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Thursday, 28 May 2015

EDMUND'S ESCAPADES II

Edmund knew that the moment Jemima stepped out, his mother was going to come at him with "all guns blazing". He knew with this news, things were going to change forever. He walked into the hall like someone who was on death row and was set for the firing squad. He sat in the hall and buried his head in his hands as if to say, "dear mother, cut me some slack I regret my actions already so do not hang me out to dry". He knew his mother also had a reputation to protect. She was termed the "neighbourhood's watch-dog". She ensured that the behavior of the children in the community were prim and proper. If word got out that the "corrector's" son had engaged in such an act, it was going to be scandalous. He heard footsteps in a distance. His mother walked past him and went into the kitchen. "Had she received the news already? Was she waiting for her constant presence to "break" him for him to spill the beans like is done in these detective movies"? Edmund had suddenly gone from student to philosopher as he sat in the chair. He wondered to himself, "what informs a man's decisions? At what point can a man get to his breaking point? When does one realize the need for a turning point or change of heart? Some people read a religious tract and suddenly they see the light, others listen to a song and have a change of heart, some people have to go through an experience before they reach their turn-around point". Edmund had gone through all these stages yet change was not in sight. He wondered why even the dilemma associated with the first pregnancy was not enough experience for a turnaround; a need to "drop anchor" and wait. He had now come to the level of apportioning blame. He blamed the ladies he had been with. Both his girlfriend and Jemima had drop-dead curvaceous figures which were irresistible. He knew he had an insatiable libido and that too received some blame. Sometimes he had to resort to "unconventional" ways of satisfying his urge. He did not expect it to land him in the mess he presently found himself. He blamed his mother for also keeping him on a tight leash and not allowing him to take certain decisions. Everyone took a bashing. It is sometimes funny the way people suddenly regret their actions after the deed is done and take to soliloquy as if the speech can make one go back in time. He suddenly had a flashback. He remembered the journey to the university for the very first time. It was a two and a half hour journey. His reactions were mixed. He had graduated from a popular high school. He was a chorister. The laws of the choir were such that mingling with the opposite sex was limited. He thought to himself "this will be easy, I just need to find a choir in the school then become a member. It will help me continue the anti-social tradition from high school". Edmund was intelligent and there was no telling that university education was going to be easy for him. He suddenly came back to life and realized that he had done the unthinkable and had put everyone in jeopardy by his actions. He knew his mother was going to bail him out. He gathered courage and walked into the kitchen to face-off with his mother. He wanted to come clean with her. He trembled upon entering the kitchen. He struggled but he managed to say "I have done something awful". His mother dropped the bread in her hand and said "what have you done?" His phone suddenly vibrated and he realized he had only imagined the face-off scene and had not spoken at all. He excused himself to answer the call. It was his girlfriend...... More soon.... My name is Edwin Oko Lamptey and this is a "true story" R.A.T. (RANDOM AFRICAN THOUGHT®). All rights reserved. More at randomafricanthoughts.blogspot.com Read PART I here in case you missed it earlier.....


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Tuesday, 26 May 2015

EDMUND'S ESCAPADES.

