“I always pray for good things. I ask for God’s blessing. When I enter the mosque daily, I ask God to protect me in this head porter job.
I ask God to let me meet good people who will pay me fair prices for my services so that I can also make some money, buy food to eat, and also be recognized among my peers as a human being worthy of respect”, says Valentina, sitting in front of the tin shack she lives in.
At about 6 PM in the evening, Mamuna comes back from the market. From this point, she, like many other girls doing Kayayie, would have to think of yet another hurdle.
Old Fadama, the slum in which they live, has no running water and no public toilet. The situation has left room for private bathhouses and toilets usually overcrowded with people who are ready to pay the exorbitant monies charged for use.
“When you enter the public bathhouse, it is often so unhygienic. U will find used pads with blood and sometimes pampers used for children all lying in the small untidy bathroom. When there is water, we pay one cedi to have a bath but when there’s a shortage of water we pay ¢1.70 to have a bath,” she says.
Like Valentina, many of the girls dread the life they live in now and want to go back home.
“There is no work in our villages. Nothing to do in other to earn an income. The only time we have something little doing is the rainy season where we assist our parents to plant their fields.
“So how can young girls who have needs just get up and sit throughout without doing anything with economic value? That is why many girls continue to come” says Valentina.
This is the second of a five-part series by JoyNews shining a light on the life and struggles of Ghana’s ‘Human Shopping Baskets’, known locally as Kayayei who mainly come from the five regions of northern Ghana.
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