Opoku Gakpo Writes: My Tour of Rural Ghana to meet the ‘Jungle Poor’

As Proverbs 31:8 commands: “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute.” But for me as a journalist, there is nothing more exciting than handing over the microphone to “poor” people to tell their own stories.

After 15 years of implementing the Millennium Development Goals that in summary had the objective of stamping out poverty in all its forms, I set out on a tour of rural Ghana to find out from ordinary folks how much their lives have changed.

What I found have been put together in a two part documentary titled; “Jungle Poor.” The first part of Jungle Poor airs on the Super Morning Show on Joy 99.7 fm on Thursday 23rd September at 8:30 am. But ahead of that, I thought of sharing these pictures from there with you.

Let me go Biblical again. Ecclesiastics 5:8 reads: “If you see the poor oppressed in a district, and justice and rights denied, do not be surprised at such things…….” But I was shocked by what I saw.

Take Nyitavuta, for example. A farming community in the Akatsi North District of the Volta Region. With a population of over 300 residents, the over one hundred year old community lacks every basic amenity you can think of. Look at the kinds of houses they live in.

The community has no clean sources of drinking water, no electricity, no health post, no toilet facilities, rickety mud houses, no road network, among others. Children still go to school bare footed.

In thorn uniforms

Poor roads have made the community inaccessible, and there is no health post. These mothers complain they have to walk for one and half hours to the next community in order to get access to health care for themselves and their children.

My next stop was Bodzanutokor, a satellite fishing community along the Keta Lagoon in the South Tongu District. In this community as well, there is no electricity, no water, no health post, among others. The interesting bit is this; residents have to paddle canoes on the Keta Lagoon carrying the yellow “Kufuor gallons” for more than 30 minutes to fetch water from a nearby community and bring back to drink.

They cannot drink the salty lagoon water. Sometimes, they get drowned carrying water over the lagoon. School children here have to walk for more than 30 minutes over such dangerous bridges to get to school.

I continue to Atsivikope in the Kadjebi District, a community along the border with Togo. In this community poverty is more than just visible; it can be loudly heard here. The closest school is more than an hour walk away. And these little ones, cannot walk there. So, they have to stay at home.

This is the water they drink. Which you can only get after walking for up to 45 minutes.

I rounded up my Volta regional tour with a visit to Bincha in the Nkwanta South District. Below is the structure housing the Bincha D/A Primary School.

Pathetic… huh?
Much to the ‘admiration’ of their younger ones

Thanks to struggling mums, the community has stayed alive.

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