Business mogul, Dr. Emmanuel Kojo Jones-Mensah, has broken ground to construct two bridges to connect Lawoshime and other satellite communities in the enclave to the Keta Constituency in the Volta Region.
He said he was touched by the plight of these residents who are from his home constituency, hence decided to allocate about GH₵70,000 to eradicate the major challenge of the rural dwellers, which had impeded the progress of their livelihood.
Speaking at a community gathering, Dr. Jones-Mensah disclosed that the kind gesture was in fulfilment of a vow he made to God, to give back to society for blessing him.
Lawoshime and four other communities in the Keta Constituency are widely known for the production of sugarcane and locally distilled gin, called akpeteshie. These communities are surrounded by water bodies, hence cutting the settlements off from the constituency. Only footpaths lead to these deprived communities.
Community folks in the past used to ride boats to cross the water bodies to send products and foodstuff to the market and access other services.
This created a lot of inconveniences, compelling the opinion leaders to organize communal labour to construct two wooden bridges between Lawoshime and Hatogodo for easy passage some decades ago.
A former assemblymember for the area, Paul Yao Demenya, said the bridges have become weak, forcing the community to ban motorcycles from using them for the safety of travelers.
He lamented that residents would have to carry their items on their heads and cross to and from Lawoshime and the other communities, adding that the route becomes unmotorable when it rains because the water bodies get flooded, submerging the bridges.
“Sometimes, the water rises to the neck level, making it difficult for those who don’t have boats to cross. They have to swim across, this is very appalling” he said.
Another challenge caused by the unavailability of a good access road to Lawoshieme was denying residents access to healthcare, where women go through a lot of difficulties to access care during pregnancy.
“We are really suffering in this community. When we are pregnant, we go through stress travelling to the hospital for antenatal care.
The most difficult part is when we are in labour. Our husbands carry us at their backs and travel close to a kilometer journey on foot before we cross the bridge.
Unfortunately, some people deliver on the way, and sometimes the babies or their mothers do not survive”,
It was these difficulties that touched the heart of business mogul and native of the Keta Constituency, Dr. Jones-Mensah after visiting the community to do a needs assessment.
He said he could not help but initiate the construction of two concrete and steel bridges on the water bodies for easy access, noticing how weak and dangerous the bridges were.
“The sympathetic nature that I have will not allow me look at this bridge as it is and not do anything about it. For the past two weeks, I have been mobilizing to site to see how best we can convert this bridge into a steel and concrete bridge”, he said.
He indicated that the second phase of the project would see an expansion of the bridges to enable vehicles to access the satellite communities in the near future.
Dr. Jones-Mensah expressed optimism that the project, when completed, would impact the lives of the rural folks who would be able to transport their locally produced gin and other stuff to the market with ease.
“By constructing these bridges, I am sure we are going to boost economic activities in this area. Children ply this bridge day in day out, which is very dangerous so we have to provide a safe passage for them to go to and fro their homes and schools”, he said.
The Zikpitor of Hatorgodo, Richard Doku, appreciated the efforts of Dr. Jones-Mensah and his team and assured of the community’s support and cooperation towards the successful completion of the project.
Community folks, however, want the paths reshaped to facilitate travel to the bridges during the raining season.