Debbie Must Go!

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Every Ghana-must-go bag has a story. It’s usefulness and fame in Nigeria arrived in late January 1983, when the President of Nigeria at the time, Alhaji Shehu Shagari, held a press conference and ordered all immigrants without the right papers to leave the country within a few weeks. There were over two million people; one million were Ghanaians, and the rest were from a mix of other West African countries.  “If they don’t leave, they should be arrested and tried, and sent back to their homes. Illegal immigrants under normal circumstances, should not be given any notice whatsoever. If you break a law, then you have to pay for it”, he said in a statement.…….Anne Chia writes.  I encourage you to visit the above link and read about the history of Ghana Must Go.  But please do well to come back here 🙂

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During 1983, I was in Nigeria with my parents where my dad worked with a publishing company.  I was just over a year old.  We travelled around all the states in Nigeria. My mother often talks about our Nigerian experience.  My first steps were on  Nigerian soil.  I don’t think that is why I like Ofada Rice though. I know you are wondering if we also had to go.  The company my father was working for protected the staff (expats) but my mother was too scared.  She couldn’t stand the verbal abuse and forced my father to resign from the long term contract.  We then moved to Togo later that year where we stayed for 8 years before moving back to Ghana in 1991.

Now this story is not really about the 1983 Ghana Must Go  Movement by Alhaji Shehu Shagari, nor is it about Louis Vuitton making profits by stamping their name on the bag during fall 2013 fashion trends.  A bag that was supposedly used during the movement by immigrants to travel back to their homes.  ‘Ghana Must Go Bags’ are actually common across the world.  In Ghana it is known as ‘Efiewura Sua Me’ (Landlord, help me carry my bag).  In Germany it is “Tuekenkoffer”, which means the Turkish suitcase. In the United States of America, it is called the “Chinatown tote”. In Guyana, it is the “Guyanese Samsonite”.

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It was one fine Saturday afternoon and I was having a telephone conversation with one of my favourite caterers Fiona about me hating cooking so much!  I confessed that I just hated going into the kitchen and she jokingly said “Debbie must go”, referring me back into the kitchen.

I don’t hate cooking because I can’t cook.  I hate cooking because of the hardship of cooking in hot weather conditions.  Now that may make me sound like a spoilt brat.  Far from it.  Maybe I should tell you a little story behind all that hate.

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So I actually attended Flair Catering Services School, where I enhanced my cooking skills.

Looks like I wasn’t the only person who did.

Past Student
Her Excellency The First Lady, Mrs Mahama

“Studying at Flair Catering Services School was a lot of fun”

Unfortunately, I have a different comment to make.  It wore me out! Ha ha ha.  It wasn’t so much fun for me!  Fair Catering School was established in 1968 and till now, one of the most recognised Catering Services in the country.  I learnt how to make a lot of exciting dishes, both Ghanaian and Continental.  And after each lesson, I came home with bowls and bowls of food which excited my family.  No one had to cook dinner.

I made some friends in class, Auntie Charity was a great teacher and even under pressure, I would make the class laugh.  Then you wonder why the hate.  After almost 3 months at Flair, I knew cooking was not for me any more.  I would come home after a long day in class with throbbing feet.  The heat in the kitchen was making me feel faint at the urge of passing out so I would occasionally go and sit outside for a few minutes to get some fresh air.  For me it was torture.  I was not going to give up on the course though.  I graduated too 🙂

I must add, I wasn’t a bad cook before! I used to “throw down” in UK but when I moved to Ghana, with so much free time then, I tried to get a new hobby but it back fired ha ha ha.  I decided to stick to taking pictures of nicely presented cooked foods before I ate them.

Here with some photos to show as proof of my time spent in the Flair Kitchen.

By the way, the tall guy, the only guy in the class is Reggie.  He is now a chef.  He was my favourite class mate 🙂 Reggie was my biggest helper.  So sweet 🙂

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Then my Ewe class mate 🙂

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This was our kitchen with some of my class mates hard at work.  Do you spot Reggie in the back?  You can’t miss that bright orange shirt.

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This was my kitchen counter.

DSC_0313DSC_0311DSC_0303Teacher Charity marking my food :/

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Deuces!  I made the class of November 2010.

