ARTS CENTER in Accra — My expat life in Ghana, Africa

Arts & crafts in Accra AFRICAN ARTS AND CRAFT in Accra, Ghana West Africa is rich in arts & crafts, and you can see this art in Ghana, in Accra, the capital. Art for real fullfilment and love does not traditionally exist in Africa : everything that was crafted had some purpose behind it. In Ghana, you […]

via ARTS CENTER in Accra — My expat life in Ghana, Africa

I am Abraham Annan – A self made Enterpreneur

Abraham Annan, CEO of Abog Global Concept and a self made enterpreneur after 8 years of training and work experience gave up the option of working with companies that saw great IT potential in him and would pay substantial amounts to have him on their team. He decided to transform his potentials into a business reality and he took the necessary actions towards self develop self development.

Today, he is CEO of Abog  Global Concept Ltd Ghana, a company that provides Cisco Guru CCNA Routing and Switching installation solutions to companies and trains young Ghanaians who desire to build a career as computer network engineers.

Read his profile.

“So who am I, and why do I desire to provide CCNA abd R&S installation solutions to your company and also to help train you to attain your CCNA certification and guide you in your IT career?

Here is a brief info about myself and how I believe I can help you in your career as a computer network professional…

My name is Abraham Annan, a Ghanaian, and married with two strong boys. I have 13 years of practical experience in the field of computer networking.

I started my IT career in 2001 as a Satellite Installer after attending three computer schools without any clear guidance and direction to build my career.I have been privileged to work in the following countries;

  • Ghana: As a VSAT Installer
  • Liberia: As a VSAT Installer
  • Sierra-Leon: Network Administrator and VSAT Satellite Installer
  • Kenya: As a Vsat Installer and
  • Nigeria: As an IT Consultant for a prominent university, and a Senior IT manager for a big IT firm in Abuja.

In the course of my IT career, I’ve also been privileged to be trained on Installation and Configuration of Biometric Access Control Systems and IP Surveillance Systems.

Here are some of the major projects I have personally implemented and those I designed and lead a team to implement:

  1.  Deployment of 750 Data/Voice point for the Federal Ministry of Finance Nigeria, Phase 2 Building. I was the lead engineer for this project. I lead my team to install and terminate a total of 750 computer Data/Voice Points. I personally configured 18 pieces of cisco 3500 series switches, a Cisco 4500 Supervisor Engine and installed/configure 7peices of HP servers with windows server 2008.
  2. Deployment of Greenstone E-Library Service – Federal Ministry of Finance, Abuja, Nigeria. Working as a sub-contractor, I deployed Greenstone E-Library Management system for the Library Department. The deployment included the training of 4 Library staff to manage and upload content to the servers.
  3. Deployment of Heritage Library Management Service and Calibar E-Book Management Service for the office the Secretary to the government of the Fedetation, Abuja, Nigeria as a sub-contractor and training of 6 library staff to manage and upload content to the server.
  4. Installation and Configuration CEM Systems Biometric Access Control System – Federal Ministry of Finance, Abuja, Nigeria. As the team leader for the project, I led a team of 8 Engineers to deploy 45 units of CEM System Access Control system at the Phase 2 Building of the Ministry.
  5. Integration of the work environment of the Federal Ministry of Finance and the Budget Office of the Federation, Abuja, Nigeria. Installation and configuration of Server OS on the four Servers;
    • Microsoft Windows Server 2003 R2.
    • Installation of Application Software;
      • Microsoft SQL server 2005.
      • Microsoft Office SharePoint Service.
      • Microsoft Exchange server 2003.
      • AVG Antivirus software.
      • Forefront Client Security
  6. Configuration and commissioning of Servers;
    • Active Directory Domain controllers.
    • Domain Name Server.
    •  DHCP service.
    • Creation of users account on both FMF and BOF domain controllers.
    • Designing and configuration of Group Policy for the users on the network.
    • Configuration of Microsoft Exchange server for Budget Office Domain.
    • Microsoft Identity Integration.
    • Service on BOF and
    • FMF domain controllers.

