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Ameyaw Says

What a Trip!!! Oluwa saves my Arik Air flight from crashing after finding my lost passport at Heathrow

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Yes, my recent trip to the UK was destined to be the most eventful one yet. From a troubled flight from Accra-Lagos-London which resulted in me losing my luggage (read here) and eventually finding it (read here), and then sharing a table with wife of former British Prime Minster, Tony Blair (read here).

Hmm, little did I know that the biggest wahala was waiting for me on my return home to Ghana. I left Luton for the Heathrow Airport around 4pm so I could make it in time for my 9.30pm flight to Lagos. The train arrived at Heathrow terminal 4 around 6pm and since it was my first time using that terminal, I spent some time looking for the Arik Air check-in desk and after looking around I found it and went straight ahead to check in.

I wanted to check in early so I would have ample time to chase after the VAT refund on some of the items I had purchased. I immediately made my way to the VAT refund office and to my surprise found a rather intimidating queue. I had missed out on collecting refunds in my last two visits to the UK because I didn’t arrive at the airport early enough to go through the process before boarding, and I was bent on collecting it this time around.

A lady who was in the queue with me suggested that since we both had the items we wanted to collect the refunds on in our hand luggage, we could use the other VAT Refund office located in the duty free area. I immediately made my way to the general boarding gate, went through the security scan and search, and then went straight ahead to locate the VAT refund office.

Greetings from the UK with plenty wahala!!!!

Again, I met quite a queue but I wasn’t daunted by it. By this time it was around 7: 30 and I had enough time before the boarding time, 8.30. I joined the queue which was made up of mainly Asians and gradually I got my chance to give my receipts to the official so he could verify them. I had not signed all my receipts so I was asked to step aside and complete the forms.

Once I was ready I just jumped into the line and this time had my receipts stamped after showing the items for which I had the receipts for. With the verification done, I now had to join another queue that headed to the cashier who would pay the refund. I kept looking at my watch and just around 8.30pm, I had my chance to receive my cash. After receiving the money I looked for my boarding gate and after a very long walk, I got there!

Feeling a bit tired from the long day that started with a train ride from Luton, I decided to go to the washroom to take a piss, because I had been holding it in all that while. I took off my jacket and backpack to place on am empty seat while I made a quick dash into the washroom. When I got back from the washroom, I decided to take out my passport and boarding pass so I would sit and wait for the boarding call.

Suddenly my passport and boarding pass were nowhere to be found. I started to fret because I knew I had both on my when I got to the boarding area. I emptied my bag and all the pockets of my jacket to search but still nothing… Now I was getting really worried. I then located a few of the people that I walked to the boarding gate with, to ask if they had by any chance seen my passport; the answers were no! Soon, all sorts of ideas running in my mind, at some point I thought someone had even stolen my passport so they could doctor  it and use in the future (forgive the stereotype but after all I was on a Nigerian flight..lol).

How I shared a table with Cherie Blair, wife of former British PM, Tony Blair

After looking around and not getting any results I went to the desk at the boarding gate to report that my passport was missing. They asked me for my details and only got back to me saying that I had two bags checked in – information I already knew and didn’t want to know. I wanted them to announce my passport missing so that if anyone had seen it, he or she would bring it. Instead the official I spoke to told me that since I had about 30 minutes left I could go all the way back to the security check point to be double sure that I didn’t leave it while I was going through the scanner.

I told him I had it on me after all the checks but he wouldn’t listen so I decided to go back and search just in case… As I went out looking for it, I heard the boarding call and that even made me more confused. I kept asking myself what was going to happen; would they allow me on the flight? What would I do when I get to Lagos? And how would I finally get to Ghana without a passport? So I decided to heard back to the desk and ask for the next step to take, as I’m no expert on international laws. Fortunately, when I got back, a man asked me if I had misplaced my passport and well, I said yes.

Then immediately I heard an announcement with a funny pronunciation of my name, to the effect that my passport had been found. I immediately rushed to the desk for my passport. I later found out that I had left it on a seat, and I am still wondering how it happened because I checked all the seats around and couldn’t find it. Anyway with the passport found and the gates opened for boarding all I could think about was going home in peace… So we boarded the flight, which took off finally but not without some initial drama. A male passenger kept arguing with flight attendants because he couldn’t find space in the top compartment to keep his hand luggage and so his bag had to be taken into the back cabin.

