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PDS KEYS (DIALOGUE 3)-AROUND THE APEX OF CIRCUMSTANCES (Prequel to I’m the Change)by Akua Mawuliplim Sarah Menieso

Time: Past (Friday at Sunset)

Setting: A mobile money sales shop(container) located Left Centre Stage with benches for customers to sit down.

(Scene shows Uncle Joe standing in the booth making account of his sales for the day. Alfred enters from downstage right running towards him)

Alfred: (screaming) Uncle Joe! Uncle Joe!

Uncle Joe: (Startled whiles going out of the Container) Aah, My boy Alfredo… Slow down, slow down that pace before you throw me to the ground (both hugging).

Alfred: I’m so happy…

Uncle Joe: Yes I can see that…(helping him to sit on the bench Centre Stage) So tell me, how are you?

Alfred: I’m fine…

Uncle Joe: (In suspense)What’s the excitement about?

Alfred: I won the award

Uncle Joe: The award?

Alfred: Yes Uncle

Uncle Joe: Which award? I’m confused

Alfred: Oh Uncle, you have forgotten already?

Uncle Joe: (softly) Sorry… you find me now…

Alfred: The School Arti…

Uncle Joe: (Joyfully) Oh Yes! I remember! You won the award for the Best Creative Student?

Alfred: Yes…

Uncle Joe: Awww…Congratulations! Let me have a look at this great piece (hurriedly looking through his bag)

Alfred: There you have it…(Uncle Joe taking the paper from his hand)

Uncle Joe: (Reading it out)

Around the Apex of Circumstances by Alfred Dadson
In a class of 35 students are the springing future of tomorrow. When I look around, I see the ones who have everything they need at their disposal and the ones who struggle through every phase of their life to get everything they need in order to feel accepted among their peers. I ask myself, Why is life unfair to some people? I was lost in my thoughts for a second then it struck me that the fingers are not of the same length and size. Each of them have their uniques strength level when we a performing a task. Amazingly, the rich ones envy something about the poor which is so unknown to the poor themselves because to them, life for the rich is perfect in their eyes.
Mmmm…The contrast of life! Interestingly, there is one person I admire who has experienced both sides.
I dared to approach and engage her in a conversation. The 20 minutes spent with her was one of the most fulfilling moments I ever had to the extent that even her silence counsels the proud. I have learnt some thought provoking principles from her story which I call Personal Development Keys and I will share them with you.
The first key is Distractions. In life, we are presented with lots of choices. Sometimes the choice we make can either distract us or keep us focused. When you come from an affluent home, you tend to discriminate or become choosy about the kind of people you walk and associate yourself with; in terms of Name, Material Possessions, Social Status just to mention. Your discrimination becomes your distraction because it prevents you from seeing the wealth in the ones you look down upon. You will need to experience poverty at some point to better appreciate humanity.
Resisting Temptation is the Second Key.When you find yourself talking and bribing your way through what you should have worked hard for, you lose the mark of integrity on your life because time will expose you.
The third key I want to touch on is Frustration. How would you feel if everything you have come to live and know is robbed off you? How would you feel if the people you have come to know as friends neglect you in your time of destitution? When tables turn, it shows you the real meaning of “When I had it all”. You have no where to go, no one to turn to, you are alone living around the apex of circumstances. No parents; getting maltreated by your parents friends; being neglected by your parents family; what to feed on becomes episodes of survival of the fittest and the list goes on and on. I believe some people can relate to this. This leads me to the fourth key which is
Fear of Uncertainty. Frustration leads to depression and builds consistent fear of the realities of life in your imagination. You give up on yourself unknowingly till you become a living ghost passing through the wind in its spiral. What do you do? It is said that You become what you consistently think and say which leads me to my Fifth Key: Words (The Power of the Tongue). She said and I quote “I will never give up. I pledge to be a better version of me come what may. I’m not there yet but I know I will be there”. These words have been her guiding principle to study hard which secured her a scholarship that has funded her education till now. In her silence, she gets more closer to God. She said, she wouldn’t have identified her potentials if tables did not turn. My colleagues, the person I am talking about is none other than Ewura Abena Sam, the epitome of Focus and Resilience. The words we speak can either make us or break us. What do you feed your soul with?
Thank you.”

Uncle Joe: Wooow Alfred! This is an outstanding piece you’ve written.

