‘Business is okay, Manager. The Swiss guy is back in town again. This time he’s only checking our export procedures. Everything is in order’. ‘Good to hear that, Kweku. Very soon you will we will be doing a lot of business in Swiss kroner’.   ‘A big Amen to that. You have been very good to me, Manager. I’m really grateful’.

  ‘Herh, Kweku Manford’, Mr. Debrah said, ‘now that you are going to be earning foreign exchange, won’t it be fair if we stop paying you consultancy fees?’  ‘You dey joke sef. You’ve given me an idea, actually Now I will take my fees in Swiss kroner. Hey, you know the drill already. Get yourself something to drink, then we can have our meal’.  ‘Before we do that, Kweku, I had a discussion with Herty, our new colleague, and I would like her to have a quick word with you. I believe a brief tete-a-tete will be useful’.

‘Okay. Madam, shall we step into the kitchen?’ Herty followed her, and she narrated the events leading from her transfer, as she had told Mr. Debrah’.  ‘It’s okay. I’m really sorry to hear about the circumstances. But I understand how it could have affected you. But I hope you are settling in well now’.                                                           

      ‘Yes, certainly. I have nice accommodation, and the people at the branch are wonderful. In fact, I think the transfer is a great blessing. Esiam is a nice town’. ‘Thanks for that. Okay, so let’s put everything behind us, shall we? Enjoy your lunch, and I will be seeing you, since I come regularly to the bank’. ‘Er, when can I come here for a visit? This is a very impressive place’.  ‘You are welcome anytime.

Just let me know when you want to come in. I will give you my number. You can call me any time’. As they went to join the others, Herty wondered how an obviously young man can achieve so much. And, she thought, what a handsome guy.

After a very enjoyable hour, they went back to the branch, and Mr. Debrah went to his car. Herty went to see him off and thanked him for lifting the burden off his shoulder.

The following day, Herty called him to ask how he was doing.  ‘I’m doing very well, Herty. Have you decided when you want to come over?’ ‘Actually, I wanted to find out if I can come this evening, after work or a little later’. ‘It’s okay with me either way. Which one will be convenient for you?’  ‘Okay, I will come after work. I will get there around 5.30’. ‘Great. I will be expecting you’.

Before showing her round the factory, Kweku Manford drove her round the farm. ‘The farm is very big. How do you manage all this, and the processing factory? And how on earth are you able to combine all that with working as an IT consultant?’  ‘Let me answer your questions in reverse.

First, I was just doing IT. There was no farm. There’s one word in IT that I picked up early, which has helped me a lot. And that word is proactivity. Always look forward at what the trend is likely to be. That helped me to anticipate the needs of my clients. When they called, I was already prepared with the solutions.

 Most people in the business try to equip themselves to solve problems. In my case, I anticipate challenges and find solutions. So I have been very comfortable in the business. After a while I decided to invest at home, where fruits and vegetables grow well. I started the farm, and started exporting on a small scale.

 After a while I decided to set up a plant. I contacted a Swiss company and bought the plant from them. I told them from the word go that my purpose was to export, so they helped me establish a process that would suit their market. So that’s where we are now. Actually, this farm is small compared to what we process daily. I now have about twenty out-growers, farmers who grow and sell exclusively to me’.                             

‘But you are quite a young man. How did you pack so much activity into only a few years?’ ‘I don’t know? I was always interested in computers, so even when I was a university student I was trying my hands in software development. I assembled a few computers. I’m twenty-nine now. I’m not too young, am I? ‘Of course you are! I have a couple more questions to ask, but I’m afraid to ask them. Maybe I will ask them later, or I will hide under WhatsApp and ask?’ 

Ekow de Heer                                                

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