There’s a great deal of over concentrated development in the urban cities of Ghana at the detriment of the development of rural areas such as the Akohia Siase and Akohia Yiti communities which I visited in the Eastern Region of Ghana.
These communities, like most other rural areas in Ghana lack basic amenities such as good roads, water and electricity. Akohia Siase and Akohia Yiti are located in the Upper Manya Krobo district of the Eastern Region and serve as neighbouring communities of the Asesewa township. The Asesewa township, the capital of the Upper Manya Krobo district is a historic trading post, attracting a mix of cultures from all over the country with about 45km drive from Koforidua, the regional capital of Eastern Region.
It is therefore very devastating to experience their ignorance about modernity due to inaccessibility to electricity and portable roads and even water. Most of the inhabitants still have no idea of what Accra even looks like. I was very heartbroken that access from the community to the Asesewa township is a major challenge that almost kills their spirit to engage in their occupation as farmers and to sell their produce.
On Fridays, which is the market day in this district, they gather their produce and take them to the Asesewa market, their biggest retail and supply centre.
The distance from the Akohia Siase and Akohia Yiti communities to the market place is about thirty minutes however, the absence of good roads turns this into an hour and half’s drive making it almost impossible to transfer their produce to the market. They therefore resort to trekking carrying their produce on their heads while they journey. Vehicles most often do not go as far into these communities because of the dilapidated roads with ‘man-hole’ potholes. Only a few rickety taxi cabs ply this road and serve as an easier access route from these communities to the market place.
These cabs are so rickety that the slightest incident could cause the total collapse of its function. The taxi cab which is usually expected to carry just four passengers actually takes from 8-10 passengers. Some of these passengers sit on top of the vehicle whiles the others squeeze to fit into the car. It is indeed, the survival of the fittest. Comfort is the least of luxuries they seek. They sort to endure rather than enjoy.
The community members involve their children in this tiring journey to transport more goods in order to sell more of their produce. It is very worrying to know that these children miss school on Fridays just to make ends meet. The community members are not able to sell their produce until Fridays, the market day. A typical Friday in the life of members of this community involves walking for about 3 hours to the market.
The most fascinating thing that caught my attention was the presence of posters of people who sought for political power. Every adult there knows at least one presidential or parliamentary candidate which implies that voting takes place there too.
So, the question is, what exactly are these political leaders doing for this town? Are they just giving them sugar coated words, building castles in the air, just to win their votes and neglect them afterwards? You see, the thing is, once they get free cutlasses and a few cedis, they are easily brainwashed and their votes, bought.
The whole Upper Manya Krobo district has only one government hospital, Asesewa Government Hospital as well as one Senior High School, the Asesewa Senior High School. The hospital and Senior High School are even situated in the capital of the district, Asesewa.
When there is a downpour of rain, no matter how minute it may be, walking becomes the only means of transportation because of the unmotorable road that links Akohia Siase to the Asesewa township. It may surprise you to know that because of the poor road network, commercial vehicles go there only on Wednesdays and Fridays.
It is ironic that the district goal of the Upper Manya Krobo District is aimed at “improving the wellbeing of the people through the collaboration with the civil society and the private sector in the provision of socio-economic infrastructure and improved service delivery by 2013.”
Conflicts don’t just happen. It takes these little unaddressed issues. It starts with peaceful demonstrations, then strikes then conflicts. Of course, we know all cannot be done at once considering the resources we have but at least it’s high time Members of Parliament stood their grounds to fight for their constituencies and Districts and practice Sustainable Development.
Akohia Siase need electricity to know what is going on in and around their world and the world at large. They need lights and portable drinking water. Some of the teachers serving the only basic school in the community said students easily take French leaves during classes hours to assist their parents in their farms
A significant number of these students show little or no interest in mainstream academia as they do with agriculture and vocation or technical training. Formal education alone cannot help it all. As the saying goes: “the devil finds work for the idle man”. It doesn’t come as a surprise that teenage pregnancy and HIV/AIDS have been very prevalent in the Upper Manya Krobo district. When the teenagers find nothing that interests them to do, they easily turn to their only source of recreation – sex.
Teenage pregnancy and HIV/AIDS are on the increase there, leading to school drop outs among other social vices. The Manya Krobo District has been noted to be among the highest prevalent areas in the country where HIV/AIDS has been recorded.
The government is always sounding alarms on teenage pregnancy, child labour and spends huge sums of money on curbing and reducing HIV/AIDS yet the root causes of these problems are not attacked.
EDUCATION is NOT enough! There should be more to it than that. Such people, most of the time, see sex as their main source of recreation and thereby end up becoming teenage parents and school drop outs. So, educating them on just teenage pregnancy without making providing a substitute of sex is not enough. After, or before education, a solution or an alternative recreational activity or facility must be provided. This is also not to dispute the fact that some of them are heart hardened and that no matter what is done, they will still indulge in such acts, but at least, majority of the problem would have been tackled.
The situation is bad. I know we don’t have the power to do much. But the little efforts we contribute as individuals will make a mighty ocean of solutions. I have started, what about you?