On Giant Shoulders

Amara was all smiles as she watched her father go through the documents. Myriad emotions coursed through her—excitement, anticipation, and fear. She had been preparing for this day for five years now, and here it was, her opportunity to prove herself.

Her father turned the last page of the document and sighed. “Are you sure that you are ready for this?” he asked.

Amara nodded in the affirmative. “I’ve never been more ready for anything in my life. I believe I can do this.”

Her father frowned softly. “This business plan of yours looks solid, but I’m not sure if…” He tapered off as he saw the frown which quickly scrambled up her face. “It’s okay then, I believe in you,” he said.

Amara left the room happier than ever. 

She had just concluded a five-year undergraduate program in the Department of Agriculture and Animal Sciences and was about to start up her poultry and fish farm.

“Shouldn’t you at least intern somewhere to learn the ropes before you dive into this?” Her mother was saying as soon as she entered the kitchen. She intimated her further, “I know your father, he will never say no to you, but this is a lot of money going into this business. You need to get your facts right.”

Amara frowned. “Why do I need to intern somewhere to practice what I practically spent five years learning? I’m ready, mom. Plus, I’m not doing the whole work myself, I’ll get some staff to help out.”

Her mother sighed and nodded. “Very well.”

*

The poultry cages and fish ponds were the state of the art. Amara looked through the cages and the chicks clacking inside them.

“Madam,” one of the staff came towards her.

“What is it, Tunde?” she asked.

“Err…” He scratched his head. “The rains are coming soon with the cold, I feel we should put paracetamol in their water to strengthen their constitutions and…”

“What is that?” She hissed, cutting him short. “We have given them all the prerequisite drugs. 

What benefit is giving them paracetamol?”

“Ma, this is how chicks are being bred where I come from. I…”

“That’s enough!” Amara raised a hand, frowning. “We will do it the right way, and no other way.”

“O-okay, madam.” Tunde nodded and hurried away.

Amara frowned, watching him go. She didn’t know where he got all his ideas, but she was going by the books. There was light to keep the chicks warm from the cold, and all recommended drugs for the chicks. 

She scoffed and walked away.

*

The chicks were dying!

Amara looked through the poultry, her heart was heavy.  Only a quarter remained, yet, they were still dying. Amara turned to her father and mother who were also looking through them, frowning. They had come for a visit.

“What happened?” Her father asked.

“I-I don’t know,” Amara hissed.

Her father smiled, shaking his head. “I and your mother tried telling you and warning you of the possibility of this occurrence but you didn’t listen to us. It is one thing to be educated and another to be experienced. Education is good, but experience beats education anytime and every time.”

Amara frowned, knowing what was coming.

“A great man once said, ‘I am where I am today because I stood upon the shoulders of others,’” her father continued. “What you needed immediately when you left school was first a mentor before any other thing like starting up your farm. It is what would have helped you pass through this path smoothly without encountering the avoidable hassles associated with it.”

“I told her,” her mother cut in. “You needed someone to help and guide you, which was why I got you Tunde who had worked in the poultry industry before, but you never listened to him. You see, sometimes school won’t teach you some things that you need in the practical world; you need to learn them yourselves. Many people have evolved work processes that work perfectly well for several situations that have not been documented in the book. You need knowledge of these to be successful.”

Amara bowed her head. “I’ve learnt my lesson now.”

“Good.” Her father and mother smiled. Her father added, “The first thing you need now is to get trained, and then we’ll go into this again.”

Warm feelings coursed through Amara, and she smiled back at them. Failing on the farm had taught her a pertinent lesson, one she would cherish for life.

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