West Cascade Peace Corps Association
About Us

Projects - Bore Hole Project

Name of ProjectBore Hole Project
LocationKumasi, Ghana
ContactMichael Simpson
Description of Project

The "Kayayei" (translation: head-porter girls) are a common site to anyone who has spent time in a rural region in Ghana. These young women work throughout the city, frequenting the market and station areas. They head-transport huge amounts of goods for local store owners, shoppers and private and commercial vehicle owners, loading and unloading goods, frequently while carrying their young babies on their backs. Many are no more than 12 or 13 years old, usually having little or no formal education, perhaps having only attended a rural primary school for a few years. Most cannot read or write. Many have babies or small children that they must care for while working.

Being young and spirited, the women come to the city with expectations of a better life, but more often than not, they suffer the hardships of urban street life, often getting pregnant or resorting to prostitution to survive. They arise at dawn, work all day, no matter the weather conditions, and at night (around 10pm), many return to the severely-overcrowded warehouse/hostel where they cook outside, bath (only infrequently, when water is available), share what little food they have and sleep for a few hours.

The warehouse/hostel facility houses well over 400 young women and their children. The inside of the warehouse building consists of three main rooms, totaling 3,000 sq. ft. of living space. At the present time, with 400+ girls and their children living and sleeping there, this allows them less than 7 sq. ft. of space per person. One small window and one ceiling fan in each of the rooms provide the only ventilation, temperatures inside often reach 100+ degrees Fahrenheit. The walls and ceilings are filthy from lack of any proper cleaning or painting in the last 10 years. Because there is no storage space, the walls are the only place that the girls can hang their meager belongings.

Although a step up from the street in terms of safety, the warehouse/hostel facility has been described as a "filthy prison" by those seeing it for the first time. Other than the funds from this PCPP, there are no funds available from the city to be spent in this part of town for any type of borehole drilling or warehouse renovations.

The Peace Corps Volunteer is working closely with a local metropolitan assembly and the facility caretaker seeking to undertake a combination bore-hole installation and housing renovation at the warehouse/hostel. The warehouse renovation upgrades include: cleaning and painting, lighting and ventilation upgrades, and malaria-preventative mosquito netting installation on all windows and doors. This project will also bring a desperately-needed source of potable water to the terribly neglected facility.

All PCPP funds will be used to purchase materials for the project and for the professional drilling of the borehole.

Funds for this award came from distributions of the Beryl Brinkman Memorial Fund which was created with generous gifts to WCPCA and whose sole purpose is to support humanitarian programs. Beryl was a PCV in Afghanistan (1967-69), a founding member of WCPCA, and one of its most tireless leaders for over twenty years. The awards given in her name will honor her legacy of fighting poverty and building peace.

WCPCA Contribution to Project$750
Date of ContributionOctober 2009