The desire to raise money to prepare for marriage has compelled a 10-year-old girl to migrate from the north to Accra to become a head porter in the Central Business District.
Fati who hails from Gushiegu in the Northern Region said she was forced by her mother to come to Accra to become a head porter (kayayo) seven months ago to earn money for the preparations for marriage.
Fati, who said she had never been to school, explained that her mother initially asked an older sibling to come down to Accra to work so as to earn money for her marriage ceremony but unfortunately, her elder sister got pregnant which compelled her mother to ask her to engage in the ‘kaya’ business to fund her marriage.
“I pleaded with my mother to rescind her decision of sending me to Accra but she refused.
She will always insult and shout at me anytime my friends returned from Accra and brought lots of gifts to their parents.
That made me feel useless because I never went to school,” she said.
Fati further stated that she was left to make the journey to Accra all by herself but added that her mother told her a woman would pick her up at the transport station on her arrival.
She was happy that her benefactor picked her up as promised, which eased her fears upon arrival in Accra.
“Here in Accra, I live with my benefactor, Auntie Muna (not her real name), near the Korle Lagoon where six of us live in a room.
When I wake up each morning, I have my bath, take my head pan and walk to the Agbogbloshie Market to carry loads for people,” she added.
Fati says she makes about GH¢15 to GH¢20 a day, which she gives to Auntie Muna.
She added that sometimes when business was bad she went home empty-handed to face the wrath of Auntie Muna, who would beat her up.
She explained that she gives her earnings each dayto her benefactor, for her upkeep and safe-keeping.
10-year-old Fati complained that because she was a little girl some customers gave her less than she charged them and there was nothing she could do about it.
Fati confided in this reporter that she hardly slept soundly at night because of the frequent fire outbreaks which occur in the area adding that she, therefore, usually sought a safe place at the market to take a nap during the day when she was not carrying loads.
When asked whether she had any regrets coming to Accra, she replied sadly: “I have lived in Accra for about seven months now and I have really missed my home town.
Sometimes I wish I could go back home but it is impossible because I have not made enough money even for transport. If I go back now my mother will not be happy with me.”
“Living in Accra to engage in this ‘kaya’ business is not easy for me at all, and often makes me regret I came here,” Fati lamented.
She said she would like to be a hairdresser someday, since she missed the opportunity to attend school, and expressed the hope that she could live that dream in future.