So, if you truly desire to tap into my 13 years of practical IT skills and knowledge through this training to accelerate your IT career or if you looking for the best fit in CCNA and R&S installation solutions for your company, my team and I are readily at your service”

Want to tap into his expertise and aquire skills and knowledge as a self developer, make that contact now.

5 Things you are not doing to become a Self Made Billionaire

 

During a conversation, a self made enterpreneur shared this.

-When you wake up in the morning, take a pen and paper, write down every activity you perform till the end of the day. Do it the next day and the days after; for a spun of a week or two. At the end of the duration, read through each day’s list and analyse how useful and productive you have been either for yourself, at work or in the lives of others. Is there an achievement factor in your analysis if you do have set goals?-

More often than not, you tend to have set goals without strategies in achieving them. You have dreams without plans and expect that out of the blue, they become reality; then voila! you become one of the richest people in the world. But even a magician works hard to stage a performance.

There are 1,826 billionaires in the world and still increasing. Becoming one is an extremely impressive feat. Question is, what are the things you not doing to become one of the them. Wealth is inspiring. But wealth created from nothing is the stuff that startup dreams are made of.

  • 1. You are not making the DECISION to start and succeed.

    You are not making the decision to want to move from not having coins in your pocket to walking around with a pocket filled with fifty dollar bills. You are not making the decision not to forever remain in the job that only pays the bills and puts food on the table but doesnt give you the opportunity to develop yourself in other skills. A friend from school once said to me, “am not completing a four year program only to work for someone” Now thats a decision made. He has since been working on starting his own smoothie business. Make that decision to stop searching for jobs all the time but rather create one for yourself and others. When you feel too comfortable in your current situation you dont realise the need to financially secure your future. Well guess what, even the richest decide to stay forever rich and works towards it.

 

  • 2. You are not being AMBITIOUS- You fear becoming overly ambitious. 

    “A man without ambition is like a woman without beauty” —Frank Harris.

    Have a strong desire and determination for success and achievement. The first question of ambition addresses the extent to which your efforts are producing something that will last in the world. Do not be scared to work, save or plan -these have always been the distinguishing marks of a rising middle class who has been prepared by ambition. Futurity and ambition are inseparable- If you havent attained your goals, you do not give up untill you can cross them out from your list of set goals.
    However, being overly ambitious can lead to using unethical tactics to reaching what seems to be beyond your natural ability, talent, skills or experience. Do not take too much too fast without practical restrictions.
    Do not be like a musician trying to play every instrument in the band – you achieve more than is reasonable or likely.

 

 

  • 3. You are not taking ENTERPRENEURIAL ACTION.

    Simply, an action is something that one can do and is doing in order to effect changes in their immediate and extended environment.
    Entrepreneurial actions however are actions that have some type of enterpreneurial activities -discovering new ways to combining available resources- Organizing, managing and assuming the risks of starting a business, investing into something, marketing products and services all requires that you exert efforts to achieving them. Without action, your enterpreneurial ideas cannot develop into business ventures. Start with who you are, what you know and whom you know in order to persue your idea.
    A first action of research will lead to gathering new data which will serve as a guideline into the next action. Every outcome of an action helps to review and modify your goals as required. Futher in my conversation with the self made enterpreneur, he revealed how he made a decision to take action. When he realised he could transform the same potentials that made companies sort after him into a business reality he decided to self develop in all facet of business managment. Today, he is CEO of Abog Global Concept Ltd. Ghana. You can make a difference too by learning to think and act. That is one of the many things you will have in common with self made billionaires out there.

 

 

  • 4. You are not SHARING YOUR IDEAS.

    Many business thoughts leaders ask often what ideas are worth. When the metaphorical light bulb goes on above your head-you have that “Eureka!” moment-it’s super exciting.  You cannot wait to see it transform into a phenomenon. In order to reach the point of making your ideas real, you first have to share with others. Chances are that, a ground breaking idea may not entirely be perfect at its inception.
    Through the process of developing your idea, you may miss things a fresh pair of eyes will notice at first glance. If you communicate your new ideas broadly, you’ll get very insightful feedback and suggestions that can make your idea better from people who are willing to offer their collaborative services. Do not be hesitant to share your ideas with others, because you want to protect your intellectual property and get credit where credit is due. Sharing with like-minded individuals helps protect you from someone unfairly impinging on your intellectual property. If you get your idea into the open as soon as possible, it will be widely viewed as yours. The more people you let know about your idea, the more people you’ll have to attest the fact that it originated with you. As an entrepreneur, you explore various answers to questions when you work together with like-minds.