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I thought I was done with this whole cooking thing until I met this girl here called Jay, popularly known as Mukase Chic.  It started as a hobby.  It is now a chain of restaurants with outside catering services too.  She has a cooking show on TV with another friend Kim called Cooking In Heels and guess what, she has even been featured on CNN!  Now beat that!
Do you know the girl asked me to become her friend just so that I could take pictures of her food and take photos of it! Imagine that!  Look how we became friends.  She barely knew how to cook then.  She is a self thought cook.  She would go on the internet, look up recipes, try them and have me stand there through out the process, take photos and then eat the food to tell her how good or bad she did.  I was her guinea pig :/  And now that she is a great cook and runs her own restaurants, I don’t get free food.  Is that fair?  What if the rat died whilst being used for experiments?  Good thing I could stomach much more than the average rat lol.
I went on her blog post where she was talking about her friends she said ” Debb appreciates food and I love that about her. If she wants to eat , she eats! Debb has an international tongue. I always say that she is like me, willing to try anything and we both love “muslim” foods.  Debbie is a burkina drinker, she says burkina is made from fresh milk and millet. If meat was human, Debbs would have married him.”  Spot on!  I love meat gosh!  But this story is about to change.  But seriously I love meat.  So nice!  Especially grilled meat, medium well done steak, oh my mr lover lover!  I still occasionally have Burkina but that too has had to change.  Debbie must go!
CliffMeet my friend Cliff.  I have known Cliff since I was a teenager.  I think the first time I met Cliff in London, I was 15 years old.  Wow, almost 20 years of friendship.  He owns Branch Fitness Gym, located on the Spintex Road.  Cliff has always encouraged me to keep fit and stay healthy.  I used to be an active member of his gym but my schedule made it very difficult for me to go on a regular basis yet he always keeps in touch and motivates me.  I appreciate Cliff because he maintains a relationship beyond business.
057e4091d0783833a54095e2e7da9d34Then I heard of the fitness instructor Sean Guy.  My friend Frimpomaa was his client and encouraged me to join his classes.  I saw results in her so I thought why not however, I soon fell ill and made travel plans so I had to resign from the class.
Screen Shot 2016-07-11 at 17.04.50Meet Esther!!!  Esther is a personal trainer.  A girl after my own heart.  She was so patient with me but made me break a sweat 4 mornings a week.  I was mostly grumpy because she always got me out of bed too early and I am not so much of a morning person. Working out with Esther was fun!  But again I begun to travel very often and it was disrupting my classes with Esther.
sammy-forsonStill highly hopeful to get fit and stay healthy, I then fell in the arms of this couple of living testimony.  I am currently on week 3 of the Passion And Dream Weight Management programme.  6kg loss logged at the end of week 2.  It could have been more but!  First came Sallah, breaking from the Ramadan Fast. I am not muslim but my muslim friend invited me over.  Mind you, earlier that day my mother also made some Jollof Rice with Ribs and Chicken Wings.  I also had a Sip and Chew meeting with my Coventry University Alumni where I ate Kebabs.  It was a disastrous day for me!
Two days later, I went to a party and  Mukase Chic showed her face with Jollof Rice, Vegetables and Pork.  Now, the thing is, I don’t even life Jollof rice like that so not so sure why I kept falling for it.  Truly disappointed in myself.
So week 3, I am determined to focus and eat healthy and exercise.  So help me God!
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Why this picture?  Ok this is a picture of me which was taken 3 days ago.  Saturday 9th July with a Mahogany Couple’s whose engagement I coordinated.  Judith and PK.  I use this picture because it is my most recent picture.  Currently weighing exactly 100Kg/221 pounds and I am being told for my age and height I should be 65kg/144 pounds.  Somebody tell me it isn’t insane! 35kg/77 pounds must go!
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So why Debbie Must Go?

Debbie is currently the biggest bag and she must go! lol

There are 3 major challenges Debbie Must Face To Go:

1 – Regular Exercise

I need regular exercise and due to my unstructured schedule, I thought it best to have my own home gym ha ha ha.  Don’t picture a huge air-conditioned gym with world class equipments, plasma screens on the walls, subwoofers in the corners with a fit personal trainer following me around the room.  Nope!  I have an elliptical cross trainer and a treadmill to jump on after some skips.

Week 1: Used ones for an hour – Bad review 😦  Such a bad review I am beginning to wonder how much interest that money could have made in a savings account.

Week 2: Used four times – Heading towards target!  And working out is making me more thirsty but water can begin to become boring when you start drinking too much of it so I have begun the Infused Water craze.

Week 3: I think they know who the boss is now.  And I did something different this week!!!

On Saturday 16th July, I met up with a few of my friends at 6 am and walked up and down the Aburi Mountain.  Exciting yet tiring.  It was my first time but I will definitely do it again. And I will make sure I take a fully charged phone along with me to take photos.  So I won’t tell you too much about it now so that when I do, you will find it interesting.

Week 4: As the exercise this week hasn’t been so good, my green tea intake has increased.    It is said that Green Tea increases fat burning and improves physical performance. hmmm…I am relying on it because I haven’t played with the babies all week.

