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Gladys' enduring smile (Ghana)

I first met Gladys at a radio-TV studio in Accra, Ghana. She introduced herself with a genuine and heart-warming smile that compelled me to learn more about her. She lost her parents in a car accident when she was six years old. Her father was an human resource manager at a mining company in the Ashanti region.

After that life-altering car accident, Gladys and her siblings moved back to the family home in Accra to live with an older sister, in her teens at the time. Over the years, her sister, forced to assume the role of mother and father, helped Gladys and her younger siblings complete their schooling.

Gladys started working at the radio-TV station as a recent graduate from Accra Polytechnic. Unlike other college graduates, she was fortunate to receive an internship as an administrative clerk. She was a pretty and intelligent woman with self-declared flaws characteristic of any new employee. But, these flaws were overlooked by her colleagues and bosses.

Gladys and I stayed in touch over the years. She married her childhood sweetheart and shortly after survived a difficult pregnancy with the help of exceptional medical care. She shared her dreams, her aspirations, and her fears with me. Even having overcome so many challenges in her younger years, she continued to struggle to make ends meet. She told me about the high cost of transportation to and from work which consumed half of her monthly salary. I learned that she lost of her job at the radio-TV station, which she believed was a result of conflicting political affiliations from her employer.

Three months after the birth of her son, Gladys found a better paying job. This ambitious young woman decided to pursue a university degree in Business Management. She has since given birth to a second son and is considering Masters degree in Public Administration. Her enduring and respectful smile, along with a deep faith, has kept her believing in a promising future.


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