Yesterday was a real “book” day for me – though realistically every day is – but I guess it is because of the slightly out of the ordinary encounters.
First, something personal – collecting a parcel of books from the post office. Always a bit of a palaver, as parcels are only handled either by the Accra general Post Office (located just off the High Street) or at the slightly newer (but that is a very relative term) Accra North Post Office which is near Circle [the real name is Kwame Nkrumah Circle]… Luckily I didn’t have any problem finding a parking place this time – on one occasion I went round the small parking lot three times before eventually getting somewhere to put my car. I know the deal now, so I come prepared: a photo ID, money, and a knife to open the parcel + of course a pen to sign the slip. It was all pretty straightforward, including my usual slight bantering about having to pay to receive books – which I try to maintain are duty-free! Needless to say, I still end up paying…
So what did I come away with? A rather motley assorted of novels and non-fiction, including some more literary ones, as well as lighter ones.
Later, I attended a talk by Kathy Knowles and two of her Ghanaian colleagues, on their work in setting up and running children’s libraries (see http://www.osuchildrenslibraryfund.ca/ ). I had been briefly to the new Nima-Maamobi centre, though unfortunately I hadn’t met any of the people involved in running it). The stories related by Kathy and colleagues were truly inspirational. I was saddened to hear though of the bureaucratic behavior exhibited by some local agencies hindering the progress of deprived communities. I also found it disappointing to hear about the lack of involvement of the Ghana Library Board, or any of its representatives, but then I wasn’t surprised either.
Book item three of the day was the launching of Ivor Agyeman-Duah’s book , An economic history of Ghana (see http://www.ayebia.co.uk/publications_aehog.html ) . I thought I would be late, but wasn’t – and noticed that there were quite a few police around directing traffic – a signal that a high powered visitor might be expected? Not surprisingly the function didn’t start on time, but it wasn’t too late, plus I did see several people I know… Some of the speeches were OK, but unfortunately one was very, very long, and I suspect that the audience may have tuned out a bit. Certainly there was such a made rush at the end for refreshments that those of us who were buying books, and chit-chatting to friends and acquaintances, went home both thirsty and hungry. Ok, I shouldn’t grumble; there were a lot more people present that the organizers expected – which is good. The book doesn’t look like a heavy academic tome, so it should be easy to dip into… And already a couple of colleagues have said they would like to read some bits of it.