Made in Africa, Made it in America: Dreams come true in America for a determined African Woman (Hardcover)
This is a story about how through determination, persistence, planning, hard work and answering the door when opportunity knocks, a dream can eventually come true. It is a classic case of "If at first you try and fail, try and try again." Success is seldom a straight-line journey, but one that is laden with delays, detours, and disappointments. But if one does not lose hope but perseveres through thick and thin, victory can be had, and oh how sweet it is when it does. It also emphasizes the fact that dreaming without action is nothing but a pipe dream. Or, as people of faith say, faith without works is dead. Of course, when you make it in life, you must not forget from whence you came, but reach out to help others.
The story recognizes two different cultures, Ghana (Africa) and America, and is told in a way that highlights the key differences in their value systems, and how they impacted the star of the book, Theresa, in her adult life in America. Theresa was biologically made in Africa, being born to Ghanaian parents, and was nurtured in the African culture that instilled in her African values, key among which are discipline, respect for elders and others, hard work, perseverance, God-fearing, survival skills, independence and love for family. Even though her family was middle class and well connected (her father was Special Assistant to Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, the founding Prime Minister of the Republic of Ghana), she was not raised as a child of privilege.
This true story is set in a small town, Esiama, in Ghana, West Africa, where a young girl, Theresa, was born and raised. Her father, Mr. Paul Yankey, was the Assistant Police Commissioner. She barely knew her father, who was killed in a tragic accident when she was only three years old. The task of raising her fell to her grandmother and mother, who were more than up to the task. Grandma Eboyie, without formal education, determined to prepare her granddaughter for life, by instilling in her discipline, respect for work and others, independence, management skills, and street smartness. Mr. Yankey had three wives, and 10 children. Even though Theresa's father was a person of reasonable means and highly regarded in the town, grandma opted to train her via the school of hard knocks. This means that she had house chores that she performed with religious fervor.
When Theresa left home for boarding and high school in a distant city, she was well equipped to build on the firm foundation with book knowledge via formal education. Having witnessed, growing up, the plight of people in her area who had little means, especially as pertained to healthcare, she dreamed of becoming a doctor so she could bring some relief to her people. In fact, she herself had very challenging birth circumstances, being born premature, a condition that is often fatal in especially rural areas where modern health facilities are scanty. Unfortunately, try as she did, she did not qualify for medical school at the first attempt. She settled for her second option in college.
She studied for a BSc. Agriculture with a Diploma in Education at the University of Cape Coast in Ghana. In the last year of college, her life took a major turn for the better. She married a gentleman who had received a Fulbright scholarship to study in America. A week after the wedding, they experienced their first forced separation, as her husband had to depart for the US without her. It would be a year before they'd be reunited in Michigan. After settling in, she took odd jobs to help put food on the table. Maybe, the dream would come true after all, she thought. But not so fast, numerous roadblocks were ahead. Not being an American citizen, she could not attend medical school (at least public med school).