 

 

  • 5. You are not  WORKING HARD enough.

    “The harder you work, the luckier you get”-Henry Ford.

    Just by hoping for it, you do not come across success. True success is achieved by having the strength, mind and will to struggle and work tirelessly to reach you fullest potential. Hard work pays off. You only need the right attitude , self-discipline and the ability to put your goal before your own needs, if you are really driven towards reaching them. There is, after all no substitute for hard work.

I am not a billionaire yet but have learnt that the quest for success has no easy road. The many times you have failed makes a success story worth telling.

“Today to you will win, the next day you loose. The day after, you win again. This is the life” Roberto Molino (DEME Project Manager).

The Implicit Truth II

TRUSTING THE SOURCES OF INFORMATION WE COME ACROSS: MY EXPERIENCE

I had made sure my cover letter and CV were professionally structured and well tailored for an internship position. Though enthuse about the Marketing Intern offer that finally came through after a long search, I made sure I had an eye for every detail.
The aim of recruitment and selection policy is to ensure that a transparent and unbiased recruitment and selection process is followed; one that results in the appointment of the best candidate, based solely on merit and best-fit with an organizational values, philosophy, and goals. As part of its importance, candidates can be confident it is a genuine job offer. Question is, how often do candidates run detailed background check on prospective employers?

Two of the documents I was provided with had adequate information about the company and its policies. The third, ‘To whom it may concern’, was to be sent to the Canadian embassy for assistance in documents preparation.
But there was no Job Offer Letter attached.

The essential document -the job offer letter-serves as a legal base of employment and provides you some contractual rights. It’s content include but not limited to basic job information, salary, dates of engagements, benefits. This has to be signed and a copy returned to employer.
It is important to note that a job offer letter is different from an appointment letter although they have lots of similarities and are both legally binding documents. Generally in maximum, organization job offer letter is the initial letter of confirmation which a candidate gets once he gets finalised and an appointment letter which is more detailed is given on first day a person joins the company or after probation period. In few organizations Appointment letter/ Job offer letter are one and the same. In anycase, I wasn’t provided any of these but rather, the ‘To whom it may concern’ letter which had most of the contents of an appointment letter.

“the cost to apply for the Temporary Resident Visa + A LMO Work Permit would be 392 CAD you can apply by yourself or through our legal department if you require any assistance.”

If I understood that email correctly, I could pay for Resident Visa and a positive LMO through their legal department! Visa applications and its payments are made by applicants directly through the Canadian embassy so how could they even suggest that? I went ahead to opt for their suggestion and this was the reply:

“Hello Gail, it will be great having you working with us! As HR said on the interview we will provide you the plane and the very first week of accommodation, if you want to stay there after we can manage something out with the landlord. We would be glad to have you on August 1st if you want to apply through us we will need the scan copy of your passport, after that I will give you a password to pay for the visa process through our website in order to make the process faster.”

I grew suspicious and so after they sent me the password, I informed them payment would be within a fortnight and they agreed to wait. Thereafter, I forwarded email conversations and documents directly to the canadian visa office through email address I got on their website through Google search engine. Also to two friends in Canada and the US and waited on their feedback. Further to this, I got on to what I loved to do most ‘Research’. Below are my findings:

