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The forgotten people of Nsuekyir

BY: Zadok Kwame Gyesi
• some of the pupils in their classroom sitting on logs as chairs

“I believe that the very purpose of life is to be happy. From the very core of our being, we desire contentment. In my own limited experience I have found that the more we care for the happiness of others, the greater our sense of well-being. Cultivating a close, warm-hearted feeling for others automatically puts the mind at ease.

It helps remove whatever fears or insecurities we may have and gives us the strength to cope with any obstacles we encounter. It is the principal source of success in life”- Dalai Lama (1989 Noble Peace Prize winner).

Nsuekyir is a community located in the Twifo Hemang Lower Denkyira District of the Central Region.  

The community has a population of more than 900 people who are mostly peasant farmers. Some, however, are into the cultivation of cash crops, including cocoa, oranges and oil palm. Livestock rearing provides another source of livelihood for some of the indigenes.  

Poor road and bridge

The first problem that welcomes anyone to the community  is its poor road network. The road from Nsuekyir to Wawase Ayebiahwe is woefully deplorable.

It is sad to say that no passenger or person can make a complete journey  to Nsuekyir in a vehicle without having to embark on part of the journey on foot. Why? Although it is not a taboo to go to the town with a vehicle, the wooden bridge that connects the community to the nearby towns has been destroyed by a river. The bridge, constructed by the local folks with beams and logs, has now become a death trap to road users, especially drivers.

Speaking to the Daily Graphic, the Chief of Nsuekyir, Nana Kukurubo Yakubu II, said the bridge got damaged as a result of heavy rains that increased the volume of water in the river in 2012.

He added that when the river carried all the beams and logs away, the town folks repaired the bridge but it suffered the same fate in 2014.

He said when the bridge was destroyed, he and some elders from the community reported it to their District Chief Executive (DCE) but he did nothing about it.

“Due to the dangerous nature of the bridge, all the drivers who come here have stopped coming for fear of falling into the water,” Nana Yakubu stated.

He added that whenever they were travelling, a car would bring them to one end of the bridge and the passengers would have to get down and wade across the river to get to the other end before boarding another car or continue the rest of the journey on foot.

Health care

“Our hearts are always in our mouths, especially when someone gets sick because many sick people have died on the way before they arrived at the hospital due to the nature of our road,” he explained.

He said, it becomes a great challenge when a woman is in labour and needs to be sent to the hospital.

Nana Yakubu, therefore, appealed to the government to consider establishing a Community Health Project  Compound in the community to enable them to have easy access to healthcare services, stating, “We travel more than 15 miles to get to either Hemang or Twifo Praso hospitals”.

Education at Nsuekyir

Nsuekyir Primary School is nothing to write home about. There are no proper classrooms and the pupils study under sheds in an abandoned mud house.

There are no chairs or desks in any of the classrooms and the pupils sit on logs placed on cement blocks. None of the classrooms have been cemented and the teachers also use part of the sheds as their office.

Nana Yakubu said the community had classrooms for the primary school until the assembly demolished the building to make way for the construction of a new school block.

Church as school

“The assembly promised to complete the building in three months, so we negotiated with all the churches in our town to use their chapels as classrooms until the building i­s completed,” he explained.  

He said the project had been there for more than four years without any sign of completion and the churches had ejected the pupils from their buildings.

“The children were destroying things in the churches so they decided to take their classrooms,” Nana Yakubu said, adding, “That is why we constructed the sheds for them until the new building is completed.”

He noted, “Anytime it rains, the children have to close because they can’t sit under the sheds when it rains,” and that the teachers had been complaining about the sheds.

Nana Yakubu said they had reported the issue to their Member of Parliament (MP), Mr Joseph Foster Andoh, and the District Chief Executive (DCE) but none had done anything to complete the building.

“When we complained to the DCE, he said the assembly had completed its part of the project and that it was left with the contractor to complete the building.”

He expressed unhappiness about the fact that: “Everything about the school is done by the community”, adding that the community had hired a carpenter to make chairs for the pupils.

Nana Yakubu said the contractor had abandoned the project and that the last time he came to the building was about six months ago.

Nsuekyir community has no accommodation for the teachers. Only three of the teachers stay in the community while the rest  who stay outside walk for about five miles each day before coming to school.

 

Potable water

The community also lacks potable water and they rely on streams and rivers for water.

Nana Yakubu explained that the distance from the town to the river was about a mile and that “our children get tired before going to school after fetching water from the river”.

He added that due to the unsafe nature of the water which they use for all purposes, including drinking, the people were vulnerable to  the guinea worm disease.

 

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