I have been on a French leave. I was reeling from shock, pain and disappointment. As I took up writing, I did not intend writing stories because I felt it was a norm. I heard a story over the past week which i felt was amazing. This particular story is worth sharing. If I did not know the origin of the story, I would have said that it was too bad to be true. This is a true story. Before I share, yesterday was African Union Day and prior to this "August" occasion, I have always harboured dreams of seeing a United States of Africa. A state of mind where the concept of "all for one and one for all" was our hallmark. Looking critically, I drew the conclusion that our individual internal differences was more than enough to scare away any thought of "universal unity". Can our situation change? Can Africa truly unite in practice more than theoretically? Back to my story. The events of the story are recounted as they were told......... Edmund (not his real name) sat in the barbering salon waiting his turn. As he looked up, he saw his reflection in the mirror. He began to wonder to himself if the events that were happening in his life were real. He shook his head as if to wake up from a bad dream but he could still hear the buzzing sound coming from the barber's machine. He still could not believe it so he checked his bank statement with his phone. To his amazement, he still had the Four Ghana cedis and eighteen (4.18) Pesewas in his account and physical cash of Five cedis. He had gotten his girlfriend pregnant again ( the first one was aborted due to reasons beyond his control as he always said) and as a result he had slept out of home due to the shock. He said it felt as if his troubles had graduated from a Bachelor's degree to a PhD. He began to wonder the effect the news was going to have on his poor mother since his girlfriend had threatened to tell her. His girlfriend was a handful. She was noted for throwing tantrums at the least occasion. She was also skilled in making a storm in a tea cup. Edmund was sure that before he got home, he was going to be met by his raging mother because he had had an argument with his girlfriend the night before. Already he had been served with a "query" by his mother to explain why his GPA had taken a dip in his third year in the University considering the bright start he had in his academic career. He was lost in thought when it got to his turn, the barber tapped him on the shoulder and asked him to take a seat. The barber had a field day with his head. He tossed it left, right and centre since he could not keep his head still. The journey back home was one of the longest he had embarked on even though his house was just two blocks away from the barber's shop. When he got to the doorstep, a rush like an epileptic seizure fell on him as he attempted to open the door. As he stepped into the hall, his mum had a visitor. The visitor was a familiar one. Edmund, in a bid to play it cool greeted his mother and put his hands on Jemima's head. Jemima was the daughter of the baker who lived behind Edmund's house and she doubled as his supposed "new girlfriend". She had come to deliver bread to the family. Edmund exchanged glances with Jemima. Unknown to Edmund's mother, Edmund had already "known" Jemima in the Biblical sense a couple of times (I do not think you need an explanation). On her way home she asked to speak to Edmund. She opened the main door with one hand, leaned backwards and said, "Eddie, I am pregnant". It was like a train had hit Edmund. He was now the proud "impregnator" of two young girls, he was broke and was failing his papers. What more can happening to such a person? The genesis of Edmund's dilemma would be recounted in the not too distant future. Watch this space for the continuation of "Edmund's Diary. My name is Edwin Oko Lamptey and this is a "true story" RAT (RANDOM AFRICAN THOUGHT). MORE AT randomafricanthoughts.blogspot.com Sponsors: PLAN COMMUNICATIONS www.plancommunication.com HERO CLOTHING BY Jamez www.herocollections.com. 0271044375

Thursday, 21 May 2015

LIFE OF SORTS.

There have been times that our imaginations take a dip and wander into places unknown; places where logic seems illogical and morality seems immoral, when the subjects of right and wrong are nothing more but luxuries. I am going through such a time now. I remember way back in school, there was one early dawn when my roommate challenged me to a game of Fifa 2005 ( it is an old game considering the times we were in but it was a good way of cooling off some steam in the university). While playing, a colleague barged into the room. He wanted to join in. We offered him a seat. In the middle of the game which he was losing, he received a phone call from a friend. The friend was telling him how another friend had taken over his father's company and was spending his father's money. The young man in my room passed a comment about the issue saying that the boy who had taken over the business was useless and I questioned his standards for drawing that conclusion. It took a long time coming but after I entered the university, my mind was "twisted". I endeavoured to make "sense" out of all issues and scenarios (including good and bad). It made me think critically to analyse issues and also made me a listener. When you hear things or see things what informs your judgment? Life is lived by a certain standard that we have all come to know (whether these standards are taught or learnt); that I agree. Even after forming your own opinion or conclusion, how authentic is it? Sometimes I ask myself, how objective is our objectivity when compared to others? How moral is our morality in the light of life's many lifestyles? Sometimes the mind pushes itself to limits of breaking point and we feel we cannot fight on and we feel we have had enough. Enough is an overused word. Sometimes I wonder if enough can ever be quantified. Have you ever wondered how good was good enough to be accepted by all? How far was far enough? How beautiful was beautiful enough? How wise was wise enough? How right was right enough? How deep was deep enough?  Enough will never be enough until it receives worldwide acclamation (which is impossible considering the fact that we all perceive differently). Life's standards can be sometimes confusing and hard to go by. There have been times that we wished there were no rules to live by to impress people but that would be wishful thinking because everyone wants to be impressed one way or another. This life is a life of sorts and you have to be a master craftsman to be able to deal with the issues that come with life and living it. We win some, we lose some and we sometimes have to share some. Sometimes we burden ourselves with the standards of life; that is, the strong desire to toe the line of our predecessors. Can we do the same things over and over and expect a different result? Is there a need to dare to be different and act differently? What if after going through the pain of living by the book, you realize that you had it wrong all along? Sometimes even truth can be put under the spotlight. How true is the truth you so much hold on to? Would you be disappointed if you realized that your version of truth was not the "gospel" truth? All religions claim to have the truth but can we all compromise and come to a universal agreement? It is about time we got sick and tired of being sick and tired and endeavor to break free from our small ways of thinking and open up our minds to think outside the box. This life is a life of sorts and it took great pains to get to where you are now (whether you were born with a golden or wooden spoon in your mouth). Let us learn to be curious and analytical not judgmental because whether we judge now or never, we are all going to be judged by an ultimate reality. My name is Edwin Oko Lamptey and this is a "deep thinking" R.A.T (RANDOM AFRICAN THOUGHT). More at randomafricanthoughts.blogspot.com

