To those who do not know what pito is? Pito is a locally brewed drink very common among the Dagaaba of northern Ghana. It is brewed from dried millet with dough added to ferment and give it an alcoholic taste.
Pito is one of the most patronized drinks among the youth of Jirapa. It is common to find a group of young guys moving from one pito bar to another drinking. It seems to be the only source of refreshment for visitors, it is therefore very common to see visitors been served with pito.
The rising state of “tombolism” (the intake of pito) among the youth of Jirapa is nothing to write home about. One is therefore tempted to ask whether pito is a curse or a blessing to the youth of Jirapa in the 21st century. It is not as if one wants to condemn the intake of pito, pito is good for humans but when it is consumed in excess it becomes bad. Growing up as a young man in Jirapa, I have heard and seen a couple of people lose their lives through accidents because of drunk driving and many subjected to perpetual poverty because they spent the little money that they have on pito. Far from these, there has been a high rate of people been poisoned at pito bars and the spread of hepatitis B through pito bars because the calabashes been used to serve this drink are not well washed after use by one individual before it is been used to serve others. No wonder Jirapa District stands tall as one of the districts with the highest cases of hepatitis in the Upper west region.
Weighing the merits and the demerits of the intake of pito on the youth of Jirapa, I will say that pito is a curse rather than a blessing to the youth of Jirapa. Authorities in the district will therefore need to sit up and conduct public education to educate people on the negative effects of too much intake of pito, the health directorate in particular should wake up from its trauma and ensure effective screening of pito brewers, ensure that the pots and calabashes been used to serve pito are well washed and sterilized before they are been used again. This will contribute in a substantial manner to a reduction if not complete end to the bad effects (health hazards) that are gotten from the intake of pito.
This will help save the youth of Jirapa from the unexpected deaths that occur day-in-Day out.
Formerly of ST. Francis Xavier Junior Seminary.