Sunday, 18 March 2012

The 'spirit child'

Welcome to the Lane………………………..

Today we take a journey into the twilight zone. What will cause a seven year old girl to pick a piece of paper and start listing the names of her father’s living relatives….? Asked why….. she is says she wants to know how “big” the family has become… was this “innocent” answer that sent shivers down the spine of my sister in-law….enough to give me a call and tell me the amazing exploits of this little girl…..her mother further recalls that since her daughter started speaking she has been saying and asking her rather strange questions. On one occasion, she asked her mother if she (her mother) knew her real name. Her puzzled mother responds :why not ? I named you….the child responds…: no..not that name..I mean my real name..!   Her mother then enquires what this “real” name is and the child responds by saying “Amenuveve” a word that means someone who cares about people... (She was barely 3yrs old) On another occasion she warns her mother to stop beating her else “she will return to where she came from….!”; welcome to the world of the “born to die child” the Yoruba call it “abiku”,the igbo  “Ogbanje” and the Akan of Ghana call the phenomenon “ awumawuo”

The myth of the spirit child has it that when a woman continuously bears children who die a short while after birth or has frequent miscarriages, such women are said to be plagued by the spirit of a “born to die child” ; an evil child who will die shortly after it is born and will  to re-enter her mother’s womb again in an unending cycle. It is believed that this cycle can continue for a long time and can only be broken  when the child’s “iya  uwa”, the stone that links it to the spirit world is found and destroyed,  in other instances they are given horrible names, with the believe that they will be too ashamed to go back to the spirit world with such names….sometimes medicine men will try to discourage the dead child’s (spirit) from coming back by mutilating its body before  burying it…literally throwing it into an “evil forest”.  In extreme occurrences, the children are known to return with the scars of mutilation at their birth(reincarnation)- unbelievable, but strangely enough the phenomena has been observed  and this believe is so entrenched in the minds of most Africans.
This niece of mine came only after countless miscarriages and a child who did not survive beyond the first year. It is also known that such children when they finally decide to “stay” behave strangely; where does a three year old girl get the faculty  and confidence to tell her mother to stop spanking her else “she will go back where she came from”…?

I  am a Christian, so you can imagine how difficult it is for me to believe such things, yet the fact cannot be denied.

In Chinua Achebe’s book “Things fall apart” he makes allusions to the existence of such children in the except that deals with Ekwefi, Okwonkwo’s wife and her struggle with childbirth; it tells the story of how the cycle of death was finally brought to an end when Ezinma’s (the born to die child) “iya  uwa”(spiritual stone ) was finally found.
Well could there be a scientific explanation to the behavioral pattern of such children? What about the ones who come back with their scars of mutilation?
Your guess is as good as mine….we may never know………….!

Monday, 5 March 2012

An overview of Zepto and RLG laptops

Welcome to the Lane………………………..

Today, I bring you an overview of Zepto and RLG laptops.

 With this blogging thing of mine came the need to own a laptop…… Back in college, I had purchased a  second hand desktop that  stopped working almost about the same time I submitted my thesis…..guess it wanted to just see me through……faithful servant…! Now the problem was which brand of and type of laptop will give me the best specification at the least cost….Here in Ghana, there are a number of categories of laptops to choose from. They include the “home used”: second hand laptops often imported from the US and Europe, locally used laptops offered for sale, and brand new laptops (brands such as DELL, Apple, Samsung etc.) the cheapest among  these are the locally used ones and the most expensive are of course  the brand new imported laptops. The problem I found with these categories is that people always found it difficult to get parts for them whenever they broke down especially the second hand ones that often break down easily. 

The last group of laptops are the locally assembled ones….so called “made in Ghana” laptops….two brands that stand out in this category are the Zepto and RLG laptops….Zepto laptops are produced by a Danish company that relocated to Ghana after they were declared bankrupt in November 2009.
RLG laptops are produced by a subsidiary of the AGAMS Group of Companies: rlg Communications is a Ghanaian-owned limited liability company.

