Grass to Grace
The problem in our Society is that no one cares. People around us pretend to care but the truth is that they don't really care.
I was born into a family of three and growing up was full of stress, it was always from one problem to another.My parents were poor so i learned to be a man from a tender age of four.During festive seasons while every other child was either enjoying a new toy or dress, we will be in the farm with our parents.
I mean, the three of us,myself and my two sisters, the products from our farm was the family's only means of survival though we didn't even have enough to eat yet we sometimes manage to sell some vegetables from the farm so that we could buy other necessities like toiletries. Going to school was not a part of the family's plan.
The only slippers i had as a kid was given to me by an Uncle, though it was a bigger size yet i wore it to church every Sunday.
I looked malnourished and older than my age,walking up and down the hill on bare foot was my everyday activity since i was a child and my two sisters hawked our farm products on daily basis.
One day, i came up with the idea to set up a restaurant and mom will do the cooking while i carry the food to the market square and sell.There were lots of laborers working in the construction site and i always see them go to buy food from the restaurant which was far from the site,there were school children and market women too and each and everyone of these people buys food every now and then.
Though my Father was reluctant about this idea but my mother welcomed it so that was how i began peddling food, it was not easy at first but i adopted within some time and it wasn't difficult for people to notice the boy under the Mango tree, the hungry laborers all loved the rice and tomato sauce, mom had a special way of slicing the garlic.Soon everyone was talking about me and our business began to grow because,everyone that ever tasted the rice always come back the next day besides, there was no need to spend money on transportation to go and buy food when the little boy by the mango tree has the best fried meat.
I realized that people were tired of the regular soft drinks and hardly do they want to drink water after male so i began wondering what on earth will be different and new. Nothing seems new,ice cream;not every adult like this.I didn't know what stroke my mind or how on earth it came into my mind,Dad was surprise when he woke up that morning and saw me mixing the whole stuff.
It is called COCOMINTE i told him...
The very first day i introduced it to the customers was the beginning of a new business venture for the family because just like Oliver Twist,everyone wanted some more and they all wanted to know the ingredients used in making this sweet sensation which drives every school child crazy, it soon became a household name and even kids wanted a piece of it.
The success of every trade mark is secret so no one except my immediate family members knew the secret to the drink, two years of peddling food and selling my sweet drink helped our family and by now we have established a new branch near the school and Mom sells over there though it was by the street corner but trust the school Children and the commercial bus drivers who patronized our business
Our Business began to boom and the construction of the new road brought us more customers but there was something else.
The Chinese and most of the foreign workers don't like our food, they preferred buying from the big Restaurant in the city because it sells continental meals though once in a while, they bought from us but the demand was low.Among all the workers was one Mr Kun Chong, he is the owner of the construction firm so seeing him that afternoon standing in front of me was surprising.
I didn't understand what he was saying though he kept pointing at my flask,i didn't know how he heard about it but he was demanding cocominte, i gave him a sack but he came back afterward and demanded for the whole left in the flask. This was how he became one of my favorite customers and even paid me to prepare more for him.
Through him, so many other foreigners began demanding for the sweet drink, they all loved it and there was high demand of it now then one evening the unexpected happened. Mr Kung Chong drove into our family house though he doesn't speak English fluently but he had an interpreter with him.
Mr Kung wants to know the secret behind the sweet drink which has outsold every other soft drink in town so i told him that cocominte is this
I kept coco but added minte, the first alphabets of every member of my family.
M.Michael(Dad),I.Irene(Mom),Nimrod.(Me),T.Tamara(sister) and E.Elizabeth(sister)...
My explanation baffled him because everyone was laughing at every single word i spoke but Mr Chong understood that it was a family secret and there was no way anyone of us was willing to tell him how the drink is made but Mr Chong has something for us.
He brought out a paper with a drawing and began to talk about Factory, he told us that he want to go into partnership with us and how wonderful it will be if we accept his offer because he will help us build a plant where this sweet drink will be manufactured in quantity and even be exported.
This sounded big to us because we don't know anything about such business, it is true that we have dreams but not this kind of big dream but one need not to go to school to understand the kind of trade he was talking of, all he wanted was a piece of land and our acceptance to be his partner.
My Father gave a nod to his proposal and the whole family welcomed his plans so that same day before he left, we showed him the only little piece of land which we own, he left and promised to come back within a few days.
He came back after two days with a group of other Chinese men and a Lawyer as well, it was not the normal meeting like the first one, it is now time to talk business with Mr Chong, he showed us some sketches and what the factory he intend to construct will look like though neither of my family member understood the sketch but we have thrown our trust upon him.
With My Father's instruction and advice, i disclosed the ingredients of Cocominte to Mr Chong, it was a confidence he promised never to bridge. Cocominte was simply a mixture of liquid extract from the coconut,liquid ginger extract,water,honey,salt and sugar. There was no big deal to it, he could not believe all that i explained to him but he meant business.
To us it was just a simple drink but to Mr Chong, it was the healthy drink, he later brought a man whom he said was a biologist and began the construction of the factory which was completed in six months and COCOMINTE became a trademark and it didn't take much time for the market to accept this new product that makes everyone want some more.
This was how my entrepreneurship began as my family rose from grass to grace and Cocominte was taken far across the ocean and across the boarders.
It takes nothing to be successful in life,all we need to do is to be focused in all we do therefore, search within and around yourself and see what lies there for you because since i could do it then you can do it.
This is my story.