Somewhere last year, I got a message from a Swedish leader. The message was sent via my Facebook page. Her name was Emilie Persson. She is from the Swedish town of Visby. She had read an article I had written and published in a Swedish newspaper, Omarvalden.
The article was on the importation of cheap poultry products from the European Union and how that has suffocated the local industry. It was published ahead of a European fair. She told me she was coming to Ghana and would like to get in touch. I wrote back to her-informing her what I do for a living.
Ms. Persson said she was coming to Ghana to undertake research work which forms part of her education. That was the last time I heard from her. I logged into my page one early morning and I saw a comment from Ms. Persson. It was there I realised she’s in town. She had made a comment on my status and I quickly replied to her. She subsequently began commenting on my status and from time to time she’ll write something.
I remember one status I posted which did not go down well with her. I had jokingly written that commercial sex workers had reduced their rates as part of the yuletide. I had to quickly clarify the statement. She took that in her stead and we moved on from there. She is feminist, according to her own statement on her page. I saw her again on Facebook this past Wednesday afternoon (3rd February).
The chat this time was lengthy. She was coming to Accra partly to enjoy some ‘fika’ or coffee and then head off to Tema, the port city, to attend a friend’s birthday party. We planned to meet at Osu because I’m there most of the Fridays. But which direction to give her...that was my headache. She had no idea where Asanka Local or Pierre Cardin (clothing shop) was-so any direction that will help her locate me will be out of place. Asanka Local-an eatery- could do the trick.
Later in the afternoon I received a text message from her. The bus had delayed and will be arriving after 4pm for a ‘short chat.’ Upon getting at Ring Road central in Accra, she sent me another text asking if we could meet at Smoothys, another joint at Osu popular for its drinks. I wrote back to her for us to meet inside my office. Thankfully she came.
She was dressed in batik-tie and dye top with trouser. The under appear to be hanging somewhat-I may be wrong on this, though. She wore a very warm but broad smile. We later went upstairs to the newsroom where the rest of my colleagues were. She handed me some potato (that was really a surprised, Emilie).
I had told her to get me some potatoes-though I meant for it to be a joke. But she was generous to hand me the plastic bag with the potatoes. We sat down to talk about almost everything that came to mind. We talked about my time at the University of Cape Coast, the township, journalism and how I got to know the Omarvalden chaps.
I don’t recall how long we spent chatting but it was more than 20 minutes. We talked about politicians and corruption. I told openly that our leaders are nothing but idiots. Then there was a bit about the IMF and the World Bank and how their crazy policies have destroyed our economies.
There was also a bit about privatisation and I told her my piece of mind. They have all been bogus, I said. ‘Not even one has worked? She asked. Yes, not even one, I replied.
I cited the privatisation of water to make my case. She agreed. My colleagues started giving me some fake fans for whatever reason. It continued for sometime until our conversation ended. She comes across as a very smart and open minded woman with some cultural vibes She loves hiphop and r&b.
Before we departed we snapped our fingers for the camera. She is in a relationship with a Ghanaian chap somewhere in the central region.