Zepto laptops come in the 10”,14”,15.6” and 17”……the specifications and prices are as follows:

Zepto 10 inch Netbook
Screen Dimension       10 inches
Processor         Intel® Atom™ Processor N455
Operating System       Windows 7 Starter
Hard Disk Drive         250GB
 Price: GH¢ 599

Zepto 14 inch Netbook
Screen Dimension       14 inches
Processor         AMD-C Series (Dual-Core)
Operating System       Windows 7 Starter
Hard Disk Drive         320GB SATA HDD
 Price.. :GH¢ 899

Zepto 15 inch Laptop
Screen Dimension       15 inches
Processor         Intel® Pentium Dual Core ® Processor T4500
Operating System       Windows 7 Starter
Hard Disk Drive         250GB
 Price.. :GH¢ 1180

Zepto 17 inch Laptop
Screen Dimension       17 inches
Processor         Intel® CORE i3-350M (2.26GHZ , ARRANDALE)
Operating System       Windows 7 Starter
Hard Disk Drive         500 GB
 Price.. :GH¢ 1999
RLG offers the mgs range of laptops…….their specifications are as follows:

mgs One:
An exclusive aluminum coating, 4-hour long playing time, built-in wireless, webcam and slim, light-weighted and performs best due to its relatively fast processor. With Bluetooth features the 2GB, 12.1

Price: GH650

mgs Two:

This is upgraded version of the mgs One with a CD Rom feature. It is light, easy to carry and quite stylish.

Price: GH 750(old price) currently out of stock.

As you can see information on RLG laptops is a bit difficult to come by….they have a Facebook page but they hardly answer queries posted on it and I find that very unacceptable for an IT company….they have a weak marketing department and their website needs a lot of tuning  up….they however have offices in almost every regional capital and they provide reasonably good after sale service. They have hire purchase arrangements for salaried workers and have entered into various deals with government to provide laptops for schools.

Zepto on the other hand has representation in two out of ten regions: Accra and Kumasi…..but have a stronger representation on the net…their website
Provides detailed information on all their products…they also have some sort of hire purchase arrangement for salaried workers although it doesn’t really work at the moment….they always come up with an excuse that the hire purchase  forms have run out(for over a month now….Kumasi office) , they also provide training in I.T.

I settled for a zepto 14”  because generally I think Zepto is a bit ahead in quality……the reason I would recommend any of these brands however is the after sales service they provide…..meaning you don’t need to bother about  replacement parts and stuff  like that…and the relatively cheaper cost.

Convertion rate: GH 1.7=$1

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Sunday, 4 March 2012

Recipes brewed in the African pot............

Welcome to the Lane…………………………..

Hello lovely guys today is one of those days……you know days you want to do something fun……I like food…yes I do….but who doesn’t? I thought why don’t I open an African recipe  page…..?.....yeah a recipe page…..! So I can teach all you guys how to prepare some good healthy African dishes……. in these days when even Africans have forgotten how good, tasty and healthy African dishes are and have taken to eating pure junk… the name of westernization or is it globalization…..!  Trying to live like the Caucasian: eat like the Whiteman, talk like the Whiteman, sleep like him and even do unprintable things…. all like the Whiteman……don’t get me wrong all you white guys….. I have nothing against you….my problem here is with my own black folks who think anything African is primitive and should be done away with.....But I think there are still a lot of indigenous African practices which are great and helpful and should be kept….one of them is the kinds of food our grand folks ate…..great so let’s get down to business….This page, like the one on African proverbs will be constantly updated…so join me in building this encyclopedia of African recipes……Below are some great African dishes and their recipes……your comments and recipes are welcome…..

Disclaimer: This really is a collection from various sources...we do not claim ownership of any of the recipes mentioned.

East African Recipes
Every culture seems to have thier own version of fried dough! This East African version has a sweet taste and pleasant chewy texture. You might eat maandazi for breakfast in a Kenyan cafe.
2 cups white flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons sugar
¼ teaspoon cardamom
¼ teaspoon salt
1 egg
¾ cup water
4 cups vegetable oil, for frying

1. Combine flour, baking powder, sugar, cardamom and salt in a large bowl.
2. Whisk egg and water together in a small bowl. Make a well in center of dry ingredients and add egg mixture. Mix together gradually with a fork until mixture forms a soft dough. You can add 1 or 2 tablespoons of flour (one at a time) if it is too sticky. Cover dough with a wet towel or plastic wrap and leave 30 minutes or longer.
3. Heat oil in a deep, heavy pot (cast iron is preferable) until is reaches 360° F. While oil is heating, roll dough out on a floured surface into a rectangle ½ inch thick. Cut into 2-inch rounds with a glass or small biscuit cutter. You can also use a knife to cut rectangles. Form ball again with remaining dough and repeat process until all of dough is cut. You should have about 20 rounds.
4. Fry maandazi in batches of 5, for about 5 minutes per batch, turning to brown both sides. Hint: Turn the mandaazi before it gets too puffy, or the air bubbles will prevent you from turning it at all. I usually turn them several times during frying process. Remove from oil when both sides are golden brown. Serve warm, dipped in powdered sugar if desired.