Alfred: Thank you Uncle (smiling)

Uncle Joe: No wonder you won the award! In fact go for the malt…

Alfred: (smiling) Aren’t you hungry again?

Uncle Joe: Noo, noo (shaking his head). You have made my day…(both laughing)

Alfred: (Taking the malt on top of the container’s counter) So how is sales going?…

Light out!

THE END!!

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PDS KEYS (DIALOGUE 2)~ I’M THE CHANGE by Akua Mawulikplim Sarah Menieso

Time: At noon on Thursday

Setting: Modern living room furnished with sofas, designed to comfort with elegance and variety of artworks placed at strategic points on walls to reflect great philosophies.

(Scene opens with Uncle Joe sitting in the sofa right centre stage rebuking Alfred who was kneeling down centre stage)

Uncle Joe: Mmtcheww! You children of today think you know it all huh? Study medicine, you ended up in English class. Every business I introduce you to, you fail horribly at it. What at all are you good for?

Alfred: Uncle…

Uncle Joe: Shut…(Alfred keeps quiet)I’m still talking. You either go back to banking and retail and make meaning out of your life or you look for another family…

Alfred: What! Uncle Joe…You’re such an African Father…

Uncle Joe: Come again (rises to slap him but Alfred blocked him with his right hand. Uncle Joe sits back enthused)…

Alfred: (rudely)For God’s sake, why can’t you just listen to me? Have you for once thought about what my passion or talent is?(Paused for a minute) I love to tell stories. I love to express myself through words to inspire… 

Uncle Joe: Can you hear yourself? Stories? To which children? How will you look after yourself writing stories? At this age? At this time? In this Ghana?Will you stop behaving like a child and live up to your name?

Alfred: (aside) God help me…Help me convince him.

(Silence)

Uncle Joe: Is it not a human being I’m talking to?…

Alfred: Sorry (drawing closer to him on his knees)…

Uncle Joe: Mmmmtttchheeew..,Sorry for yourself (Alfred sits on the floor by Uncle Joe’s left foot).

Alfred: (softly) Uncle Joe, you are getting it all wrong…

Uncle Joe: (angrily) Reeaaalllyyy! Enlighten me then Pro,Pro, Pro, Professor.

Alfred: You’ve always told and taught me during my teenage years things that will develop me personally (Uncle Joe nodding his head). Over the years, I have adopted  five of these principles as my Keys to build my life with and I need your support.

Uncle Joe: Mmmm…and what could these principles be? I’m listening…

Alfred: God help me..

Uncle Joe: Sorry?

Alfred: Nothing. I was just thinking aloud. The first Key is Stand For What You Believe In (Uncle Joe smiles). I remember you stood before Papa and said “I’m going to live my purpose whether you like it or not. Engineering is my passion: It is what I live for”(Uncle Joe smiles). Uncle, writing is the only thing God placed in my hands at least for now and I don’t want Him to take it away from me. Remember the parable of the talents? (Uncle Joe nods) I don’t want to accept the mentality of being a second place winner and wallow in what people think about who I am. In this life, You are the only rain that can water the seed in you to germinate sometimes so be it.

Uncle Joe: Interesting…

Alfred: The second key you thought me is Letting Go

Uncle Joe: Letting go?

Alfred: Yes Uncle. I saw how your focus changed your circle of friends positively. The more you get separated to persevere in isolation, the higher your focus for what you wanted to achieve became clearer and that is all I want to do even if it looks like confusion to you now. I know God didn’t make a mistake. 

Uncle Joe: Hmm! I didn’t know my words and actions were speaking to you that much (both smiled). 

Alfred: They did and they were my inspiration for the very first article I wrote titled, Around the Apex of Circumstances.

Uncle Joe: Aaaah…The one you took the Award for the Best Creative Student? (Alfred nods)I remember that article especially the paragraph that talked about Frustration..

Alfred: (smiling) Great! You still remember the content? 

Uncle Joe: (smiles) Have you forgotten who you are talking to?…

Alfred: (laughing) Well, that brings me to my third key which is Failures. I’ve realised that in life you have to lose to gain something of significance. If the purpose for which you are called does not cost you anything then you have to reconsider your plans and actions. It’s just like the expression ” if you are always receiving praise from people, you need to check yourself”. Simply, not every smile or praise you are given is for your good (Uncle Joe nodding and clapping)

Uncle Joe: You’ve hit the nail right on the head..Good, good!

