The game was difficult. Akua stared at it for a moment with a wrinkle on her brow. She’d started playing match 3 puzzle games ever since her dad bought a smartphone when she was 7 years. She’d always without reading the game menu known how to play every game he downloaded for her but 7 years and a 1,000 games later, this one was difficult and she was still at level 1.

She sighed and put the phone down. She looked around her study. She liked the word “study.” That’s where she studied. It wasn’t a room on its own but the corner in her parents’ sitting room which her dad had converted by building shelves for her to keep her books. She had a cute table they had found at the Lapaz night market and the chair her mum had taken from the store room at her workplace. According to her mum, the company she worked for changed their furniture every couple of years and staff were allowed one item each. She’d decided to bring home the swivel chair she used to sit on. A gift Akua really appreciated because she’d always sat on her mum’s chair anytime she visited her. In her study, she could now swing herself round as many times as she could without being told “Akua be careful you don’t scatter the documents on my desk!”

Her lips curved up at the memory. At 14 years, she had observed how much her mum’s colleagues loved her. Mrs Yankson was a fixture in the company as she was the longest serving worker, having worked there since its inception and had succeeded 7 General Managers, 3 Directors and 2 CEOs. The company exported fruits to neighboring countries but was managed by, Ebo Sarbah, a businessman whose main business was selling upholstery. She used to call her mum’s overall boss a carpenter but her mum told her that the man was more than that.

According to the story her mum told her, Mr Sarbah started off as a carpenter. His parents were hawkers at a market and that’s how they met, fell in love and married. They had always wanted the best for their only child but when he was in JSS he realized he hated learning and dropped out of school. It hurt his parents but he was determined to do a vocational job which didn’t involve much reading. His dad begged the carpenter he usually went to for wooden upholstery to take his son in and train him.

The carpenter who had always liked Sarbah readily agreed and taught him everything he knew about woodwork. The boy was quick to grasp everything he was taught and liked learning how to produce new pieces, something which his old fashioned boss wasn’t comfortable with. This led to a bit of friction but Sarbah insisted that changing with the times was the way to go. His boss decided to leave the running of the woodshop to him whiles he concentrated on the business end.

Within months, Sarbah was selling a lot of wooden pieces each week. Within a couple of years, 2 other carpenters in his neighborhood set up carpentry shops on the same street. Soon clientele were divided between the 3 of them. It was okay at first until people stopped buying as many beds or tables and desks as they used to due to a slump in the economy. This affected the revenue for the shop and his boss who was now old and infirm demanded more money than he could give out. Sarbah got frustrated and wanted to branch out into something new but didn’t know what.

A chance conversation with a trotro driver who was lamenting the high cost of made in Ghana upholstery over inferior yet cheaper pieces from China made him change his mind about his job. He took a loan from his parents and traveled to China.

He soon started importing quality yet cheaper wood works and took back the monopoly on his street. The other carpenters who couldn’t afford to go to China had no other choice than to close their shops eventually. He bought the two workshops and employed one of his former rivals to apply finishing touches to the pieces he imported from China. He used the other workshop as a showroom and that’s when he needed a secretary. Mrs Yankson was perfect for the job because at age 28, she’d attended a teacher’s training school but was finding it tough getting placement. She’d decided to apply for any job opening and thankfully was picked by Mr Sarbah. He’d been a just but very tough boss, a perfectionist who sacked people over the least infraction. A fate Mrs Yankson had escaped because of her attention to details.

She’d always read wide and even learnt how to join wooden pieces together be it with glue or hammer and nails. Her boss had promoted her over the 2 decades she’d worked there from secretary to administrative secretary till her current role as the Administrator. She’d worked under people with better qualifications than her but she’d never let that faze her. She continued schooling whiles working until she finally obtained an MPhil in Education. She could have moved to a different company but her loyalty and a very good salary always held her there.

She could have still left like all the bosses she’d had but believed in working diligently without cutting corners as well as not pretending to know what you didn’t but learning how to do it. A trait Akua hoped to learn.

Akua turned to her phone and picked it up. Her mum didn’t believe in cutting corners. Maybe she shouldn’t do so with this game. Yeah. She clicked on the app and seeing the “how to play” button, clicked on it. Instead of guessing how to play a game, it was time she actually learnt how to play it. Like her mum believed, it wasn’t good to cut corners.

The end.

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