He was a farming boy. He was the fourth of ten children, and would wake up early in the morning to help milk the cows before school. He had several rabbits that he would breed, trade, raise, and sell. With the extra money earned, he was able to buy basic school supplies like pencils and paper. He was a resourceful boy. He was a hard-working boy.
One day the boy woke up with a stomach ache. This persisted and even though he was a tough boy, he was unable to go to school. The four mile walk was too far, and not worth it. Even though this set him back, after a season or two, the boy felt better and decided to go back to school. He continued attending classes until grade 10 and then stopped for good to work on the farm. He was not able to access post-secondary education, and besides, there was too much work to do.
The boy grew up, married a beautiful woman who used to be in his class, and had two children. He worked several jobs including farming his own land, baker waking up before the sun, construction worker building several houses, small store owner selling to the local community, and even foreman managing and leading other workers. His wife was a teacher and both of them worked hard to have the best for their children.
They had one girl and one boy, and they both went to elementary school, then to high school, and both finished university degrees.
The girl, a wonderful woman, had two children. My sister and I.
This hard-working boy was my grandfather. This hard-working boy, who is the funny, generous, and loving man that I know, was not born with the countless opportunities that I have today.
But, thanks to the shared perseverance, long-term vision, and hard-work of both my grandparents coupled with changing times, they were able to succeed and offer even more opportunities to their children. Thanks to their passionate work and the systematic changes happening in their blooming country, Canada, they were able to create an environment where I now have the blessing of being able to pursue whichever dreams I desire.
And I dream to be a systems design engineer. I dream to solve problems, which matter to me, which matter to us, which matter to the world. I dream that I will use my skills and my privileges to make a positive difference.
This summer, I’ll be working in Ghana with the Ministry of Food and Agriculture. More specifically, I’ll be doing research on technology adoption and how that translates to the daily lives of rural farmers in Bole, a small region in North West Ghana. I’ll be working with resourceful, hard-working Ghanaian farmers, like my grandfather. I want to contribute to creating an environment that will enable them to have the opportunity to offer the same head-spinning freedoms to their children and grandchildren that I have.
I decided to call this blog yams & scribbles for many reasons. First, I like the ring to it. Second, from my research, yams are a staple crop in Ghana. It is a root vegetable. Likewise, I will try to explore the root of my ideas, through many scribbles typed-up on this blog this summer. They might not be coherent, they might be in French, English or a mixture of both, they might lack depth, or be too idealistic, but I promise that they will be honest. I’m looking forward to embarking on this adventure with you.
To finish, I’ll let you go with a quote from Antoine de St-Exupéry given to me by my mother years ago: “Le pire des génocides, c’est des mozarts assassinées”. It’s about the incredible potential in every individual and the tragedy when it is not made to blossom. Terre des hommes is well worth a read.
Good night friends et à bientôt,