All Because Of Pigs
There is a boy, who attends Kongo Senior High in the upper most part of Ghana, where we do our volunteer work. He is completing his fourth and final year. I first met SAMSON APELEJE in 2009-10 when he was second year and I was teaching English to his class. I became more familiar with Samson when he joined the choir assembled by ‘yours truly’. Whether in choir or English class it was notable that Samson, without exception, had a very serious demeanor, seemingly intent on giving his best.
I arrive in 2011. Those 2009 choir members not yet graduated sang two of the songs I had taught them – it was a much appreciated gift to me upon returning. Samson’s pleasant baritone voice was present, blending nicely with the other voices.
At the first rehearsal I picked up where we left off and introduced new songs. Samson was obviously not well, overcoming Malaria. Yet, he determinedly took part. In a few days he had recovered.
Recently, after having just finished a choir practice, Samson helped me take my trombone and other bags to my motorcycle for packing. I took the opportunity to ask questions about how he came to be in high school, as I often find it remarkable story of struggle – less than 12% of students starting primary make it to high school.
“My mother and father no longer live. I was orphaned while in junior high. I had no means to pay the fees for high school”, says Samson.
You see, the fee for one year is 279 cedis, or roughly $200. This does not include food.
”I knew I must make a plan if I am to have any hope for furthering my education. So I got a heavy hammer and started making gravel.”
I knew what he was talking about. Men often go to where there are large rocks close to where a road will be built and do the arduous job of making little rocks out of large rocks, and selling the completed pile to the contractor making the road. You can earn as much as 400 cedis in one month. It is extremely hard work and not a consistent means of income. So this was just ‘start-up money’ for Samson.
“So I took that money and I bought two pigs, one male and one female.”
With the help of neighbors, his pig farm grew to eight. He periodically sold, with proceeds going to school fees. Sometimes people did him a favor by giving him the money for the Christmas pig in September, thus allowing him to go to school. The pig was delivered in December.
“I hope to become a veterinarian …God be willing”.
All because of pigs.
May the echoes of oinks take this incredible young man far!
Ghana, and those reading this, should feel proud of him on what he has already accomplished. His story is one of inspiration.
Note: The only picture I have of him is during very serious choir practice. He is in the middle back row wearing a white shirt.