‘Rien est gratuit, ici ce la France’ (nothing is free here in France), that was the first thing my friend Koulibaly told me when I first arrived in France. I was 17 years old with my Ghana-must-go bag, 1 jeans, 2 shirts and 1 brand new timberland.

No rich Uncle or powerful Aunty to run to. All I had was $25 which I changed to get about 120 FRF.

At this stage, I knew that if I didn’t work hard, I wasn’t going to eat either breakfast or dinner. Koulibaly took me to Promenade des Anglais where I met Wang, who introduced me to the souvenir wholesale business.

I had to sell 10 Tour De Eiffel souvenirs to get 1 free. Day and night, I was on the streets of Nice, finding the best tourists, the classiest cars to wipe their windscreens just so someone could give me 50 FRF for one Tour De Eiffel souvenir.

No one owes you anything. No one will give you anything. You, and only you, are the architect of your destiny.

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