On Saturday, I was on my way to Adaklu Waya when I got a call to contribute to Newsfile. I parked at the next Adaklu town and joined the programme via phone.
I was answering the last question when I saw a truck with coconut seedlings. Fred Duhoe came to mind immediately and when I looked at the driver's seat, he was the one, wearing a white Joy FM-branded polo shirt. I waved and caught his attention. I told him how proud I was of his determination.
Fred was a business reporter at Joy FM (JoyNews) as an intern and later a national service person. He finished his service in the middle of a crisis, at a time media houses were laying off workers so he could not be retained.
He called me for advice on how to survive as a freelance journalist in Ghana. And I had to be honest with him. In Ghana, freelance journalism generally means doing journalism for free.
Freelance journalism doesn't pay here. I started as a freelance journalist for Daily Graphic and GBC. I remember the only times I received payment for my stories were two instances Daily Graphic paid me 100 cedis each for two exclusive front-page stories I filed for the paper. GBC did not pay for any of the award-winning stories I traveled as far as Bunkpurugu to file.
It was those days that the news editor of Daily Graphic, Sammy Okaitey, called me to his desk and told me something that could pass for a prophecy if it had come from the mouth of a preacher: "Young man, will go very far journalism. Keep it up."
I am still working hard to fulfill the late Sammy Okaitey's words, but those endeavours and the modest gains I made as a freelancer gave me a permanent job. When I later resigned and went back to freelancing, the name I had made opened many doors of opportunity in national and international media as well as training opportunities.
As a beginner, however, I told Fred he would struggle if he didn't have a source of livelihood apart from freelance journalism.
Before we met on Saturday, I had followed Fred's business of selling coconut seedlings and noticed the hard work that goes into travelling around the country to sell.
On Saturday, he was leaving Ho, where he had sold the previous day for Adidome and then to Accra.
Our country is getting more and more difficult for young people. Job opportunities keep drying up like poorly-constructed dams in the harmattan. But people like Fred, who are determined against the odds, find a way to live. I told him there was joy in honest labour.
Some are born into wealth. Others become rich through dishonest means. And others work hard to make it.
Sometimes young people are shy to do certain jobs. Yesterday, Fred's social media updates had him at conference rooms covering important business assignments. Today, his posts are those of a coconut seedlings seller.
I pray and hope he excels. His hustles are here for us all to see. Unlike others, he would not have to jump from one radio station to the other to tell weird tales of how he made it.
God bless you and your hustle, Fred Duhoe.
If you need dwarf coconut seedlings to buy, call Fred on call 0243736330.