Mad rush for hot water forces closure of traditional businesses in Kumasi

Some families in Kumasi are abandoning what until now, used to be known traditional family businesses to engage in hot water business.

There’s an emerging trend of boiling water for sale which is gaining roots, especially, in some Zongo communities in the Ashanti regional capital, Kumasi.

Commercialization of hot water for domestic use is a common phenomenon in suburbs such as Aboabo, Dagomba Line and Asawasi where large quantities of hot water are sold to the demanding public.

With current harsh economic situations, many women in these areas engaged in retail business.

The situation has compelled both young and old to resort to non-traditional ways of making ends meet.

A sixty-year old Tanko Mohammed has been in this business for at least five years – gave up fabrication of aluminum pots for this venture he describes as lucrative.

With two big barrels of water sitting on huge tripods, with fire constantly burning beneath them; he is assured of constant supply and a business boom.

Business gets to its peak especially, in cold weather.

“Selling hot water was not my business. I was moulding pots but that business collapsed.So I started selling hot water and that is what is keeping me alive today”. Tanko explained.

Tanko’s worry about his new venture, just like every other business, however, is that when temperatures rise people don’t patronize the product. For him, his desire is to see an all cold weather condition.

Though he wouldn’t disclose how much he makes in a day, he says he makes enough to take care of his family.

For 16 year old Munira Fuseini, it is a family business she once inherited from her mother 64-year old mother ten years ago at Dagomba Line. This, according to her is what pays her school fees and other family bills.

Since they started the business three years ago, she says sales have been good but fluctuating, depending on the weather pattern.

“Averagely, we are able to make 20 Cedis in the evening but in the morning it is between 15 and 17 cedis because most residents here usually don’t bath in the morning”. She revealed.

This means she averagely sells above Ghana’s minimum wage of 8 Ghana Cedis.

Perhaps, a reason every spot in these communities has this business.

Slum promotes hot-water business

The slum-looking settlements in these communities, perhaps, make it easier for persons to patronize the hot water.

As early as 7 am, one can see the young men carrying various sizes of buckets and containers shuttling between their respective homes and water selling joints.

Meet 17 -year old student, Salao Mohammed. She tells me she spends 1 Cedi 40 pesewas every week on warm water.

She has been buying hot water, purposely, for bathing for 6 years.

“I buy sometimes because of the weather. I have rheumatism. When I go to school, I don’t get warm water to bath. She said.

A small margarine tin of warm water goes for 10 pesewas. One tin is not enough for young Salao. She buys two (20 pesewas) everyday, which means she spends 1 Cedi 40 pesewas in a week.

Zakari Ibrahim is another patron who explains why he cannot to do without warm water.

“I used to suffer from cold (flu) but since I started bathing with warm water it has stopped. Even when I fall sick, I recover faster. I think bathing with warm water has helped my health condition to improve,” he said.

Ghana’s unemployment rate stood at 5.2 per cent in 2014, according to Ghana Statistical Service Report, which leaves many chasing for non-existent jobs.

The business of boiling water, therefore, may just be bridging the unemployment gap – at least in these communities.

So anytime you’re in Kumasi and may need warm water, especially, in commercial quantity for whatever activity, you know where to go.

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