The Penyi Story

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recently I got invited to a festival as a guest and as usual here was I thinking it was going to be like every other festival – either about religion, social or migration to celebrate the people of the town.

But this festival was of a difference.

Maybe by the time I’m done with telling the history of the festival it would make sense to you.

For 26 years since the chief passed on in this small town, the traditional authority has been vested in a Regency which has been preparing the grounds for the next chief to be enstooled. Per the dictates of the constitution, a regency has only limited opportunity in bringing development to a community and this invariably means that the community lags behind in terms of benefiting from the national development agenda.

It is for this reason that some well meaning indigenes of the community recognizing that the youth were the future leaders of every community decided to harness that potential and form the Penyi Youth Organization (PEYO) to spearhead development projects in the community.

Through contributions and soliciting funds from members of the community, a town lighting project was undertaken and put to bed. Furthermore a clinic was brought into the town to cater for the health needs of the community among other projects.

Then came a time to find one event that would solidify the unity in the community once and for all. An event that will embody what the community stood for – One People, One Community.

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This was an event that would bring together all members of the community resident and non-resident, both old and young to unite as one people with a common goal at heart which is the development of the Penyi town.

In many communities in Ghana, there are several festivals that bound the people together. Festivals are occasions to highlight the culture of a people, a time for homecoming for members who belong to that particular community home and abroad, resident and non-resident.

So a festival was to be the vehicle and conduit to bring the people together but what form would it take?

It is in deliberating on this that a planning committee was formed to design a festival for the community. the festival was named Nugoryiza which basically means “Moving Forward”. A logo was then proposed for the community and it’s important to understand the logo. 

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The planning committee chose an anthill to be in the logo because they believed in the story of the social life of ants.  Even though they have no visible leaders ants come together to put up an impermeable structure that’s formidable and recognizable all over the landscape where it is built. If even ants, the smallest of animals can do this, how much more human beings.

It is very evident that this story sunk well with the community because notably during the float /walk as part of the festival’s activities some youth would quickly rush together to any anthills on the road and pose for pictures. Not everybody however seemed to understand the significance of the anthill though they were taking pictures with it.

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The Anthill

The theme for the festival this year was “Promoting Our Local Foods For A Better Ghana”. The theme of the festival was designed towards self sufficiency which has always been the watchword and guiding principle of the Penyi community.

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Festival activities included an awareness walk by the youth all the way to the new free zones customs border with neighbouring Togo, a beauty pageant, who will take up a communal cause (she chose to check the girl-child school drop out rate), a food bazaar to showcase the various foods made from corn (the staple food of the community) and yours truly was there to sample some.

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The story of Penyi in the Volta region is of one community doing what I’ve been preaching all this time since I started this blog. Don’t wait for government to make a positive or developmental changes in your life but take your destiny into your own hands and shape it the way you want.

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It is about time that people realize that the government can not do everything in providing social amenities and the necessary facilities for social and communal development and like the Penyi community has embraced the philosophy of the ants in working together to build an anthill, so too can every human, working together with others create a monument in this life.

Like I always say,
It begins with YOU!!

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Jama group

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