Alfred: Thank you… I clearly remember how you toiled selling sim cards and credits just to make ends meet while in the University simply because your Purpose wasn’t in alignment with Papa’s goals (Uncle Joe nodding his head).

Uncle Joe: I told you that day at my small shop to never give up on your goals because they help you identify your purpose as well. Instead of complaining about a situation, why don’t you just be the change you want to see?

Alfred: Yes, Yes, very true. You also told me how the selling of the cards affected your study thus reflecting in the dwindling of your grades but you never gave up because your simple philosophy in life was “quitters never win and winners never quit“. 

Uncle Joe: Hmmm… (both silent for a minute) So (Alfred cuts in)

Alfred: Uncle, Success takes time.  These fingers (showing him his two hands)will never be the same which links to my fourth key: Times and Seasons.Our society and the world at large coupled with the huge impact of technology have pushed our mindsets into what I call the Instant Zone. We don’t even know what patience is anymore. We attach desperation to everything we do, say or even think.

Uncle Joe: (sighs heavily)Hmmm…

Alfred: Why? God’s miracles done through Jesus happened in Times and Seasons they were needed so he can communicate intentions or lessons. Our generation today try to live ahead of things we are supposed to enjoy in other seasons. It is always said tomorrow is yesterday waiting to happen because it comes after days, weeks and years of toils, suffering, progressive fruition of skills put to work for the final goal to come out exquisitely. Ecclesiastes…

Uncle Joe: I’m enthused at your expression of wisdom..

Alfred: Thank you Uncle and that brings me to the fifth key which is Favour. It is said that “words bounce back so be careful what you say“. You once told me how you returned one of your customer’s suitcase  when he left it in your vendor shop back then. Your honesty earned you his respect and trust. He didn’t only fund the rest of your University fees but trained you in the Civil Engineering field (Uncle Joe smiling). That is what I call Favour; The Favour of God. Sometimes God tests you to see if you are ready for the next step of your Purpose. If he cannot trust you with little, how can He give you the bigger things?

Uncle Joe: Mmmmmm (shaking his head)

Alfred: (softly) He is testing me now to begin my writing which is little so that he can give me the bigger blessing associated with it.

Uncle Joe: (speaks emotionally with tears in his eyes and sighs heavily) Son, I am so sorry. I was so concerned about this economy that I even forgot there is a God who does exceedingly and abundantly more than what we could ask for. Alfred

Alfred: Yes Uncle

Uncle Joe: How much is a laptop now? Can you research about the materials you need to start your writing?

Alfred: (elated) Yes Uncle, Yes, Yes.. Thank you Uncle(both laughing). Together we can achieve more!!

Uncle Joe: Of Course! I think the yam is cooked now.Kindly check it and serve the food(rubbing his right hand on his stomach); Man is hungry! (he exclaimed whiles Alfred jumps towards the kitchen. Uncle Joe smiling, faces the audience)I am the change I want to see. Be one! 

Light out!

THE END!!

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PDS KEYS(DIALOGUE 1)-PART II by Akua Mawulikplim Sarah Menieso

Piper: Mmm…That’s enough stretching (both laughing whiles sitting down).Your last statement ushers us into Key 6 which is Stop Giving Excuses : Don’t be too comfortable at where you find yourself presently and resort to No as an anthem to opportunities that will help you discover your potentials (Tasha cuts in)

Tasha: Very true. I’m actually discovering one of my potential doing this with you now…

Piper: (shocked) Really! and what could that be?

Tasha: Motivational speaking…

Piper: (smiling) I’m in awe. You’re such an intelligent Young Lady…

Tasha: Thank you.

Piper: I’m honoured to share your company today.

Tasha: (smiling) Okaaay …

Piper: You don’t have to be shy. Let’s continue. So Key 7 is

Piper & Tasha: Build Your Vocabulary (Piper turned to look at her surprisingly).

Piper: How did you do that? Are you reading my mind too?

Tasha: (laughing) Oh no no. It’s logic.

Piper: Mmmmm…Educate me Lady (Tasha cuts in)

Tasha: (smiles)You can’t be a motivational speaker and not have words to express your self adequately in order to put your message across?

Piper: (laughing heartily) Wow, wow, wow! I’m short of words. Brilliant! So you want to finish it up? Come on, give it a try…

Tasha: (smiling) Okay. So eerhm Practice makes one perfect. Never tarry in knowing more than what you know. Learn a new word everyday whether in your local dialect or other foreign languages. It makes you smarter.

