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1 — Tell Me What You See

Nurse Amena wasn’t rough with Mavis, but she was missing the tender touch one would usually associate with a nurse. Mavis had to remind herself that this was Ghana, and one could never assume the expected. She had been posted in the Netherlands for a couple of years prior, so that must’ve contributed to her unrealistic expectation of her country's people. She’d been back a few months now, her program with the Dutch Development Agency, also known as RVO, having ended as expected. …


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Dawn in Dzorwulu was always a dazzling affair. The orange hue from the horizon reflected on its many high-rises a transcendent cool of colors. The blushing pink of the Adu-T building for fashion, blue of the towering Stanbic Bank heights, and jade from Green Ventures’ blocks were but a few standouts on the Main Street.

On the street level, pedestrians made their way to their daily business, acting as the fillers in this geometric glass work of art. Every so often a mob of runners would march pass, soldiering through the middle of the road. …


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1 — Unmasked

Hand clenching the mask stuffed in his pocket. His eyes staring at the object at hand. The fence, just as high as it had always been. The security cameras, as ever, blankly staring. The structure itself, a triangular prism. Rigid. Compact. Black. Between him and the task, an oasis. Glimmering. Luring him in.

He pushes it to the back of his mind.

The sun glaring. Pebbles of sweat trickling down his tensed face. The heat, unrelenting. The dust, suffocating. Behind him is failure. Behind him are stretches of paved road back to his village. Bare. Grey. Inhuman.

But it is also a dying savannah. …


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The typical gang-sign and pose in front of a car that is almost ubiquitous across all social media in W Africa

In Ghana, there’s a popular saying someone says to a not-so-close friend when you see them in town looking fly and living good. Like “Chale see you, your money come!” The usual response would go something like “oh nah,” and dismiss the earlier claim that in fact “the money hasn’t come,” at all, or if it has, it hasn't come as much as the other guy. Then it’s all laughed off in the brief moment's lightheartedness. This piece isn’t on my issues with small talk content in Ghana, but the hidden meanings of the term “Your money has come.” What if your money never comes? Does that make you less a person, or deemed not successful, that you aren’t wearing new clothes or roving around town in a spanking new car? The statement goes a long way in setting the tone of what is expected from all of us, to earn and earn and keep earning. …


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God, I am bound to you infinitely.

There is a tether that ties heart and soul together. An intangible substance that gives us our meaning. This substance goes beyond what we call bonds. Or what science can proclaim to us. No matter how much we are made to think ourselves not part of you, the more I begin to see how I am. That we are.

This morning I woke to the Sun as I would any other day. There was a warm glass of water on my bedside table and sitting innocently by it was a tiny white tab. I drank a few gulps of water before placing the glass down. My eyes drifted to the tab again. Written on it were a series of numbers. A barcode of sorts. It didn’t mean anything to know what they stood for, the tab’s power lay in its medicinal properties. The new medicine for heart and soul. And the holi-doctors who understood our metaphysical interconnections knew that this medicine was a bridge. A bridge that once crossed, could be revealed to you during both night and day. …


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Photo by Morton Hemkhaus

Chapter 1

The waves are a force of change. Eternal. Magical. Ferocious. Instantaneous. As it had been that day. Long ago it seemed to me. I, reliving that memory being played back in my head or databa- whichever one it is, I am not so sure. What I am sure of, was the power of the wave; when it collapsed around me, and twirled me in its wake, and I was little more than a smoothened stone in the short shore of the sea. Sun on top, lazily humming, my body laying in a heap, languid but alive. …


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Chapter 1

“See. This thing we de do, we go fit collect all the people dema money, you understand. Then put some money here, some there, for the business inside. You understand. Then when people see that de money work, we go slide am into some hot soup for we to chop. You understand! Goat pepper soup!”

“Aye goat pepper soup! Uncle you be senior plus! Aye, but see-see. If de people no give us all the money how we go do am?”

“Ah! Dat is why there is risk, dat is why we are using Shareefa. She is the key. When they hear her name sef, dem all go put down. See-see, right now the situation is very bad. People are on the streets protesting! The rain that fall yestee, it no be tomorrow when de go come collect am ohhhh. I beg! All we for do is give them something small, you understand, then we take the rest for the soup!” …


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Chapter 1

Well, he wasn’t HIV positive. Non-reactive, it said. His eyes scanned the page for more. For it to say something that would give him impetus. Charge.

Then giving it further elaboration, the result made him feel quite alright about himself. But was alright good enough? There was a nagging at the edge of his brain that wondered why it didn’t do more than that. If he wasn’t HIV positive, then what was that nagging worry?

He had drawn his blood for testing in the morning and for the rest of day a grey fog formed over his head casting large shadows on his psyche. …


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It seems cliché to write about something that really shouldn’t need writing about in an ideal world. But we are living in any thing but. And probably never will. Seeing that everyones’ idea of an ideal world is different. Even among your closest friends the minutest of details can set off a chain of preferences that do enough to create a fundamentally different ‘ideal world.’

At the core of everyone’s preference is set of complex values that are dynamic and always being challenged and/or changed. Values is very much the motivation for this work. That there should be a sensibility about the way we live our lives in a changing climate. Understanding the many different variations of everyone’s perfect world and finding this harmony with our earth is possibly the most monumental task mankind is facing. What is particularly hard about this is our acceptance that a lot of the things we called progress, must now be altered. Some would say it means going backward. And to many people in the developing world, for instance, who have had the image of progress framed as western urbanisation, and everything traditional chastised as uncivilised, it seems an annoyance that we should turn away from the carbon fuelled modernity that the West achieved (and that everyone has been told to work toward in one way or another). But in turning backward, it is only to pave a more holistic route onward. We cant go back to those times, so we must endeavour to merge the right ideals from before with the right ideals of now, so the days that follow are easier. …


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20th April 2033

“Tonight I speak to you from Linda Dor Hotel, about ten minutes’ drive from Kwahu Central Station. A place that is unfamiliar to you I suppose. A place quite unlike the place I knew it to be before I left eight years ago. I am back now and don’t know what to feel. But I do see the changes. I see the forward motion of progress held back by the anchor of tradition. For all that has changed, a lot has stayed the same. Tomorrow I will wake up early to take the bus to Babaso. This is the town my family stays in. The ones that stayed behind at least. It has been a long journey, Lexa, and I should rest for tomorrow. Wake me up at seven please. …

About

Ekow Manuar

The stories we tell have a life of their own and they work between the realm of what is real and how we conceive that reality.

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