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Monday, 18 May 2015

THE ART OF LOSING.

Yesterday I could not find my pen so I dared myself to ask my little sister for one. She gave me a lecture before giving me the pen. She went on to warn me to take care of the pen because it was a gift (I know it was no gift. She knew I was careless and was bound to misplace hers too so she had to find a way to get me to keep the pen safe). True to her assertion, I misplaced it (as if I had a choice). When she came asking for it, I could not give her an affirmative answer. Tempers were rising so I had to search for the "gift". It took me thirty minutes to find it. While searching for it, I had to tell her a story about another loss to calm her temper (of all the stories I could think of, it was a story on loss that came to mind). An Uncle we had not seen for a while intended to pay the extended family a visit. The visit sent us all into raptures. When he finally arrived, he was met with handshakes, hugs and demands. He came with a brown paper bag full of red apples. We took the apples coupled with the other goodies that he had in his hands. We dashed to the kitchen to perform a "ritual". Growing up as children, we always refrigerated apples to a certain "coldness level" before we ate them. We had a field day with our Uncle. We took him round the house and told him every little secret there was. I cannot seem to recall a place we did not take him. Soon, darkness had fallen upon us and the obvious was becoming imminent. The time had come for him to leave. We walked him to the car. He dipped his hand into his pocket but the expression on his face changed because his hand came back out empty. He had lost his car key. Even though some of us were happy at the "unfortunate" turn of events, (because our Uncle was going to stay a while longer) we had to search for the key. We looked everywhere, inside the flowerpots, kitchen sink, pillowcases, fishpond and all the bizarre places you can imagine. The key was nowhere to be found. We resolved to let our Uncle pass the night. I therefore went into the kitchen to get myself a glass of water. Upon reaching the empty kitchen, an "evil thought" came to mind. I purposed in my heart to take one of the many apples for myself. Upon opening the brown paper bag, there lay my Uncle's car key "chilling" with the apples. I believe the key fell in the bag during the chaotic welcome scene we staged.A necessary evil had turned me into a local champion (the finder). It was the last place I or anyone could think of searching. Soon, my uncle was on his way; to my disappointment.
It was not the relief from finding the key that got me fascinated, rather it was the mystery of loss that got me intrigued. More often than not we tend to lose things and even people. Death is a painful but inevitable loss, loss of property, relationships, even the loss of self-worth and what have you. The thing about loss is that it teaches us the essence and importance of value. My Uncle had a number of cars and as a matter of fact, he would not normally worry about a means of transport but in that very moment it was the small car he brought that was going to carry him home and you could tell from his face that he was worried. I realized that we always tend rush into finding a replacement for our loss so as to fill the void that the loss has created. By so doing, we tend to look at the wrong places probably due to desperation. Sometimes the things we need are the things and people we disregard. Whenever there is a loss, we normally do not take the time to do an assessment of the causes of the loss. Happiness and fulfilment are sometimes found in places we least expect. I have come to accept that sometimes it is good to lose people and things. It gives you the chance to know if you are doing wrong things. It encourages you to strive for better but more importantly, it teaches you to know the things and people who are worth keeping and taking good care of. Every loss is a loss and it comes with pain and disappointment in its wake. Whether you lost something or someone, come to terms with it and strive to come out of that situation as a champion who has learnt a lesson from that episode. My name is Edwin Oko Lamptey and this is a "lost but found" R.A.T (RANDOM AFRICAN THOUGHT). More at randomafricanthoughts.blogspot.com
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Thursday, 14 May 2015

MY FRIEND, DAVID.

