The Boy from Boadua: One African’s Journey of Hunger and Sacrifice in Pursuit of a Dream


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*Available from 7 February 2023

Patrick Asare was born and raised by illiterate parents in the remote Ghanaian village of Boadua. His family was so large and impoverished that not even the earnings from crushing hard work could buy enough food to fill their bellies. No one in the village aspired to be educated beyond middle school.

Until Patrick.

Numerous obstacles stood in the way of Patrick’s yearning for higher knowledge, including gnawing hunger, lack of sleep, and backbreaking daily chores. During school vacations, he toiled in a jungle farm teeming with poisonous snakes and insects.

Dedicating every stolen moment to study, Patrick passed the common entrance exam with flying colors. Despite major setbacks, he kept his eye on the prize. He graduated from an elite secondary school and earned his engineering degree in the Soviet Union during the perestroika era. Finding his way to the United States, he taught Russian and math and eventually obtained a superb education from top American universities.

Patrick’s travels and adventures taught him that, regardless of his hardscrabble childhood, he was a lucky man. He was raised by loving and supportive parents and lived in a society where race was not an issue. Teaching in inner-city high schools alerted him to the particular challenges faced by America’s urban Black youth.

Patrick’s amazing story offers insights, hope, and inspiration to others who face astronomical odds.


“Patrick Asare’s unlikely and astonishing journey from the child of a subsistence farmer in Ghana to a successful corporate professional with a beautiful family in America is truly fascinating and awe-inspiring. This is a story of inspiration, grit and resilience that teaches all of us to continue to work toward our biggest dreams.” — Shannon Huffman Polson, author of The Grit Factor: Courage, Resilience and Leadership in the Most Male Dominated Organization in the World

“As the child of an illiterate farmer in a small village in Ghana, Patrick Asare supplemented his elementary-school education by reading newspaper fragments used to wrap fish. From there, his story just gets stranger and more inspirational. Asare’s journey takes him to the Soviet Union, where he earns a BS and becomes fluent enough to teach Russian. From there he travels to the United States, where more hard work and perseverance land him in a distinguished career in business. Should be required reading in every high school.” — John C. Shively, author of Profiles in Survival: The Experiences of American POWs in the Philippines during World War II

“Some books inspire because they help us understand and see ourselves in the kinds of challenges and decisions many of us so rarely have reason to face. Patrick Asare’s story of hard-won success offers insight into what it looks like to overcome very real fears and incredible hurdles in life — with courage, optimism, perseverance, and love.” — David Garrison, CEO, Climate & Capital Connect

“Patrick Asare’s jaw-dropping coming-of-age story reads like a Dickensian Bildungsroman. A sterling example of the places courage, love, hard work, and a strong will to succeed can take you. Compelling reading.” — Abena Birago Addo-Kumi, chair of the Department of English, Achimota School, Accra, Ghana

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Weight 0.65 kg




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Patrick Asare

Patrick Asare was born and raised in Ghana. After completing secondary school, he attended university in the former Soviet Union, studying electrical engineering at Donetsk National Technical University in the then Soviet republic of Ukraine. He graduated with a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering and also completed a certification program to become a Russian language teacher.

Patrick resided in the Soviet Union from 1985 to 1991, during the historic perestroika era, when President Mikhail Gorbachev introduced the reforms that ultimately led to the breakup of the Soviet Union. He traveled extensively throughout Eastern and Western Europe and became one of the few people with firsthand knowledge of ordinary life on both sides of the Iron Curtain.

After graduating from Donetsk, Patrick immigrated to America, where he initially taught Russian and math in public schools in Buffalo, New York. He earned a master's degree in electrical engineering from Purdue University in 1995 and an MBA from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College in 2003. Patrick is a principal at UGI Energy Services, LLC, a diversified energy services firm in Wyomissing, Pennsylvania, where he lives with his family. He previously worked as a senior electrical engineer at Caterpillar, Inc. in Lafayette, Indiana.

Patrick has written extensively on social, political, and energy policy topics. He is a Democracy and Development Fellow at the Ghana Center for Democratic Development, an Accra-based think-tank. Some of Patrick's energy policy articles have received attention worldwide.

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