Marvin Lawson, Vendor of LIFE WATER Station for over 5 years.

Marvin Lawson, Vendor of LIFE WATER Station for over 5 years.

Q: How did you become a vendor at one of Point Hopes water stations?

A: I needed something to do so I came to Point Hope and they had open positions for the water stations. I then applied and had an interview which was followed by a background check. I was then selected for the job.

Q: Who trained you once you were hired?

A: There was a plumber that trained me on specific tasks that need to be done to the pumps.

Q: Did you have any other experience that helped you when you started working?

A: For many years I had worked at the reservoir that is on the Buduburam camp. This is where everyone received their water prior to Point Hope putting in all of the watering stations.

Q: How was the reservoir different from the water stations?

A: A truck would come with water to fill the reservoir. It was much more expensive because the water was being transported to the camp. It also was not as safe to drink as the water from the Point Hope pumps because debris was often in the water from the tank of the truck.

Q: How many water stations are there at the camp?

A: There are 25. There are three in Zone 9 which is the zone that I work in.

Q: Can you give an estimate of how many people come to your station?

A: It is hard to say. It changes everyday. I see the same people most days but during the rainy season the numbers drop a lot. They take advantage of using the free rain water.

  Marvin is checking the water meter which reads the amount of water dispensed at the "fetching station"; each station has a meter and that is how expenses and vendor commissions are calculated.

Marvin is checking the water meter which reads the amount of water dispensed at the "fetching station"; each station has a meter and that is how expenses and vendor commissions are calculated.

Marvin Lawson, Water Vendor

Marvin Lawson is a Liberian who first arrived in Ghana on April 16, 1996, at the age of 26, after a four-day journey on a relief ship from Liberia.  He was accompanied by his younger brother with whom he had escaped after their father, uncle, brother and sister were all killed by rebel soldiers.  Once the ship arrived, Marvin and his younger brother, along with many other Liberians, were brought to the Liberian Refugee Settlement at the village of Buduburam in the Central Region.  Since that time, the Liberian refugee status has ended (cessation was invoked by the UNHCR) and the remaining Liberians have either returned to Liberia or stayed in Ghana to integrate into society. 

Now 46, Marvin has seen many changes in the "Buduburam Camp", which includes the water stations that were put in by Point Hope in 2008.  For the past 5 years, Marvin has worked seven-days a week at his LIFE WATER station.  He believes Point Hope is a lifesaver for the people of the camp, especially because of the affordable, clean drinking water they have made available through the 25 fetching stations.

  Marvin is unlocking the water faucet to begin selling water. The spigots must be locked between uses, as there is no other manner of securing the access to the water.

Marvin is unlocking the water faucet to begin selling water. The spigots must be locked between uses, as there is no other manner of securing the access to the water.

Q: What are the responsibilities of your job?

A: Beginning in the morning, I make sure the tank is full which supplies all the water to the community. I check all of the stations' individual pumps for any breaks or leaks and, if needed, I schedule repairs. At my pump, I help people fill their containers and take the payments.

Q: What does the money from selling water go towards?

A: The money goes to maintenance for any of the pumps. It is also the money that I get paid with. I receive a percentage from what is earned.

Q: What type of hours do you work?

A: At around two to three in the morning, I go check the tank. Then my station is open from around four to five until Noon. At three or four in the afternoon I return and work until eight at night.

Q: You have worked at your station seven days-a-week for five years. Do you think you will continue to work there for a number of years?

A: I enjoy work. It gives me something to do. I am interested in plumbing and hope that it could be in my future. I also pray my life will improve and I will not have to live as a refugee.