Samuel Laryea -He smokes fish to pay his fees

BY: Emmanuel Bonney / Junior Graphic / Ghana

Twenty-three-year-old Samuel Laryea has taken his destiny into his own hands and is leaving no stone unturned in his determination to raise funds for his education.

He was compelled to take this decision when he realised that his parents could no longer provide for his education and that of his siblings.

Samuel, who is the seventh of eight children, is undertaking a remedial course at a private school to rewrite the West Africa Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE). 

He completed the Somanya Senior High Technical School last year but the entire results of the school were cancelled by the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) due to examination malpractices by some students.

To generate some money for his education, Samuel smokes fish for sale in and around the Tabora-Alhaji area.

He started selling fish at the age of 12 while in junior high school and still does so to sponsor his education.

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He buys fresh fish, cleans and smokes them all by himself, after which he sells them in his neighbourhood. 

Education vital

He told the Junior Graphic that it was not easy initially when he began selling the smoked fish because people were always teasing him.

"They asked why a boy like me should be selling fish. In fact, I nearly gave up, but having realised that there was no support coming from anywhere, I decided to ignore whatever people were saying," he said.

“My parents hardly have enough money from what they do to take care of my education and so I decided to do this, so that I can further my education because being in school is important to me," he said.

Life in SHS

While in SHS Two, he said, he nearly dropped out of school and abandoned the sale of the smoked fish because he developed a stomach problem.

"I used all the money I had saved from the business to seek medical care," he said.

Fortunately, however, he recovered and began plying his trade in SHS Three. 

“It was really difficult then because I didn’t have money to register for the WASSCE and that worried me.

"Later, I went to see a pastor who offered to  help me. I got the money, paid my fees and those of my younger sister," he said.

Samuel said, occasionally his elder sisters sent him some provisions while in school.

He said while he was hawking fish in his neighbourhood one day, he came across a man who asked why he was selling fish.

After Samuel had explained why he was doing so, the Good Samaritan gave him GH¢400 after buying some of the fish.

Negotiation skills

Samuel said when he went to seek admission at the His Majesty Remedial School, the headmaster asked whether he could pay the fee of GH¢1,200. 

"I obviously didn’t have that much but I told him that since I had worked to pay my fees during my time in the senior high school, I could do that. I had to negotiate with the head and pledged to pay the amount in weekly instalments. I was very happy when he agreed," he said.

No excuse 

Samuel, indeed, is determined to achieve something worthwhile for himself and says he was inspired by Motivational Speaker Nick Vujicic who does not have hands or feet, yet has obtained a university degree and set up a non-profit organisation for himself.

"If a man with no legs and arms can do all this, then I have to work hard to take care of myself," he said, and advised the youth whose parents were unable to support their education not to throw their hands up in despair and give up but continue to persevere and get something productive to do so that they did not drop out of school.

Samuel indicated that education was key to success in life and added that his dream was to be an accountant in future.

He disclosed that when he was overwhelmed by financial problems at a point, he decided to enter a college of education to train as a teacher but, unfortunately, the financial support offered teacher trainees was stopped and so he quickly had to figure out what next he could do.

"Now I want to go to the university to study accounting after my remedial programme," he said, and stated that God was his strength through all that he had gone through and urged the youth to take a cue from his story and never give up, no matter their problems, because they could overcome.