Inside Asiedua’s chest: From Adom FM to myjoyonline.com: The untold story

Yes I’m the newbie at Myjoyonline.com. I joined the team this month. Trust me, there is a lot to learn. You have to get better or die trying.

After finishing my national service with Adom FM, I was extremely lucky to be considered by Myjoyonline.com.

I must confess, it’s a blessing to be able to work in two media units under 2 years at the Multimedia Group Limited.

Count your blessings one by one they say. So that’s what you are going to read in this article: counting my blessings starting with 12 months at Adom FM.

A picture of me and some members of Adom Newsroom

I miss the Editorial meetings led by Afia Pokua (Vim Lady) and the affable Samuel Dowuona. The discussions here can be intense and rigorous and riddled with laughter too. Colleagues there were always ready to assist me with everything at every time.

After the many depressing tales from friends doing their National Service in the public sector, my great hope was to be useful in a private sector organisation. You don’t want your employment to need the approval of 63 heads of department.

At Adom FM, I saw who I am and what Ghana is through the eyes of the media. My first thoughts when I woke up were to present a creative idea or a compelling story idea at editorial meetings. I got the opportunity to also travel to remote places and villages to chase stories.

One such story took me all the way to Sankore in the Brong Ahafo Region to follow up on an  eleven-year-old boy who claimed he had witchcraft. I was aghast at some of the things he told me. After listening to the boy and listening to some things that his family and some residents of the town said about him, I saw that the child was just notorious and needed counseling.

All the people thought of doing was to get the chief priest to cleanse him and exorcise the so called bad spirits. It was really sad seeing all that but there was little I could do. I thought of helping him but where was he going to stay and how was I going to cater for him?

Did you just suggest Social Welfare? Hmm… the last time Adom News sent a 15-year old girl found to be engaging in commercial sex work to the Social Welfare Department, she run away the following day. The manager of the place said they did not have enough people to take care of the children in the facility so that happened often.

The life of the people who live outside Accra, their poor social amenities and most interestingly their way of thinking was an eye-opener for me. I understood the phrase “Accra is Ghana” very well. It looked as if some parts of the country have been cut off totally.

I also reported some stories live on air. On my way to work one day, I overheard a phone conversation about a fire outbreak at LETAP, a jewelry company along the Graphic road in Accra. I darted into the office to inform the Morning Show producers. I was asked to go to the fire scene and do a report.

“But I do not know how to report, Sir”, I told him.

“Madam, just go, we will call you”, the producer shot back.

I headed off to the place. I looked for eyewitnesses and asked them a few questions and jotted down some things. After some minutes, I had a call from the office. My heart started racing faster than Usain Bolt.

I sighed and picked up the call.

“Asiedua, are you ready? Without waiting for an answer, he added, “I’m taking you on air, you can do this”.

‘Okay’ was all I said. Barely five minutes after speaking on air, I had calls from some friends and some relatives, telling me they had listened to my report. I asked anyone who called about my performance and they all said it was good. The real comments should come from my bosses, I told myself.

I walked into the editorial meeting and the first thing, Editor Samuel Dowuona said was “Team members let’s applaud Asiedua, her description of the fire scene was vivid.”

I felt very relieved. I did some other reports as well and my command over the local language improved from time to time. I conducted interviews, wrote stories out of them and each time my story was selected for reading, I was extremely excited.

The most difficult interview I conducted was with a woman who lost two children, her sister, her sister’s two children in the twin flood and fire disaster on June 3, 2015. She wept uncontrollably, but she managed to speak with me when I approached her.

It was hard, consoling the woman and getting information from her at the same time. Watching dead bodies being packed at the back of a truck made the experience more difficult.

I will also miss the part where I had to call some elderly people on phone for some Twi vocabs before I did a live report each time. It really helped as there were certain words that I didn’t know in Twi.

One of the greatest stories I followed up was about a 5-year old boy who was chained to a tree, heavily padlocked and surrounded by goats in his home at Mangotsonya near New Ningo.

Burns he suffered on his face had left him with an ugly patch of skin right beneath his two eyes. You could see the miracle that his eyes were spared the hot oil he fell into. Everywhere else on his face was a near permanent mark of that terrible incident.