Meanwhile, the flight had been delayed just because this same man was late in boarding the flight. As he kept going at the flight attendants, some of the other passengers had to tell him their peace of mind which made the case even worse but eventually there was calm and the flight was running smoothly. We had some refreshment and some warm meal. I opted for chicken and yam which came with beans and some green veggies. I was surprised with the taste and I loved it, next time I go to Nigeria I will look for a restaurant that serves that. The desert was pretty awesome as well.  Since the Arik entertainment option wasn’t really my cup of tea (out-dated movies and music) I was looking forward to a cool nap to digest the meal I had enjoyed. But before the flight attendants could clear our trays, there was suddenly severe turbulence that sent the passengers in a frenzy.

Even before the captain could make an announcement on the condition, the plane suddenly filled up with prayers. The prayers heightened with the intensity of the turbulence and I could see some obvious shock on the faces of the non-Nigerian passengers, particularly the white folks. The flight turned into a church and it became evident that the flight attendants had lost control and could do very little to calm the nerves of passengers, most of whom had resorted to prayers; all kinds of prayers and in all kinds of languages.

Some kissed on their rosaries while praying, and I saw one lady kissing and reading a small piece of paper which seemed to have some doctrine on it. The turbulence lasted for well over two hours, and the church service went on with prayers and singing. I could hear the words, ‘oluwa’ and ‘yesu’ in the chorus of prayers and as it went on and on I tried to make sense of everything and just hope for the best. At some point I just shut my eyes and took a nap. When I opened my eyes probably some 50 minutes later, the church was slowly coming to an end and there seemed to be some calm.

An old lady next to me said something in Yoruba and when I asked what it meant her friend explained that she was saying ‘I salute you’ – perhaps for my seeming nerves of steel throughout the chaos. Yes, it may have been the most intense turbulence I had ever experienced but somehow I believed it wasn’t going to end my life. With calm restored on the plane, soon some passengers started to make fun of everything that had transpired. People could now use the lavatory and as was expected, there was a long queue to all lavatories on the plane.

We had a final round of refreshment before landing at the Murtala Mohammed Airport in Lagos. Well, I guess I don’t have to tell you the atmosphere in the plane when we finally landed. There was singing of praise and thanksgiving songs as one particular gentleman, (a pastor I presumed) who had emerged as the prayer leader throughout the chaos, said his final prayers and I even joined in saying ‘amen!’ I immediately made my way to immigration so I would have enough time to make my connecting flight to Ghana.

Just to make sure I don’t go through the hustle of losing my bags like I did on my way to London, I passed by the luggage pick up carousel to see if my bags could be there and I was told by the Arik official that it would be connected straight to Accran – just the Arik staff in Heathrow assured me.  On my way to the departures, I met Agyamang, who was on the same flight and was connecting to Accra with me. He wasn’t so sure about his bags so he went to the Arik office to make double sure.

Since I had just a hand luggage on me, I went for my boarding pass and made my way to immigration for final checks before heading to the boarding gate. I found out that the gate on the boarding pass was not the one we would be using so I made my way to the new boarding gate where we had to wait for several minutes before boarding commenced. We went through final security checks at that boarding gate and were then directing to board our flight via another gate. Hmm, at this point tempers were flying high as most passengers felt tortured not only by the delay but the cumbersome procedure. I was more than happy to be going home so I didn’t bother too much.

We got on board and in about 45 minutes we were at the Kotoka International Airport. Just as we exited, I saw that Agyemang, who was on business class ticket, was speaking to an Arik official at the tunnel so I joined to find out what was going on. Then I found out that our fears had indeed materialised – our bags could not make it to Accra!! The Arik Air staff had to come and meet us at the tunnel because there was apparently a call from Nigeria because of the stress Agyemang had gone through to make sure his bags came to Ghana; so they had to send someone to calm him down and give him the assurance that his bags would come with the evening flight to Accra.

And well, of course he was on a business class ticket! It was the same for me and there seemed to be little we could do. But then, another call came through saying that one of Agyemang’s bags came through so we decided to go to the collection point to pick his bag…and just in case my bags came along too. Well, even the said bag didn’t turn up so we finally made our way to the lost and found office to fill a complaint form detailing our ‘lost’ luggage. We were told that that the next Arik flight would arrive at 5 pm and when our bags came we would be contacted that same evening. Well I called the office phone number at 6pm and I was told that the plane had not landed.

