I chose poverty over blood money - 23-year-old shoemaker tells his story
The upsurge of blood money and the alarming growth in patronage can be traced down to poverty.
Most who engage in this kind of activity either come from poor backgrounds or broken homes. Some are also introduced into it by older men who are already involved.
Gone were the days when people hid their associations with cults, and native doctors.
Young men who patronize these channels are often seen parading their blood money on social media, living lavish lives, spraying money any chance they get to show off their wealth.
These supposed powerful people who help others get rich faster, now reach people via TV ads, billboards, social media and radio ads. Access to them is much easier and tolerated now than before, and yet Francis Boakye, an aspiring business man struggling to make ends meet, rejected an offer to be a part of the clan.
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Francis is a hardworking young man whose dream is to become a big-time business man one day. He however has challenges ranging from lack of finances to unstable accommodation.
Francis, since coming to Accra in 2013, has had to live a hard life.
Although struggling, Francis would rather sleep in a rickety wooden structure by the roadside and uncompleted buildings, than have blood on his hands.
Francis recounted his experience;“I used to make footwear for his wife in Tema. I often provided her with shoes on a weekly basis and then she gives me my after she sells them. I would make about 15 to 20 pairs of shoes.
His wife knew I needed support to sustain my business. I first met her husband one day as I had gone to give her some more footwear. He said his wife had informed him about my needs and wanted to help.”
“I thought by help, he meant he was going to invest in my business and reap his returns with interest when the business grows. He told me to meet him on a Monday, so I met him very early at Tema Community 1. We rode in his car to a restaurant. On our way, he asked whether I took alcohol. I said no. He tried convincing me to take a sip, but I refused.”
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“The restaurant looked deserted a though it wasn’t in operation and we were the only people there at the time. He told me not to inform anybody about what was yet to ensue between us otherwise, I would go mad. Hearing this, I got scared. In that moment, I decided to cooperate with him and afterwards, have nothing to do with him again. He told me the help he had to offer was through blood money but a kind that did not require me to cause the death of anybody. He said I will make a lot of money for my business and I will live a comfortable life. I was asked to buy a white sheep, a motorbike and three chairs for my workplace.”
“He explained that the chairs were for my customers and the motorbike will be used by myself, friends or employees to run errands. He said the motorbike will be involved in an accident and that’s when I realized this was indeed blood money because the accident could lead to my death or even the death of anyone who used it. The sheep was supposed to be killed and prepared for an occasion such as my birthday party where my friends would be invited to eat. Francis attributed his stance to his unflinching faith in God.”
Moving on from that harrowing experience, Francis was even more determined to succeed, so he could prove to many that hard work can also yield results no matter how long it takes.
Francis is the 5th child of 9 children. Born on November 5th 1995 in Koforidua to Madam Boakyewaa Acheampong and Master Francis Owusu. He completed his basic and junior high school education in the Eastern Region and proceeded to the Senior High School but had to drop out in his first year because his father could no longer afford to pay for his education.
Francis was coerced to come to Accra, by a relative who promised his family to help Francis with his Senior High School education.
He however met a different situation when he got to the capital.
With little money and no other relative to fall on in Accra, Francis decided to do something for himself. It wasn’t easy, he confessed. Finding a place to sleep was a problem. What to eat, a headache. 18 years at the time, he begun breaking his back for survival.
Francis has since been into construction, bus conducting also known as a driver’s mate, working in a sachet water production company and then finally to his current job, a shoemaker, art he learnt from someone, mastered it and has now become his source of daily bread.
With a starting capital of about GHC 300.00, Francis begun a business. He makes beautiful sandals and slippers for ladies with leather and exquisite beads. Francis even has two people helping him to whom he gives stipends.
Francis has big plans for his shoemaking business.
Not only is Francis determined to succeed despite his difficulties. I want to make this business big and employ many others he tells me.