Week 5: The week begun with a 7.14km walk in 1 hour 14 minutes with Jay in my neighbourhood.  Hope this promises an exercised filled week.  Then a 2 hour walk in my mother’s village site seeing. Another Saturday morning walk up and down the Aburi mountain.

Week 6: Week didn’t start well but ended on an exciting fit note.  I spent all weekend, walking!!!  Another out of town trip was in order.

Week 7: I haven’t stepped on the exercise machines, nor gone for a walk this week.  Really busy week with involvement in 6 events!

Week 8: With Rhema and Maxwell’s wedding this week, I have not even looked at any exercise machine or walked anywhere further than my working desk.

Week 9: Week started well with excercise but Friday, Saturday and Sunday, no!

Week 10: Not even once this week.  Neither did I take a walk.

Week 11: …………Week 18: Ashamed to say the least.  Its been 7 weeks since I last worked out.

Week 19: ……………..Week 34: I am working from a different location, Uk, for 2 weeks before going for a 2 weeks vacation in Seychelles and Dubai.  Stayed in London this week.  Wanted my friend Zinnia and I to go to the local gym but no helping hand with child care for her daughter so didn’t happen.

Week 35: In Milton Keynes this week so got a week’s membership at Pure Gym.  Went 4 times.  Good intro after 15 weeks break 😦

Week 36: Spent most part of the week in Seychelles.  Wanted to go for early morning walks but I was too tired most mornings.  Never made it to the gym.  Just couldn’t allocate the time of it.

Week 37:

2 – Healthy Eating

Week 1: I was very good.  I did a fruits and vegetables only diet all week.  First attempts at having fruits and vegetables smoothies.  Damn, I was so proud of myself!

Week 2:  Disaster!!!  Very much ashamed of myself.  I went in on the Jollof Rice and Meats.

Week 3:  I must say I did much better this week than the last.  I have gotten a bit used to my new daily routine, that is a glass of squeezed lemon in warm water every morning to start the day.

Week 4:  Week 4 started well until I had to start taking Amoxicillin Antibiotics.  Now I don’t know if I should be blaming these 3 a day tablets for my severe rise in appetite.  Its absurd.  I always feel like eating!  So this week I ate a lot but tried to keep it healthy each time.  I had very little carbs until Sunday when I went for food tasting with a client at Fiona’s Foods.  Disaster struck!

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Her Gari Fortor is the best gars fortor in the whole world!!!

Week 5: At the beginning of this week, Jay said “You will be slim aaaah then some food will just come and mess up your life.”  True or false?  Certainly true for 10 points.  Meat is my downfall.  I can’t go a week without meat sob sob.  Red meat red meat why are you in my life???  It has been my biggest challenge so this week I am going to challenge myself not to eat meat.  Meat has never been part of my diet plan but I always just cheat with it.

Starting the week with this for Monday lunch.  Beetroots, Carrots, Spinach, Onion, Roast Chicken, Lemon, Coconut Oil and Sesame Seeds.  Breakfast and Lunch has been fruits….Jay came to spend the day at mine so she put it together from yesterday’s grocery shopping.

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It was a healthy week right until Friday afternoon when I ate a bit of rice and on Saturday when I ate a whole lot of everything at a wedding I gate crushed.  Fiona was catering, Debbie was visiting 😦

Week 6: Disaster struck on day 1.  My mother’s 65th Birthday on Monday and I truly indulged in the Bailey Cake Marmette made, a bottle of malt and some fried fish soup along side some Ayigbe biscuit.  I made a trip to her village to join the party, I really couldn’t help it.  Lord I am sorry for starting this week this way :/ Following days were a challenge but I picked up momentum on Wednesday and stayed on track till Sunday. Yay me!

Week 7: So far definitely so good!  This week is looking promising!

Week 8: I have eaten some healthy foods but not accordingly to my diet plan.  And I have certainly not eaten enough this week.

Week 9: Started the week with a good exercise session on Monday but also ate too much!  Even though protein only, there was no portion control 😦 Then my body started craving sugar, I succumbed to Jelly Beans.  Bags and bags of it.  Then I begun to feel bloated and tired. Then one of my closest friends died.  My mind was nothing near thinking about what I eat before I eat it.

Week 10: Heavily broken hearted, lost of direction, dieting is not working too well.  I don’t have any motivation to leave my room to engage in any sort of activity.

Week 11: …………Week 18: The last 7 weeks have just flown over my head.  I can’t even recall what has been happening.  I can tell you for sure that I have not monitored what I have been eating, I am not following any specific routine, I just don’t know what went wrong.

Week 19: ……………..Week 6: Official 15 weeks disaster has struck.  I have been eating the world in my tiny parts of the globe.