I later called Agyemang and he told me that he had been told that the flight had been delayed, and would now arrive at 8pm. At this point I just gave up and went to sleep so I could have some much needed rest. The following morning, I received a call from the office, saying that my bags are ready for collection. Needless to say, I rushed to the airport and for goodness sake, I got my bags with everything intact. I guess now I can answer the question I asked when my lost luggage was returned to me in Luton. Yes, when you lose a bag in Ghana, you may get it back in mint condition, just that you will have to go and pick it up from the airport yourself….Laugh out Loud!!!!

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My super hectic first travel since COVID-19, and how United Airlines made it a little better!

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Ameyaw Debrah and family

When I decided to visit the US for family and a little work, I tried a number of flight options on various booking platforms but finally settled on what Fareboom had to offer.  It was my first time using the platform, based on the recommendation of my wife. New to the platform, I felt frustrated by the initial process, where my flight had been booked but was yet to be confirmed. And then when everything was about to be finalized, days before the takeoff, I had a call from Fareboom that I had to use my Facebook account to verify my transaction. Well I did just that, and surprisingly everything fell into place from there.

 

I did a multiple city booking on United Airlines from Accra-Washington-Atlanta for the first leg and then Atlanta-Newark for the second leg. The final leg was Newark-Washington-Accra. I also had a flight to Seattle in between my stay, but since I was going to do that with my son, I didn’t add it to my initial booking in order not to complicate things.

 

This was my first international travel since my last one in March 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic hit. So, I wanted it to be as smooth as possible. Since my flight was on United Airlines, I downloaded the United mobile app, which offered great information throughout the various stages of my flight. In fact due to the convenience and effectiveness of the app, I started collecting my travel miles; the first time ever in my history of travelling around the world!  I booked my COVID-19 test with Leding Medical Lab at GHC250 and went to the Kotoka International Airport for actual test on my preferred date.  When the results were emailed to me, I then uploaded it on the United app and printed a copy also for the airport.

 

On the day of departure, I went to the airport about three hours ahead of my flight just to allow enough room for any eventualities due to the new travelling protocols. The process was pretty simple since I was well prepared for it. I saw the manager for United while checking in, and she offered to change my seat to one with more legroom. I had met her the previous week at the opening of the Adinkra Lounge at the airport.

 

I quickly made my way to the security check, after staying in a rather long queue. Pleasantly we were not required to take off our shoes this time, making the process a little less stressful or annoying.

 

When I boarded the flight, there wasn’t anything majorly different, apart from having to wear a nose mask all through the flight. I was given wipes to clean my hands and sitting area; and I also noticed there were hand sanitizers by the doors to the lavatories. I was a little tired so ate dinner and slept; or at least tried to sleep.

 

Hello America

 

We arrived in Washington Dulles International Airport early in the morning, where I had almost a 4-hour layover till my flight to Atlanta. Since it was my first port of entry in the US, I had to collect my luggage at reconnect after going through immigration checks. For some strange reason, even though I had only $10,000 on me, I was asked to go fill some documents to declare that I had such an amount on me. It was my first time ever travelling with that amount, and I thought I only had to declare when my money exceeds $10,000.

 

Once all that was sorted out, I called my aunt in Virginia so I could go and meet her to give her some stuff and then rush back to the airport for my flight to Atlanta. I got into an Uber using the airport Wi-Fi to go meet my aunt. After giving her the items, I freshened up a little and we started chatting about a lot of family matters. Before we knew it, I was already getting late for my flight so I got into a car and rushed back to the airport.

 

Fortunately I got back just in time to recheck my luggage in, and board the flight to Atlanta. I arrived in Atlanta and looked around to buy a SIM card like I normally do when I travel but sadly I couldn’t find any telecom company around.  After asking around frantically, I picked an Uber to my motel, Motel 6. This trip, I knew I was going to spend a lot of money in a short space so I decided to stay in motels to beat down the cost a little bit.

 

I stayed in Atlanta for 2 nights, did a feature for Ameyaw TV, met up with some friends and partied just a little bit and then moved to Newark, New Jersey.

 

In Newark, I checked into another Motel 6 for two nights. I was not impressed with my room compared to the pretty decent accommodation I got in Atlanta. It was dingy room; stained with the smell of smoke even though I told them I didn’t want a room for smoking at check in. by the time I checked out my clothes in my luggage all smelt like smoke.

