Resourcefulness is essential to supporting a family in northern Ghana. Husband, father, and farmer, Sampson (in the photo) is shown receiving a foot pedaled irrigation pump in December 2015. Hardworking and energetic, he was able to pay Yakote Women Farmers back his portion of the pump’s cost in January 2017. And then, last week, we received a call to let us know that Sampson died in a collapsed tunnel while galamsey mining. He leaves a wife and 4 children.

According to Wikipedia, “galamseys are people who do gold mining independent of mining companies, digging small working (pits, tunnels and sluices) by hand.” With some small deposits in the nearby countryside and gold prices up, we know more than a few Nabdam farmers who seek to supplement their income with this treacherous form of mining. When we visit, a few lucky farmer/miners will have found enough gold to purchase a motorcycle, and a few will have died when a pit or tunnel collapsed. The majority of galamseys mine for weeks with scarcely any results.

Tragic accidents such as Sampson’s tend to be more prevalent than one would expect. Out of desperation, people are willing to do expose themselves to danger in order to pay debts, pay school fees, or get food for the family.

We are among the sad to learn of Sampson’s early death. Good humans try to help others who are desperate. We see it all around us, even closer to home and in our own cities. With no solution in sight, if one were to ask us, “what can we do?” Our answer would be, “never stop trying.”