MS Grace Tetteh, affectionately called Osofo, has been selling fresh fish for the past 48 years. Currently, she carries out her trade a few metres from the Odorkor market.
Within the 48 years that she has been in the business, she has been joined by her two daughters, Naa Lamley Lamptey and Lamiorkor Lamptey, and later, two grandchildren, Mrs Naomi Coffie and Koshie Lamptey.
Osofo, at age 65, is now the head of the family fresh fish selling business run by herself, her two daughters and two grandchildren.
Sharing her personal experience, Osofo revealed that she started the fresh fish business when she was 17 years old.
Before then, she carried fish for customers at the seashore and received cash payment or fresh fish for her labour.
‘‘Because I was young and did not have money I will go to the seashore early in the morning and wait for the fishermen to arrive from the sea. I will then carry the customers’ fish for money. It is just like what the ‘kaya’ girls are doing in the market nowadays,’’ she explained.
According to her, she continued with this until she got married and decided to stop the ‘kaya’ business and rather buy the fresh fish and sell.
Love for job
Osofo recalled that she developed the love for the job such that she was satisfied with the little profit she got from the business.
She recounted how she used to walk from the Salaga Market at James Town in Accra carrying her fresh fish in a big basin to the Kaneshie Market to sell and then walk back home.
“The fish was very heavy to carry but I managed to do it every day. Not that there were no cars then, my only reason was that I did not want to spend any of my small profit on transportation,’’ she remarked with a smile.
The fresh fish trade is now a solid family business. Osofo, her daughters and granddaughters display various types of fish on the same table at their selling point. Unknown to the customers, each person owns a particular type of fish on sale, although they are all displayed together.
When a customer approaches the sales point, the owner of the fish required attends to the customer after which the family together removes the fish scales and clean it for the customer.
Each day, the family separately journey to Elmina, Winneba, Apam, and Cape Coast, all in the Central Region, to buy the fish, returning by mid-day to sell their wares.
Osofo said it has been over 15 years now since she moved from the Kaneshie Market to their present selling point at Odorkor.
Naa Lamley and Lamiorkor said they started helping their mother in the fresh fish business when they were very young and developed the interest in the business as they were growing.
According to them, they had never regretted joining their mother in the business because they were able to support their homes and their children from the proceeds.
They said with time, they had identified the type of fishes that attracted customers from far and near.
The two grandchildren, Naomi and Koshie, said they were inspired to take up the business after helping them when they were also young and had since been in the business.
Their only challenge is how to get enough capital to buy the kind of fishes their customers want. However, the family expressed their gratitude to Mama Ago in Elmina, who for many years, usually gave the fish to them on credit to sell.