It was Friday morning; my phone rang for the second time; I was not surprised to see it was her. We’ve been friends for about twelve years. Like me, she is the only child of her parents. Ofeibea is her name but I call her Offy and I love her like a sister.
Although we planned to go to the same senior high school, we were posted to different schools. We told our parents about it and with my daddy’s help, we both got admission into one of the finest senior high schools.
We have a lot in common. Apart from sharing the same birthday, we look very much alike. And while our fathers are from the same town in the Eastern Region, our mothers were school mates. Our friendship grew stronger when we entered senior high school. We became more like twins; our choices of things and our thoughts were almost the same every time.
We virtually did everything together and oh…excluding what you are thinking. Lol. We chose to read same courses so we ended up in the same class as well.
We were nick-named ‘the inseparable’. Neither of us could ever be seen alone.
Our fathers are our favourite men; we love them because we can talk to them about any and everything. My father is a politician and a businessman with investments in and outside Ghana and my mother is a businesswoman. Ofeibea’s father is a real estate developer also with several investments, and her mother is a banker. With their busy schedules, they still had time for us. They visited us almost every weekend, even on non-visiting days. We hardly ate from the dining hall. We mostly ate food from our chop boxes. While some students borrowed required textbooks from friends to study for exams, we had them and even more. Our parents made sure we had everything we wanted.
And I can’t wait to tell you what she had phoned to tell me that morning.
But wait. There is just this one thing that differentiates us. What we wanted to achieve in life. To Ofeibea, her parents have it all and all she needs to do is to go through school and enjoy the results of her parents sweat. She had very smart ideas and was very intelligent, especially in Mathematics. But she was not ready to go far with it. She always thought her future was well secured with her parents’ several mansions, cars and investments. Her highest goal was to become a beauty queen, get married, and travel around the world.
I on the other hand, have always seen what daddy has as a means to an end and not an end in itself. My father did not meet all that in the family and even if he did and became complacent, he would have lost it all by now. An Akan proverb says ‘epo koraa nsuo to gu mu’; to wit – as big as the sea is, it is still open to rain water.
Assuming Bill Gates was my father; I could still not call his achievements my own. I could only enjoy the money and fame but, Microsoft would still be associated with Bill Gates and not me.
I still remember what my family went through, the sacrifices my parents made to get to where they are now. The number of months my father had to stay away from home just to bring something home. That alone was an inspiration and all I thought of was to continue the hard work to sustain what he has built. And the fact that I’m a woman even pushes me harder.
Not many people understand the way I live despite my family’s wealth. I try as much as possible to prepare myself to survive every storm. My philosophy has always been simple; go through all the processes and you will value your position at the top when you finally get there. I still have a problem with a decision that made me skip primary two. After primary one, my parents thought of changing my school. I was admitted to class two in my new school. After first term, the head teacher and my class teacher invited my parents and told them it would be best if I joined pupils in class three. My parents agreed and I was promoted to class three immediately.
Even though this decision compelled me to work harder and speeded up my education, I still think it did not allow me to go through the proper steps to get to the top of the ladder. And I wish I was old enough to have had a say in that decision.
At junior high level, Ofeibea, I and one other student, whose father was an ambassador, were the only students left in class whenever teachers came around to sack students who owed school fees. We were fortunate, our fees were paid yearly. There were some students whose parents could not even afford extra classes fees. Sometimes we would sneak out of school, roam, and play around till the regular closing time, then go home. And there too I wished I had gone through that at least once, to know how it felt like to be chased out of school for owing fees.
With my father’s status, I could easily gain admission into any University of my choice but, I chose to work harder and get there by merit. You should have seen how excited I was on the day I got my admission letter from the University of Ghana. One of daddy’s wishes was for me to learn how to drive before I entered University so he could buy me a car. He has always wanted the best for me but I felt this one was going to be a distraction so I ignored it. And trust me that decision was one of the best I ever made.
We were offered Political Science, Linguistics and English at University of Ghana. Although I had no marketing background I realized I was really good at marketing. I sold some accessories, bags and shoes from my mothers’ shop to my mates at school. The demand got higher and whenever she was short of goods, I would get the things from elsewhere to sell and I made quite some amount of money from that. You should have seen how excited I would get whenever I made profit from that and I was very conscious of the way I spent my hard earned money.
Offy drove a Honda Accord Sports car in school. We were in the same room and she couldn’t stay one whole week in school without going home. She would go home mostly on weekends and when there was the slightest disagreement between us. Yes, we fought sometimes. Like an Akan adage says ‘Ese ne tekrema mpo ko’ meaning, even the tongue and teeth fight. The teeth bite the tongue sometimes but they still work together. And only very good friends quarrel.
I know you are still itching to hear what Offy had to tell me on the phone. I will tell you that. I will also tell you what happened to her dream and to our friendship. But you have to wait for the second part of this story.