Janet is a native of Adunia.Adunia is a small community east of Chaana.Chaana is a prosperous town in the Upper West Region. Born at Kwadaso areas in the Ashanti Region, Janet’s journey through life took her to Adunia when she was six, Bolgatanga when she was turning 11, Accra when she added a year to her age and finally in Kumasi by the time she was 18. The daughter of the first wife in a polygamous arrangement involving three women and a one-time State Housing Corporation staff, Janet’s family had to relocate to Adunia when her father retired. She was six then. Terrifying past At 11, Janet was dispatched to Bolga by her father. She had to go live with a cousin, a professional nurse and a nursing mother. After eight months, Janet’s father had to go for the ill treated, famished and molested Janet. The following year, Janet was going to make her first appearance in the Daily Graphic and the Ghanaian Times but for some wrong reason. Janet had left home at Osu RE to go retail merchandise in the morning and never returned. Her sister with whom she was living in Accra had to resort to the missing child announcement in the two widely read newspapers.Janet had been robbed of her entire sale. She could imagine the troubles awaiting her at home. When she could not bring herself to think of the punishment at home for such a crime,she bordered the cargo train bound for Kumasi and beyond. The next day, while on her cargo train, Janet saw her brother who had arrived from Adunia to continue to Accra to hunt her.She screamed his name from one of the numerous windows of the train. He heard her and the brother and all well wishers who had heard news of the tragedy, joined the run behind the slow moving train until it halted. By the time Janet arrived in Adunia after her adventures, life had thought the little girl enough. Her interaction with Bolga and Accra, though brief, had thought her that life could only get better with some sound education. Buying a good education To raise enough resources to buy a good education, Janet had to assist her mother with farm work and other rural enterprises with the potential and real capacity to supplement the meagre income available to the latter. They cultivated peanuts, collected, roast and pressed butter out of shear nuts and when farm work relented during the dry season, manufactured dawadawa. But once a week, Janet was at Sandema market to sell elongated, fried and sometimes sweetened peanut paste called kulikuli. Janet and her mother managed to buy for the girl some of the finest education by the standard of the region. She completed the JHS and gained admission into the Bolga Technical School. But her greatest antagonist was going to show up the week her mother sold their stored peanut harvest and a few of her new cloths so Janet might receive some advanced education; Janet’s father had accepted the dowry of a man and pledged his daughter to this suitor without the consent of the would-be bride and would-be mother-in-law. Janet ran from this suitor, from her father, from her home and as is often the case, even from the object of her infatuation and tribulations, education. She did not marry the man, did not receive the benediction of the father who felt embarrassed by his daughter and could not afford the education that she knew would have brought meaning to her deviance and defiance. Training The next three years were trying for the teenager. She bussed herself to the nation’s capital, found herself some peanut-paying domestic jobs and raised enough to go back to school. When that became difficult, she put herself through a vocational train in clothe designing and fabric selection in Kumasi. Two years later, she had a certificate. Capital headache The certificate arrived. Instead of this piece of paper and the promise intrinsic in it bringing joy to the rebellious Janet, it drew scorn and disgust from her relations in Kumasi and back home. She had to fend for herself because even her brothers, both paternal as well as maternal, all continue to be angry at her for the shame she had brought upon papa back at home. When all failed, Janet put her certificate in the drawer and stepped out to do any job, however, demeaning such undertakings might be. She assisted construction workers, carried concrete with men, filled the barrels of workmen on site under the moonlight so she could compete with them for the daily wage the next day, sold banana, groundnuts, oranges, et cetera in order to raise enough to set her shop up. Hope in sight Janet built a shop for herself, then a showroom and at the time of this interview, her team comprised of 17 members. She has benefited from diverse training programmes, some of these occasioned by Business Advisory Centre at the local level where her showroom is located. She currently has a Service Provider status with the Rural Enterprises Programme of the Ministry of Trade and Industry. Janet is also a bead jeweller,handbag maker and uses the beads to make many other stuff such as sandals and ladies’ waist bands. She is a single mother, combining all the pressures of tightly pressed deadlines from uncompromisingly demanding customers and still finding time to serve her God.
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