This is the village of Nomnayili, located in the Northern Region of Ghana. Nomnayili is a rural village full of large cotton trees, roaming goats, sheep, chickens, and kind, hard-working people. There are 26 households of Dagomba tribe people in the community and 18 households of Fulani just outside of the community (approximately 340 people). Fulani are a semi-nomadic group of people that raise cattle and usually live on the outskirts of a village. They come from different areas of Africa, so many of them speak different languages as the Dagomba communities.
Yesterday, January 12th our village had its opening day for the water treatment center! Our team and the business women were so excited to distribute the clean water! They have worked so hard learning and treating the dugout water over the last week. We pulled up to the village around 8 am and walked to the dugout. On the walk, we passed many women carrying bins on their heads and we were a little worried they might have already fetched water for the day. After waiting a few minutes we saw the business women walking towards the dugout with buckets balanced on their heads (never ceases to impress me). Moments later, many blue buckets carried by women and kids from the village began to pour in. The business women were totally ready; they already had a perfect system in mind for washing, testing for leaks, and filling the storage containers.
All of the containers were lined up, washed and filled with clean water. It was amazing to see the women and kids so happy and grateful to have a sustainable way of attaining a resource that is a basic human right. The kids were downing water bottles that they filled with the treated water, which was a strong contrast to seeing them scoop up dug out water to drink just days before. Mariama, one of the business women, was so happy that she was clapping and dancing when we finished. We tried to teach the kids how to do the footloose dance, but they were being shy and just kinda stared at me. However, the kiddos sure do love having their picture taken!
All the Dagomba households came and left with their filled buckets, but we still hadn’t seen the Fulani households. After sending a couple of kids to spread the word that the center was open, the Fulani began to pour in. At first they were a little hesitant (remember they don’t speak the same language), but after showing them some direction their buckets were filled as well! It was great to see the two communities working with each other so that everyone has access to clean water.
By the end of the morning, all but one household showed up to fill at least one bucket with water! The Polytank ran out after the last bucket, but the women already had settled water to add and treat with chlorine. To finish off opening day, Mariama told us how grateful she and the other business women are for the water treatment center and all of our help. The truth is, we didn’t do too much other than bring the materials and the process. We learned a lot more from them about having a positive attitude and being thankful for everything that we have.