Inside the besieged 138.64 hectare forest reserve, found in the heart of Tamale, the Northern Regional Capital, desperate old widows have taken to smoking wee (Marijuana) to fight depression and deplorable living conditions.
A total of about ten (10) mothers ranging between 37- 50yrs are currently in the forest reserve smoking ceaselessly daily in order to continue living due to past circumstances they have gone through in life, and others because of hardship and poverty.
More than 500 youth across the region have created a lawless jungle in the abandoned forest reserve located at Kumbihini and Aboabo in the metropolis.
Little children as young as 11 are also residing in the forest smoking wee and abusing other drugs. Many vices, including child prostitution, black marketing, allege chronic sale of cocaine are freely ongoing.
Several attempts, including military operations, by city authorities to stop any activity in the forest have drew widespread furious resistance, including a recent joint security operations sanctioned by Mayor of the town, Iddrisu Musah Superior.
Today, as the world celebrate women across the globe, we bring you story of two women from different background who are spending almost 15yrs of their lives addicted to marijuana and visiting the forest daily to smoke.
Laila Abubakari, also known as Mma Leila is a 57yr old resident of Choggu in the Sagnarigu district.
She was little above 18yrs old when a deadly famine hit Ghana in 1983 during the June revolution period. She was forced to asylum in neighboring Burkina Faso capital, Ouagadougou.
Through the help of a friend, she got a low paying restaurant job owned by a Senegalese in a suburb known in those years as Area One.
Two years later she met a French national, Micont Pascal, working as veterinary personnel in local farms.
Pascal was a regular customer at Laila’s restaurant and they fell in love together ultimately. They became couple and Laila later returned to Ghana to introduce husband to her parents.
In 1986 she became pregnant and gave birth to baby boy who they named Thomas (Thoma in French); She was thirty three(33).
Three years later, Laila had to return to Ghana because her step father was injured in a car crash and hospitalized at a hospital in Ghana’s Eastern Regional capital, Koforidua.
Her husband paid for the journey and persuaded her to leave their son behind. His step father survived the accident but Laila returned to Area One in Ouagadougou only to meet an empty house with only a poor security man.
Her husband absconded with their son, her treasure and happiness, and disconnected all his traces.
Almost thirty three years after the incident, Mma Laila is now a chronic wee smoker.
“If I’m sad or thinking, you see say if I smoke am small, you say say my…the thinking wey I’m thinking, crying, tearing everyday, you see say my mind would come down”, she told Kasapa News at her base inside the forest.
Mma Laila said her hopes of seeing her son one day turned into nightmares and hunted her day and night. According to her, she could not concentrate on her job any longer and returned to Ghana empty handed; no son, no money.
According to her, she has been smoking for almost two decades now. Her friend told her it will wipe off her sorrows and she took her first puff, she added.
The 57yr old widow said smoking marijuana had made her life more decent than years back when she abused alcohol. She said unlike alcohol, she had become prayerful and and hopeful all the time anytime she smoked marijuana.
She has grown very emacipated and suffered chest upsets but declares she can’t stop smoking wee until she sees her son.
“If I see my son I will stop smoking. Me, if you can help me for me to get my boy I will stop everything”, Mma Laila said while smoking.
The World Health Organization (WHO) recently reiterated concern over the increase trend of smoking among females. The international organization said, out of the 5.4million victims that die every year, a staggering 1.5million are girls and women.
The theme for this year’s International Women’s Day is ‘Time is Now: Rural and Urban activists transforming women’s lives’, yet poverty and family stigmatization have pushed a widow in an Urban city of Tamale to dwell in a forest abusing wee.
Mma Adamu, 51 also a native of Tamale and one time wealthy trader. spends 7 seven hours daily in the forest smoking wee and playing ludu.
She’s been married twice and has one son. She was trading in cola but her business collapsed in 1995 after she run into debt, she recounted, adding, her son could not go to school because she was poor.
Mma Adamu now living with extended family while her son, now a mason, lives in a rented room at a different area. She narrated her desperate living condition and said she lives on less than GH3 a day.
“I traveled and my friends taught me how to smoke this wee. I loved it that time became it wasn’t influencing me to do bad things; i wasn’t sharing my body to men. When I run into a debt, more troubles came and the smoking intensified. “I smoke so that I can stop thinking plenty about my situation”, she said.
Source: Kasapafmonline.com/Eliasu Tanko