Turf & Rec

Features Profiles
Editorial: November-December 2016

My interview with African royalty


December 6, 2016
By Mike Jiggens


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In early October, I had the pleasure to interview by telephone an employee of a British Columbia-based landscaping business. This was no ordinary employee, however.

The gentleman I spoke with was the new chief of an African tribe in Ghana who “moonlights” as a labourer with S. Watson, The Landscape Consultants in Langley. For about 10 months of the year, he mows lawns, trims hedges and plants trees for customers of the design/build/maintenance landscaping firm.

In his home country, he is considered as royalty.

I wasn’t sure what the protocol was for me when conducting the interview. Should I address him as “Your Highness” or perhaps “Chief” or some other appropriate honorific? Fortunately, his employer, Susan Watson, simply called him Eric—Eric Manu to be exact. That worked for me.

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In his home region of Ghana, Manu is addressed as Nana Afori Paaben II. For the purposes of our telephone interview, “Eric” was much easier for me to pronounce.

Manu had an interesting story to tell that you can read in greater detail on page 10.

A humble, soft-spoken man, he continues to work in Canada for the better part of the year to help improve the standard of living in his home region. Together with Watson, they are driving a foundation which collects donated goods for shipment to the village of Adansi Aboabo No. 2 in Ghana.

This one of those “feel good” stories we like to share.

Again, details of how others can get involved in supporting this charity are outlined in the story.

Turf & Recreation, which was sold to Annex Business Media of Simcoe, Ont. on Aug. 31, has greatly increased its digital presence in the industry. Our website (www.turfandrec.com) was completely redesigned a couple of months ago to coincide with the change in ownership, and a full makeover of our print edition will be coming this spring.

The changes have made for an exciting time. New content is added to our website on a daily basis, and sometimes two or three times a day. Further additions, that will include video content, will be coming in the not-too-distant future.

We now have our own Facebook page as well. Hopping on board with a social media presence is a long overdue step in the right direction.

If you’re not doing so already, check out our website on a regular basis. There is stuff up there you won’t find in our print edition. Additionally, there will be the odd teaser for a story destined for greater detail in our print edition.

Stay tuned for all sorts of new and exciting changes.