On a busy walk-way in the Ministries area of Accra, two children found peace in the thunderous foot trampling around them as they slept away on a mutilated cardboard.
Amina (not real name), their mother, sat a few metres away on an aluminium pan as she kept watch over them while sorting out potential
clients from commuters.
A flashy car pulled up and a woman with a trail of children in school uniform beckoned. She wanted a head porter to convey a load of foodstuff she had bought into the boot of her car.
The lot fell on Amina as she gladly executed the job. The lady sped away and from a distance, her children stayed glued to the back of the car
probably trying to figure out why are these children were having a nap when we had just closed from school.
Amina is one of the several young women who had trooped to Accra and other large cities down south to seek hope and sanctuary from the harsh
economic and cultural conditions up north.
They are now the "Kaya yie" phenomenon; the human couriers that transverse the city, bearing all the loads and indignity of an unforgiving
Most of them live in the slums of Accra, places where survival is the only element worth pursuing.
These areas are sprawling communities of shacks created out of necessity rather than deliberate urban planning.
They lack the modern basic amenities like electricity and sanitary facilities. In the world of the lucky in these places, adults of both sexes and minors share single rooms carved out by overnight builders.
Minors are privy to the acts of desires and atrocities which adults visit on each other when darkness fall and must savour the spectacle with or without interest.
Others sleep in open places in groups normally protected by strong young men who pimp them or enjoy special visitation rights.
The rent for an area of the size of a coffin is quite substantial and the right to remain a virgin is an illusion under such circumstances.
The day of the Kaya yoo begins at the slightest draw of light from the morning sun and ends when all the noise and dirt generation have settled and when the sun had sought its rest.
Their broken feet tread the rugged terrain of the city; fighting with sheer human endurance the hazards that inhibit these broken walk-ways and roads.
They are easily identified by their sweat soaked gleaming bodies. The mothers amongst them are normally thinly clothed and sometimes bandaged with a thin calico to hold their malnourished babies to their bodies.
Any shade or shadow cast anywhere is a perfect saddle for rest and baby sitting and when the sun goes down, the curtain is drawn on the day's work and sets another stage for a more perilous kind of work which awaits them in
the slums of the city.
Amina, just 21, is a mother of two. She trekked down south pregnant and without the father of the child although he would be expecting some city goodies on her return. The father of the second child, whom she found in
Accra, has not shown up since her detention at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital.
"Sometimes, I become worried and very sad when I look into the eyes of the children. I see children of their age boarding buses to get to school to have education but I can not send them to school. I am powerless."
Amina says: "My dream is to see my children covered all over with chalk and play marks running into my embrace from school. I think about it everyday and pray that God will grant me that wish one day."
Her fear peaks with each day break and night fall as very few social structures or safety nets are available for these vulnerable people in the
South and the North. The Social Welfare Department, the public social worker even struggles to provide for its under motivated workers.
Northern Ghana is a sad development issue especially when all the resources needed to build it into a vibrant economic machine are within its
snatch; land, water and labour and sunshine.
It has been entrapped in senseless chieftaincy and bizarre political issues that have stewed the area's fragile peace.
At this stage, all development craftsmen should be given the space and time to assess all the interventions made for Northern Ghana over the years.
These interventions are crafted to help the vast area catch up with the south as the development gaps between the two widens every day.
The northern mission would be to look at how best to tackle the three enemies of its progress; poverty, disease and ignorance.
Let us not watch this generation of Northern Ghana waste away because the dreams and desires that drove Amina down south to be reduced to a hewer of wood and drawer of water, could be realised at the place of her birth if the right interventions are made at the right time.
They also deserve a good life, the kind of life which includes the free gathering of the youth to recite ancient poetry, sing their own songs and dance to the beat of their own drums during moonlit nights.
By Samuel Osei-Frempong