CULTURAL NEWS –
Saturday, September 1, 2007
Latest victim of tradition
By: A. A. Mbord, Yorogo
THE Bolgatanga-based Widows and Orphans Ministry (WOM) has rescued a 78-year-old widow who decided to take her life because the world now is no more than “hell” to her.
Madam Abugri Issah Grumah lost her husband seven years ago in La Cote d’Ivoire where they lived and worked. Because her husband was a citizen of the Republic of Togo, all her seven children were sent to Togo at their early ages.
Now back to her hometown, Yorogo, near Bolgatanga to trace her roots, she was despised and rejected by both her immediate and distant families who accused her of being a witch.
However, following the intervention of the chief of Yorogo, Naba Johnson Awuni, she was provided with a small piece of a family land to put up a single room to live in. She completed the building and that is where she had been living since then.
Then, disaster struck. On August 25, 2007, her mud hut was washed away during a three-day continuous downpour which robbed her of all her personal belongings.
Despite this predicament, none of the community members could offer her shelter because they had all in the past ejected her from their homes.
Left with no alternative Madam Abugri decided that life was no longer worth living and decided to sleep in the rains for death to take her away.
A Good Samaritan who was passing by saw the old lady sitting on the rocks as the rains poured on her.
The Good Samaritan attempted to send her to the chief’s compound, but she refused to go so he made a report to the director of the Widow’s and Orphans Ministry, Madam Betty Ayagiba.
At Yorogo, Madam Abugri Issah Grumah told The Spectator that she was fed up with life because since she lost her husband seven years ago, life had been too difficult for her.
For example, “I don’t know where my children are, none of them has come to look for me”.
According to her, her claim to part of their family land was rebuffed by her only surviving younger brother also in his late 70’s.
“I sleep in the rocks because there is nobody to take care of me. I have been sacked from three houses belonging to my relatives. I do not also know my husband’s hometown.
“I am not mad, yet I am living like a mad person. It is better I die and leave this world,” she added.
His brother, Ayagri Abugri, contends that as a woman, she is not entitled to any land and that is why she was given only a small parcel of land to put up her one-room house.
Naba Johnson Awuni, chief of Yorogo, promised to meet with her family members for further dialogue.
Meanwhile, the Widows and Orphans Ministry has provided a rented accommodation for Madam Abugri in Bolgatanga and provided her with basic necessities of life.
The Director of the ministry said WOM has put up structures estimated at over ¢500 million to provide accommodation and training workshop for those facing predicaments such as Madam Abugri’s.
Mrs. Paulina Abayage, Upper East Regional Director of the Department of Women and Children Affairs, said everything possible would be done to ensure that the welfare of the vulnerable such as Madam Abugri and children are catered for.
The Spectator - Saturday, September 1, 2007 Page: 7