GHANA AT SOMETHING-SOMETHING - PART 4

      She completes her second cycle education. She thinks “seeing how I didn’t put much effort into my studies, I don’t think I’ll make the cut for the university.” So she buys nursing training application forms. This one too just finished with his WASSCE but doesn’t have the confidence in gaining admission to the university so he goes for teacher training. Some complete their second cycle schooling and feeling so-so about their results, they apply for polytechnic education. After all it’s also tertiary, right? Another one finishes with S.H.S, and feeling great about his/her chances of gaining admission into that dream university he is being told now that the first degree certificate amounts to almost nothing. So he/she decides to just pass through and see what the future holds.  This guy also completes and remembering how that certain young pastor in his community lives lavishly, he decides on “Bible school”. And then this girl also goes into hairdressing or dressmaking because that’s what her friends are all doing. At this point my reader is tempted to thinking “Hey, I don’t fit in any of these scenarios!” I’m sure your circumstance is “unique”, right? As for Mr. Writer he didn’t even want to further his formal education but that’s a story for another time (hmm....those who have but don’t want).
       
Let’s jump on a very familiar subject, Energy and power. The country currently faces a serious challenge which has now been upgraded to crisis-level only after our honorable parliamentarians had a taste of Dumsor and were forced to suspend sitting, interestingly the lights went out when one of the members was on the floor making an important submission on loans being taken to boost our energy sector. They had to wait for over an hour till the lights kicked back in before proceeding because there was no fuel in the standby, this was on Wednesday, July 22 (1)­. Has Dumsor come to stay? Where does the blame lie? I can’t answer that but what I know is that we have enough brains in this country to pull us out of this ditch. A lot of young minds enter our educational institutions, graduate and face the realities (usually harsh) on the ground. After so many years, we’ve produced engineers, scientist and artists, some reaching the pinnacle of their respective fields and most comfortable with being in the middle belt. The thing about such people is that most seek after grandiose ideas, discoveries and inventions not realizing the solutions to our everyday problems is like the diamond in the rough. Of course there’s nothing wrong with dreaming about travelling to the sun, maybe even building a resort there. At this point I’d like to needle especially my fellow pure scientists (chemistry and physics) and engineers (electrical, materials and building and tech). With so many of them around one would think by now we’d have had wonderful systems for energy efficiency and conservation. Interestingly one inescapable term in science is conservation of energy, first law of thermodynamics, Kirchhoff’s mesh rule, anybody? In our situation conserving what we have seems to be a good way to go, no? Back to our scientists and engineers, I believe they have a lot to offer in terms of conservation of energy. In a not too distant future, here’s how this highly educated group of people came together to put up brilliant systems:

     Centralized ventilation system: 

Ghanaians have developed the love for air conditioning systems. In our cars, homes, work place, classrooms, everywhere we can fit one. I love having my lectures in the theaters fitted with air conditioners (functioning ones of course). The worry is that for every room we have one A.C fixed. So for a complex with a hundred rooms, hundred A.C’s are fixed (some rooms even have two or more). Just recently I had to spend some days in a hotel at Assin Fosu and what made me happy was the A.C in there, if I had the power it would have been on every 24 hours.
Now, for all the over 20 rooms in that hotel, there was at least one A.C, the conference rooms had more than, obviously. What really intrigued me was that anytime Mahama *coughs*paid us a visit (Dumsor), immediately the hotel staff put us on the standby generator till the grid was back on. Sometimes he’d stay for over 24hrs so all that time the generator was providing electric power. Knowing how an A.C sucks power, and with all the other electric and electronic gadgets in that building, I felt nauseous when I thought how much the hotel had to spend on fuel to keep the power on (even though it reflected in the cost of the room). And this was just one hotel in a small town, think of the places all over the country relying on such methods just to have their lights on and do business. This is where the centralized vent. System comes in, instead of countless A.C units for a number of rooms, one large ventilation system is designed to house one air conditioning system to control temperature in the rooms, filter and disinfect the air. This saved on money, space and more importantly ENERGY.

To make the picture clearer, remember that American movie you watched where the “blowman” (protagonist) had to crawl through some tiny space up the ceiling (air vents) just to save the day? Yes, that one. That’s part of the vent system. As for the human resource to build such systems, as I already pointed out, we have more than enough. It then becomes a question of whether we are willing to spend money to save and make more money (thinking tomorrow).

Sometime ago I saw a picture on Twitter. It had a sunny background with a humorous Caption. It read, “Back home we use all our sunshine to dry fish and kokonte”. Noticed the picture below? aaahhhhh! Makes me want to have me some "Kokonte"
The next part may sound clichéd and boring, solar energy. Countless calls have been made for us to adopt alternative means of power such as this but it seems everyone expects the “government” to set it up for them. If the individual home owner had installed something small for just his lighting, he would have been far richer and wouldn’t have to contend with darkness when Dumsor comes in. In fact through such measures, we may not have even reached this point. Sun shine? We have more than most countries which have adopted this source of energy.


One more thing that we should look at though is Wind energy (not breaking wind). Wind is another renewable energy source (I first learnt this in primary 4) whose benefits unfortunately have been downplayed. This is another resource Ghana has in abundance. Ever been to our coastal areas, maybe the beach? The coastal belt from the Volta through to the central regions and even the northern parts of the country like Gambaga Mountains have high winds with the least speed analyzed to be at 3-5 m/s. Here too we have enough human resource to invest in at least low wind speed turbines to generate electric power. This also begs the question, how strong is our political and social will to commit to such a venture. A lot of plans have been laid down on paper, projects which should have happened yesterday, promised. At this juncture, I implore you to visit this place, ELECTRICITY SECTOR IN GHANA(2). It has pretty interesting information for you and I.

 Now, back to what I began with. Those groups of people who seek to further their education one way or another with their limited foresight and lack of strong will if I dare say so, subconsciously put all their energies into one thing, getting that plane ticket (no trains, sorry) which will carry them away from this seemingly sinking ship called Ghana (Yes….I know you are not one of them). As the days drag on, Ghana keeps losing a lot but one thing she won’t ever lose is POTENTIAL. With potential comes HOPE, and with hope there’s YOU and I and to some extent, them. But so far as we keep sitting on our beautiful behinds expecting others to wash our backs for us ......., you catch my drift. Every individual has his own life experiences, I have mine (though seemingly young) and that has given me the belief that SHE (Ghana) still has all it takes to be the greatest, after all God lives here, no?
Part 5……..loading



Written By : Wogbe-Dogbe Robert Dzidedi Kwaku ( Bsc Chemistry Student, KNUST)

NOTES:
(2) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electricity_sector_in_Ghana

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