PerVita Foundation, on the 6th of April, 2013 took a fun charity trip to Nzulezu, Western Region and some of the revelations as per the visit serve as an eye opener and a privileged for others to go out there and help.
PerVita Foundation is committed to the use of human potentials in achieving its objectives in the areas of health, education and livelihood development. The direction of achievement lies with creative activities which will draw the attention of the general public in building a healthy environment through education and maintaining a positive life style. It is founded by locals with a touch of international expertise which help in following through with its ideas.
As part of our touching lives activities, we have what we call TOURING WITH A PURPOSE (TWAP) and this is mainly to get the youth together to impact positively in certain aspects of communities in the country. The brain behind TWAP is to visit beautiful sites in Ghana, in order to expose and educate the youth to our country and also ensure we leave something for the native people of the sites we visit. During such trips, we identify peculiar issues facing these communities and come up with ideas and solutions to help ameliorate their situations.
The village of Nzulezo is located near the village of Beyin, roughly 90 kilometers west of Takoradi, in the Jomoro District of the Western Region of Ghana. Nzulezo overlooks the Lake Tadane, and is entirely made up of stilts and platforms. Inhabitants of the village are said to have migrated there from Walata, a city in the ancient Ghana Empire. According to legend their ancestors were guided to this particular spot by a snail.
Nearly every structure in this village is built on stilts, creating a platform on the water. All daily activities take place on or just above the water – cooking, schooling, recreation, etc. Whenever a new baby is born, it is baptized in the lake, which is believed to be a protection against drowning. To protect the ecology, the local people use traditional bamboo hooks instead of lead ones for fishing.
We as a foundation took special interest in their educational and health system on the island. Our activities were centered on three areas, health, education (science and technology) and livelihood.
Issues with health have been a major challenge for the people of Nzulezo. There is no health post in the village for them to access in times of difficulties. In case of emergencies, inhabitants have to ride 45 minutes to Beyin which is the nearest town, inorder to get access to the nearest health facility in the city. This is a major hindrance in cases of medical emergencies especially complicated labour in pregbancy. Due to lack of readily available orthodox health care, the inhabitants rely on local herbalists for their primary health care needs. In times past, when someone dies he or she is buried in the shortest possible time because there are no mortuaries to keep the corpse. In other cases, bodies are embalmed.
Although recorded cases of maternal mortality has been low, as women use traditional methods of child birth and midwives, there is still the need for a health post to be set up in the village to help with medical emergencies especially in cases of complicated labour, this would go a long way to healp reach MDG goals of reducing maternal mortality and providing access to primary health care. Local residents could also be sponsored to go through training to man such health posts.
The chief of the village, Nana Taklika passionately talked about issues affecting the education on the island. He clearly stated the need to improve the very deplorable state of education on the island and recognised that it was only through education that the human resource potential of the village could be developed. It would also go a long way to improve the quality of life of his people as they would be empowered to apply morden technologies to their day today activities.
The GES basic education system is run on the island. However the classes available are from class 1 to class 6 with no JHS. Students that get to the JHS level will have to cross long distances to access education in the nearest town. Other challenges plaguing the education in the village is the lack of qualified teachers. Currently there is only one proffesional teacher on the island as most teachers posted refuse to take up appointment due to the remoteness of the area. The locals have made a compensation for this lack by employing one of their own and other persons to help in this area and payment is made from the proceeds they receive from tourists that visit the village. This shows the commitment of the inhabitants in educating their children.
Lack of educational materials is also another area where the school is severely lacking. There is a small library provided by AIESEC of the University of Ghana Legon with support from ACCESS bank. This facility needs stocking with books of the standard GES curriculum, books on literature and stories as well science illustrative science text book to introduce early the concept of science and technology. With current access to electricity on the island, a video library to show some documentaries would also be helpful and enlightening. With this in mind, resource personnel especially teachers and expanded facility to include JHS on the island to further improve the education on the island
ICT education is also another area that is lacking severely in the area. Most of these inhabitants have little or no access to computers in their village and this makes ICT education a big challenge for pupils of the village. As today’s world is gearing towards the inclusion and use of ICT in all aspects of life particularly education, an ICT facility would also go a long way to improve quality of life of the people.
Sanitation is an area of primary concern in the community. Pervita foundation observed that although zoomlion provides bins for the inhabitants, their waste disposal system particularly plastic waste left a lot to be desired. Providing resource personnel to educate the inhabitants and help them improve the balance between their way of life and the ecosystem would help to sustain their way of life healthily and also continue to make the site attractive to tourists that would visit the site in future.
In summary, Nzulezo is a very attractive tourist site and a wonderful experience to any visitor of the site, and the values taken from such visits are immeasurable, however a lot needs to be done to sustain the way of life of the people and further help them benefit from visitors that tour the sites.