  • Company name and organizational details did not exist neither on Linkedin nor any other professional network.
  • Employee names I had and that of the CEO did not exist on any social media, one that existed had no record of its designated position.
  • On Google map, company address led to another company name which happens to be a law firm too and after contacting them, they had no info to provide on the company I was refering to.
  • About their website, it was a joke; not one i would attribute to a professional’s work especially with sentences draged over the other making reading impossible.
  • On Skype, they had used my date of birth to set up their skype profile details.
  • Company contact number was never answered when called.
  • Corporation key and number, and company name on Canadian business Corporation Information Sheet could not be found in the online data of incorporations canada.
  • Citizenship Immigration Canada (CIC) requires a prospective employmer to present a job offer letter when applying for a Labour Market Impact Assesment (LMIA)
    previously known as Labour Market Opinion (LMO) until June 20th, 2014. The LMIA is a document that an employer in Canada may need to get before hiring a foreign worker. The employer first has to apply for it by proving to canada immigration a job offer letter and other requirements and proving it cannot find anyone in Canada for the job but rather hire a foreigner. It’s after this assessment that a positive LMIA can be provided.
  • “To apply for your work permit, your employer must give you:
  1. a job offer letter -is a basic requirements that a prospective Canadian employer provides to a prospective foreign worker,
  2. a contract,
  3. a copy of the LMIA, and
  4. the LMIA number.

Obviously I did not have any of these requirements and when I had requested some clarifications, I felt the pressure to make payment first and as soon as I could.

Inspite of all my findings, there were elements that made it so real from the CIC requirements aspect though the order was questionable. I still had my other sources I was expecting feedback from so why the rush to conclude.

My friends shared their thoughts on the visa aspect and how often scammers out there would do anything to look real just to lure and extort money from individuals. They adviced not to make any payments but wait to see their reactions.

From Canada visa department,

“Hi Gail,
Sorry for delay in reply but we believe you are dealing with a scam. The amount of money they said the work permit and LMO (it is actually called an LMIA, further evidence that this is fake) cost is not accurate, there is no way that $392 could be the price for anything related to a work permit. It is a very good scam as many elements of it have the appearance of being genuine but we believe it is ultimately a scam. Also I have called the number they provided several times and the voice mailbox was not registered, which is suspisious for an authentic company.
I am sorry to be the bearer of bad news”

Not bad news at all, quite the contrary. Every info gathered in connection to this job opportunity prevented a worse case scenario which could have been me paying the requested amount.

Throughout the internet, information research is conducted in numerous ways. Once gathered, assessing its importance and trustiness in our growing social connected net happens through objective criteria and on the premise of subjective factors. Considor the source criteria outlined by Christian Kreutz .

It doesn’t hurt to research more. We loose nothing by getting updated through the news on the social media platforms, in the daily papers, on the TVs from our teachers and friends. Reading more about what we hear broadens our knowledge spectrum on particular subjects hence possesing reliable information. We find things we didn’t know were there which could be ‘an inconvenient truth’. Or that, there is not what we thought was there or want to be there.
The implicit truth is, not all sources of information are as credible as they appear. There is always something new to be learnt.

Smile of The Ghanaian Woman

MANYE’S BIRTHDAY  STORY

Our parents didnt have the kind of birthday celebrations we have in todays century. They had to walk miles to get water for the house hold and go to the farm to help with land preparation for the farming period irrespective of which day it was. Back home, they shared a bowl of food like  apkle with fetiri dekye  (a local dish) together with sibblings; all hands in one bowl. Well, thats typical Afican way of eating and you can imagine the fun in it. If your palm size is as small as mine with tiny fingers, 😄  well this you have to experience to know the real feeling. But the beauty of such family bond, is exceptional.

Today, parties define it all from indoor to outdoor; Birthday cakes, dinner dates, presents, etc. Social media gives you invisible partygoers, you go viral in some cases but the basic element in all of these celebration activities is, your loved ones contribute to lightening up your face.

Manye‘s birthday was no exception.

  • Happy Birthday Estee –

She comes from a large and supportive family who always make her birthday exceptional. She manages her own catering business CakeplusGh and she is doing great at it. Nothing better than running your own business right and especially when its your passion. The feeling of independence. You might want to check her out sometime.

“I spent my birthday in Mole. I went to visit a friend who wasnt feeling well. The day was normal but the night went well. A surprise birthday cake and dinner. Thats all. -she laughs- Oh chale it’s VERY different from the previous ones cos I mostly spent my birthdays alone indoors with my family.

