For many, it is expected that the work place should always have a positive influence on their lives, to make them better persons in order to affect their communities they live in, and also be the torch bearers of their homes. However, life, with its own twist and turns could go whichever way, sometimes depending on our individual choices or sometimes on the path we choose to tread as individuals.
Some individuals fail to be affected by the positives of their jobs and are plagued with the negatives and therefore lead them into things they had not signed up for in life. Such is the story of Zorkor Gambrongo Adongo, a KVIP attendant who is in his late sixties.
Starting life as a peasant farmer, it was Adongo’s hope to become leading producer of millet in the Upper East Region. His dream was to be a force to reckon with in the production of millet in the Upper East region.
“When I was growing up all I wanted to do was farming because things were not rosy in my house. I wanted to become a big farmer who will be known for the production of Millet in large quantities. That was what I always wanted for myself,” Adongo said, remembering his hay days as a farmer.
However, as one cannot determine his fate and with the uncertainties of life, Adongo’s dream of becoming a successful farmer was not to be realized as he currently manages the KVIP in what is described as the “Old Market” in Bolgatanga.
Upon entering the market, one is greeted by Adongo’s sight who has placed himself strategically in order to have a clear view of all angels of the KVIP to prevent people from using the facility without paying for the thirty pesewas charge.
Unlike other attendants who have cleaners, Adongo has had to combine cleaning the facility and also serving as an attendant. Adongo regardless of his age treats the toilet like his baby and works at ensuring that it’s always kept clean to serve users of the facility; a quality of Adongo a user of the facility describes as “special and unique” amongst all KVIP he has visited in Bolgatanga.
However, the to urge clean the toilet facility on a daily basis and ensure proper sanitation at the facility has given Adongo an addiction which he claims to be fighting but cannot put an end to. Adongo mentioned that a year and some two months ago, he had never tasted alcohol and cigarettes but that chapter of his life had closed and he had developed an addiction for what he hitherto disliked.
“My brother, before I started working here, I used not to drink alcohol and smoke cigarettes but because of the bad scent from the place when I am cleaning up, I have taken to smoking to avoid the scent from entering my head. I smoke almost five sticks a day but it is not my wish. I want to stop but I cannot. You see how the place is clean? I always want it to be like this so I do the cleaning myself so that when people use it, they will go and come another time.”
The family man receives five cedis a day and that’s what his family survives on and has survived on since he started being an attendant over a year. Although the stipend is not enough to cater for the growing needs of his family, to Adongo “I will rather manage it than stay at home doing nothing and die of hunger. I am old and have a family to take care of so I have no choice but to accept the money however small it is”.
Adongo has a son who just entered Senior High School. Adongo mentions that his sons School Fees was paid by an Assemblyman but is not certain whether he will continue to pay for the fees in the subsequent terms. His son stands the possibility of dropping out of school if the Assemblyman stops paying the fees.
“My son just entered Secondary School and his fees were paid by the Assemblyman who brought me here. For now he is in school but I don’t know whether he will agree to pay the fees as he goes on. If he doesn’t, my son has to stay in the house since I cannot pay fees with the five cedis I make here.”
Adongo mentions that although respect from his family is intact, respect from society is a problem. He indicates that people approach him with contempt in his community, a situation he thinks should not be the case but like Ghanaians address individuals based on their social standing, Adongo has to cope with the contempt he is treated with.
For many, life offers the best of opportunities to excel at what they do, for some, life offers sadness and sorrow. For Adongo, his dream of becoming a big farmer was not realized and although he is determined to make the best of opportunities life has afforded him, he has been addicted to smoking, lost respect and cannot take good care of his family.