About me

This is usually one of the parts one finds on a blog where the blog owner lets you know who he is. The following story is similar but a bit different; different in the sense that this is going to be a sort of a short autobiography. I think the more my Google+ followers and blog visitors know about me the better we can bond with each other.

I was born on May 6, 1953 to Togolese immigrants who had left their native land for the Gold Coast (which became Ghana on attaining independence on March 6, 1957) which, as the name connotes, is a rich land. My father worked as carpenter with the United Africa Company (U.A.C.), a British firm. My mother was a housewife only in the sense that she didn’t work in the classic meaning of the word. My mother cooked and sold food she hawked on her head from house to house. In that sense, she toiled harder than a female office, factory or outdoor worker.

I grew up at Bompata in Kumasi in a neighbourhood where northern Ghanaians and West African immigrants lived together, enabling us to speak three African languages: Twi, Fante and Hausa. Our parents, like many non-native dwellers, raised us in the Ge-Mina-Ewe language, so all their kids spoke four African languages.

I began my primary school education in 1959 at A.M.E. Zion Primary school. In Ghana at that time, one could go to school for 10 years, obtain the Middle School Leaving Certificate and go on to work. Others however sat for the Secondary School Entrance Examination from the 8th to the 10th year and gain admission to the secondary school. The school made me sit for this exam in the 7th year and was the only candidate in the school to pass in the 7th and 8th years. This earned me the prize of “The best scholar, academically” for the 1966/67 academic year.

In 1967, I continued to Technology Secondary School. All universities in Ghana have primary and secondary schools for the children of the teaching and the administrative staff and outsiders. My school belonged to the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, hence the ‘Technology’ in the school’s name. I left this school five year’s later with the General Certificate of Education, Ordinary (“O”) level.

Navrongo Secondary school in the north served me for two years to prepare my General Certificate of Education, Advance (“A”) level which I obtained in 1974.

I taught French at Dunkwa Secondary School during the 1975-76 academic year, then returned home to Togo to continue my university education. But rather I served as supervisor at a girl’s technical school and temporary secretary to my brother, a Catholic priest at Séminaire de Tokoin. Simply because having grown up in Ghana where Kwame Nkrumah’s African unity policy considered any African on the Ghanaian soil as Ghanaian, my parents never thought of getting us Togolese identity documents. Their illiteracy was also to blame for this situation.

Then in 1979 I left for Nigeria. The oil-boom there was attracting people from all over West Africa. I worked there as Clerk in the Maintenance Engineer’s Office. Two years later, I had saved enough money to go to Germany to continue my education.

After petty jobs, I returned to my brother in Ghana in 1983. I began studying with the Institute of Children’s Literature in Redding Ridge, Connecticut, USA, for the diploma in writing for children and adolescents. It was in Togo that I completed this correspondence course in 1985 and started publishing stories and articles in local and international newspapers and magazines. I finished three other writing courses later on (including one in writing for adults and another in poetry), obtaining a postgraduate diploma from ICS. My hope was to make a living writing. But that’s hard to do, especially for someone living in Africa and trying to publish in America. My biggest barrier was postage costs, and when the internet came, rejection slips.

In 1983 I obtained work as secretary with Pabu Trading Company (P.T.C.), a German import-export firm, largely because the owner was from Hamburg, Germany and that was where I had stayed and I understood German.

This company opened the world of business to me and shaped my future career orientation. West African representatives of Henkel cosmetics, it was thanks to P.T.C. that I got hooked to business, I whose childhoold dream was to become a gynecologist. The company also enabled me to travel frequently in West Africa. I rose through the ranks to become Assistant Manager in just two years and Manager a year after.

Desirous to build my own business, I founded Ets. (Etablissement) Pyramide in 1987 as General Merchandisers and ran it part-time. With rapid growth in three years I was planning to transform the company into an import-export-general merchandising firm and resign from my employment to run it full-time when my country entered socio-political violence linked to difficult democratisation of the military dictatorship as from October 5th, 1990.

To force the regime to accept the holding of a national conference to discuss reforms, a nationwide strike was called in 1991. My shop was situated at Be, a zone of the capital still reputed to be pro-opposition and anti-government. We made the bulk of our sales from 6 to 9 pm. So my business suffered when the state set up a terror system, targeting opposition groups and their strongholds and people rushed home after work at 5.30 pm. It was this way that my shop went bankrupt and I lost everything. Economic doldrums seized the country and many foreign investors left. Thus my main means of livelihood also disappeared.

However when political tensions decreased a bit as from 1993, I opened an import-export office. With little capital, I couldn’t but work as manufacturers’ and exporters’ representative in Togo. With limited success, I branched into brokerage work, using B2B portals as alibaba, indiamart, ec21 and others to connect buyers and suppliers.

Big mistake: I dealt in big boys’ products such as petroleum products (crude oil, Diesel oil, jet fuel, etc), fertilizers, Portland cement, shiploads of grains (rice, soy beans, etc.), scrap metal, precious metals (gold, diamond) and other commodities which promise one millions of dollars of commission but which no broker I knew (and they were many across the globe!) could swear it gave him a single cent. I spent about three years in that dreamy sphere until reality (my rapidly dwindling resources) jolted me out of it.

I became a part-time teacher of business English in a vocational institute training high school diploma holders in various fields: secretaryship, banking, finance, computing, management, sales, international trade, etc. I continued to work online, hoping for the jackpot one day but it has been 13 years in the classroom and no big money to celebrate.

In effect, from one search to another, I discovered blogging last year and clung to it like a leech to its victim. What makes this system attractive is that it encompasses teaching, doing business and writing.

With blogging, have I come to the end of the road? I should think so, especially with high-paying affiliate network programs from SFI, GDI, Empower Network, Pure Leverage, GDO, Jubirev, etc. not even the sky is the limit.  

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