It is believed that most people who have their funds locked up with the various financial institutions as a result of the banking sector clean-up are mostly the city dwellers, true.
However, there are a good number out there in the countryside whose voices are not often heard.
A young lady of 23 years stopped schooling in her second year of senior high school education and travelled abroad as a domestic servant in Saudi Arabia.
Rahma, not her real name, as we want to refer to her, returned home only to realise that the monies remitted to be saved for her, for her two-year stay abroad had been locked up.
Not long after her return, was the covid-19 infections and its attendant restrictions.
She said she travelled abroad when no support for her secondary education was forthcoming because of the death of her father the previous years.
“I have decided to travel to Saudi Arabia because of financial problems. I lost my dad when I was in the third year of junior high school, so after completing my mom was able to raise some money for me to enter the secondary level.”
Rama said the financial difficulties intensified at the secondary level when she could not afford to continue her secondary education.
The opportunity came for her to be employed as a domestic servant in Saudi Arabia and she took advantage of it to see what can come out of it.
“There was a connection that came that they needed young ladies to go and work as a housemaid, so I went for the programme and I was successful. After that, I decided to go because there was nothing to do. My mother was also suffering so I decided to go to Saudi Arabia and hustle,” she said.
She said one could work the whole day and no rest because your services were paid for through the agents who worked for the opportunities for them.
She said that immediately one leaves the shores of Ghana, nobody hears from any of the agents because they have made their monies and it is up to you to go and work.
This she added that it presented a serious dilemma as to the kind of persons she was going to meet and stay with.
“It is not easy to be there. You go and meet the job you are promised but it is very hard. You are the only one working for the whole house no matter how many they are. There is no rest especially during the fasting periods you work throughout the night till daybreak (the following morning), so there is no peace in the house to be resting”
Rama also alleges that it was even difficult communicating with her family back home while she was there as there was no provision made for her by her host. She would sometimes have to use part of her savings to get a means to communicate with family back in Ghana.
“I always tell my friends and parents that it is not easy to allow your daughter to go and be suffering there.”
For payment, Rama said she gets between 8, 9 and 10 ria a month depending on the kind of work she does.
She stayed in Saudi Arabia for twenty-seven months making some good money she added.
Just a few months upon arriving from Saudi Arabia, was the covid-19 infection and its accompanying restrictions coupled with the collapse of financial institutions in Ghana.
“A few months I arrived, I heard the financial institutions have been closed down. As for me, my money is saved at the GN BANK.
I consulted my sister and we went to the bank. We were told there was a little problem so they will pay back the money. After some few months, we were asked to fill some forms and we are told is that they will pay us.”
According to Rama, they are now paying those with smaller amounts but those with huge amounts are yet to receive anything.
According to Rama, she has about twenty thousand Ghana cedis locked up at GN BANK.
She said she intended to set up her own business upon return to Ghana knowing she truncated her education and would not get a job in any formal employment.
“My plan was, knowing I can’t continue with my education again, is to open a shop and start a small business in it.”
Rama said everything looked upside-down upon her return. Her mother is also very sick according to her.
She now sells what she calls one bowl of rice wakye every morning to feed the family.
“I have been cooking wakye in the morning. Sometimes, one bowl, other times two and a half bowls. That is what I use to feed the family – my sister and her children, my mother.”
Rama said life has been difficult upon return. “This kind of blocking of our money, if not for patience, most of us could not have survived it. Most people have died through it. It is not easy.”
Rama said Covid-19 restrictions have affected her ‘Waakye’ business as she could not cook and sell during the lockdown period as not many people were coming out to buy during that period.
“Coronavirus has affected us a lot. The Waakye business is what we do for a living. I stopped cooking when the virus came in. apart from that, I also go to the farm and if I don’t get anything, it means we would sleep with hunger.”
Rama would not advise anyone to go hustling out there for the money. According to her, people do so many things to survive including prostitution. This she said would not let her encourage anyone to go out there to look for money.