Everyday People


He lived his life in a continual struggle. I think he still does, except, maybe now, he is choosing to see and appreciate the splendor that could come out of this art of struggling. He chose to become more than just what life threw at him. He did more. He found available opportunities that weren’t all that available to him. And, he somewhat, knew the pain could be temporary. – DBM 


“David, Good Evening.

The story you shared earlier on today really dawned on me. I felt something within me when I was reading the story. Why? Because, I went through a similar situation growing up. I was abused so many times as a child that it took perseverance and motivation for me to break through life. I have really fought a hard battle to become what I am today.

My mum got pregnant when she was in the first year at Secondary School, and because of this, my grandmother felt disappointed in her, sacked her from the house to go and live with my dad, who had also dropped out of school. When she was about eight months in her pregnancy, she had to move to her mum who was in Accra to deliver there. There, she gave birth to me. Right after giving birth, I was told her mum sacked her back to my dad’s mum to go and live her. We were all living with my grandmother and my great-grandmother till I was about three years old, when we moved back to Accra again to come and stay with my mother’s mum.

We moved to Nungua within some few months after moving to Accra. It was in Nungua that I started school. I was going to KG2 when my grandmother told my mum to send me back to my father, since she was not prepared to take care of me and tolerate my presence – because my Dad is from a tribe she doesn’t like. So, my mum had no option than to take me back to my grandmother. I was about five years when I moved to my grandmother in a town close to Koforidua. I continued with schooling the next day I was brought from Accra, through the effort of my grandmother and great-grandmother who sent me to school that day.

David, back in that town the abuse I suffered at the hands of my aunties and uncles… They would beat, kick, slap and sometimes use abusive language to rain insults on me when I commit the least offense that wouldn’t demand such abuse. Everybody in the house just wanted a piece of me. I was subject to the worse form of abuse you could think of. Whenever an item got missing in the house, I would be the first person to be pointed at – when in reality, I knew nothing of the said missing item. They would beat me until I became tired and would finally give up that I was the one who took it even though I wasn’t the one.

And just for the beatings to stop, I would always say I was the one. My dad was not around when all these were happening. He was always away. He would go out of town and come back once in a blue moon. I hardly saw him. My mum too, I heard of her once in a while. She remarried and was living with the new husband, here in Accra. My grandmother became so ill when I was in Class One, and so she had to be sent somewhere so that her sickness could be cured but she couldn’t make it. She was there with my Great-grandmother till she was declared incurable, and so she has to be sent home for her to die. She finally died when I was in Class Two.

Now, when grandmother died, it was only my Great-grandmother who decided to care of me since my dad was unemployed and was mostly not around. We went to farm on Saturdays and sometimes Sunday mornings. During market days we would wake up early at dawn to go and uproot cassava and harvest other crops to send them to the market to sell. It was out of this money that my Great-grandmother used to take care of me, and also to buy my needs. Sometimes after we finish uprooting the cassava, I would gather the small ones and put them on my already heavy load to sell it so that I could use the money for my upkeep. I also carried goods and loads for market women on market days for them to pay me something small for school, which I mostly did, of course, hiding from my mates and friends. They would have made fun of me if any had seen me.

I, in the company of some guys in my hood would carry heap of sands to construction sites for money. I also did some shoe shining alongside. I always saved the money I made from these jobs I did. Unfortunately, one day, a friend entered the room I was in and stole part of my saved money, more than half of the savings. Even though I was into this and had been subjected to all kinds of abuses, I excelled academically in school. I was the class prefect of my class from Class 2 right up to JHS 2. I became the Assistant Boys’ Prefect in JHS 3.

This is what I did every morning before going to school: I would sweep the house, fill the barrels with water, fetch firewood from the farm and sometimes, carry palm wine to where my Great-grandmother distilled her local “akpeteshi” before going to school. I always carried day-old banku in my makeshift 5kg rice sack school bag to school so that some mates of mine would buy stew or beans, so that we use it to eat the banku. I was doing all these till I completed JHS. Bear in mind that while at this, the abuse by my Aunties and Uncles were still ongoing. After JHS, I had admission at St Peters, Nkwatia. When I told my Dad that I had a letter indicating that I had been admitted to St Peters he told me he doesn’t have money, and that, he was not having money for me to use it to learn a trade either. I called my mum and told her this and she told me she would talk to someone at a school here in Accra, and that, if everything went well, I would move to Accra for my Secondary School education.

I got admission to the school she suggested, and I moved to and stay with my mum here in Accra.

Since that school was a day school, after each day’s session, I would move from house to house asking people in my hood if they had some small jobs that they needed someone to do for some money. I did this and had some small jobs, ie: weeding their houses, ironing clothes, cleaning their houses and sometimes washing their clothes and cars – just to make some money for my upkeep and school. My mum didn’t know this because she always came in late from the market where she sold foodstuffs. I was doing this till I completed Secondary School. After Secondary School, I lost my step dad. In fact, things became difficult for my mum so I had to do things fully on my own.

I moved from site to site in search of construction work to do. I was doing the construction work when a friend introduced me to a second-hand clothing business at Katamanto. I sold the clothes for a while and then, got an appointment at Devtraco Construction as a worker. While at Devtraco, I met a man who claimed to be an agent of a shipping company that was looking for young and energetic guys like me to work with. Fast forward, I and one of my colleagues went to see this man so that we could get this connection to work on this ship that was going to South Africa then. We paid the money for our passports and other documents and we finally set sail on this ship.

While working on this ship I met one man, Mr Opoku, who advised me to go back to school upon interacting with him. I finally left the shipping job with the aim of going back to school. I applied to UCC and I had admission. When I went to my dad to help me pay part of my fees and hostel money, he told me I am not his child and that I should go and look for my father. That was what my dad told me. I didn’t go to school that year because I couldn’t pay my fees on time. I took a decision to work for a while, make some money and apply again. I finally met a man who was a private contractor for Ghana Water Company, and at the same time a business man. He dealt in a lot of businesses, selling exotic mangoes, pure water, motor bikes, gari processing and other businesses. He hired me to be his personal assistant. I left him when I realized he was underpaying me for my work done.

I travelled to Nigeria in January 2010, with a friend in search of greener pastures. To our dismay, we didn’t get the jobs we were lured into so we had to come back to Ghana in July that year. Back in Ghana I applied to an oil company and got the appointment as a station supervisor. I then decided to apply to the College of Education to be trained as a teacher. While in College, during long vacations, I did a laundry business. I and one madam of mine with some guys did this. We washed and ironed curtains of one of the offices of a government agency in Accra, just to make some money for my fees and other school expenses. I still do this side-job when I have time. I came out of college and started working as teacher. I did my degree and will soon start my masters.

David, through it all, I never backed down. The abuses, name callings and all, I still kept the fire burning in me to become great. My aim is to become a Professor one day and surely, I will become one. My dad died when I was in my first year at the College of Education. He begged me to forgive him of all what he made me go through before he died, and I forgave him. I just want to tell your followers that no matter what they are going through, they shouldn’t give up. See, these troubles and setbacks as determinant factors that will propel you to greatness. Life has a way of rewarding those who don’t give up. Today my Aunties who used to abuse me call me for money. Some of them, their children couldn’t even complete JHS.

Don’t give up! Greatness awaits you.” – From K D

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