 

I woke up the first morning with strange rashes all over my eyelids. My eyelids were stiff and had some burning sensations when I touched them. I applied a little shea butter and other creams on the lids, and in the next couple of days they would heal eventually.

I check out of the motel after two nights and picked up my son, Nathan to go visit my wife in Seattle.

 

First Time Flying with Nathan

 

I have always wondered how parents of very young children manage it when they fly together.  I’ve also noticed over the years that it is usually more fun and easier when kids travel with both parents, or with at least another older family member instead of just one parent. Since Nathan was born, I hadn’t travelled with him by air yet, and so I was looking forward to it. Unfortunately I was doing it all alone.

 

He was surprisingly well behaved when we got to the airport. We queued up patiently and went through the security checks brilliantly with his nose mask on, all the time. He even took off his shoes during the security check, even though he wasn’t required to do so, due to his age.

 

But the troubles started when we headed towards our boarding gate. He wanted to have anything he saw in the shops, from snacks to drinks, including alcohol. Most of the time, he wouldn’t even wait for me to pay for the items and would attempt to open them up. I got some snacks, water and candies just to calm him throughout the journey.

 

We sat and waited a bit for boarding to start but Nathan didn’t spare me! He was all over the place and simply uncontrollable. He started crying and throwing tantrums when I refused to buy everything he wanted.

 

Finally we got onboard and got seated. Fortunately, we were alone in our row. Nathan was quiet and well behaved before take off but started misbehaving shortly after. He would open the trays in front of him; and kick the seats here and there. I calmed him down a bit when I handed him some Haribos and snacks. Occasionally he would even throw some of the snacks into the general cabin. Goodness knows how uncomfortable I felt. In fact, I wanted to smack him a bit but of course I couldn’t, I was in America!

 

Thankfully he fell asleep and I got some respite for the almost 6-hour flight. I also tried to get a little rest as well. When he woke up he soon started with his tantrums and before the flight ended, I experienced one of the things I dreaded most  about traveling with kids.  Yes, Nathan urinated on himself without telling me he wanted to Pee and his pants were wet. Even worse, I had forgotten to pick an extra pair in his carryon bag. I took him to the lavatory and changed his underwear and got back to the seat.

 

Soon he got cranky and started crying about his tummy, and each time I gave him some water to cool him down. When we started to descend, he started crying about his ears because the pressure was building up in there. I tried to comfort him by hugging and covering his ear. Soon, I sensed that he had pooped, when I started smelling it. I held him closely so he would be still for the landing.

When we landed I couldn’t wait to quickly get off, so I could take him to the washroom to change him. Before getting out, most of the passengers kept praising Nathan for being well behaved and in my mind I was like what!!!!!? Anyway, I quickly dashed out and made my way into the family washroom to clean him up properly.

 

We made our way to baggage claim and there was even more tantrums from Nathan as we waited to collect our luggage from Alaska. When we got our bag, we headed out to look for my wife.  We were excited to see her, and after all the hugs and kisses we hit the road to drive for some few hours to Whidbey Island.

 

After days of family bonding and some small rest, we headed back to New Jersey. On the return flight, I was ready for all of Nathan’s tantrums. This time, I packed extra cloths in his carryon, just in case!  Well, the tantrums came in full dose and this time Nathan didn’t even sleep on the flight.

 

Thankfully, we made it to Newark around 11pm.  And, although I had said I would stay in motels to save money, I booked the Double Tree by Hilton hotel for the rest of my stay. So after collecting our luggage we ordered an Uber to the hotel for some much-needed sleep.  I took Nathan to his grandmother the following day.

 

Time to go home… angels and demons!

 

I used the rest of my stay to do some shopping, visit friends and family and also do interviews before leaving. I booked for a COVID test  ($139) in New Jersey on the recommendation of the United app. According to the airline I wouldn’t need this test if I stayed in the US for less than one week.

 

I was initially worried when I got to the lab and found out that my booking was not in their system, but I was re-registered and the test was conducted. In less than 24 hours I received my results via email and I uploaded it to the United Airlines website. I also paid $50 online for another test that would be conducted on arrival in Ghana.

