Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Children of Bawaleshie

Eking an existence near Easy Street (that’s excessive East Legon), they gobble gruel of cornmeal for bare breakfast, kenkey and protein-pinched pepper dip for lunch and more cornmeal gruel for dead-man’s dinner. Fish is a fairytale feast! They know what milk means; they’ve never lapped milk.


  1. I like the import of this...the alignment of poverty with riches (by the mention of East Legon people begin to think of wealth, yet Bawaleshie has its own poverty-stricken folks)

  2. If the kids were enrolled in school, would they have a 'better'chance of having a decent meal through the free school lunch?

    This happens here also, kids who get a good meal only at school because they are enrolled in the National School Lunch Program.

  3. The sharp contrast between East Legon and Bawaleshie has always worried me. Similar situations dotted all over Accra but in East Legon it seems most glaring. You have captured it so well. Like Raine I'm also wondering if the school feeding programme had kicked in. I thought it had rolled out all over Accra and that is why there was that brouhaha with the old and new caterers a few months ago.

  4. this should make us question what development is anyway?

    is it the big buildings with high-rise walls?

    the contrast is all around us everyday!

    as for programmes like school feeding etc. we must not lose sight of the wastefulness therein and hence call for their scrap. it is clearly not properly targetted where it is needed most and it's all messed up in it's running.

    i'd support a mordern day Robin Hood now!

  5. Yes, NFA, the 'contrarieties' of life.

  6. Raine, the school feeding programme is nice in principle. I am told that (like with many good plans in Ghana) it has been infiltrated by corruption. Hence, the rich are making money off food meant for the poor. Imagine that!

  7. Yes, Abena, the proximity of mini-slum to mini-paradise is quite widespread in Accra and other cities.

  8. Novisi, it is the biblical parable of the rich man who stole the poor man's only lamb happening all over again.

  9. It is seen in most cities of developing countries. The most deprived areas abut the richest neighbourhoods.

  10. But let's be objective here...

    Granted the glaring disparity in that part of Accra is disconcerting but are we begrudging the rich the fruits of their hard-earned 9-5 labour? Barring any proofs to the contrary, it would be safe to assume that these people in the East Legon masions are hardworking tax-paying citizens of our nation.

    They wake up in the morning, have a hearty English breakfast (complete with milk and sausages) that their well-earned jobs have afforded them the luxury to enjoy. And go off to a long day at work.

    I refuse to demonize these folk, the problem is not with well-meaning Ghanaians making it in Ghana through hardwork, in fact they are the model to aspire to. The problem as i see it, is our civil framework that fails to cater for the marginalized.

    Most of the rich people did nothing spectacular other than go to school and do well at their choices of profession. The difference being they had the 'means' to attend school in the first place.

    Knowledge is power people and Ghanaians need to start demanding their rights.

    Errrmm...pardon my rant, the wild things sometimes escape their enclosures in my head when it comes to poverty in Ghana and why it should even exist to begin with...oops...there I go again...I'll shut up now.

  11. @Anonymous,

    interesting view there. but definitely the hardcore reality is more complicated than you make it look.

    simple question is: where did the rich get the resources? did they create those resources with their education (not even all are that educated- schooled)???????

    society is very much inter-connected. eventually what could happen to all those high walls is that they would be scaled by 'forced-robbers'. i'm not in support of robbery but one of the reasons of robbery is definitely poverty!

    in any case what is the use of education if it doesn't help in dealing with the larger societal problems.

    that is just a pip for us to consider.

    the major issue though is the role of government! what is the fault of government is all these? what regulations have been put in place for fair distribution of resources? what has govt done to deal with the problem.


  12. Kwame Mensa-Bonsu28 October, 2009

    Nana Yaw, the governance structure for the feeding programme is so weak, i think it was deliberately made so. That way the corruption can go on willy-nilly!I have always wanted an opportunity to go into the head of someone who steals the money of the poor who lives next door to him. Amazingly in Gh, the poor and the rich usually live in quite close proximity.That is why i say poverty is a CRIME!


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