AT A BUSINESS HUB
I talk a lot that’s what my mother tells me- quite ironic, when I was younger, I was noted for being quiet. Hardly ever spoke unless spoken to in the classroom. Well, that was in the past. Now, if you give me the opportunity I will interrogate the life out of you until you reveal all your secrets. That together with my love of visiting places makes me a local tourist par Excellence (or a nuisance depending on how you look at it).
And so it was on my occasional get-to- know- your-neighborhood -spree that I decided to pay a visit to a new business that seemed to have sprang up from nowhere.
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I met a lot of young people though it was past five o’clock pm — the end of the Ghanaian working day. In a large open space, people were huddled around tables having meetings or brain-storming sessions, while a few sat around laptops staring at them as if their very lives depended on it. It did not take me long to realize it was a Business hub! Exciting. I love a hub, seems to be a living organism oozing creative ideas I could never think of. I see three young people seated at what I take to be the receptionist’s desk. I quickly walk over to meet them.
Now before I go any further, kindly note that I want to tell you about an exceptional young man whom I believe everyone should pick a cue from. Let’s call him Mr. Extraordinaire. (It’s French and very classy) The other two at the table: Steve and Aku.
So I see three young people seated at what I take to be the front desk.
Mr. Extraordinaire is slouched in his chair, as you would in a lazy chair, and his eyes glued to his laptop screen with his ears plugged up, oblivious to what is going on. Aku is busily packing her hand bag.
Steve looks at me attentively, “Hello, how may I be of help?”
“Good Evening, I’ll like to make some inquiries. How much does it cost to rent space on this floor? “
Aku nods politely, but I could see she wasn’t going to close her shift late because of an inquisitive visitor.
“That will be GHS7.00 the whole day.” Says Steve.
“Do you know how much it costs to rent the floor space above?”
“No, you‘ll have to ask employees of the hub.”
“You don’t work here?
“I rent the space to work.”
“Oh I’m sorry, I thought you were the receptionist.”
“Oh No.”, he laughs, “That would be the lady and gentleman.” pointing to Mr. Extraordinaire and Aku.
I shift my attention to them. By now Aku is ready to leave with her bag slung over her shoulder.
“Who is going to answer my questions?”
Aku smiles, “Don’t worry, my colleague is capable.”
Good. If it was Mr. Extraordinaire, he looked as permanent as the terrazzo floor and cement walls of the room. He still had not moved a muscle.
Aku confidently strides through the glass doors. The glass doors swing shut and she’s gone.
Trying to get the attention of Mr. Extraordinaire was not easy. I try politely clearing my throat. No effect. Then, “Excuse me Sir “
I finally get his attention when I wave my hand in front of his face like a windscreen wiper working in stormy weather.
“I want to make inquiries. I am Benewah and what’s your name?”
No one in Ghana names his son Kofi Gee. (Kofi-Yes. Gee-No.)
“Your real name please”
He gives me a half-smile and I get a respectable name.
“How much does it cost to rent the space above?”
“I don’t know.”
“I thought she said I had been left in capable hands”
“Well then I am not as capable as she thought.” (He really said that!)
After asking questions and getting answers like” I don’t know.” or “You’ll have to ask my boss.” I say, “You can find out and let me know when I come tomorrow.”
“I would have ended my internship”
I almost screamed in surprise. Seriously?
Then I ask, “How many months have you been here?”
“Two months.” Was the pleased response.
I think to myself. So for two months you’ve sat at the front desk with no information to offer anyone who asked?- and you were not bothered for crying out loud.
This was the first person I had ever met like this. Exceptional. Extraordinary, Unique, Astonishing, Bizarre. I was lost for words, speechless, flabbergasted, and overwhelmed with pity for the poor boy.
After a minute of silence, my curiosity got the better of me. “What will you be doing when done with the internship?”
“I will be in my first year in the University.”
(Hmmmm, a Senior High School graduate who still had no clue about the world in which he lived- that figures.)
“Ooh I see. What would you be studying?”
“Bio-Chemistry”, His demeanor told me, he saw no relevance in what he was doing as an intern.
Needless to say, I was amazed to think that he had not even been inspired by persons at the hub, trying to set up businesses, learning relevant life skills in the process. He really had missed the opportunity to meet people, share ideas and know about the world beyond his ‘extraordinaire’ self.
And this was because he was indifferent to the job he had.
You know what?–Let’s crown him intern of the year.
By Benewah Gyekye Bannermann
(Beanie-waa, Jie-chi, Banner-mann)