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Opinions of Sunday, 12 March 2017

Columnist: Amoakohene Frank

Growing up in Ghana

Life involves different forms of transitions from one stage to the other. More importantly, whatever one becomes in this life has everything to do with the kind of environment he found himself. I was born and bred in the Republic of Ghana, a West African state bordered by Togo to the east, Ivory Coast to the West, Burkina Faso to the north and the Gulf of Guinea to the south.

I grew up within an era where constitutional democracy was accepted and practiced for the governance of the country, subsequent to decades of alternating military and civilian regimes. I was born in 1990 at Nsuta-Asuafu, a town in the Ashanti region of Ghana. I am the third born of my parents, with 8 siblings to a father who was a teacher and a self-employed mother.

My struggle growing up is quite foreseeable considering the large family size I had, but as the Akan adage goes, “Obi nim obrmpong ashyase” (the beginning of greatness is unpredictable) so I always believed in the future. My dad being a teacher was very particular about education related matters and did all within his powers to ensure that I together with my siblings attain the best form of education. He taught us after school and ensured that we completed our assignments before allowed to go to bed.

Raised in a Christian home, I was brought up to respect humanity, commit to anything I find myself doing and ultimately, seek the hand of God in everything that I did. Admittedly, these values have contributed most to the heights I have attained so far as my life is concerned.

During teenage, I developed interest and passion for the medical profession and strived restlessly towards becoming a renowned one. I am currently a Medical Laboratory Scientist and a Medical Student pursuing the Graduate Entry Medical Program (GEMP) of the University of Ghana - exactly within the very professional area I have loved profoundly.

I must say that Ghana is a country where opportunities exist for all persons to become whatever they wish to become. However, one of the few challenges that ensue is the lack of access to educational carrier tutelage to assist the youth make the right educational decisions. I had to survive the tough way as I lost my dad after high school. He served not only as my father and guardian, but importantly as my educational advisor because he was a teacher. However, I was fortunate that my uncle and my elder siblings played his roles after his demise; a testimony of “agya bi wu a agya bi te ase (the raising of children is a communal responsibility) as believed in my Akan tradition. With this experience, I also learnt and have always strived to offer any support within my capacity to people I come across in life who may be in need, not only because I know the importance of giving, but also that I know how it feels not to have.

At the University level, I have actively participated in students’ leadership, serving as President for my school, college and also as President of the National Health Students' Association of Ghana (NAHSAG). Unquestionably in Ghana, there are avenues through which even as students, we could influence and help sharpen national policies. Youth participation in politics and governance for that matter has seen tremendous improvements over the years. Aside contributions made by youth and student leaders from the student’s front and other youth societies, successive Governments have been spectacular at incorporating the youth in their Governments. Young men and women here in Ghana, some as young as 23 years, have had the opportunity to serve their country as Members of Parliament, Deputy Ministers of State, Chief Executive Officers, and in other key political offices. These are very inspiring and drive me to do more and attain similar heights in pursuance of my desire to help build mother Ghana and make Her great and strong.

Beyond the approbation on Ghana’s progress over the years, my greatest worry as a youth of Ghana has been the increasing level of graduate unemployment and rise in the cost of education. I am of the opinion that our educational policies and directions are pretty off our core needs as a country, making it not operable enough for young graduates to directly translate knowledge acquired in school into societal services that may earn them some income. I therefore place a call on all and sundry to take particular interest in ensuring reforms in our educational and employment/labor sectors even as we surge on after Ghana’s 60th year.

Amoakohene has always been glad and proud of his country. Yes, there are difficult moments everyone experiences growing up, but so are there memorable moments. I took mine as life lessons and experiences to becoming a better person. Yes! I took them as lessons to make me resilient enough to face the world as it is!

Ghana has all you need to become successful as a youth! Ghana has all the opportunities required to give you the best future. Just keep focused and committed to everything you find yourself doing.

I love my country!

Long live mother Ghana

God bless us all.

By: Amoakohene Frank
University of Ghana School of Medicine and Dentistry