I cherish my life in the small suburb of New Takoradi, popularly known as "New York" in Ghana, all because of what this small suburb thought me as a child.
New Takoradi is situated in Sekondi-Takoradi, also called "Twincity." For a fact, most part of my values in life was shaped by my earlier years of growing up in New Takoradi; to be tenacious, go-getter, aggressive, fearless and self responsible all shaped by the New Takoradi ideology of "suffer to gain." And how was I shaped by these values?
First were the fishermen and the fish mongers. These are strong, hard working men and women who toil endlessly to make good use of what nature has given us, the sea.
Then there is another layer of inspirers, the young, up and coming New Takoradi's. They are normally passionate with football. However the ambition to become future Sailors so they can return to "downtown" annually to enjoy Christmas with the locals always held them back from the football ambition as it was less lucrative at the time. Yet, most pursued and became great footballers.
The next layer of inspirers was the Sailors who, when they
descend on the town annually, send every young person's dream wild. With their "Seaman Joolie" (a big colourful handkerchief normally of American flag design or other multicoloured design) up in their back pocket with the larger part hanging. They portrayed the popular ideology of the town folks known as "suffer to gain."
This ideology is what drives many of the young to venture on the popular journey called "stowaway," risking their lives to enter into Europe and the Americas. Although, I did not subscribe to the unorthodox, risky and sometimes illegal part of their ways, I gained a lot from their tenacity.
And then of course my family; they offered the academic inspiration. Although it was not an aristocratic family, my Dad who served as Senior Mechanical Engineer at the Ghana Water and Sewerage Corporation, before then other corporations like the Railways and the State Transport, was an ardent newspaper reader. He will buy all the daily newspapers everyday and knowing that I enjoy reading, will hand them over to me first to read, after which he will.
At the ritual 7PM radio news bulletins he will send for me, if I am not around, to come and listen to the news. We did not have a television then, that was somewhere 1989 when I could read and understand, at about 12 years old.
Our black and white television had been sent for repairs some years back and never got fixed, I was told because I was a baby then and my Dad couldn't be bothered to buy another. So I and the other young kids in the household, just like many people in New Takoradi, never got the opportunity to experience television until my adolescent stage.
The next layer of inspiration in the family was my big brother, Dan who was managing the family business, DANMENS Engineering alongside his Polytechnic Education in Takoradi.
I was very good at technical skills and technical drawing at school because of my family background as technocrats. I go to the factory everyday after school. So knowing what I am good at, big brother Dan will always hand over his text and exercise books to me so I can look at and draw some of the tools like the bench vice, hacksaw and even the compound drill.
Today, that young boy from that small suburban ‘New York’ in Ghana is an author of about ten journal articles and book chapters published in Britain and America, pursuing a PhD and plans to become a political strategist in Ghana? That couldn’t be possible without the values my small village, New Takoradi thought me, SUFFER TO GAIN!
Submitted by Anonymous
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