Yesterday morning, Team Peter woke up at 5:30 for breakfast. We had the usual – bread, eggs, and coffee/tea – before heading out to meet Peter (our translator and Saha team leader) and Hustla (our taxi driver) at the front of GILLBT. We left the compound headed for Tacpuli, but stopped on the outskirts of Tamale to buy cola nuts for the village’s chief (a Ghanaian tradition for important events). We were to pitch the idea of a solar charging center to Tacpuli’s council of elders.
The drive took a little over an hour; most of us napped along the way. We awoke as our cab veered off the main road onto the bumpy dirt path that lead into the village. Peter was well known in Tacpuli – he had been the Saha representative who lead the implementation of the village’s water sanitation business a few years back and had been periodically checking in with the villagers since. As we navigated between households towards the chief’s palace, we were greeted with smiles from those who recognized Peter. We waited briefly in the chairman of the village’s household as word of our surprise visit spread and the elders gathered at the palace. A crowd of awestruck and excited children gathered to watch us. When the elders were ready, we were lead into the compound where they had prepared benches for us to sit on. It was obvious that Saha Global was well respected in Tacpuli.
The meeting was as painless as possible. We explained that Tacpuli was selected for the solar program due to the great successes of their clean water business. We explained the dangers of kerosene and lead acid batteries and demonstrated the durability of the new lanterns and rechargeable NiMH batteries. Peter relayed our message in Dagboni to the chairman who spoke on behalf of the elderly chief. They expressed how eager they were to place their trust again in Saha, recognizing our persistent dedication to the well- being of their people, and asked when we wished to begin construction of the center. We will be visiting them again today to announce our plans to the entire community, and construction will commence immediately after.
On our way out, the chairman flagged our taxi down and had us return to his household. He had prepared a parting gift for us: 7 yams and a live chicken! We are all looking forward to getting to work!
– Paul, Julia, Matt & Kristina