Chef Failatu Abdul-Razak stunned the people of Ghana with yet another extraordinary feat that illuminated the vibrant food culture of the country and drew people from all walks of life together. On the sidelines were also were elaborate cultural demonstrations of the Ghanaian way of dressing, drumming, dancing, and singing, not to mention the wide selection of music that got many on their feet. Bringing so much delight to me was the customary hospitality of Ghanaians that was also displayed.
What we all witnessed over the ten days was a woman’s unwavering desire and determination as she soldiered on in her quest to break the World Record for the longest cooking marathon. Saying she soldiered on is apt since it was probably the least a military wife could do. Graciously, Chef Faila completed her task, which she said was a national assignment for Mother Ghana, at a staggering-record-awing 227 hours!
Some have touted the year 2024 as the year of a-thons as we see media reports of hundreds of applications to the Guinness World Records for attempts to set or break a record or other. We cannot deny that Hilda Baci started this trend when she broke the record for the longest cooking marathon in June 2023. But we have taken over! Wink wink.
But if you could read beyond the pomp, pageantry, and even rivalry, I’m confident you would discover that these record-breaking attempts have an influence that goes beyond the Guinness World Records. They act as a lighthouse, inspiring chefs and anyone who possesses a unique talent to bring it out for a global audience, as they leverage the unique culture of Ghana and Africa to do exploits.
Now the main meat that I want to share with you. I listened to Chef Faila through her press conference a few hours after her phenomenal achievement. I couldn’t be any less impressed by how she looked after an enduring 10 days of cooking. Eii! Can I borrow her genes? While she spoke, I was particularly interested in what she would say about someone whom many referred to as her ABLE assistant, the sous chef during the cooking marathon, Chef Malik Eric. Mehn! That man won the hearts of many too!
He was ever present and ever cheerful. The lending hand he gave Chef Faila, as well as the moral and prayer support throughout, were evident for all to see. Even from afar, I saw someone who was selfless and had a heart of gold. There was some genuineness about him and you could see it reflected on his face. He did not try to overshadow Chef Faila, He stayed in his corner, attending to his duties, and shone right there.
Chef Eric, as we would learn is a professional chef at Tacoraba Restaurant based in Tamale, the town where the cook-a-thon took place. One notable thing Chef Faila said about Chef Eric was the fact that he was always available to support her with her work whenever she needed help, even though they did not work together. This was way before embarking on the cook-a-thon project. Eric would sacrifice his nights to help Chef Faila meet the food orders she received in her restaurant. He would run night shifts with Faila’s team to ensure Chef Faila met her client’s expectations, without reluctance. From what Faila said, he was always selfless and sacrificial.
Chef Faila proudly shared with the world that she and Chef Eric had come a long way. Years and months earlier when Chef Eric helped, supported, and sacrificed for Chef Faila, he didn’t know a day like this would come when he would share in Chef Faila’s glory. Faila told us that she would have dealt wrongly with Eric should she have looked elsewhere when she was looking for someone with whom to stand on the big platform. Her words: “He deserved it. In the dark he was there, [so when I was] in the open, I needed to drag him along with me.” Poignant, isn’t it?
I often encourage individuals to perform small acts of self-sacrifice. People frequently expect instant benefits from whatever they do for other people. Every action they take that helps someone has to have a price, forgetting that due seasons bring rewards. These days when your car breaks down and someone helps you tow it to a safer side of the road, be sure to hear: “Madam, give me coins to buy water to drink eh”. In the past, offering assistance was an automatic reaction when you saw someone, especially an adult, walking with a load on the road. We occasionally had no choice but to carry goods and travel distances we regretted, but we did not have a choice. That was the custom; it was an obligation. These days young people will stylishly walk past you even when your face is screaming “Help me!”
Let’s be sacrificial a little, be it at home, at work or in the church, or any social setting we find ourselves in. Sometimes the rewards come readily, other times they come later. Yet in certain instances, the rewards don’t come from where you expected them to come from. Let me shock you further, sometimes you will even be betrayed by the same people you sacrificed for and did good to. But let me assure you, you can even reap them from where you have not sown. Yes, you can reap your blessings elsewhere. Just consider how people have been kind to you because of what your parents did for them years back and rest assured that the blessing (reward) will surely come.
Someone once told me about something that his father used to tell him based on a Ga saying, and it was the fact that the one who rubs oil or pomade on the King’s body will also have some (residue) left on his hands to rub on himself. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.
Indeed, “Life is an echo. What you send out, comes back. What you sow, you reap. What you give, you get. What you see in others, exists in you. Remember, life is an echo. It always gets back at you. So, give goodness” Zig Ziglar, in his book: See You at the Top.
DISCLAIMER: Independentghana.com will not be liable for any inaccuracies contained in this article. The views expressed in the article are solely those of the author’s, and do not reflect those of The Independent Ghana