There are plenty of different ways of choosing a project that inspires in later life. For some people, it’s their immediate community. For others, it’s a hobby such as music, writing or wild swimming. Perhaps you want to help people overcome a problem that you have faced, or encourage others by sharing your own experience. Or maybe, like Ebo, you want to do all of the above.
“I started from very humble beginnings,” he says of his early life in Ghana. “When I wrote my memoir*, I thought it might motivate young people from a similar background and show that, with the grace of God and hard work, you can make your way in the world.”
Now 72, Ebo has certainly carved out his own successful path
“I used to come back two or three times a year, but then my second son was having difficulty with his A-Levels and I realised I had taken my eye off the ball,” he says. “I came back and set up ‘school’ teaching him maths and physics.”
It’s a role he’s now repeating with his two grand-daughters, aged four and seven – but this time using Zoom’s whiteboard as his classroom, spending an hour with each little girl every day. “I have a copy of the same text book and if I share my screen and get them to write things on the whiteboard they think they’re teaching me! It’s fun and they get very competitive,” he says.
Ebo’s Ghanaian roots are really important
He’s been fundraising to fill the library at his old school in Ghana – at the last count he had helped fund 800 books for the primary school and 1,200 for the junior school. He’s also bought laptops and a projector for the students, and is proud that he’s been a part of helping these schools become some of the best in his region of the country. “My own education has brought me so far, so anything I can do to help others I try to do it,” he says.
The pandemic has sadly brought to a halt one of his favourite activities at his local Methodist church, where he acts as a lay preacher and was a regular at its Wednesday “tea & chat” group. “I make scones and banana bread, help move the tables and chairs – it’s something I love,” he says. “There are some people who don’t talk to anyone for a whole week, not even a telephone conversation. It helps a lot and I’m hoping to go back to it once the pandemic is over."
“I will continue to go back to Ghana as long as I’m able to do so,” Ebo says. “It’s wonderful to be able to make such a big difference with a small contribution.”
Dr Ofori Quaah’s memoir, My Footprints in Ghana’s Black Gold, is available on Amazon.