This is a two part post. Part 1 to give you the setting, Part 2 will talk about the work we did in Chorkor on this trip.
Tuesday we went to Chorkor. I have been to Chorkor several times, it is the location of my children’s first home. It’s not an easy place to live or visit. In all honesty, I’d prefer to stick to the photos that show you the school children and the people smiling when we give them food. I have great respect for this place, the birthplace of my children. And I do not wish to strip her or her people of any dignity in writing this blog. But, you need context to understand this place. The reality is that no picture, video, or written description can really describe Chorkor. This is an over-populated fishing community. The local beaches are used for dumping sewage (up to 100 tankers per day) into the ocean. A heavy odor of smoked fish, sewage/waste and lack of airflow through the over populated area, is like nothing I’ve ever experienced. I am sharing this to raise awareness and hopefully educate on the needs in this area. If you are inspired to help please visit Project Global Hope for more information on how to help.
I’ll let someone else give you a written overview of Chorkor (below), but first a brief video. Again I apologize for the quality of the video. We were attempting to cross contaminated standing waters (this is not a lake/pond) and my focus was on my step, not the camera screen. All in all, I think you will get the idea.
Here is an article I found some time ago… try to imagine it. Imagine raising your children here. Imagine having poor health, lack of nutrition and trying to survive in this environment.
Chorkor is a densely populated area and lacks basic social amenities such as toilets, bath houses, drains, and schools.
A painstaking tour by the Accra File revealed that teenage pregnancy was on the increase, which had resulted in number of children of school going age roaming in the community.
The tour also revealed that the unplanned nature of the town/ community has exposed the inhabitants to communicable diseases and unhygienic practices-related diseases.
Owning to the unavailability of proper sewage systems and drains, waste water from homes runs through other homes, and children below the age 10, were spotted defecating along these drains.
While frantic efforts are being made to restore the beaches of the city, the Chorkor beach is now a free range for defecating, and a refuse site for both the old and young.
The beach, despite its filthiness, is a safe haven for wee and cocaine smokers, without regard of its effects to the human body, and the country as the whole.
The unavailability of social amenities like a football field and general play ground in the community, the children in Chorkor seek solace by playing in the beach sand, which exposes them to the dangers of the sea, and other diseases brought about by the filthy environment, since they spend most of the time hanging out there.
A closer study of the area also revealed that a nursery school was being run close to the beach, upon questioning some residents about the poor location of the nursery school, The File gathered that due to the unavailability of public toilets in the area, the children use the beache should the need arise.
Emmanuel Lartey Lumba, a fisherman, told the Accra File that the presence of the refuse was hampering fishing, which is their only source of income, adding that the sea was full of plastic waste and other garbage elements.
He said, a community like Chorkor had no designated site for refuse containers, and most households dump their refuse into the sea.
Lartey Lumba said people from as far as Mamprobi, Sukra, and other neighbouring communities, have been dumping refuse and solid waste into the Chemu Lagoon, which in turn carries them into the sea.
The fisherman noted that the situation was more devastating during the rainy season, when man-made pools of water stare at one in the face, and the washing away of more garbage into the sea, making the fisher-folks catch waste material in their nets, instead of fish, most times.
He said to this end, most of the fishermen in the area had abandoned the occupation, due to the constant picking of refuse instead of fish.
“Poverty in the area is very high, making most both and old patronizing indecent trades like the sale of drugs openly,” Lartey Lumba noted.
A place like Lanteman, is a very crowded area, with the roads un tarred, and there are no drains, so most residents pour their waste water in the middle of the road, thereby creating pools of stagnant water which become a breeding place for mosquitoes and other flying insects.
A question baffling the mind of the Accra File was whether the Sub-metro Public Health Directorate is doing its mandated work of ensuring that wholesome food is sold to the public, but in the case of Chorkor, the situation is very different, since foods are displayed close to filthy, stinking and choked gutters.