Storm Drains

Rain Washing Away Bolga

Rain Washing Away Bolga
Bolgatanga or Bolga, Ghana West Africa
Saturday, September 1, 2007

I just rambled on about the edge of culture at Yeji, Ghana and I am here in Bolgatanga, Ghana where un-natural or against the contra-ecosystem, development has created some sewer and water chaos.

This development is what people want money for and it creates often an annoyingly ugly situation for years and maybe decades. It requires time and money to maintain modern concentrated development of inner cities. There is no choice, when people want to cluster, and live in highly concentrated, pack to the gills cities, the country and cities must build sewer systems and a big time lag.

It is now raining very hard in Bolga, it has rain all night and slowly the higher points around this village are absorbing the water like a sponge. Tomorrow as the storm sewers are not adequate yet, and the run-off water finds a downhill path, it will create many rills, then channels as gravity of the land sponge allows the water to find its way to the sea. The city of Bolga seems to be on top of a location of many rills and channels.

Definition of Rill or Rills

1. stream: a little stream or brook
2. groove in soil: a small channel cut in soil

The sequence is something like this:

Convergence of Tributaries is a River

I found the large market in Bolga, just about 50 meters to the east of the large Lorry or Tro Tro Station. This mean, the large 15 passenger Vans and a few full-size buses. Mostly the 15 passenger vans and not the Taxis station. It was not on my map of the city, and the locals do not seem to understand the English word Market, I had to say Bananas, and they do not sell many Bananas there if any, I should have said Tomatoes, this would have lead me to the Market. I know this now in hindsight, tomatoes would lead me there, maybe groundnuts, a peanut to Americans.

In the market are rills, and actively flowing rills. It had not rained for about 24 hours when I arrived, and it was dry, the majority of puddles had evaporated. However, the rills continued to be fed from somewhere. It was a very curious experience for me; I was enthralled by the small rills, like a three-inch wide river or creek running through the market. Normally a rill starts and ends quickly.

There are sand bags in the market, trying to control the flow of the rills as they become channels and sometimes too large for the path. I am curious; the concrete or asphalt surfaces have expanded and created non-sponge areas of flat surface that seeks a low spot.

The market is good fun, as there are many bicycles and a few motorcycles, they use these paths and splash their way through some of the rills. There are very few bikes in Ghana and suddenly in this city of Bolga, there are hundreds. A person has to take care to not be hit by a bike or motorcycle, I was eating Fried Rice and Chicken the other night and a Vendor with a tub on her head was hit by a motorcycle, splashing the older lady into the street, fortunately, she did not appear hurt badly.

Water in Africa is fun, when it rains, what is a small channel can become a flooded roaring river, washing trash, plastic bags, and anything close into the channels and away to the nearest lake. A city becomes cleaner from manmade trash, however muddy and wet.

Rills form natural paths in dense vegetation and walking in the rill is easier than making a new path with a machete. Bolga is a construction zone as they somehow try to build up, sideways and try to manage the water, sewer, and byproducts of humans. Bolga is presently losing the battle; they have built way too many building structures and paved too many roads without adequate supplies of storm, sewage and water management or retention ponds.

Humorous to watch in a place where every sign says they ware working on development, and the NGOs just miss the point, start with the basics, provide infrastructure. The Chinese are good, they are doing a great job of giving Africa what they need, not what they want.

I could leave Bolga and overpopulated cluster of people full of chaotic development and go enter a small village, and the village would be very organized and manageable. While the bigger so-called developed is chaos. I would say the self-sustaining villages, what I have stopped calling subsistence farming may be the best use of land and resources.

Cities need large employers, where the mass of people can earn enough to live adequately. I am not sure the flock of development geese is flying in the correct direction.

Rain Washing Away Bolga

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