Voices From Within: [Tema Site 2, Ghana] A Resident’s Anguish
By Kpakpo Addo – Tema, Ghana
Tema township is a place built by Ghana’s first president Kwame Nkrumah to house the workers of the burgeoning industries that he had set up. Among some of the places built as residential complexes for workers of these industries were site 20, site 2, site1 etc. This news letter is basically concentrated on site 2.
Site 2 is strategically situated in the center of Tema, making it the heart of the city. Over the years, this strategically placed area has become a description of what I would call “A COUNTRY IN A CITY” because although it is densely populated with an estimated 5000 residents, the community receives a daily average of an estimated 3000 visitors. The sanitation problem in site 2, where I live is very much appalling.
How to dispose of refuse is a major concern to the residents of site 2. There used to be a rubbish truck that comes weekly to collect the rubbish but this has ceased and all rubbish is either taken to the communal market rubbish dump or they are dumped in the dwarf gutters that have been built to check flooding during the rainy seasons. Would it not be nice if rubbish collectors on the call of the Assemblyman go to orderly collect the rubbish in people’s homes? I strongly believe residents should gather their rubbish and put it in front of their homes for the rubbish collectors. This should be done for a monthly fee, all under the general supervision of the Assemblyman.
Another problem associated with sanitation is the people’s own hygiene. There are four public bath houses that cater for the huge population of site 2. People in site 2 unlike the other residential areas do not generally have their own bathrooms and toilets, thereby relying on these public bath houses. One bath house has over two thousand people visiting it daily.
Also, it is sometimes embarrassing to be naked with lots of people in one bathroom. The number of water closets are evidently not enough with about eight seats each for male and female in one bath house. One can easily transfer a transmittable disease to another person because cleaning of these bath houses is not thorough. Little or next to zero detergent is used to clean them. No germicide is used to ensure that diseases are controlled. The amount they take is fairly good so I think the Assemblyman and the unit committee should in consultation with the T.M.A help the bathroom attendants with some incentives such as detergents to some reasonable level so they will be able to properly clean the bath houses.
Again when water is not flowing, there is only one pit-latrine locally nicknamed ‘gbungblain’ that cater’s for the huge population of site 2. This toilet has about ten seats each for male and female and you can imagine over 8,000 people visiting one toilet house. The health problems associated with this situation is extremely bad. Another sanitary headache is our choked gutters. We are all responsible for the choked gutters since some of us dump our refuse into the gutters. We also dump our solid waste into the gutters. For instance, the gutter behind an area called ‘Maame Sekunde’ serves as a toilet for children, which is very bad. Parents should be discouraged from sending their children there to defecate. This particular gutter is very close to the market and by the roadside, which creates an embarrassing and an unwanted reputation for site 2 as a place where children defecate into gutters.
In terms of education at the basic level, we have done fairly well. A significant number of children are in basic schools. The main basic school here is Twedaase Primary and J.H.S. This school compared with other schools like Creator and St. Paul’s is low in educational standards. As a result, the Assemblyman has done well to organize evening classes for these children and he must be commended. At the secondary level, there are not many children attending secondary schools and those attending tertiary schools are even fewer. A lot of those unable to attend tertiary institutions end up engaging in internet fraud. These young people deceive people on the internet to obtain money and other things. Parents should be encouraged to take their wards higher up the education ladder.
Site 2 was built as a non permanent residence place for the workers of industries and the Tema Harbour. Therefore, the houses had been given to the original occupants on permanent basis. We the current occupants have lived here all our lives, our grand fathers and fathers have all lived here, yet we are not considered permanent residents. Almost every year, there are rumors of site 2 being demolished by the Tema Development Corporation and Tema Municipal Assembly. The residents should not be made to go through this stress of their homes being demolished. In fact the residents should be given a way of being permanent residents. The cost of demolishing would probably be higher than letting the residents purchase and keep their homes. More so, site 2 is very underdeveloped.
The Assemblyman of Kwesi Plange Electoral Area lives in site 2, the Tema Dagomba Chief lives in Site 2, There are 2 Central Mosques and 2 Churches in Site 2 and yet no meaningful development has come to this community. The short road between Site 2 and Site 20 is untarred for all this while. As a result of no proper attention given to the site, the people have turned the area into a slum.
Site 2 is very important because we get prominent people visiting Us. The late Prof. Evans Atta Mills, Nana Akufo-Addo and the current president John Dramani Mahama have all been to site 2 during their campaign tours. The Tema Alliance for Challenge believes site 2 deserves better and must be given proper attention. . Let us all aid the Assemblyman and the Unit Committee, because evidently they have made some efforts but we know it is not enough despite all that they have done, to make site 2 a better place.