Over 70-year-old woman, Adjoa Bidie, with a damaged right eye has been selling charcoal for more than forty years despite her worsening condition due to dust from the broken pieces of charcoal.
Medjire, known as Adjoa Bidie because of her trade, has her right eye damaged, owing to smoke and dust from producing and selling charcoal in very deplorable conditions for more than 40 years.
The over 70-year-old woman is a resident of Nima, a suburb of Ghana's capital, Accra.
Adjoa Bidie has been selling charcoal at Nima for nearly half a century.
Her little room, which serves as both her bedroom and kitchen is made of only roofing sheets and few wood materials, surrounded by the few sacks of charcoal she sells.
For old Adjoa, there's nothing like an end of business or close of day for her.
She expects to get not less than GHc 300 after selling a sack of charcoal by the close of day but disclosed that business has been slow.
"We used to make a lot of money but the business is no more profitable. The business is dwindling. These packed charcoal have been here since morning and I have not made any sale,'' she disclosed in an interview.
Before packing the charcoal into the empty used tomato-tins, the bigger pieces of the charcoal are broken into smaller pieces with cutlass.
While doing this, the dust from the broken pieces of charcoal cannot go unnoticed.
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With all the associated problems of dust and having to sit under the sun to ply her trade, she has no retirement plan for her business.
She seemed oblivious of any pension plan.
''It didn't occur to me to save more when the business was booming, and it is even late to do so now because I don't make money anymore,'' she bemoaned.
She says she is currently weak due to old age while stating that "even what to eat from time to time has become a challenge. I spend all I make during the day."
While charcoal is still an essential commodity in Ghana despite the increase in the number of people who use LPG in the country, Adjoa Bidie says sales have reduced drastically.
Just like old Adjoa Bidie, Zainab, a much younger woman who just turned 50, says her only hope for the future is to pass on the business to her children when her strength fails.
She's hoping her children will take care of her when she grows.
Zainab disclosed that an alternative for her retirement plan is to save more money to put up some rooms for renting.
"My plan is to hand over the business to my children when I grow older, and also build a house and give it out for rent to be able to cater for myself,'' she revealed.
For most of these women into charcoal business with no retirement plans, the future seems bleak.
In Adjoa Bidie's case, she has her right eye damaged, old and weak, while her working and sleeping makeshift house makes her condition more deplorable.
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