I know a young man, David, I met him when I changed schools. I met him in class three. I had the privilege to sit with him for a full term. He harboured dreams of becoming a doctor or lawyer, I am not too sure. It was his passion and dream. It is been fifteen years since I first saw David, he has not made so much progress with school even though he has not dropped out. I learnt he still holds on dear to his commitment of one day wearing a gown or dangling his stethoscope. David is not a special needs boy, it's just that he is not so bright so his dream has to linger on longer than the both of us expected. I do not in anyway intend to mock him. On the contrary, he is one of my role models. He turned me into a dreamer. He taught me many lessons. David showed me the proverbial "light". He taught me that sometimes, life's lessons do not  always come from the "perfect order of being" but from what we have come to accept as the "imperfect" things that surround us. David, wherever you are, I say "thank you". As I grew up and went through the changing scenes of life, David always came to mind when I get myself to a place where I had to think about my dreams. I have known and seen many dreamers. I believe one of the first ones was the biblical Joseph who had to go into a pit before he could become a leader. If anyone tells you that your dreams can become a reality by the mere snap of your finger, please question that person's credibility. All dreams that were made real were as a result of back-breaking and painstaking efforts coupled with determination and perseverance. I am a dreamer but truth be told, most of my dreams are wishful ( just on the lighter side). I realized that once in a while, people mistake ambitions for dreams. They are two entirely different fields. Sometimes it takes ambition to realize a dream. One thing I learnt from life is that sometimes you need to be flexible with your dreams. This is to say that what you always have is not what you always need to achieve something. You would actually need to meet a setback, lose something or someone dear or take a detour from your main dream to achieve a smaller goal that would catapult you into achieving your main objective. There are even times that your main dream that you so much hold onto is the wrong one. Before you settle on a dream, exhaust all your options, try things you even are uncomfortable doing. Then, and only then would you get to know what you were cut out for. I have seen many dreamers turn their dreams into reality, I have also seen many people who have ventured into totally different fields and are helping people to achieve their dreams because of the steps they took. In both scenarios, dreams are being realized. This piece is dedicated to all the dreamers, achievers and hopeful people I know, including the motivational speakers, nurses, mothers, fathers, friends, upcoming footballers, designers, musicians, comedians, growing businesses and brands, pocket lawyers and politicians "paparazzis" and yours too. We are not only dreamers and dream chasers, we are dream achievers too. I cannot wait to celebrate your dreams with you. Box on because I say so. My name is Edwin Oko Lamptey and this is a "dreaming" R.A.T (RANDOM AFRICAN THOUGHT). More at randomafricanthoughts.blogspot.com
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UPCOMING EVENT:
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Date :1st July, 2015
Venue: Bethel Family Chapel Assemblies of God, Tema Community 22 Annex
Time: 3:30pm
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Monday, 11 May 2015

THE GREATEST GIFT.

