Head porters also known as Kayayei play a major role in Ghana by assisting people with their heavy loads. They come from Ghana’s arid rural north to work in the bustling cities of the south. They are paid very little, but nonetheless the work offers them opportunities that they don’t get in their rural villages.
Their work is tedious and pays little such that they face hardships regarding feeding and securing accommodation.
In an exclusive interview with Hajara who hails from Chereponi in Northern Ghana and now working as head porter in the Ashanti regional capital of Kumasi; the bodily pain, the meagre fee, the disrespect some clients show, attacks from thugs and armed robbers at night and the deplorable living condition she finds herself in, makes her crave joining the prostitution trade as she perceives their life to be relatively comfortable.
She narrated how she came across one Nigerian prostitute named Chioma who engaged her to come over to her resident to launder her clothing and tidy up the house upon which she gave her GHc500.
When she enquired what work she was into, it emerged she was a prostitute. Hajara added Chioma linked her to men, gave her mobile phone and some money so that the big guys will get access to her and picked her up but she refused to involved herself into such practice out of fear.
When it rains they have to sew long polythene bags to wear to avoid being beaten by the rains and getting wet while standing outside till the rain stops.
Often the kayayei sleep in front of offices and big spacious shops but if that company or shop has a security guard, they would have to pay the security officer GHc1 or Ghc2 before being granted space to sleep.
Hajara bemoaned the dwindling fortunes of the business as thieves from their ranks have frightened folks from engaging them.
Hajara is urging Ghanaians to help support them because despite their poor fate, they remain the breadwinners for their family.
By Kamal Ahmed