The only problem I face is when people start looking at you with mixed feelings as if you have no educational background. They treat me as an illiterate but I have never been bothered about that. I use to get sick of it but I am used to it now, said the Cook with a Medical Degree, Dunkwa Alpha Benjamin. Alpha Dankwa Benjamin (ADB) as most of his colleagues used to address him back in the day, had not just set a one-man business which he has been operating after his National Service in 2012, but was doing well as a Sole Proprietor to the ADB Jollof Corner; a food joint at Sunyani.
In 2010, I thought my job was going to boom when I complete Biomedical school, but I had no idea I would have to start everything myself and do it basically to succeed. I was among the top graduating students in the class and managed to complete the course with Second Class Upper Division. I was the favourite of most employers and lecturers so I had no doubt my job will be there waiting for me, after my national service.
I got the shock of my life when all the companies I had anticipated gave me a no hiring policy. I sat home for almost 2years after my service graduation, moving from company to company for job positions, writing numerous CVs and cover letters, but it all gave nothing. My landlord told me my two-year rent was over and I needed to pay if I was to live in his house in Kumasi.
I had no way of raising that money for rent because I had been calling home every week for something small from my tomatoes retail seller mother, the woman whom I was to give her something, I was rather taking feeding money from her. I came home after I failed to pay the rent and God been so good, I settled on selling Jollof when my aunty died.
The family was doing Jollof and had some problems, so I used videos of food I had watched online and assisted them. After the program, they came to thank me and my mother pleaded with them to loan me some of the funeral money, and that was how I started selling Jollof Rice as a graduate. My mum's encouragement was top-notch to get me started. My sister also helped me greatly with the planning and everything. Both women sacrificed so much to make me have a business of my own.
From left, Dunkwa's mother and his sister. The two women who helped him set his business up.
My restaurant project is almost at the completion stage, and I was able to build that through selling Jollof from my shop and doing contracts for funerals, weddings and events, so I am well now. I don't go begging for jobs anymore, I don't cry over what I will eat because I have my life now. A new life where I am learning every day. I don't regret being a food vendor, at least I have a decent job that gives me food to eat and money for savings, said the Biomedical Engineer Alpha Dankwa Benjamin; a Sole Proprietor Jollof Seller within Sunyani, Bono Region.
Dankwa is not thinking about working with his degree again because he has already established himself and has three people working with him. He plans on growing his business to enable him to employ more people who are also struggling to get jobs. My advice to the youth and my colleagues who are sitting home without jobs is to find something they can do and with their hands, and they will succeed. It wasn't easy for me, a graduate with a science degree having to sell food, but I made my mind and am doing well today, Dunkwa added before ending his interview.