Once upon a time in a small village called Aponkyekrom lived a fairly rich family - the Mensahs. The couple had an only child called Awurabena. They tried several times to have another child but they were not successful. They, therefore, decided that they would invest all that they had into the life of Awurabena so that she would grow up to become a successful person.
One of these investments they made was in her education. Unfortunately for the couple, there was no school in Aponkyekrom. The nearest school was in their neighbouring village which was about five miles away. Due to the bad nature of the road from Aponkyekrom to that village, vehicles hardly plied the route.
The commonest means of transportation, therefore, was ‘okada’. Because of the meagre earnings of the inhabitants of Aponkyekrom, the fare was too much to bear. People, therefore, preferred to walk to that village, a journey which was made arduous because of the rocky and dusty nature of the road. During the rainy season, it became more difficult to ply that route and with nowhere to hide, the journey was not enjoyable.
It was as a result of these difficulties that most children from Aponkyekrom did not like going to school. They usually started school, but after a few years, they dropped out midway. Majority of them had, therefore, become farmhands on the farms of their parents or other people for a small fee.
The Mensahs were aware of these difficulties, yet they insisted that Awurabena should attend school because they knew that education could make her prosperous. Fortunately for the Mensahs, Awurabena fell in love with school the first day she reported. As a result, she took the distance she had to walk to and from school and the hardships on the road in good faith.
Luckily for her, she met three other students from the school who were from a neighbouring town who were also so eager to acquire education despite the challenges that they faced. They were Gloria, Gifty and Grace. She walked to and from school with them and the chats and laughter they shared on the way made their journeys seem shorter.
Awurabena realised that her three schoolmates were serious with their studies too, so sometimes on their way home, they would discuss the topics that they had learnt that day. They would sometimes spend extra time to meet their teachers after classes to explain topics they did not understand to them and ask them to lend them their textbooks to study.
On a number of occasions, these girls would go back home completely exhausted, looking dirty and drained of every energy in them, but they never gave up. Added to that was the teasing from their own peers from the village who frequently asked them whether they had ever seen or heard anybody from the village go beyond junior high school. But these taunts did not in any way daunt them.
Awurabena was determined to become the first graduate teacher in the village and that was what spurred her on.
She took her education seriously and was also hardworking. She paid attention whenever a teacher was in class and with the support her parents gave her, she was encouraged to push for her dreams. When the time came for them to write their Basic Education Certificate Examination, their parents got them accommodation in the village the school was located.
The four girls burnt the midnight candle just so that they would excel, and indeed, that was exactly what happened when the results of their examinations came out months later. They became the first students in their respective villages to get a distinction in the BECE.
The chiefs were so honoured that they fought for a Cocoa Marketing Board scholarship for them to further their education in secondary school. There too, they excelled. On completion, Awurabena went to teacher training college while the others went to other tertiary schools of their choice.
Indeed, after four years of teacher training education, Awurabena became a teacher. She gradually worked her way as the years went by to become a headmistress. Her success introduced a wave of change in the village - children were now eager to go to school despite the challenges and the chiefs and elders of Aponkyekrom organised a series of fundraising activities to put up a basic school complex in the village.
This was to make access to education easier for the children.
Friends, let us all fight for our dreams despite the challenges we face.
Abibata S. Yakubu,
Unipra South JHS A/B,