I had never imagined an uneducated farmer’s kid like me who was born in a remote part of Africa would become a Real Estate Agent. I’m going to share my story with you here….
I was born in a remote village in Ethiopia, where there was no electricity, no hospital, no clean running water and no school. My parents were farmers. My dad spent his entire life farming by hand and with oxen. My mother looked after us, five kids, cooked for us, walked bare feet 2 to 5 miles to collect water and firewood. Our home was a hut made out of mud and straw roof, which we shared with cows and calves. When I was around 6 years old started training to be cattle herder and so that I could become a full fledged farmer when I grow up. But I didn’t see myself being a farmer for the rest of my life and I started to look for a way out of the village.
One day my mother took me to a market where I met merchants who sold candies and many types of grocery items. It was an eye-opening experience for me. That was when I realized my entrepreneurial spirit and became the youngest business owner in my village.
When a civil war in Ethiopia disrupted our lives, I left Ethiopia for Somalia. In Somalia, I quickly learned the local language and started selling merchandise on the street. When Somalia became unsafe, I went to Uganda and become a refugee where I got the opportunity to come to Canada.
I came to Canada to find stability and to get an education. I started school from scratch and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Victoria, British Columbia in 2001. It was one of the happiest days of my life.
After graduation, I got a job at one of the largest healthcare IT companies in Toronto. I was responsible for supporting customers and managing IT projects for 8 years.
My wife and I moved to Calgary to be closer to her family. It was the time when the 2008 recession started to impact the city. It was a tough time for us. Jobs were scarce and I went back to when what I know best – started my own Tech support business.
In 2010, I joined a local Toastmasters to improve my presentation and public speaking skills. I met several real estate agents at the Toastmasters who later became my clients. One of the agents who I helped with technology problems offered to help me get through my real estate license because he saw value in me. I’m so grateful to him.
When I made the jump into real estate, I thought it was going to be tough because I had no experience in real estate. But my previous experience selling everything from chicken eggs, candies to cooking oils and soaps in Africa, starting when I was 8-year-old taught me valuable lessons about hard work, problem solving and the art of negotiation. So, I felt at ease and started help home buyers and sellers.
You might be wondering how I managed to be where I am today despite the trials and tribulations that I went through. Even though I had a clear goal to leave my village and find better opportunities elsewhere, I wouldn’t have made it without the help of many people whom I met during my journey.
Being a real estate agent is not only about the benefits I get to support my family but to genuinely care about the pains and needs of others. That is why I have made it a mission to help growing families find an ideal home they will enjoy living in.
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