Yield: about 20 maandazi

 Nigerian: Ewa Agoyin(boiled beans)

Ewa Agoyin simply means plain boiled beans eaten with a pepper sauce.
This is the perfect way for those who do not like beans to enjoy it. I can tell you that yours truly does not like beans yet, I can never get enough of Ewa Agoyin. I don't know what it is about it that makes it taste so good. Maybe it is the caramelized onions. All I know is that I enjoy eating it.


  • Beans (Brown/Black eyed): 2 cigar cups | approx. 500g
  • Red Palm Oil: about 5 cooking spoons
  • Plum Tomatoes: 5 big ones
  • Crayfish (a handful)
  • Onions – 1 big bulb
  • Pepper & Salt to taste
  • Seasoning – 2 Maggi/Knorr cubes

Before you cook Ewa Agoyin

  1. Soak the beans in cold water for 5 hours. Boil the beans for 5 minutes and discard the water. Rinse the beans in cold water and set aside. This soaking and pre-cooking process will help reduce the gas inducing elements.
  2. Chop the onions, grind the crayfish and pound the pepper.
  3. Blend the tomatoes and boil the tomato puree till all the water has dried from it.
  4. Pre-cook the diced onions without any added water. The aim is to get it to caramelize a bit so that it will take less time to fully caramelize during frying.

Cooking Directions

  1. Cook the beans till done. For Ewa Agoyin, the beans needs to be very soft.
    Note: If you have a pressure cooker, beans is one of the staple foods you will want to use it for. It considerably reduces the cooking time.
  2. When the beans is done, add salt, leave to dry up all the water and set aside.
  3. To cook the Agoyin, pour the palm oil into a separate dry pot. Allow to heat up till the oil starts smoking and the red colour changes to clear. It is better to do this at medium heat so that the oil does not get too hot too quickly. Remember to turn off your smoke alarm before doing this. :)

    To keep the smoke to a minimum and still have the traditional taste of Ewa Agoyin, I use vegetable oil and when it is very hot, I add a small amount of palm oil. Watch the video below to see how I do that.
  4. Now add the precooked onions and stir continuously till the onions is fully caramelized. It should be very dark in colour.
  5. Add the parboiled tomato puree and stir continuously till you cannot tell the difference between the tomatoes and onions.
  6. Add the pepper, crayfish, stock cubes and salt to taste. You can also add a little water at this point if your want.
  7. Stir very well and bring to the boil. The Ewa Agoyin is ready!
Serve by dishing the beans into a plate and scooping some Agoyin stew on it. Ewa Agoyin can be eaten on its own, with soft and stretchy bread (known as Ewa ati Bread) or with fried plantain
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Thursday, 1 March 2012


Welcome to the Lane...................

from the bosom of the archivist.......

It was recognized at an early stage that the boy John Wesley had an unusual mission to fulfill on earth. Although the form it was to take was not clearly defined at this stage, his parents; particularly his mother, Susanna Wesley did not hesitate to play her role in preparing him for this very special assignment. She admits to taking special care of him.  On the evening of May, 17, 1711 Susanna wrote concerning John as follows: “What shall I render unto the Lord for all His mercies?...I would offer unto thee myself and all that thou hast given me…I do intend to be more particularly careful of the soul of this child, that Thou has so mercifully provided for, than ever I have been; that I may endeavour to instill into his mind the principles of thy true religion, and virtue. Lord give me grace to do it sincerely and prudently, and bless my attempts with good success”

The incident that left this impression on John’s parents was his narrow escape from a fire outbreak when he was the age of five. On February 1709, the thatched roof of the Epworth Rectory caught fire, and in the mist of the confusion, everyone run out of the house with the exception of John; who was asleep on the attic. When he woke up to find the whole house on fire he threw himself out of the window and was caught by two young men, just before the blazing roof caved in. He was thus referred to as “a brand plucked from the burning”.   
The interpretation given to this event, being that John was delivered from the fire because he had a great mission in life, had a lasting impact on the Wesley household including John Wesley himself and probably explains his exceptional zeal and dedication.  It is therefore not surprising that, a prime minister two centuries later, described John Wesley as “undoubtedly the greatest religious leader the Anglo-Saxon race ever produced.”  
Rev. John Benjamin Wesley has been rightly described as the founder of Methodism. He, through his ministry, led a revival that swept through the whole of England and subsequently the USA. A man once declared, during one of Rev. John Wesley’s ministrations “now I know you are a prophet of the Lord”. What did this person mean by saying John Wesley was a prophet?


