In most business centers in Accra, the capital city of Ghana are head porters, popularly referred to as Kayayei’s who usually convey mountains of goods in market places from a seller to wherever the destination may be.
Here in Accra central is Shimima, Rafiatu and Nasia who are surviving on their daily hustle of being a kayayei.
Shamima sharing some of her unpleasant experience as a kayayei with the Republic Press said not only are they cheated by most people but when tired and ready to catch a sleep, some men harass them denying them of their sleep as they have to sleep in groups in front of peoples shops. “We always sleep with our eyes opened, we are always alert”.
“I came this February, some of my friends are lazy, they don’t want to bath before they sleep, sometimes too the queue there is long but because they are lazy, they will come and sleep like that. And as for me, I hate scent, I find it difficult to sleep in groups, I can’t sleep in groups, but I am forced to. When I go to sleep with those who sleep in four or like few in numbers, men will come harassing us and sometimes steal our monies from us.” – shamima
Rafiatu on her part said that her friend is “complaining because she just came, she will understand”. However, Rafiatu is very bitter about the fact that people exploit them and give them any amount they like after transporting their goods for them.
“I remember I took 8 boxes from here (canta) to tudu station for a woman and she gave me only two cedis, I pleaded with her but she said that was all she was left with, I nearly cried. I don’t normally charge because sometimes benevolent people give us more than we deserve but most people exploit us”. – Rafiatu
On the part of Nasia, she would be happy to get a better place to sleep after work. Sometimes men deceive some of our friends and lure them to stay with them in their “small, small kiosk” but when they get pregnant the men leaves them and they return here with the pregnancy to carry goods.
When asked whether she would like to go back to school, her response was “for me I just want a comfortable place to sleep”.
Nasia also disclosed that she makes some good money but could not disclose the exact amount but said, “Some of us have regular customers, we make good money, just that we can’t rent with it, comfortable sleeping place is my major concern”
Most often than not, these porters bear the loads on their heads using large basins
The Republic Press has also observed that majority of the kayayei’s have malnourished babies strapped to their back exposing them to all sort of weather prevailing on each of the days, while they do the ‘heavy-load-tour’ to and fro wherever their destinations may be.