It happened because of seizures he experiences as a boy diagnosed with epilepsy at age two. His mother, Christiana explained:

“…He fell into a pan of hot cooking oil when no one was watching and burnt his face badly – and there were times when he got missing from home and he was found far away at Kpong,” in the Greater Accra region.

To her, tying the boy to the tree was the only option she had to protect her son. She said the boy got missing one time and people who found him accused him of witchcraft and beat him up, so she felt the need to find a way to keep him at home, hence the chain.

Anyone who saw the little boy in chains would have thought the woman was simply being inhuman but after hearing her side of the story one could tell she was just a frustrated mother who had no other option.

“We have spent a lot of the little money we make on medical care for our son and now we do not have any more money to spend so chaining him to the tree was a last resort to prevent any more problems,” Christy said.

According to her, she and her husband are unable to enroll little Pete in school because of the frequent seizures. According to her, the boy could suffer about five to six seizures in a month.

The interesting thing was that the boy is able to recite the English alphabets and count numbers 1-20 even though he hasn’t been to school.

Adom News Editor Afia Pokua through radio and social media raised funds for the little boy’s treatment. The North Bronx Ghana SDA Church of New York and some individuals donated monies to fund Pete’s treatment.

On the first visit to the Tema General Hospital, he was examined by Dr. Bernard Ellikplim Petershie referred him to AKAI Clinic for head CT scan. He was referred to a Pediatrician, Dr Agyemang at the TGH after the report of the head CT scan.

The report of the head CT scan was ready and according to the pediatrician, there was nothing wrong in the little boy’s brain. Good start right? It was a relief because his mother was convinced that the little boy had a mental problem because of certain things he did.

The pediatrician examined the little boy and prescribed some drugs for him. He asked that the boy reported to him in a week’s time. Just about some two days before the day, his mother called to say that he had had two seizures the previous day. Just when things were getting better.

The doctor increased the dose on the next visit and asked that he reported after two weeks. Two weeks passed and the little boy did not have any seizures. You should have seen the broad smile on the little boy’s face when he and his mother arrived at the hospital.

It’s been over four months and the little boy has not had any seizures. Isn’t that wonderful!

The plan was for him to get enrolled in school when the seizures subside. His mother says until she sees a vast improvement in her son’s situation, we cannot enroll him in school. But after some assurance from the doctor on the last visit, it is expected that she will agree when the school issue is raised again.

It’s been observed that his mother tries as much as she can to keep him within her sight. She does not allow him to play around for fear that the seizure might come at any time.

Now back to Myjoyonline, I have had great support from the team from the day I arrived here. The objective Editor, Malik Abass Daabu whom I hear almost everyone call Alhaji is always on hand to lend me vital support.

On my far right is the charming Naa Sakwaba, who turns to me like every minute with a broad smile and asks “Akosua are you okay?” And guess what! She was the only female here before I joined. I hear men queued to come see her every morning. Did I hear you say Eeeiii? Wait until you see her. Lol

Behind me is the very dramatic Dela Aglanu, the gadget freak who makes almost everyone laugh by putting life in every little thing that happens.

Then there is the affable Edwin Appiah, whom I would also describe as “big in brain, small in bones”, you will understand me better when you see him. Edwin. He is the man behind Edwinology’s Lab and personality profile on Myjoyonline.com.

I was told of one man who officially welcomes ladies who join Myjoyonline.com team with a lunch date, the calm and caring George Nyavor.

Oh and the interesting church elder, Isaac Essel who says “Praise the Lord” each time he arrives at the office. Talking of how people greet, there is also Nathan Gadugah, who says “Greetings greetings”, and gets me nodding each time he arrives because I usually do not know how to respond to him. Lol. He is reserved and caring too.

The list would have been incomplete without mentioning the award-winning photographer, David Andoh. He won the Photo Journalist of the Year 2014 at the GJA Awards.

Most people call this team the diabo) room. And when it’s 12noon, 6pm or breaking news time, you know why this is no doubt a great online team in Ghana.

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