Report of my visit in Ghana: Sound effects
Last year 2012 I went back home to Ghana in December. It was a very successfull and adventures arriving. Already on the next day I started my day with costruction work. The whole day I am driving a wheel truck. From far I can hear how people passed by and wisper: „Oh he just arrived from Europe and he is doing hard work like this.“ Some called me : „Rasta – this shows that you are not lazy in Europe!“
As I was working I walked around and found out, that the area was full of plastic bags and not clean. In the evening I said to myself: tomorrow morning I will organize my friends and we clean the area. I send people to get me a lot of brooms. In the morning at 6 c’clock the three of us started to clean the area. Immediatly friends who passed by and didn’t know that I am in town started to join in and helped while we are conversing. Within half an hour we were about twenty people. The assembly man saw us from far and as he got closer he said: „Hey Rasta – when did you arrive?“ He then also joined us. I used that possibility to extend the work further. By 11 o’clock around my area was so clean.
Suddely in the afternoon I saw my neighbours around me also began to clean up their area. An elderly woman passed by and said to me:“ You brought energy from Europe and shared it around. This is very good work. For me people could clean up, but often they are feeling shy to do it. Thinking the others are watching them and seeing them doing a dirty work. But I don’t call this a dirty work. This is a communion labor, which we have to do it and clean our area. But who will start it for someone to join in. The assembly man was often organizing people to clean the area. But suddenly they don’t want to do it. All is simple feeling shy that they are doing cleaning work. I am happy you are showing them, cleaning work doesn’t stand for one person. Every body is allowed to clean its area. Even ministers are joining in communion labor.“
This conversation I had with the old lady gave me a push. Every Saturday I am doing it and people are joining in.
This spread in the area. I was happy to walk around and see cleaners in the area.
I also often traced my roots and go to old places where I haven’t been for a long time. I saw a lot of development in Ghana. I went to an area, which quickly klicked my mind and I remembered a friend which I knew in Austria. 1995 he came to Ghana as a reporter for a festival sura za africa in Vienna. I lived then with my wife in Ghana. We got a letter from VIDC that somebody is coming from the ORF to make a report. His name is Dr. Bilek. So the time reach and we want to go to the airport to fetch him. As we arrived at the airport, we meet a lot of friends who are driving taxi. They all asked us if we need help. We gave then the name of Dr. Bilek to them on a piece of paper.
They all hold then a paper with this name on. The funny thing was, as he arrived he saw his name on about ten pieces of paper.
We didn’t know him personally. Suddenly Nadja was saying: „This is our man, he is starring around and look like an Austrian. Shall we ask him“ So Nadja went and asked him: „are you Robert Bilek?“ and I heared them then speking austrian German. Then I asked him: „But didn’t you see your name on the papers‘“ he replied: „Oh yes, but there are too many and I don’t know where to go.“ There I relized, that this was a mistake to involve so many people.
As a Nima boy I didn’t know much about hotels. So me and Emmanuel stand there and decided to bring him to a hotel, so that we will accompany him in the next day for him to choose a good hotel. We just follow the names of the hotels and choose one. Emmanuel then brought him there and me and Nadja went home. Emmanuel came back and reported to us, that he got a good room for him. So in the morning the three of us went there and we saw him sitting in front of the hotel. I did only then a bit a research and found out that we brought him to the lions dungeon. I watched the face of Robert and said in my mind, sorry! I told him that he should pack his things and we go and find a better place. So we did.
I brought him to the next hotel and it was so quite in that area. We booked a room for him there. I went around again and made a bit a research of the area and I found out that this place is a tigers dungeon, but they are all tamed. So I didn’t get panic and let him be there. Immeditaly we have to go and set appointments with musicians, such of Nana Ampedu, the leader of African Brothers band and also with panafrican orchestra, Nana Danso and others.
As we reached Nima to show him where I was born and grew up, I think Robert got interested in that place. Immediatly he started to do some recordings. Emmanuel and me were laughing behind, because we didn’t understand why he did those recordings. He recorded the voices of birds, cocks, chicken and sound of cooking pots – for me I didn’t understand why he was recording those things. I would have recorded music. But he knew what he wanted as a journalist.
I remember once we took him near to the 37 hospital and he was recording the bats on a tree. And me and Emmanuel couldn’t stopp laughing. Today I got to know, that those things are the sound effects. Now on this trip I was also chasing those sounds of Ghana.
As I went to the village Eguafo I got up early morning and did some recordings of the village sounds in the morning. Often the elders are asking me: „Eh – you don’t want to find something more insteresting?“ In my mind I just remember and said to myself, you don’t know I was just also in the same position, but now I can see the value of all this.
Dr. Bilek did a very nice report about Accra. I quite remember as I arrived in Austria. A lot of Ghanaian friends gave me complements, which I didn’t understand why
A friend took me to his home and played the report of Accra for me to hear. I went to the house and I heared a report on a tape and everything was so familiar to me, but it was in German. So I just didn’t say anything. Suddenly I heard a sound of Nima, the cocks and the cookingpots in the background and the Haussa language as a background sound. On and on I heared my voice, that is where I interfeared and asked my friend: „What is this?“ this is a report from Accra. The one who was doing this on the radio ORF is called Dr. Bilek. There I was remembering of course the funny recordings.
I was so interested and asked for a copy. Then I slowly became a bit famous through this report. I said to myself, that all the people didn’t know what Robert Bilek went through in Ghana. Thank God he is a journalist and he can stand a lot of things. In the whole world if you travel to a different country you meet good and bad. We let the good things overcome the bad ones. That was exactly what Dr. Bilek did. His wife Karin came also to Ghana and the research became more and more interesting. I think the work of the husband had entered her. She was brave and powerful and there was nowhere she cannot enter. For me, I like people like Robert and his wife Karin.
I found out that he had a big position in the ORF, but you cannot see it from him. That’s why we could go anywhere we want in Accra.
Robert Bilek - I want to tell you – come back again! Do another report! Now all the areas we know are very much interesting than before. I know you came to Ghana several times, but we need another report.
John Kofi Donkor