Patrick Sakyi - monitoring & evaluation associate with Farmerline, Ghana.


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Growing up on the farm, in rural surroundings, is a profound experience. You learn many life skills and lessons, but there are also a lot of challenges that cause many young people to seek their fortunes in the city. A personal story that takes up the cudgels for a life in a rural area.

I live in Kumasi, Ghana and I work with a social enterprise that helps smallholder farmers turn into successful entrepreneurs. I like the city for its greenery and moderate cost of living. Kumasi is a big town with about 1.17 million inhabitants. I have lived here for almost nine years, but this is not where I grew up. When I would meet people and tell them that I had spent my childhood and youth on a farm, in a rural area, they hardly believed me. This happened so often that I stopped talking about the topic. But recently, my conversations with some colleagues about my childhood made me realise that I had a lot to share about my experiences growing up on the farm. So I went down memory lane and put together this piece as a way of sharing my experiences.

My dad was a cocoa farmer. My mom was a trader and cocoa farmer as well. She bought maize, oranges, plantain and avocados from several farmers in neighbouring villages and sent the produce to a big market at Mankesim in the Central region to be sold. I have five siblings (two brothers and three sisters). I spent my first seven years with my parents in the village. Afterwards, they had me stay with an aunt in the city. Sending me away at this age was one of the hardest decisions my parents made, but this was necessary for me to start schooling and get proper education.

While schooling in the city, I returned to the village during every holiday to spend time with my parents. Coming back home was always a happy moment because my other siblings, living and schooling in different towns and with other families, also returned to the village for their break. During the school holidays, we helped on the farm.

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