A father of six, Mr. Kofi Boahen who sells pastries for a living says no line is drawn between a trade or occupation for women or men. For him, a day’s honest labour should spur one on, to care for his family, hence his decision to make ends meet from the sale of Chips and Astumo popularly called ‘’ChinChin’’. His dream is to have his products branded and sold across the country’’. This is the story of Mr. Kofi Boahen from his base at Anyaaa N.I.C. Top at Ablekuma in Accra.
Following the coup in Cote d’Ivoire in 2002, and with the intervention of the ECOWAS Peacekeeping Mission Operations in that country, many Ghanaians returned home. They were in low spirits at the thought of starting life from scratch. Desperation, worry, and fear of a bleak future were a daily concern. Mr. Kofi Boahenis a survivor of that coup, which claimed many lives. He was lucky to return to his motherland alive with his wife who was pregnant at the time. He settled in this uncompleted single room on the hilly part of Anyaa-N.I.C Top in Ablekuma, unsure of what lay ahead for his family.
So, it was menial jobs for the survival of the family – a wife and six children, as a starting point to put his life back on track. His decision to start the pastry business was because his situation worsened after he was thrown out from his sister-in-law’s house, and also when a foreman who contracted him as a laborer, never gave him a penny for many weeks of work. He says his wife used to work with a lady who was a caterer but had to stop, due to child birth. With a little knowledge from his wife about the making of chips, he boldly took a step into that arena, to make chips and Atsumo, but with no initial capital. His neighbour, was kind enough to give him the ingredients on credit.
It was a struggle, but Mr. Kofi Boahen persevered and was determined to take his business to the next level. His wife and children all help out in his small business from mixing, kneading, cutting and frying. Due to lack of finances, Mr. Boahen uses the old-fashioned method of Cooking-Fire wood. He takes me through the process.
Popularly known by his customers as Berema Chips or One-One cedi, the forty-two-year-old man sells his pastries himself. He says his ‘’Atsumo’’ popularly called ChinChin and Chips and groundnuts made from flour, margarine, salt, sugar, nut meg, and oil is perfect in the afternoon and washed down with a bottle of soft drink or even just water. This undaunted man oftensets off by noon every day, and has a unique way of calling out to attract buyers.
His neighbors and customers are intrigued with his style and encourage him by buying. It’s been seven years in this business for Mr. Boahen, who gets busy at major traffic lights and in his neighborhood at Anyaa N.I.C, Awoshie Banyard and Ablekuma and its environs. He said with luck from some of his customers, he received assistance from a number of people, and some non-profit organisations to support his business, during the lockdown. He said he could not invest it all in his business, because his mother and siblings became homeless after a heavy rainstorm ripped off the roof of his mother’s house in his hometown.
Mr Boahen wants to grow his pastry business, and move it from the streets to the shelves. With the proceeds from the sale of his chips, he has bought a plot of land at his home town in Ashanti Effiduase Dadeben and plans to put up a three-bedroom house for his family someday. With a prayer and hope, Mr. Boahenis upbeat about his future plans, so look out for his Atsumo or chips on the shelves in any supermarket or Mall – they are finger-licking good.