“They Go Zig, You Go Zag”

This is my Toastmasters Ice Breaker Speech. It was delivered Sept 28,18

When I say “Agoo”, you repond by saying “Ameeee”

Can we try this Agoooooo!!! Ameeeeee 2X

I come from a place where traditions and customs are taken seriously. As such I needed permission to speak.

Me saying agoo was to seek that permission and your responding “ameeee”, meant granted.

Mr. Toastmaster, fellow members and guest(s).

The purpose of this speech is to introduce myself to you.

Like all of you, I am the sum of my experiences and some of which I’d share with you today.

I am one of those people who was born in a place and raised elsewhere. My birth place was a small lake town in the eastern part of Ghana – for those who do not know is small country with only a population of about 30 million in West Africa and was raised in the suburbs of the capital – Accra, where everyone knew one another. Everyone was friendly, welcoming, and as children we played traditional sports, dance to music all day and everyone is expected to produce a song or dance on demand, so you have been warned, should you ever visit Accra.

Like most small towns, when you finish high school, you move to a city for work or college. I moved to a different region away from the capital to attend university. 4 years went by so fast and with college behind me and life ahead, I decided to pursue graduate studies.

My personal decisions have always been in direct opposition to my parents. Oh and it’s not to say, I was a disobedient child growing up. But I had my own inner rebellious voice which always says to me “They go zig, you go zag”. Attend a university in the Capital, I chose elsewhere. Study Law and I chose Economics instead. I chose SD State over Aberdeen in the UK. As well as turning down a lucrative job offer in Miami last year for one here in Brookings. You see what I mean? I have come to love Brookings so much I wanted to stay.

My decision to come to South Dakota for graduate studies of all the places in the US raised a lot of eye brows and still does. At my visa appointment, the lady at the US consulate looks at me and said “Do you know, it gets cold in South Dakota”, I said…. “YES!!! With great enthusiasm”. Well, little did I know, that the August weather which I felt was freezing was nothing compared with what was to come. I barely made it through my first winter. Thankfully, that summer I toured Europe – From Copenhagen to Arhus in Denmark, to Hamburg, Berlin and Bonn in Germany and to Amsterdam in the Netherlands. An experience I will forever hold dear and cherish.

What else has shaped who I am?

I was born on a Thursday, so the traditional verse suggests that I have far to go. Giving my love for travel and seeing new places, that must be true.

My birth order, the first male son before two sisters and a brother, suggests that I am outgoing and fun-loving.

But above all, as heir-apparent to all family business, that comes with a huge responsibility which I can confidently say I’m in good stead.

Warren Buffet – The oracle of Omaha (The world’s greatest money maker), Lee Roy Chiao (A former NASA Astronaut and the commander of Expedition 10), and Jerry Lininger (Another former NASA Astronaut) are among a few famous people I’ve had the privilege of meeting.

I am open-minded and therefore prone to indecision but I tend to stick to one when made. I am  interested in absolutely everything I encounter and therefore sometimes lack focus. For example, when it comes to writing a speech. More than anything, I have an insatiable thirst for knowledge and understanding. The desire to know and understand is what motivates me.

I love nothing more than to spend time here in SD and to enjoy the welcoming culture, sights, sounds, smells and taste.

I urge you to live your life the best way you possibly know how and do not be limited by social expectations. Be strong in the pursuit of your dream and if you do, like a Thursday born, we’ll go far if not further. Remember “When they go zig, we go zag!”

Thank you friends for your warm reception and I’m glad to be here. If you want to know more about what makes me cry, laugh, eat, worry or die a-little bit inside, I’d be more than happy to have a conversation.

Remember I need permission Agoooo

Mr Toastmaster!


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