Piper: Gooood! (clapping joyfully) You’re one gem of a kind and that my Dear brings us to Key 8 ~ Giving

Tasha: Giving?

Piper: Yeah, you don’t think so?

Tasha: Yeah, It doesn’t quite relate for me but you do have a reason for it…

Piper: (smiling) I sure do. You can not acquire knowledge and not give by sharing. That is

Tasha and Piper: Selfishness

Piper: (Smiled) The secret of giving is earning when you least expect it (Tasha knodding). It doesn’t always have to be money. Adopt the spirit of helping in every sphere, anyhow, any where and by any positive means available. Endeavour to be creative in expressing this gesture. Always remember, it is

Tasha: better to give than to receive, Acts 20:35 (both laughing). I agree totally, the more you give, the more you get. You know you’re a genius too…

Piper: (smiling) Thanks. I’m humbled.

Tasha: And I believe Key 9 will be Character.

Piper: Mmmm..How does that fit into this context?

Tasha: Weeell, “Do unto others what you would have them do to you,..”Luke 6:31

Piper: Oh Okaaaaay..Interesting one there… (Tasha continues)

Tasha: Be respectful to everyone. Accept Constructive Criticisms because they make you take better decisions which gives us Key 10~ Leave a Legacy.

Piper: (amazed) I’m in awe. Finish it then…

Tasha: (laughed out loud) Let me ask you this question…

Piper: Okay

Tasha: How would you like to be remembered after you are gone?

Piper: Mmmm…

Tasha: Don’t Answer. Just think about it…

Piper: Okay

Tasha: We have to be an example that will be researched about even while we are gone. I say Work Hard and Desire to be successful.

Piper: Wow! (stretched out his hand to shake hers). This is one of the most fulfilling moments I’ve ever had. Thank you so much.

Tasha: (smiling) My pleasure!

Piper: Why don’t we take a walk?

Tasha: Sure (they both stand)

Piper: But before that I have something to say (paused for a minute. Tasha keenly looking at his face)Tasha, Tasha, Tasha, you just won yourself a scholarship to Ashesi University…

Tasha: (shocked) Are you serious? (knodding his head) Are your for real? As in I’m going to school?(knodding his head)

Tasha: (screaming aloud and jumped to hug him)Aaaaah! Hahaha! Oh my God! I don’t know what to do… Thank you, thank you…(Started singing and dancing heartily) …And when I thought that he has done too much, ooo Jesus did it again!

Piper: (laughing) That’s not all (Tasha cuts in)

Tasha: What?

Piper: (held her hand as they began walking) From today you’ve become my executive assistant for managing my PDS blog with full benefits…

Tasha: (tearfully) Gladly! Thank you…(Both chatting as they walk into the distance with music playing in the background)

FADE OUT…

THE END!!

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PDS KEYS (DIALOGUE 1)-PART I by Akua Mawulikplim Sarah Menieso

FADE IN

Time: Early hours of Wednesday

Setting: A neighborhood in Tema

(Tasha is seen walking sluggishly in the distance weeping, her hand on her head and talking to herself in a  confused state)

Tasha: Why? Why? What am I going to do? Am even hungry..mmtcheww.. Why now? (sobbing and fell to the floor in front of an uncompleted building)

(All this while, Piper was approaching Tasha in a pensive mood wondering why she was soaked in her own tears.Tasha was struggling to control her tears but couldn’t. Her head was down sitting rejected on the floor with a sack letter she had earlier that morning. A job she landed struggling so many years after school jumping from interview to interview. Piper came closer, sat with her on the floor and never uttered a word. He waited for her to finish crying. Tasha began soliloquising whiles Piper listened attentively in silence).

Tasha: (Tearfully) I keep asking myself, am I a mistake that happened or is just the witches in my family who have vowed not to see me excel…(Piper looks at her from the side of his eyes) Don’t look at me like that, we are in Africa. My parents have kicked the bucket, my father’s family rejected me. My mom’s family don’t even know what I look like now. I struggled to see myself through SHS (recalling some of her past experiences). I washed bowls in restaurants;  cleaned people’s homes; sold anything sellable if there’s any English like that (Piper smiles); men don’t even look my way cos I’m always in this old dress; got defiled by my supposed benefactor along the way. Even though I wasn’t qualified academically for most of the jobs I applied for, I knew I would get the opportunity to learn on the job, gain more skills and use the experience to apply for scholarship to further my education. That’s how I got this job barely three weeks ago.(Sobbing whiles speaking) This was my only source of comfort only for it to be taken away from me this morning; not even a single explanation, Why? Where did I go so wrong? or God has forgotten he sent me? Am I the only sinner on earth?

