Though Ms Edith Awuah, a trained teacher was able to achieve her childhood dream of becoming a teacher, little did she know that her cherished profession would be short lived. This compelled her to seek an alternative means of livelihood.
The impeccable way teachers dressed, conducted themselves, and earned the respect from members of the communities where they served, attracted her to this noble profession.
Initially, her hope was to retire as a teacher and enjoy the fruits of her labour. Unfortunately, she had the shock of her life when she returned from China, where she had studied Chinese Language on study leave to discover that her employers had terminated her employment.
She disclosed that the papers for study leave which she had filled and submitted, were not given to the authorities for endorsement.
In times of unexpected challenges in life, it takes a person with perseverance, courage and determination to calm the storms of life and take things easy.
Having known her fate, she made several attempts to enable her to be reinstated, but this could not materialise.
Ms Awuah did not throw in the towel easily as she wrote application letters to private schools to be employed, but she was turned down in all the schools she had applied to.
Initially, she attempted selling African wear but this did not attract patronage as she had anticipated, and was compelled to abandon that venture.
When she conceived another idea of converting, her private car into taxi, she feared that the plan might not be successful.
As fortune would have it, a friend later disclosed to her that he had spent too much on fuel, therefore, he had decided to convert his car into a taxi.
This piece of information brought back the idea she had conceived to convert her private car into taxi, and ever since, she has not regretted the bold decision she took.
After she had acquired the necessary papers to work as a taxi driver at the Atomic Junction Taxi Drivers Union, it was not easy getting the permission to operate with the union.
Ms Awuah said it was initially not easy, but with persuasion, the executives gave her the green light to operate.
The following day, she reported to work at 6.00am and that has been her normal time to commence work.
Ms Awuah admitted that it was not easy in the commencement of her driving career, but with determination and the spirit of hard work, she was able to withstand the difficulties.
“My colleague drivers did not hesitate to give me the needed support and encouragement. Any time l struggled to enter the main road, they gave me free passage” she said, and indicated that other drivers gave her thumbs- up whenever they identified her.
She said whenever the drivers returned to the station, they were required to register their car numbers to determine when they would load again.
“The job needs patience and tolerance since one will deal with different passengers. You can meet a distressed passenger from home, so you should know how to handle people. Some will hurl insults at you if you do not have change to give them instantly.”
” You will never lack money when you take to driving. Looking at the current population of the country, it will be impossible for the government to provide jobs for each person,” she said.
She has encouraged the youth and the unemployed graduates not to run away from driving as though it was a profession reserved for school drop-outs or for a particular group of people, but rather embrace whatever they could do to earn a decent living.
Ms Awuah said graduates who had made up their minds to work only in the office, were making a serious mistake, since they could do better when they tried their hands on other jobs.
According to her, since people had made it in the informal sector, they should be rest assured that they would also make it, provided they were focused on the job of their choice and asked them to put whatever they had learnt into practice.
She said her siblings were confident that she would succeed. She also disclosed that the cashiers at the banks marveled at the frequency with which she visited the bank to deposit money from the sales she had made.
The former teacher said, if offered the opportunity to return to the classroom and teach, she would turn down the offer.
Ms Awuah’s next target is to build a shop at her house and settle to trade when she becomes tired of driving her taxi.
Ms Awuah attended Peki Training College in the Volta Region and later enrolled at the University of Education, Winneba. She taught at Bator Junior High School (JHS), Denu JHS, Kotobabi Primary School, and finally at the Association International School before she went for further studies in China.
She is the seventh of eight siblings and a chorister who sings soprano. She likes banku with okro stew and boiled yam with palava sauce.
SOURCE: The Spectator