Everyday People

Ike

How do the tough get going when the going gets tough? Well, he chose to hold his head up, stuck his chest out and found his inner strength to push ahead. Who could have known he was stronger than he knew of himself? His general overview of life were positive, regardless. And today, he’s paying it forward by lending a hand to others. Such is life. – DBM 

#EverydayPeople

“Hello Dave,

I just read your “share your experience” post and I would love to share mine. I will try as much to summarize everything and hopefully it could motivate and encourage someone. This will be a long essay, but I beg your pardon and your readers as well to allow me to spit it all out. I’m only 31 years but I’ve lived by myself and taken care of myself with some help from a few people since 1997, in Kumasi. I’m the 10th of 11 children, and I was referred to as “The Problem Child”.

I have been called so many bad names and accused wrongly of many bad things I didn’t commit. At a point, I could not talk to or play with any kid in our community because should their parents had found out that they even talked or played with me, they’d have been in trouble. Dave, I was going through all these as I kid and my only crime was because I spoke my mind, stood for what was right. I didn’t’ take any form of disrespect from anyone, including my parents and teachers. I wouldn’t do anything I felt was not right or not congruent with my heart, and I had a very strong will.

I was the kid who will rebuke my own parents, older siblings and even teachers when they did something wrong. I was once a witness against my own mom and they used to call me “Efie Wura” (Landlord) because no one could misbehave when I was home. Some also referred to me as a wizard, because I’m a twin and my twin sister died. In fact, I was and still am a no nonsense person. Fast forward, I was neglected by my family/community and that led me to becoming a school dropout at class 5, because I couldn’t conform to doing something against my will.

I never attended class 5 and 6. By the time I was 14 years in 2001, I had almost two years’ experience learning a trade in electrical welding. I never gave up in life and always believed that I would make it with or without my family or even without school. My favorite quotes back then were “Everyone for himself, God for us all” and “Determination today leads to success tomorrow”. For some reasons my desire to succeed and shy my family and the community kept going up every day. In 2002, whiles my classmates were going to J.S.S three, I took a J.S.S one entrance exam and passed. In fact I was in the 6th position, out of over 120 candidates.

At this point, I was working three jobs (shoe shine in the morning before school, my welding apprenticeship after school. I was a driver’s mate on weekends too). Some days too I sold poly bags at Kejetia and Central market). I was doing all this, just to prove a point and shame my family and the community for neglecting me, and they didn’t even know what was going on with me. They thought I was just roaming about for nothing because I left home at dawn and came back late in the night. I completed JSS in 2005 and had to quit my apprentice job to concentrate on being a driver’s mate and shoe shine boy, to raise money for high school.

My high school was a big struggle because I would always fall sick during exams and it started in J.S.S. I only wrote 8 of the 10 BECE papers and 7 out of the 8 WASSCE exams, due to sickness. But I still passed each one I took. In fact I spent only three full terms in high school, the rest was sickness and surgeries but I always went to write exams and I passed every time, except for one term – that I couldn’t take it at all. But the school promoted me, prior to previous terms’ results. And I was the best English student of my batch.

After high school in 2008, I continued working four jobs to raise money for tertiary. I started my first business (MTN Credit transfer/space to space), Shoe Shine, a third job as computer technician using a computer software and hardware certificate I obtained in 2007, while in high school, and also a distributor for a network marketing company selling health products. I woke up at 4 am every morning to plan my day. Shoe Shine and MTN transfer/space to space from 5:30 am7:30, Office work from 8 am – 4 pm, 6 pm – till bed time, continuation of shoe shine and MTN transfer/space to space.

I was bedridden for months in 2009. At a point I was so sick to the extent that I couldn’t even talk, unless I wrote on a paper for someone to translate. All my capital was gone and my businesses collapsed, so I couldn’t achieve my goal of going to tertiary, though I had passed. I still didn’t give up. Anytime I was a little stronger, I went back to working my office job, doing shoe shine and my distributor job.

Dave, miracles do happen! And in 2009, the biggest miracle of my life happened. I had been going to the internet cafe since 2004 but never once did it happen to me to apply for the DV Lottery, but in 2009 I did for the first time and I won. I was in Yeji, selling health products, and then a call came that I have a letter at the general post office in Adum-Kumasi. At first, I thought it was one of my white friends abroad who had sent me something because they would send stuff here and there so I decided to wait until I was in Kumasi. Then three days later, another call came from the post office that the letter was urgent and it was from the United States Government.

That was when I rushed to meet that surprise. Dave, I kept this a top secret and continued to go about my life the normal way as if nothing had happened. I had to work extra hard to raise money for processing my visa. Luckily, I had one whole year to prepare because then it took a year to process the DV lottery. Few months later, I got admission at Offinso Training College, and I didn’t want to put my eggs in one basket relying on the visa, so I started schooling as well. Finally in 2010, I arrived in the United States of America.

Fast forward, I became homeless after eight months because of an issue I had with the people I lived with and I decided to move out because I wouldn’t tolerate being mistreated and disrespected. Good thing is, by then I had a job with my IT certificate and I lived in my car for a few months. In 2011, I moved to another city and started a Technical/Trade school (Something like Polytechnic in Ghana). It was supposed to be a two year diploma programme, but I was taking 18 credit hours and summer classes while working a full-time job as a housekeeper. And in just a year and some months, I completed the course with Honors. I only slept 3-4 hours a day for 14 months straight, in order to achieve that.

I got a job even before I graduated from the same company I did my internship. In fact, I was hired just one week of my internship and they paid me full salary during my internship. In six months, I was a supervisor. One year later, another company hired me doubling my pay and I’ve been promoted twice in three years. I work a job even people with bachelor’s degree could only dream off. All I want to say is, in life, 10% of what happens to us and 90% percent how we make out of what happens to us. Your belief, endurance, hard work, planning, setting up goals, having values and rules/principles in your life is the key. If you have all these, success becomes just a matter of time, not a matter of hope or prayers.

Yes, God is important but if God gives you a brain to think, a body to work and you sit there praying without actions, waiting on God for a miracle, then you’re insulting God. Success is only attainable when prior preparations meets an opportunity. And without prior preparations, success is an illusion. Sometimes, it’s the story we tell ourselves and the blame games that makes us fail, I could have blamed my family, my community and even my sickness, but I’m still here making it. The same family that neglected me, I’m the pillar of it now and to some extent, a bread winner for them.

I give back to the same community. As a matter of fact, I’m extremely glad for all the negativity I had to endure in life, they helped me to be better, and also challenged me. But more importantly, it gave me the can do spirit and the will to prove them all wrong. Yes, I still have the health issue (Chronic issue that I have to deal with all my life) but I’m very happy and grateful to God. Even if I’m to die today, my soul will feel good. If you’re going through pain and suffering in life, try as much as possible to associate positive meanings to it. If I hadn’t become a school dropout, if I wasn’t neglected by my family and community, I wouldn’t have made it in America, when my troubles started.

God had given me the experience and prepared me for the life here without even me knowing it, but now, it all makes sense why I went through all that as a child. Very soon, I’m moving back home for good due to health reasons and I can’t wait. There’s this advert that used to play on TV3 and GTV back in the days, and the voice over goes like, “It’s your life, it’s your choice” “Obra ne de3 wo ara ab)”. Own your life, have a plan, set goals for achieving the plans, work, work … work hard to prepare for an opportunity. Finally, give yourself time seeking and waiting for that one life changing moment. It might not seem like it’s where you stand now, but trust you me, I know what I’m talking about.

May God help us all.” – From I M

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