Our Cocoa Lands, Our Soil, Our Livelihood – The Lamentation of Josephine, The Traveller

As we travelled through the towns and villages of the Ashanti Region, Western Region and parts of  Bono Ahafo Region, I shouted, I screamed, I exclaimed, “Oh! How! Why! Is this Ghana? Is this the same country that was handed over to us through the blood and toil of  our forefathers? My heart was heavy and sad. What are we going to hand over to our children and generations yet unborn? Is this my motherland Ghana? Is this our nation? Is this the land of greens? Is this the land of pure and virgin soils? Is this the land of clean and clear water sources?” 

No! No! No!

This is not Ghana!

This is not Ghana!!

This is not my Ghana, the country I belong to. This is not the Ghana I know!. This is not the Ghana I know!!.

As we journeyed through the municipalities and communities, we saw so many water bodies, many of which were discolored, all turned into brown as though it was mixed with clay or any substance you can ever think of. I became curious and asked again what was going on? I was told in the vehicle I travelled in, that it was as a result of greed and wickedness. Galamsey, Galamsey, Galamsey, they said.

I saw behind people’s homes, near the roadside, on the farms deep trenches, and huge pits, left uncovered all from the same devil called Galamsey activities.

I asked myself, “In search of what should men do such harm to our land?”

Gold, the driver answered.

And what do they do with the money?

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I was curious to know because I could hardly see developments in the towns and villages as we journeyed through. Left in our ways were so many huge trenches, but nothing to speak for them. This same gold for which we are destroying our lands and river bodies could not benefit, facelift and beautify our communities? What a shame!!

Here what the driver said ‘This is a serious, national issue that needs critical attention and radical steps to solve it. I dare to say that people’s homes will have  break down and may even collapse at the slightest earth tremor experienced. These towns and villages keep losing their loved ones to these uncovered trenches and yet they still keep at it. I do not want to venture into the water bodies which have been polluted. I saw some cows, goats and sheep attempting to drink from those streams but you could see a resistance and a lack of relish even from the animals knowing that the water is not good’.

So I probed further and asked more questions. What is the effect of the mercury and cyanide being used by these galamsey operators?

Are we even safe to buy meet, chicken, fish and all edible things. How will the situation be in the next 10 years?  How will our water bodies become in the next 10 years?

I ask the question.

Are these water bodies linked to each other from Region to Region?

If so, what will be the end result in some years to come?

Are we going to have all our water bodies polluted from Region to Region?

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Are we ever going to have fishes in our streams and rivers in some years to come?

Are our livestock going to be sustained?

How will they drink from these water bodies in years to come?

Our cocoa lands lie in ruins because of these activities

The economic impact from all angles cannot be overemphasized

So many questions unanswered. If it is for economic gain how much value are we placing on the nation knowing very well that cocoa is Ghana and Ghana is cocoa?

Are we thinking about our pockets and our stomachs today at the detriment of our children tomorrow?

Should there be a behavioural change?

Should there be a total fundamental education for our towns and villages? What are our leaders, kinsmen, queens, Kings, and opinion leaders of our towns and villages doing?

Do they actually have utmost authority over their people? If yes, why are they not doing anything? Are they part of it? Are they part of those selling our cocoa lands to foreigners and ruining our villages?

Are the citizenry refusing to listen to the authorities? If yes, what are the measures being put in place as sanctions to curb this menace? Should we appeal to the conscience of the people? Will households and families be taken on if pits, Wells and all these trenches are found behind their homes and close to them? How do we locate the people involved? How do we handle them?

Too many issues are involved. I dare to say that there may not be a Ghana in few years to come. Even if there still is, we cannot be sure of what will happen to the health of the next generation because everything will basically be polluted.

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What should be done?

Why are we talking without any results?

Who should implement?

Who should supervise?

Who should oversee?

Ghana my beloved country, do not die from the greed of a few. We must revive our natural resources.  We must regain that which has been lost. We must reclaim that which has been destructed. We must put in place that which has been destroyed. It is possible and yes it will take a total change of mind and attitude of the entire populace to achieve this. Let say ‘No’ to environmental wickedness.

Ghana my beloved country will not die because of your greed, Mr Galamseyer. Change now!!!!

By Josephine Dake Abrahams

The writer is an Information Officer and describes herself as a philanthropist at heart, simple and working with her husband in mentoring the youth.