 

My trip to the US had been short but full of expenses, and a lot of moving around so I was tired and couldn’t wait to get back home. On my last day before my flight home, I visited Rahway and observed a car show that took place there. When I posted the video on Facebook, a young man who runs a foundation that supports families of Ghanaian police officers, left a comment that he was close by and wanted to come meet me. I told him I was in Newark and I was leaving town the next day. He offered to come visit me early in the morning. My team covered the launch of his foundation in Ghana so I was familiar with his name and thought it would be great to see him before I left town.

 

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A post shared by Ameyaw Debrah (@ameyaw112)

He called me in the morning, just before I checked out of my hotel, that he had arrived. So I went downstairs to meet him. The plan was for him to drop me off at my mother-in-law’s. So he parked and waited for me to finish everything and complete check out. But looking at the bags I had on me, we thought it would be better if he took me to the airport, instead of my mother-in-law. That way he could help me with my luggage. So we passed by my mother-in-law’s place for me to eat and say my farewell to her and Nathan, and then went straight to the airport.

 

When we got to the airport I noticed that I had left my backpack with my passport at my mother-in-law’s place. So we drove back to pick it up before heading back to the airport. At the airport, one of my bags was overweight when we weighed them, so I had to move some items from it into my other bag to balance things off. I then had to pay $200 extra for my iMac, which I bought for my video editors.  All this while, ‘my angel’ was waiting to make sure I had checked in all my bags. He gave me his credit card to pay for the extra $200 and also gave me $200 cash to keep. I was lost for words but I knew he was godsend.  Finally, I was able to check everything in, so I came out to say a final farewell to him, and I couldn’t thank him enough.

 

I eventually made my way to my flight to Washington Dulles, but not without some little incidence. The crew wanted to collect my carry-on luggage and check it in, for me to pick up when I arrive in Accra but I said no. I wanted to take it into the cabin and put it in the overhead locker because I had some delicate stuff in there and I wasn’t willing to offload them. So took my bag inside and luckily there was space in the locker for it, phew!

 

There was a little delay so when we arrived in Washington, there was a bit of a rush for most passengers who had connecting flights to catch. I had a little over 40 minutes before boarding time, so I took my time and had a long walk to the gate for our flight. Shortly it was time for boarding and I joined the queue for my zone.

 

When it got to my turn the flight manager looked at me and said ‘Mr Debrah how are you doing?’ I smiled and answered I was well. Unfortunately I couldn’t board immediately because I needed to show the results of my COVID test, as well as receipt for the one to be taken on arrival in Ghana.  So I joined another line to get everything validated before my boarding pass was stamped for me to get on the flight.

 

I went back to the flight manager who now allowed me to continue into the plane. I was just hoping that the lockers wouldn’t be full by the time I got to my seat; you know how traveling back home with Ghanaians can be.

 

Luckily I found space in the overhead locker opposite my seat. So I tucked in my luggage and took my seat quietly. I sat down quietly and waited for the flight to fill up so we can set off.  When the plane was almost ready to fly, I saw the same flight manager from earlier walking towards me. He asked me to collect my luggage and move in front with him, so I did just that.

 

Yes, he took me to the business class cabin and gave me a seat there. He introduced me to the purser and the rest of the crew for the business cabin, as a top blogger from Ghana, who was doing a lot of great work for the country. Wow, I was so happy because I really need some good rest.  I sat down and soon noticed that I had left my phones and passport in the pocket in front of my original seat in the economy cabin. I quickly rushed back there to pick it up and made my way into my new seat.

 

The purser had promised me an awesome cocktail so when the dinner service started, he brought me juices and spirits to for cocktail alongside the beef and potatoes I requested. I was really tired and needed sleep so after watching the new Mortal Kombat I leveled my seat into a flatbed and dozed off. Damn, the perks of business class!!

I woke up in the morning and ate breakfast, just before we landed in Accra.  When we got to Accra, we were the only major flight in, so it was smooth going through the COVID protocols at the airport, and being in business class meant I was amongst the first in the queue. However I found out I was also supposed to fill a health declaration form online. Since my details were not in the system when they checked for the declaration, I had to enter them using a tablet provided at the airport. On completion, I joined the queue and moved from one cubicle to the other until I got to where the actual COVID test took place. I then proceeded to go through the immigration checks.

 

I then moved to baggage claim to pick up my bags from the carousel. My iMac was the last to arrive since it was a box marked as fragile. When I got it, I moved on to pick my COVID test results and proceeded to the exit. Then came the experience from hell that ruined my fun business class highlight. Yes, I caught the prying eyes of customs, and apparently I had to pay duties on my iMac. I didn’t argue, I just wanted to just finish everything and go home to get some proper rest!

