Scaling Heights for Daily Bread: Coconut Tree Climbers Share Frustrations

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The Coconut Climbers with two Women
The Coconut Climbers with two Women

Two young men, Robert  Akyefi and his companion, Abeiku  have provided a glimpse into the challenging and often overlooked world of coconut tree climbing a profession that serves as their means of survival.

Undeterred by the grueling task ahead, the duo embark on their daily routine of scaling tall coconut trees, in Kokoado, a hamlet in the Agona East district of the Central Region showcasing both their physical prowess and the harsh realities of their occupation.

For their strenuous efforts, these climbers are rewarded with a with Ghana cedis, regardless of the volume of coconuts harvested.

This stark contrast between their toil and financial compensation underscores the economic disparity that plagues their work.

“The daily struggle is real,” Robert confided, highlighting the need to conquer between 50 to 100 trees each day in order to make ends meet. This daunting task not only tests their physical limits but also their mental strength.

Beyond the physical challenges, the climbers face an ever-present danger: snake bites. Recounting a recent incident,

Robert shared his unsettling experience of being bitten by a snake while high up in a tree. This risk adds an element of unpredictability and peril to their already demanding profession.

The financial strain exacerbates their difficulties. Medical expenses eat into their meager earnings, leaving little room for financial security.

“It’s disheartening to work tirelessly only to see our hard-earned money funnel into medical bills,” Robert lamented, underlining the harsh realities they confront.

 

A snake bite
Robert’s hand bitten by a snake

Robert’s life journey has been marked by tragedy; he lost both parents at a young age, his father when he was just 7 and his mother a mere two years later. This early loss has fueled his tenacity and determination, enabling him to face the tribulations of his job with remarkable resilience.

Despite the challenges, Robert’s spirit remains unbroken. His affable demeanor stands in contrast to his difficult circumstances.

According to him, he needs an alternative job to survive. This sentiment echoes the aspirations of countless individuals who find themselves in similar circumstances, highlighting the pressing need for more opportunities and support within this sector.

These two young men serve as a stark reminder of the strength inherent in the human spirit. Beyond the coconuts they harvest, their stories represent a larger narrative of determination, sacrifice, and the pursuit of a brighter future in the face of adversity.

 

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