When I was about 5 years old, my father passed away and life took a dramatic turn. My uncles from my father’s side took all his properties, per the custom in my village in Ghana, so each of my father’s seven wives had to find ways to provide and take care of their children. My mother struggled to get enough food — mainly beans and vegetables — to make even one daily meal for myself and my six siblings. She would make our food as spicy as possible so that we would have to drink a lot and fill our stomachs with water.
The next day, Mom took her most precious clothing and traditional beads, which she had hidden in a trunk, and sold them for less than half their value. She used the money to pay my school fees. It was only about $10. It doesn’t sound like much, but that was a lot of money in that time.
I was confused. Why hadn’t she sold her belongings months ago to buy food for us? Her unselfish act made me regard education as a necessity.
Even though I could not get into any university, I was able to qualify for a community health worker certificate program. It took two years to complete and was quite an intensive program.