 

The customs officers asked me if I had an invoice for the computer and I said no, but I told them the price so they could use that for their calculations. When they gave me a seat I should have known I was in for a long wait. After about 30 minutes of nothing happening, some officers immerged looking to ascertain the weight of the iMac. Then it became a matter of whether they should weigh it with the box around it or not.

 

I was so infuriated because it felt like they didn’t know what they were doing. I soon started complaining that I was being delayed unduly. After over an hour I was given some forms to go and pay to the cashier. When I got there, there was nobody there. So I went back to complain and they found the cashier. When it was time to pay, I wanted to use my debit card but I was told they couldn’t accept it because my bank isn’t Ecobank.  Really? I had to go outside to find an ATM to withdraw almost GHc3,000.

Well I did and finally I was cleared to take my iMac home. Phew!

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Ameyaw Says

No matter your age, there is an online game for everyone

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My wife recently spoke to me about getting some video games for our three-year old son to play on his tablet. She had seen how the children of her colleagues play various games on their smartphones and tablets, so enthusiastically. Nathan is used to playing a lot of education videos and games on his tablets but my wife felt it was perhaps time to try something new like Candy Crush Saga or Temple Run although these games are recommended for age 10 plus.

 

I have also observed keenly, how video games excite children, so I agreed it would be a great option for Nathan as well. I still remember my earliest encounters with video games. I always wanted to have a video game for myself but my parents denied me during my primary school days. My father said it would distract me from my studies.  So, I usually played the likes of Super Mario Bros and Sonic the Hedgehog in school on my friends’ Nitendo Gameboy. The Iconic Tetris console was of course a favorite for me too, back in the day.

 

I remember when our neighbors got an Atari video game console; I was always in their living room at any opportunity I got to play Pacman and other games (I don’t even remember them now, but I think it included Contra). Then, finally my cousins visited Ghana from the USA with a Sega Genesis in the 1990s. This introduced me to games like Power Rangers, Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter.

 

Then in the 2000’s I got my first computer so started installing programs that allowed me to play a variety of games on the desktop. When I got my first laptop in my university days, it was the era of the Internet and so I explored a number of games online. But after the university, I had not played a video or computer game until recently when I was looking for options for Nathan.

 

I came across plays.org, which brought back a lot of the good old memories I have with video games. It stocks a number of free browser-based online games. There are hundreds of free games across various genres including arcade classics, cartoon games, comic games, education, solitaire, sports games, pinball and more. All games are unblocked free HTML games which you can play directly in your web browser with no app downloads.

 

One thing I have noticed is how computer games have now turned into intriguing storylines, filled with extraordinary graphics, inspiring characters, and elements of realistic approach towards gameplay setting, and overall production design.  But when I really looked through the options onsite, I knew deep within me that the true essence of computer games has never changed.

 

I tried my hands on Break the Worm, which is a players’ favorite on the website. This is a classic ‘beat em up’ game where Finn is trapped in a nightmare on a quest through 3 worlds, to defeat a worm. He gains unique magical powers in each world. The game is easy to play and there is a full guide on how to play it even before you start, from how to hit and block punches to how to swerve the worms and other adversaries that come your way. My favorite is using the special moves to kill them faster or easier.

I am not one for reading guidelines so I went straight into it punching may way through it all, and discovering new tricks as I went along.  I kicked off with level one, ‘Ice Kingdom’. Here, the opposition was largely easy to defeat worms, and some robot-like machines. I fairly aced it in a matter of time, with no failure. Just as most combat games, I was able to pick up items that boosted my lost energy due to the hits I received, as well as extra lifelines along the line.

quick tips pop on screen on how to play the game

quick tips pop on screen on how to play the game

Level two, ‘Dad’s Dungeon’, was slightly more difficult but after some few failures I managed to ace it and moved on to the third level,  ‘Candy Kingdom’. As sweet as the name sounds, I haven’t been able to complete the level yet, although I tried over ten times on my first day.

I haven’t given up yet on ‘Candy Kingdom’ because thankfully, I get the option to continue from where I left off anytime I go on plays.org and choose Break the Worm.  So I will try it again when I have some more time on my hand.

According to details on the website, beating the game unlocks a second harder version of the game called Nightmare Mode. I will surely keep trying to see what the nightmare mode has waiting for me.