 

3 – Cooking Healthy Meals For Herself

Week 1: Making smoothies has not been hard, especially when your cousin offers to do it for you all the time.  So still not cooked for myself :/

Week 2:  No chance. I was eating everything I didn’t cook.

Week 3: Hmmm, when people like Luckie Lawson, owner of Mango’s Restaurant is a friend of yours, a lot of good food will get delivered to you.  Good low carb foods 🙂

Week 4: I have discovered another tea, Senna Tea, to have at night to help move my bowels in the morning. Tried ones this week and it actually worked!  What exciting discovery as my digestion system is like a concrete tube.  It is week 4, I have been taking lemon in warm water, loose teas, infused water, living on antibiotics and eating like a lost horse.  But have I done any cooking?  Wait for it………..Nope.

Week 5: Monday, Jay cooked in my kitchen.  Ok fine it doesn’t count…. Rest of week I lived on grated vegetables and grills that were already prepped for me.

Week 6:  I was barely him this week,  so no cooking.

Week 7: Nothing like stepping in the kitchen.  Nothing new huh?

Week 8: I don’t even remember going into the kitchen this week.

Week 9: Maybe I should just delete this category entirely!

Week 10: Not this week either!

Week 11: Same, Week 12: Same, Week 13: Same, Week 14: SameWeek 15: Same, Week 16: Same, Week 17: Same, Week 18: Same, Week 19: …….., Week 20: ………Week 21  to Week 36: Due to my lack of cooking.  This summary on my healthy cooking accounts has officially come to an end because it is never populated.

 

Now, The Scale Doesn’t Lie, Especially on the Sabbath Day!

The weekly weighing is done every Sunday afternoon.

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Week 1: 106kg

Week 2: 100kg…..After Detox

Week 3: 99kg

Week 4: Too scared to get weighed……Still don’t understand the miracle…… 98kg

Week 5: 97kg…I really could do better if I was more serious.

Week 6: 96kg…I am even surprised, considering the week’s activities.

Week 7: …….Wait For It…I can say that I am 95kg today!!!  I have concurred my first 10 Kilos!  Pow!!!  I really think I am 94kg though because I wore jeans to my weighing but oh well.  Lets see what next week says.

Week 8: 27th August 2016, its been exactly 2 months since I started this weight loss journey.  This week hasn’t been very good.  I have been highly stressed, not slept much, not eaten breakfast everyday, No drink more than 500ml of water every day, Not Exercised.  Not followed the diet plan. I have done everything wrong.  Lets see what the scale says tomorrow…..94kg

Week 9: 95kg…..I have gained weight….Wailing Out Of Control….Could it be the new hair style adding to the weight, could it be the jelly beans I constantly poured down my throat, could it be the ovulation, could it be the mourning, broken hearted and distraught?

Week 10: 94kg….I really need to be doing better than this!!!  Not looking good.

Week 11: 94kg……The point where I have gotten lazy with the diet….Sad

Week 12: 93kg……The struggle of staying on top of it all

Week 13: 93kg……Hmmmm what can I say?  I need to pick myself up and carry on

Week 14: 92kg …..Its been hectic…A Lot Of Work, No Exercise,  Lots Of Food

Week 15: Forgot to Weigh….Work Work Work

Week 16:  Forgot to Weigh….Work Work Work

Week 17: 91Kg…Ok I guess the detox helped!

Week 18: 90kg…..Got a little more serious this week

Week 19: 91kg…..After a few days vacation at Royal Senchi, hmmmm, the hard work I tried to put into it all went down the drain

Week 20: 89kg…..When you finally feel God answering your prayers

Week 21……………Week 34: 95kg…..I have gained 6 Kilos!!!  oh help me God

Week 35: 97kg.….Ok time to cut this holiday eating short and work on the weight

Week 36: ……kg.….

How Do I Look?

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Photographed on Sunday 17th July 2016

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Photographed on Saturday 13th August 2016

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Photographed on Saturday 15th October 2016
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Photographed on Saturday 29th October 2016
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Photographed on Tuesday 25th January 2017 …. 35 years old in 2 days!!!
Copyright THINK | MAHOGANY 
All rights reserved. This material, and other digital content on this blog, may not be reproduced, published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or in part without prior express written permission from Think | Mahogany
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2 Comments

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  1. God is too kind to you 😒

    Like

  2. Hello Debbie,
    Just read your blog and learnt you attended flair catering school ghana.
    I’m a nigerian and want to attend too but I’ve been sending them emails since last year but they’ve not been responding.
    Please since you have a first hand experience, I want you to kindly tell me how they run their program ; I mean is it only 3months program that is run there or are there other long term program too and how is the class schedule like?
    I would be most grateful if you respond to me. Thanks and God bless you.

    Like

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