Widows and single mothers in Tamale have turned to head porting, commonly referred to as kayayie to enable them take of their children’s school fees and other needs.
There has been a surge in the number of people who engage in kayayie in Northern regional capital in recent times. But the involvement of widows and single mothers is a recent development as the business has mostly been the preserve for the young, energetic ones.
Speaking to Radio Tamale’s Dokurugu Ndeiya Abubakari, the women say they are pushed into the business due to tough economic conditions.
“We are on the streets because of our children. Any money we get is used to buy clothes and books for the children and also to cook,” one of them stated.
These are mostly old and weak women who have to compete with young, energy girls for loads. They are mostly found at lorry parks within the Central Business District of Tamale where they chase after trucks that arrive from other of the country with goods.
“Sometimes when the loaded trucks arrive we run after them and some of the drivers just look and smile at us with pity. Sometimes you just stop running when you notice the number of people you are racing with and feel like laughing. They call us kayayie women. Even our children don’t like what we do and they can’t tell their friends the business their mothers do,” one Azara lamented.
According to them some of those who are married are the bread winners of their families because their husbands are not financially stable. Some of them are therefore compelled to carry their infant children on their backs while carrying loads.
The women expressed the desire to leave the streets if they can be helped to learn a trade that will eventually guarantee them reliable source of income.
By: Yahaya Masahudu, firstname.lastname@example.org