to give me some ideas regarding my project in Nyaniba. The architectural drawings will show the ground and first floor as offices, but as Open Offices. The architect should finish these drawings by the middle of next week and hopefully I should be able to give you a glimpse of how things will look like.

Using glass seems to be the choice when people are designing open offices. I believe this tends to give the area it is used in a more professional look as opposed to using bricks or solid partitions. Of course, the benefits are numerous. Check out West Park Contracting Ltd website for more information

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ECG, Ghana – “Domsor” My Own Personal Experience Today!

There is a general saying that if something does not personal happen to you, you do not appreciate the effect of what that thing has had on others. The Electricity Corporation Of Ghana has had to adopt some very strict processes due to various reasons and as a result has been rationing Electricity to homes, factories and companies for some years now. An attempt to find the real cause for this has been futile; there is no one specific reason. When this all kicked off, I was made to believe that it was due to the lack of rainfall and hence the low water levels at the Akosombo Dam. It appears – from Google – that the reasons are uncountable.
So this is how Domsor (by the way, the term “Domsor” as I understand it, means the unreliable and frequent power cuts and power restore typically in the city of Accra, Ghana) made my day.

If you recall (if not, check out this link ) I mentioned that I was planning a project to change the face of Nyaniba. Briefly, this involved demolishing the current building on Plot 22 and erecting the two storey building. After careful consideration, I final selected a contractor whom I was going to go with. With several emails and sketches going back and forth, we came to an agreement on a final sketch and I instructed him to proceed with the Architectural, Structural and Design drawings. Being eager to get the drawings done as soon as possible so that I can get a Bill Of Quantities and then subsequently determine if I had enough money to fund the project, I made a trip to the local Post Office in Wellingborough, UK and had what they call a Global Priority delivery of a cheques sent to the Architect, Justice. I paid 59 quid for the service and was told that it would get to the addressee in 9 days from leaving the UK Hub. From the tracking system in place on Parcel Force website, I was able to confirm that the cheque left the UK on the 30th of August. A mental calculation told me that Justice would certainly receive the cheque by, tops, the 10th of September.

Fast forwarding things up, I got messages from Justice informing me that he still had not received the cheque. I called EMS in Accra today and was given a number for their Customer Care/Service. I tried calling the number but was not successful, so I called the first number I was given for EMS again. This time the chap who answered the phone took my tracking number and then asked me for my  number so that he could call me back with some information. Unfortunately he stopped me just after I had started with +44… and said he could not call back to an international number. Sweet. Desperate to get to the bottom of where the cheque was, I quickly said I would call back in 15 minutes. I called back in 15, as promised only to be told that he could not check the whereabouts of my registered letter on their computer system because they were currently experiencing a “Domso” moment.
I don’t know, but for some reason, I suddenly started laughing. The chap on the other end wanted to know why I was laughing. I did not bother to give him an answer, but on a serious note, I fail to see how EMS can let “Domso” affect their business. For a business that other international Postal Services depend on, what happened to purchasing a medium sized generator to run, at least, the computers onsite.

I have some shares in FAN Milk Ghana, and monitor the value of the shares, from a regular newsletter I get from CAL Brokers. One that I received recently was a PDF document – Fan Milk Ghana/HYR 2014 Earnings Review. Of interest was the below snippet (underlined emphasis, mine):

Sluggish revenue growth due to weak consumer confidence: FML has reported
weak revenue growth of 6.2% YoY compared to the historical average growth rate
of 22.0% during FY 2009-13 periods. The weak revenue performance was driven
by the slow-down in Ghanaian economy since FY 2013 due to high fiscal deficit,
unreliable power supply and weak foreign exchange position.

The Ghanaian Governement cannot expect companies already running a business in Ghana to make substantial profits, or assist in the growth of the economy by employing people if they cannot be assured constant power supply. It is not rocket science. Eventually these companies are going to move their operations/businesses elsewhere.

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The Truth About Beats by Dre!

Last night I watched another awesome YouTube video by a tech reviewer called Marques Brownlee. If you missed it, check out the link below.

I woke up this morning and Marques had made a posting on his Google+ Account:
MBThe funny thing this is that Marques is not the only Tech reviewer on YouTube who has made a Tech review on Beats by Dr Dre. If you do a quick search on YouTube using “Beats by Dre” you will find a whole list of reviews either praising them of knocking them as useless. Interesting enough, Marques has made other Tech reviews on Beats by Dre way back in February 2012 ‘”ATH-M50 vs Beats by Dre Pro, plus a mini rant.” – Uploaded on 14 Feb 2012″. Dr Dre did not want to talk to him then. Nor did Dr Dre, as far as I know, want to to talk to the other reviews os his product.
So Apple now buys Beats and they now want to talk to, I presume, to the first person who has made a review on their product. There is a lot to take away from Apples sudden interest in Marques’ review, and I will leave you to list them in the comments section. My only advice to Marques though is that he takes a lawyer with him [if he is having this talk at Apple offices].

I will be interested, if Marques is allowed to reveal the contents of this meeting to the general public, what was actually discussed in this meeting.
Anyway, nice one Marques – keep up the good work. Whatever the outcome of this “talk” with Apple, don’t let it stop you from reviewing the iPhone 6 when it comes out! ;-)

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