(Piper hands over the pack of food to her to eat. She grabbed it at the sight of it and rushed through it bite after bite)

Piper: Take your time Dear. Take your time (Watching her keenly eating with tears flowing down her cheek, shaking his head. Tasha finished the food, cleaned her mouth, drank water and knelt down in front of him).

Piper: (surprised) Why are you kneeling down? (She cuts in)

Tasha: My God will bless you..(she held his knees sobbing)Thank you Sir.

Piper: Tasha sit down. You have shared enough tears (held her by the arm to sit). Listen Tasha, I’ve not stayed in this neighbourhood for long but everyday I watch you go about your work diligently. You are very eloquent and friendly and I’ve heard your story.

 Tasha: Really..

Piper: Yes is a small neighborhood.

Tasha: mmm

Piper: Well, life struggles never end. One day, you will have a story to tell. But right now, you are the only one who can decide how to change your situation or wallow in pity. Is not about how you fall that matters but how you rise out of every struggle life throws at you. I was developing some Personal Development Keys and I know you’re capable of helping me with it..

Tasha: (surprised) You think so?

Piper: I know so

Tasha: mmmm (smiling)Thanks for believing in me.

Piper: (smiling)You’re Welcome. Now let’s roll…(hands her a paper and pen to write down all they will discuss)

Tasha: Okay, okay

Piper: Key 1~Humility: Allow yourself to be influenced by others whether old or young irrespective of age. Beware of pride and contentment.

Tasha: Woow…That’s really true. ” God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble” Proverbs 3:34. Some people think when they are up there, it means they’ve arrived. They start to look down on people, become all choosy  if there’s any word like that (Piper smiles) and discriminate so much so that when they fall, they become loners.

Piper: Interesting one there..It pays to be humble I guess…

Tasha: Yea…

Piper: Which brings us to Key 2~Know Yourself: Understand your passions and shortfalls. Always strive to rise back up when you fall. Use the time to worry to find solutions. Need help? Talk to someone who has been there.

Tasha: (smiling) Ahaaa…This one is directly speaking to me.

 Piper: You think so?

Tasha: I know so. Mmhm, You saw me wallowing in tears instead finding solutions to help my situation.

Piper: (smiles) Tasha, crying is an essential part of healing yourself when you are down most importantly if everything seems to fall apart. It cleanses your heart from pain and hurts.

Tasha: Wooow..I didn’t know.

Piper: Now you know but it doesn’t mean you should yell and wail every time you face a problem. (Tasha laughing) Learn something from the issue and think about doing it better next time (Tasha nods her head). The process of continuously and consistently doing it better is what I call

Tasha: Discipline

Piper: Beautiful (Tasha cuts in)

Tasha: So in short, be true to yourself. Make sure you achieve at least one activity in your to-dos in a day whiles being watchful about procrastinating…(Piper cuts in)

Piper: Impressive. That is Key 3 which brings us to Key 4~Planning Your Goals: Always have a beginner’s mindset for your activities. Do well to review them at the end of each day and never forget to have alternatives for each goal. Choose where you want to make mistakes. In all put God first.

Tasha: Hmmm!  You see, most at times, as human as we are, we say these things to ourselves but never do them…

Piper: True. So what do you think if we practice can help keep us on track.

Tasha: (thinking) Eeeeeerhhm.. We should develop a Positive Mindset.

Piper: (joyfully clapping his hands while Tasha covered her face shyfully) Don’t be shy. Come on.. I know you have more to say about that and that’s Key 5, kindly note it…

Tasha: Sure. Weeell..We as individuals, I believe we are what we think about consistently. We also have to flood our being with thoughts of greater heights. While we are at it, we should be aware of fear which is ” a type of emotion”. We have to believe in ourselves to motivate others to believe in us.

Piper: Awwww, you’re such a genius…(both laughing)

Tasha: I don’t know about that. I’m just following your footsteps.

Piper: Ooh OK. Great. Eerhm do you mind if we do a little stretching…

Tasha: Of course why not (Both standing up).

To be continued….