 

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Ameyaw Says

Where are they now? Big Brother Africa Season 1 housemates

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When the Big Brother reality TV phenomenon took over the world, Africa was not spared. Thanks to M-net and Endemol, my family caught the bug early in 2001 with Big Brother South Africa. With larger than life characters, as well as a prying and eloquent host, Mark Pilgrim, we witnessed two seasons of fun, unpredictable television. A crazy Ferdi won season one while another crazy housemate, Richard, won the second season. (more…)

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Ameyaw Says

Celebrating my 40th birthday with orphaned children and abused women

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I want to thank everyone for the amazing well-wishes, prayers and gifts that characterised  my 40th birthday celebrations. You inspire me to excel more each year!

One of my biggest highlights was on Monday, when I visited orphaned children and abused women at the Potters Village Home, in Dodowa.

I first heard about the home when Ameyaw TV was invited to cover a donation earlier in the year. I was touched to make a similar donation when I watched our video from that event.

Watch the donation to the Potters Village Home below

The Potters Village is a charitable organization established to provide care and support to women and children who suffer domestic violence and abuse. To donate to The Potters Village, visit https://thepottersvillage.org/ or call +233243573386

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Ameyaw Says

“Every artist needs a Bullet” – Wendy Shay praises her manager

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Wendy Shay has heaped praises on her manager, Bullet for being the best in the industry. (more…)

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Ameyaw Says

Is it time to scrap ‘Artist of the Year’ from the Ghana Music Awards?

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As a keen follower of the Ghana Music Award for over two decades, I have observed how increasingly it has become difficult to award the ‘Artist of The Year’ over the period.

 

Today, I ask whether that category is even necessary? What is the true measure for the artist of the year – be it for a genre or the ultimate? As the current scheme stands, and looking at how winners have been chosen over the years, I doubt there are indeed any standards for scoring and judging the ultimate ‘artist of the year’.

 

An obvious standard for measuring an outstanding artist would first be the body of work. I know the Ghana Music Awards over the years has also considered the level of artistry and the performances of the artist as a key indicator or measure for choosing the artist of the year, which I find pretentious and even contentious because we each look for different things in a performance.

 

So by logic, in choosing an artist of the year, the number of hit songs (good or bad), album or EP ratings, and public ratings would be good indicators. By this logic, Diana Hamilton wouldn’t be the strongest suit for Artist of the Year for the 2021 Vodafone Ghana Music Awards. For the year in review, I honestly only knew of her smash hit song, ‘Adom’. If she had an album, I don’t know of it. She was not nominated for an album or an EP this year; she came into the competition with one strong song, and an obvious backing of ‘industry people’.  Looking at the nominees in the category this year, the others had more than just these attributes!

 

Over the years, we have come to accept the Ghana Music Award scheme as being a judgment of the Board, the Public and the Academy. While I love it for this unique outlook, it comes with its inherent challenges also. And I feel that to preserve the integrity of the awards, some changes need to happen. This includes scrapping off the Artist of the Year category. We have seen the scheme adapt and make changes over the years including new categories, new definitions and more. In fact this year saw the introduction of Afropop/Afrobeats Artist of the Year and EP of the year, to reflect the growing changes in the industry.

 

I think it is about time to build the various genres of the scheme and make them competitive enough for the artists that win each genre to be the top award for each genre, example, Highlife Artist of the Year or Hip-hop artist of the year. For instance for the Grammys, the top awards in the “General Field” are four awards which are not restricted by music genre. These include The Album of the Year, The Record of the Year (which is the Vodafone most popular song of the year in Ghana, and not so much its equivalent), The Song of the Year (which is a songwriter award unlike in Ghana) and The Best New Artist.

 

The ‘Artist of the Year’ unnecessarily makes the awards overly competitive for the musicians, and frankly, it has been proven enough that the Ghana Music Awards scheme does not have what it takes (in terms of the standards I mentioned earlier) to adjudge the ultimate artist of the year in Ghana. For instance, by logic, looking at the nominations this year, Diana Hamilton was the only gospel artist in the ‘artist of the year’ category, which meant that by default she had already been adjudged ‘gospel artist of the year’. Yet, the ‘gospel artist of the year’ is supposed to be a combined judgment of voting by The Board, The Academy and The Public.

 

It’s time to clean up!

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