I want you to meet my friend Fuseini. But I don’t want you to simply meet him, I want you to be inspired by his story.
Fuseini was born in 1989 in a rural community in Ghana. His mother never attended any school, and his father only completed kindergarten. They worked as farmers on a very small plot of land near their home. Money was always tight, but Fuseini’s mom made it a priority her children would attend school and so they did. As Fuseini neared the end of senior high school in 2009, he took the required exams to attend college. Attending university had always been a dream of his. Unfortunately, he was not accepted to any university. Upon this difficult news, he “lost his courage” as he so poignantly described it to me one day. Soon after he returned home to work on his family farm.
A few years later a nearby community was seeking day laborers for the construction of a house. It’s the house you see in this picture below. It was the mission house the Mercy Project team would live in. Fuseini showed up and was hired by the general contractor and began working long, hot days making bricks for the house. His starting pay was less than $4/day. He worked all day and then rode his bike several miles home where he worked until dark on the family farm. He did that every day for almost a year. At the end of the year he was literally the last worker left. Others had quit, been fired, or just drifted off. Fuseini outworked them all with a smile on his face.
One of our original missionaries saw him in those last months of construction and couldn’t help but notice his work ethic. As such, Mercy Project hired Fuseini to be our night watchman or security guard once construction of the house was complete. He would work all day on his family farm and then come spend the night in a security shed ensuring our team was safe. As our trust in him grew so did his responsibilities. He was eventually managing the entire house including the grounds, overseeing all repairs, and generally just making sure everything that needed to be done was done.
On October 1st Fuseini was hired as a full time field worker for Mercy Project. It’s a promotion that is probably long overdue. In his new position he will be out in fishing villages helping manage our current partnerships and working to help find new ones. He will be a huge part of our continuing to rescue more and more trafficked children.
By the way, he recently told me his work with Mercy Project, and particularly our American families who have lived in Ghana, has helped him “find his courage” once again. He showed me a letter of acceptance for university. He has already started taking night and weekend classes to earn his degree.
One other note; Fuseini also helped pay for his wife to attend school to become a hairdresser. He then helped her open a shop. She’s now the most popular hairdresser in town and is apprenticing other young women who want to do hair. This is the ripple effect of empowerment.
I know poverty is hard and messy and one size never fits all. But I also know Fuseini is breaking the cycle. I’ve watched him. Generations of his family will be better because of his grit plus the opportunities he’s been afforded. His story inspires me in my own life and also in my life’s work to help others become empowered. I hope it inspires you too.
(One more personal note: Fuseini is probably the kindest, most sincerely loving person I’ve ever known in my life. It is without exaggeration I tell you he is the most like Jesus of any person I currently know. I wish so badly you could all meet him and be loved by him.)