Back Home NOW <3 My message to Ghana, From Kaylin

I have so much to say I have to write another blog entry.  I have too many ideas to fit them all in my Facebook status.  The first thing that happened when the plane landed in NY after two, 7-hour flights, was that my Blackberry powered on. I checked my email in a few minutes and I responded to an email from my Teach for America recruiter.  I also sent an email to my boss, and planned to come into work to tutor science in two days.  It is an incredible luxury to have my email right at my fingertips.  It also makes me realize that I will never complain about having slow internet ever again in my life.

Ghana taught me how to be calmer and more satisfied with the small joys in life.  The second I stepped off the plane, I stepped into the winter and the hustle and bustle of New York City.  Everyone is always rushing and running everywhere. What is the rush? If you constantly rush in life, you never take out enough time to enjoy the present, the here and now.

Ghana is overall a healthier place then New York.  As far as mental health is concerned, in Ghana you will rarely be stressed or anxious.  You learn to relax and you realize that certain things (like electricity and water) are not within your control or influence.  They will turn on and off as they please.  However, you will never go without water or power for so long that you cannot survive happily.  You can always buy water at the store in a plastic sashay, and you can always take a trotro/walk to the nearest internet café.  The weather is so gorgeous; you can usually hang outside with friends, so what is the need for power anyway?  In Ghana, rather then spending hours on facebook, you can simply walk next door and see your friends.  That’s the way life should be.

New York is so cold and dry.  My skin was a lot happier in Ghana. I never had dry skin in my life, and now my skin is so dry from the cold here.  Ghana’s main export is cocoa, so I continue to use cocoa butter lotion as usual.  I stepped off the plane in my AfricanWear and I felt fantastic! I love the feeling of bringing Ghana home with me.

It was never a secret—my boyfriend and I are engaged and we are in a long distance relationship now.  The first question my friends from home always ask me is, “Is he an American?” No. He is a Ghanaian. LOL that question is so funny to me.  Why would I want anything less then the best? I am engaged to the best man in the world for me, and I plan on spending the rest of my life with him.  Long distance doesn’t really faze us since we know we are going to be together forever.

I am not going to lie, the first thing I did after putting my bags down and taking a hot shower, was engagement ring shopping! I tell my friends over and over again, the ring is more for them then it is for me.  If I was in Ghana, I wouldn’t want an engagement ring because I would be with my fiancé everyday.  But in New York, I swear, the first question people ask me is “Where is the ring?”… As if a ring is supposed to symbolize my love for my future husband.. craziness. But then again, what else should I expect from USA?

I am not being critical of USA entirely.  I will admit it; I went on a shopping spree or two within this first week of being home.  New York is good for superficial things like good food, huge department stores, and a wide selection of everything!  I know there are fantastic school, job, and internship opportunities in New York too.  New York is the second best place in the world to me.  One amazing thing about New York is that it’s the home to my amazing family. I am very grateful to have the most loving, caring, open-minded and supportive family in the world (which I love dearly!).  However, as far as locations are concerned, Ghana is better then New York because Ghana has more of the deeper, meaningful qualities I love to incorporate into my life.  But New York is certainly the place I plan to go to get all of my degrees and to go to medical school.  My fiancé and I already have a plan to get an apartment together in the City while I am in medical school and while he is pursuing his masters in a NYC graduate school.

Ghana, Ghana, Ghana. Why are you so sweet, so beautiful? So deep so meaningful? Why do you explain the meaning of life in such simple terms, and why are you always right?  You asked me to return to my history, my roots, and my values.  You asked me to ignore all of the corruption and competition at home, and to open my mind to freedom.  You showed me a way out.  You held me by the hand and led me around the most beautiful land on Earth, and you introduced me to the most caring and loving people I have ever met in my life.  And for that, I thank you and I will be forever committed to you.  Ghana, I will do anything and everything to live a life full of meaning and purpose.  I want to make a difference for women and children, and I want to make this world a fairer place.  I want every child to receive a good education and good health care.  I know I am not superhuman, but I know I will do my part.  I love you and I thank you for inviting me to “study abroad” with you, in order to find myself and discover meaningful purpose and direction in my life.

Peace and Love. We are all one race, the human race. One love. <3

Vodafone Scam, European Ownership

Everything is not sweet in Ghana.  When it comes to European owned businesses and imperialism, there are several cases of inequality and scams. The only one I will touch on in this entry is Vodafone.

I was very skeptical of the Vodafone 40-40 plan from the start. The plan claims it will change all of your calls to only 8 peswas/ min (less then 8 cents a minute). Sounds good right, compared to 14 p./ min. WRONG! Because this rate only affects local calls. You still have to pay the same amount to call the states (which recently skyrocketed to 47 p. / min to call international cell phones and something around 16 p. / min for international landline calls). Also, without the 40-40 plan, you will receive a 75% bonus on the credit you purchase if you spend 10 GC or more. For example, if you pay 10 GC, you will actually receive 17.5 GC in credit. I did the math and I figured out that you get 125 min for local calls on the original plan and you also get 125 min for local calls on the 8 p/min plan (40-40 plan).  The difference is that on the original plan, you are receiving 17.5 GC of credit compared to only 10 GC of credit on the 40-40 plan.  On the 40-40 plan, you have less credit for text messaging and less credit for making international calls.

In conclusion, the 40-40 plan is a scam.  If you are an international student or a person who makes even one international call, you are at a disadvantage.  Also, if you are a person who sends one or more text messages, you are also at a disadvantage.  The math is very easy to figure out.  I called Vodafone and spoke to one of their representatives and asked them to do the math with me and they got the same results.  40-40 is a complete scam.

Vodafone is a European owned phone company that is receiving the majority of the profit (if not all) from Vodafone users in Ghana.  I hope more Ghanaians are made aware about this 40-40 scam and I hope they do not fall into Vodafone’s trap.