I was going through Facebook yesterday when I came across the status of a friend. It was quite disheartening to say the least that someone will say things about another person and not give that person the chance to clear their name. I was not really surprised because not too long ago, a prominent footballer had also put his family matters on "full blast" and the sad part of it was that it was in the full glare of the public's eye. I wonder the effect we seek to gain whenever we put private matters into the midst of a "not too objective" public audience who already have their preconceived bias and are only waiting to get supporting evidence to buttress their perceptions. We all need familial tender love and care. It is also true that come what may, our families will always come through for us in our times of distress. Some families are an envy to the world, others too are models of bitter lessons and experiences. This fact notwithstanding, it is a fact that the families we envy and so wish by some rare part of fate to be a part of have their strong differences and trials and the opposite is also true that the family that no one wishes to be a part of has also had their good times and unforgettable lasting impressions of joy, peace and love. Sometimes I can get really pissed by some of the things my parents do. When this happens, I vow that I would never speak to them for a long time but truth be told, it takes less than minutes for us to reconcile and get back to being family members once again. I know I am not crazy because a bunch of you have also had this going on in your minds. A family is one's priceless asset and it comes next to none as far as treasures and miracles are concerned. Family feuds and misunderstandings are bound to happen ( I do not intend to be a prophet of doom) because we are humans. We have mood swings, different ideas and ideologies and different perceptions (even identical twins tend to disagree on things once in a while). It also goes to buttress the point that we are growing and our personal worldviews are taking shape. In all this, I do not know whether to blame it on our favourite family system (extended). For a while, I have been thinking about "family stuff" and I found a few things that needed talking to. Some families, by whatever history or reason there is, seem to be in competition with each other. They take pride in the errors of other members and are the lead singers of "I told you so". They ensure that their "portion" of the family toe the line of "goodwill" (through fair and foul means) so as to win the certificate of praise singers as if there was a prize for it. It is also quite amazing the way and manner in which others too allow their misunderstandings to trickle down the family tree like the passing on of some torch. In these cases, the initial "perpetrators" expect their offspring to carry on from where they left off by ensuring that they put in whatever case they can to ensure that the feud continues. When I hear of such stories, I think to myself that the older generation will definitely die out so what then becomes of the family when the younger generation is brainwashed? More often than not, our families are the first relationships we form and if we do a bad job at it, it tells in our "public relations". Sometimes I wonder if family misunderstandings  are attributes of the fact that some people feel more "familial" love towards outsiders more than they do actual family members. Our families are gifts that have been bestowed upon us by divine selection let us therefore strive to keep it intact for posterity sake. We are each other's keeper. I cannot remember which part of the Bible I saw this but I believe I read " A house that is divided against itself cannot stand". Let us ponder over this Chinese proverb and think of its repercussions that "In a broken nest there are few whole eggs". My name is Edwin Oko Lamptey and this is a"family R.A.T (RANDOM AFRICAN  THOUGHT). More at randomafricanthoughts.blogspot.com.
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Friday, 8 May 2015

CHANGING TRENDS.

I was in the company of some of my colleagues at work. We were all seated in a lounge where we took in fresh air before our shift started; it was sort of a "meeting" room. We engaged in petty arguments and chit-chats with the people we were familiar with. Every one was engaged in their own small way trying to blow off some steam or be filled in on the latest happenings in the latest telenovela (for the ladies). The guys were caught up in the sporting events that had taken place around the world. I guess you can imagine the chaotic scene I am trying to create now. Everyone had something to say and everyone wanted to be heard. Our attention was drawn to the entrance to the room when one other female colleague walked in. All of a sudden, the whole place had gone silent and all eyes were on her. Only God knows how she managed to walk in to find a place to sit with all those eyes staring at her. She found a spot to sit and started chatting with the other ladies. Soon, she acclimatized herself with the happenings in the room. I began eavesdropping on their conversation. They were talking about fashion and how to look good. It's quite amazing the way the trends of fashion have taken a twist. There seems to be an adjustment or synthetic replacement for every part of the body nowadays. I thought to myself that beauty is not what it was anymore. If there was any time that the saying "appearance is deceptive" was to come to play, it would be now in the world of fashion and looking attractive. I realized that women had to go through a lot of stress just to look good. At first, they had to make sure that their outward appearance was spot on and their make up  was living up to the hype. Nowadays, they even adjust the "unseen" parts of the body so as to upgrade the "seen" parts. Women now put on all kinds of pads including breasts pads, hip pads and bum pads. These "adjustments" make women appear outwardly attractive but I find myself asking if they think God did a "half-baked" job when he created them because the way they "add up" to God's touch is amazing. I realized that women had a lot of fears; looking good and being in vogue with the changing trends of fashion were some of them. I would not blame them for going through all this stress; men are moved by what we see. Looking good was therefore a prerequisite to getting noticed. It's quite amazing also how women can stare at other women who have "out dressed" them. They would talk nonstop about that particular woman till they are able to break down what she is wearing from head to toe. One lady was recounting such a situation. She was attending an event and felt she had "dressed to kill" but upon reaching the venue for the event, she realized that the other ladies had made "nonsense" of what she was wearing. I do not know much but one thing I know is that women hate to be in competition with other women. It makes them feel inferior sometimes and cannot appreciate their own kind of beauty. In the mist of all this revelation, I thought to myself how these "adjustment ladies" were going to explain themselves should their secret be revealed or if they had to appear in their birthday suits for the obvious. I bet their significant other would be very disappointed and would exclaim "this is not what I bargained for". It is true that men are attracted by what they see but if a man sees your real features and he likes it, nothing can change his mind. Sometimes I consider myself somewhat lucky to be a guy. I do not have to add any "additional features" to my body, I do not have to worry so much about the dress I have on even if I have to wear that same dress three times in the same week. You would be amazed when you get to know the number of times some guys wear some "gears" in a week. You would rarely find guys analyzing the clothes another guy has on. That would be very absurd. In all this fashion frenzy, I was not so much concerned about the changing trends of fashion, I was thinking about change in general and how it affected us as humans. Sometimes you get to wonder if the passage of time is just history relived because the things that we used to put on and have forgotten are the things that are in vogue today. I also wondered if it was appropriate to change with time so as to live in time or to stay true to who you are despite the changing hands of time. Change is good and it is sometimes a prerequisite for development and self-assessment. I just want to know if every change is necessary. Everyone is special and beautiful in their own way. Be your own kind of beautiful. My name is Edwin Oko Lamptey and this is a "designer" R.A.T (RANDOM AFRICAN THOUGHT). More at randomafricanthoughts.blogspot.com

