It stretches for over four miles on the banks of the Korle Lagoon. Journalists say that over 40,000 Ghanians live there. It is one of the filthiest places on earth. It is noted for its rampant crime, human trafficking, abject poverty and toxins. It is called Agbogbloshie, nicknamed Sodom and Gomorra of Ghana. The smell alone is enough to drive away anyone. It is a mixture of human waste, burning plastic, trash, vegetables, meats and other foodstuffs, charcoal and fire. It is a dumping place for outdated electronics–computers from Europe, the US, United Kingdom and Japan. People of all ages start fires and burn away the plastic from the computers for whatever they can salvage and sell. You need to know about this.
It is a predominantly Muslim community. There are some Christians mixed in. They live in somewhat harmony, bonded together by the mere need to survive each day. The Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa, Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development, and OPEC Fund for International Development have pumped thousands of dollars into this “dump” to dredge the lagoon, restore its surroundings, and move the people away. But it keeps growing in filth and in population–no sign of the money unless it is the building of small mosques throughout the area. The government has even offered the people land to live on in an attempt to move them out. They will not budge.
Then there are the children. They have no or little education. They have no clean clothes. They are the workers in the lagoon holding the sticks of computer cords to the fire that burns away the plastic coating. They are the ones who are breathing in the toxic fumes that have been proven to cause brain damage and other health problems. They are also the ones nobody seems to care about. All over Accra, the capital city of Ghana, are large billboards promoting this preacher or that apostle or this prophet. The signs are calling people to healing services, to prophecy conferences, to self improvement meetings. The featured speakers wear nice clothes, fancy watches and have that “far away” holy look about them.
One of the billboards is near a side entrance to Agbogbloshie. It says “Have the Good Life.” The people passing by seem to miss the irony. These are the people who are unclean. They are untouchable. The authorities want to move them away in order to clean up the dump and get rid of the crime and disease. The Christian churches ignore them. The Muslim leadership uses them. The power of the gospel is hardly found. And if it is, it is solely by the grace of God because not many humans would dare care. Somehow, in walking through this slum, I kept hearing the last part of Matthew 25:45 ringing in my ears: “Verily I say unto you, Since you did it not to one of the least of these, you did it not to me.” This is part of our mission in Ghana. Can you see the need? ‘Just felt you need to know.