THE VILLAGE ON STILT: INDIGENES FRUSTRATED OVER LACK OF HEALTH CARE FACILITY

Residents in Nzulezu are frustrated over lack of developments in their community despite being adopted as a world tourism site by the ghana tourism authority. An extended community center to accommodate a health post by an NGO is still not commissioned and therefore lacks a health personnel. Drugs in there are gathering dust as the people wade through water for an hour to seek health care.

Nzeluzu, in Nzema parlance means ‘the water’s surface’.

Oral history has it that the village was constructed some 500 years ago by migrants from Timbuktu of Mali in the fourteenth century during the Song and Mali Empire regime.

Nzeluzu was built over Tadane lake. The settlement consists of stilt-supported structures integrated seamlessly with water-dominated natural landscape.

The community with the population of about 600 is governed by the Chief- Takrika. Bordered by the Amanzule river, the community is a purely indigenous one where everything including the buildings, mode of transport is made from natural materials. [insert visuals of structures]

The serene ambiance of the surrounding landscape, coupled with the general activities of life on stilts points to a dynamic relationship between man and nature. Traditional village life is adapted to the unique natural conditions.

Known widely for its architectural layout and the huge interest in the village, the quality of living among these indigenes rather reveals a poor living condition in spite of its popularity.

Frustrated by the poor condition of living, some residents lamented to the news team.

Amidst the myriad of challenges and economic hardship the community grapples with, access to a proper health care tops the list of demands.

Speaking to Opanin John Arthur, one of the revered elders in Nzulezu, he said the community is in dire need of a community health center as there is none.

In 2017, this makeshift which forms a health care center for the community was constructed by a non-governmental organization, You at Heart.

It was expected to be commissioned by the Member of Parliament for Jomoro District, Paul Essien but he failed to turn up. A disappointed John Arthur says they still haven’t heard from him even after series of calls.

The community health center stocked with some drugs had all gathered dust. Other apparatus including stationery are rotting away. No personnel to man the facility. Hence the gradual ruins.

Some structures supposed to be maternal homes have been abandoned.

In the case of emergency situations, the community says the sick is waded through the Amanzule river for almost an hour to the nearest town, Banyin. 48-year-old Agnes, a traditional birth attendant with over 2 decades of experience shares with me the challenges.

The tones of frustration hanging on the head of the community has robbed them somewhat of courtesy. The news team noticed a rather cold reception from the residents. It appears the community has grown tired of people thronging their homes with nothing to lessen their plight.

The youth of the community must either go into farming, fishing or sculpting, but the squalor nature of the place tells you the paltry living they make from their hard work. Songs of lamentation is never far in this community. This young man appealed to tourists and the government to inject capital into the area to maximize the benefit they derive.

According to frustrated residents, it appears the community is lost on government’s interventions list.

Disappointed by the ancient developmental challenges, the residents are threatening to ignore the promises of government and also boycott the elections.

The community which was adopted by the Ghana Tourism Authority in 2000 as a world heritage site receives over 13,000 visitors both local and foreign- raking over GHS700,000 revenue annually according to statistics from the Ministry of Tourism as of 2013.

One could say that the people of Nzulezu are only living in past glory. The infamous tourist site is not reflective of the standard of living among the indigenes. They are therefore appealing to the government to come to their aid