John Wesley’s ministry could be divided into two phases. Some writers have suggested that John Wesley experienced two distinct conversions, the first being his high church conversion and the second his evangelical conversion.
His ordination in 1725 significantly marked the commencement of the first phase of his ministry. A significant event that characterized the first phase of his ministry was his failed missionary exploit to Georgia in 1735, purportedly to convert the Indians. However at this stage the “unusual works of the Holy Spirit” which followed his ministry were not to be until, “his strange heartwarming experience” at Aldersgate Street in 1738.

On the 24th of May, 1738 as John Wesley recounts himself: “in the evening of that day, I went very unwillingly to a prayer meeting in Aldersgate Street. About 8:45, I was listening to a reading of Luther’s preface to the Epistle to the Romans. While he was describing the change which God works in the heart through faith in Christ, I felt my heart strangely warmed.”
It remains without doubt that, what distinguished the second phase of Rev. John Wesley’s ministry from the first was his Aldersgate Street experience; partly because several events distinguished this part of John Wesley’s ministry to affirm this assertion.  The Lord healed the sick and delivered the oppressed whenever John Wesley ministered.  There are reports of persons being slain under the power of God during such ministrations. The following are but the slightest fraction of the manifestations of God’s power that characterized the Founder’s Ministry after his Aldersgate Experience.
1.      John Wesley recorded one such incident in his journal thus; “those who received this new living faith through the Holy Spirit continued to meet together. About sixty of us were holding a love feast on New Year’s Eve on Fetter. At about three in the morning, as we were continuing in prayer, the power of God came mightily upon us. Many cried out in complete joy. Others were knocked to the ground. As soon as we recovered a little from that awe and amazement at God’s presence, we broke out in praise”.

2.      On another occasion he felt while preaching in a prison to say that; “God wills all men to receive this saving faith”. He therefore called to God to bear witness to this truth. Immediately one, and another, and another sunk to the ground. People dropped on every side as though thunderstruck and some of them cried aloud. The next day the whole prison was filled with the cries of those whose hearts were being touched by God and two of these are reported to have received joy in a moment to the astonishment of the onlookers.

3.      Also at Baldwin Street while Rev. John Wesley preached on the fourth chapter of the Acts of the Apostles, he asked God to confirm this teaching. “Immediately a woman cried out loud as though she was in the agonies of death. Two other persons were likewise seized with pain and were later able to burst forth praise to their Saviour.” Countless of such powerful manifestations, which for want of space cannot be recounted, continued to characterize the founder’s ministry.

It worthy of note that, the greatest miracle remained to John Wesley the conversion of person to the saving knowledge of Christ. The movement grew and waxed strong even in the face of opposition. In 1739 approximately five thousand converts were made and several thousands influenced. Indeed, some writers have suggested that it is doubtful if an equal number of genuinely evangelical Christians have ever been born into the Kingdom of God in an equal length of time.

It is imperative, at this stage to ask ourselves, some critical questions.
·         Would an observer describe and identify the people called Methodists with these powerful manifestations that were a normal feature of the Founder’s ministry?
·          Do we as Methodists still lay emphasis on the unusual works of the Holy Spirit which followed and blessed our Founder’s ministry?
If our answer to any of these questions is no, then it would not be out of place to suggest that we take a moment to reflect on our Methodist heritage. We would find embodied in this very rich and intense heritage, an electrifying powerful, charismatic and prophetic ministry which unlike others has the desired aim of bringing the lost to also have the Aldersgate experience.  
It could conclusively be stated that Methodism has firm roots in the prophetic ministry and thus by the declaration of 2012 as a YEAR OF THE PROPHETIC by the Kumasi Diocese of the Methodist Church Ghana, the Church is only revisiting its roots; which exercise has usually proved to have positive impact on the expansion of the Kingdom of God.
Are you a Methodist? Well, if your answer is yes then you must know that a true Methodist is the one who desires the infilling of the Holy Spirit for unusual works; for this was the path treaded by our Founder Rev. John Wesley and most importantly Jesus Christ our Lord. 

This guest post is by Sarah N. Nkansah
An archivist at the Methodist Diocesan office Kumasi.

1.      Robert Aboagye Mensah, John Wesley and the Methodists, 2005
2.      W. T. Watkins, Out of Aldersgate, 1937
3.      Clare George WeakleyJr(Ed.), The Nature of Spiritual Growth,- Wesley’s Messages on the Holy Spirit, 1977
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