Dinner =mashed beetpotatoes veggies & steak:)”

😨😨 This is so not Ghanaian, i want some😄

Nope no presents yet maybe it’s because I’m not in Accra at the momemt. I rarely get presents oooo.

Its been the case since our forefathers to RARELY get presents. Its more about having family and loved once around to eat and drink and celebrate another life. Thats enough to make your heart smile wouldn’t you agree?

I have about 1500 friends on facebook and I know about 80% of them. I would say am in constant contact with about 50% of them. Oh chale, only 159 friends sent me wishes oooo. 😄 But i realised some came from friends i haven’t heard from in a long while.

For me a new life is a blessing. You experience beautiful moments with friends and family. Now you can organize different kinds of activities if you have the time and resources.

Naturally I like to help others in my own small way so sometimes I sort and give out my clothes to individuals who need it. At the moment my friends and I are planning to organise a donation to some group of people just to make them smile too. Nothing big but just going out of our own ways to help others. Its a good thing right!

Am glad its different from what our grand parents and great grand parents experienced. I wasnt there though but we all know these stories. Well, the common thing is, we feel happy and loved, we smile..

Yes Manye, we smile thankfully for another earthday and its a great idea you and your friends have.

Though this may not be the case in the lives of some individuals out there, you can extend your smiles to them in any convenient way possible just like Manye is doing.

Continue the “Smile of the Ghanaian Woman” by sharing your views and short about perculiar stories in which  you made someone smile that made you smile too in a comment below. This is not limited to ladies only but all.

The Implicit Truth I

Trusting the sources of information we come across: My Experience

There is a vast amount of information uploaded onto the Internet everyday. Sources of these information could be credible or not but it all lies on the information seeker to research in details the credibility.

After reading Robbrecht van Amerongen‘s post on LinkedIn today, I felt promted to share an experience so we realise the need for researching about the contents and sources of informations we come across.

It was a three month semester recess and I was not going to sit home doing nothing. I thought of a better way to spend it so i started the search for both local and international paid interships; you know, something to help develop me professionally with some few cedis before school resumed. My search spun from LinkedIn job search, through recruiting agencies to referrals from friends. I read lots of articles on how to apply and be successfully offered an internship job. My applications were so much that, it was hard to tell to which company and for which specific internship position I had applied for. It was not much of a bother to me since I was basically focusing on marketing related positions. Rather, was eagerly waiting for a response from one of the many prospective companies I had applied to.

Voila! First in my inbox was an email one morning from a law firm based in Ontario Toronto. They had viewed my CV and wanted to know if I was still available for a Marketing Intern position I had applied for. “Of course I am!” I exclaimed to myself. Quickly I confirmed and interview was set to take place in four days. Prior to interview date, I searched for the link through which I had applied for that position in order to read more about job reponsibilities and requirements but I could not find it. My first lesson; For every application, copy and post job links and contact information to a note app on your phone or create a file for reference. This makes it easy to follow up on especially companies who do not acknowledge receipts of your applications.

Finally date was due, and already signed in, a young man introduced himself as Fynn from the HR department. What I thought was going to be a video call turned out a voice call as he instructed to switch back from video. I didn’t get to see his face though. “Can you please tell me about yourself?” he asked. Within 20 minutes, the session was over, brief and well packed with every information a normal interview aims to extract.

A week later, another email came through from the company’s Immigration and Fraud Director informing me I had been offered the position of a Marketing Intern. Three documents were attached to this email:

“If you are interested in accepting the position, we would like to begin the process of getting all the necessary documents together you will need to legally work in Canada. Please let us know what current documents you possess (Passport, Working Visa, work permit, etc). and we can determine what is required to proceed, the cost to apply for the Temporary Resident Visa + A LMO Work Permit would be 392 CAD you can apply by yourself or through our legal department if you require any assistance.Let us know if you have any questions.”

Am pretty much sure some questions are running through your mind right now and truth is, I started asking myself those questions too. Plus, there was one document missing; the most essential one companies should provide to newly employed.

Click here to find out what that that essential document is and how it all ended.