Monday, August 20, 2007

Recipe for success

Victor got a job! I got this piece of good news when he called shortly after returning from a visit to his hometown; he was there to visit his family and pay the school fees for his daughter so she could finish the year and get her marks. Upon his return he learned that a guesthouse wanted him to be their cook.

I was especially eagre to report this news because so few stories like Victor's have happy endings here. I was also happy, of course, because now I would get a meal cooked by Victor, as he promised to do when I gave him the money for daughter's fees ("A friend in need," July 28).

On Saturday, I went to the guesthouse with my friend Doug, and Victor made us lunch. I had a spicy vegetable dish with rice; it was especially good because he made it with fresh mushrooms (a rarity here).

Victor was as good as he said he was, and luckily the guesthouse thought so too.

My enthusiasm about his new job was tempered a bit, though, when I discovered that he was working seven days a week and was still finding it difficult to make ends meet. His starting salary was 500,000 cedis a month (about $60 Canadian). Bus fare alone costs him about 450,000 cedis a month because he has to travel far to work. He’s trying to find a place closer to the guesthouse but the city’s vacancy rate is really low.

Ideally he’ll find a place closer for about 150,000 cedis a month, and get a raise after he’s proved himself for a while. Then, he said, he’ll be able to bring his family back to Accra.

Low pay, long hours, and his family still so far away. His situation still seemed so difficult to me. But that’s not how Victor saw it. “It’s better than being idle,” he said.

- Mark


Anonymous said...

Hi Mark,

Give our congrats to Victor! He is proof that there are still people in the world that are content to be working and have a place in society regardless of how much money they make rather then be idle. You must be very happy for your friend. I bet he appreciates all that you have done for him and his daughter.

Love Mummy, Daddy, Becky, Jennifer, Garey and Elizabeth in SEBAGO!!!!

Jack said...

I just got back from a vacation in Ottawa and Montreal.
Among my first orders of business was to check your blog.All I can say is, "Yeah Victor." Both for finding a job and for keeping his promise to you.
Just goes to show that good deeds never go unnoticed.
I suppose that with only a little over a week left in Accra, you're beginning to get a bit excited about coming home. No doubt Janet is excited too.
You've made many friends and touched many lives. What else could anyone ask for?

Well done.

Janet & Mark in Ghana said...

Hi Jack and the family! Thanks for the comments. I do look forward to coming home, though it will be hard to say goodbye to everyone here. See you soon, Mark