Road conditions! As Eric Dudely discusses in his book the critical villager, there are many communities that are overlooked in development projects because of their inconvenient location. The village we traveled to this week is in the ‘overseas’ area of the West Gonja district because during the rainy season, it can only be accessed by canoe as the small bridge we were just able to squeak by gets flooded. There is the foundations of a bridge along the road, but its been sitting unfinished for some ten years, and instead, you veer off the road, down a steep slope, over a small concrete slab used as an improvised bridge, and up a steep hill and back onto the road. It was sketchy! And the road is terrible. People in Damongo are aware the road to it from Tamale is bad, but the road to the surrounding villages is worse, if you can call it a road. All those car commercials highlighting the durability and toughness of various trucks and SUVs should be shot along this road! It’s a physically exhausting trip, hence the isolation of the communities along the way.
Through discussions with clients and various other people, the general public does not have faith in the government to help them. A client told me that people are aware of the services of the district assembly and the BAC, but that they don’t feel comfortable going and asking for help because they feel like they will shame themselves by sharing with someone their bad situation, and then still not receive help from them. I feel there is a big disconnect between the government and the people, and the people almost don’t expect anything from the government, because they don’t deliver. Watching the Ghana news at home, all the development projects are going to the south instead of the north where they are more badly needed, so yet again, another reason not to trust the government, or at least, expect disappointment. It’s interesting now that there is an election coming up in December, to see these issues resurfacing.