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

I KNOW WHO I AM; WHO ARE YOU?


I have been off for a while. During the break, I found it really difficult getting something to write about. All the topics that came to mind had been written about before. I felt I had exhausted all the topics in the world. I know it is not easy having to sit and always find something interesting to write about. I decided to do something that I had never done, something that most of us are afraid to do due to various reasons. I lead a very routine way of life. I practically do the same thing everyday. I always wondered if I could do things differently and if the results would make my life any better. I had no option left so I decided to take stock of my life so far and do an assessment to see if I was doing myself more harm than good or vice versa. We are sometimes afraid to put ourselves in the spotlight to do an evaluation of our lives. Sometimes when we consider what others, the same age as us have achieved, we tend to think that we have somewhat failed ourselves. We sometimes belittle ourselves and put undue pressure on ourselves just because we cannot do or have what others have. We must learn to ask ourselves questions like "who am I?" "If all that I am and all the things I have are taken away, who would I truly be standing alone?" "What do I like?" "What appeals to me?" "What do I find satisfaction in?" "Who do I love and wish to be with?" "Where do I see myself  ten years from now?". Sometimes self assessment is good. If you are sincere with yourself, you would know your strengths and weaknesses. You would know which career path to follow, you would know the kind of music to listen to when you have your mood swings, you would know how to make gains from your hobbies, you would know how to deal with your emotions. Sometimes situations can change your perception of things you once knew, relationships with people and even your own view about yourself may change because of a situation or person. Sometimes when you take a moment to take a look at yourself, you will be amazed at the person you have become. I have many mates that are not currently employed but are searching for jobs. They always lament that all the jobs are taken. I bet  if they do a self-evaluation test, they would realize that you do not always have to be an employee but you can work your way around to becoming an employer. I have a friend, James whom I have known since elementary school. I envy this guy for one thing; his artistic mind. I always wished I could draw like him way back in primary school. He followed his love for the arts and is now earning a living from this. I am sure he carefully did a self assessment of himself and realized that he was better at creative arts than any other field. More often than not, the careers that we pursue have nothing to do with our qualifications and we get so busy trying to make a living so much so that we do not really get to do what we are trained for or what we really love to do. Irrespective of who you are now or what you have become, take a break, get a sheet of paper and a pen and put yourself to the test. Take a timeout and do the self-realization assessment. You might end up taking drastic measures that would benefit you greatly. Nobody knows you better like you do. You do not know this because probably you have not taken the time to know yourself. Whenever you find yourself in a new day tell yourself that "you have got today and you are going to make the best you can of it". Just trust in yourself. If you feel there is a need to start again, by all means, wipe the slate clean after all, it is your life and no one can live it for you. Your yesterday is dead and gone and you died along with it. Let us make the best we can of every opportunity that life presents us today. My name is Edwin Oko Lamptey and this is an "evaluation" R.A.T (RANDOM AFRICAN  THOUGHT). More at randomafricanthoughts.blogspot.com
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