Bodzanutorkor: The water logged community without drinking water

Bodzanutorkor is a fishing community in the South Tongu District of the Volta region. It is located along the Keta Lagoon, a smooth flowing, gentle looking water source which surrounds a large part of the community. The salty nature of the soil makes farming of major staple foods in this community impossible, so the residents rely on the lagoon for their livelihood. They catch all sort of fish species from the lagoon, including your favourite – tilapia.

These, they take to the market to sell either in fresh form, fried or smoked. The men do the catching, and the women do the frying or smoking. And the residents here remain extremely grateful to the lagoon for helping them raise money to feed themselves, educate their children, and provide other basic amenities.

But what the lagoon has been unable to provide them is a source of drinking water. The community is without pipe borne water nor boreholes nor water reservoirs. But they cannot drink from the lagoon because it is salty. So, every morning, residents of Bodzanutorkor carry empty gallons (what is popularly called Kufuor gallons) in boats. They travel on the lagoon for over 30 minutes to the Keta Municipality to fetch pipe borne water, and travel all the way back. So, it’s an hour’s journey to and from the closest source of drinking water every day.

Sometimes, while travelling back, the boats capsize, and the clean water gets drowned in the lagoon. “You have to take this boat to Tunu in the Keta Municipality… Sometimes when we are coming, accidentally, the boat capsizes,” Ernest Akpasu, a father of two told me.

The community is calling on government to support them with water distillation technology and equipment to refine the salty water for drinking. Or better still, extend pipe borne water there. “We are suffering. Government should help us,” a fried fish seller in the community told me.

But that’s not their only challenge. They equally have to carry sick persons and pregnant women dangerously on the boat to the nearby village so they can go seek treatment. The community has no health post. There is no electricity. So community members who wish to charge their phones have to go on that same one hour sail on the lagoon to go get that done. School children don’t live with their parents there. They have been relocated to relatives in nearby communities to go to school and come around during vacations to avoid the long foot treks and journey on boats to the nearest school. The community has no school.

Although the residents rely heavily on boats to get hold of all the necessary basic amenities they need, traveling on the lagoon is one of the most dangerous journeys you can think of there. The boats in the community are old, weak and in poor shape. There are no live jackets. And the ride could be very scary. But the residents say they have absolutely no other alternative. So they live with it.

Story by Joseph Opoku Gakpo / Joy news /

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