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Monitoring Updates From Eda

Despa!! I’m currently sitting in the Saha office on a rainy Monday morning. Most days we’d be out monitoring right now, but the downpour is keeping us inside. We gave it our best shot, heading out at 6:30am only to make it to the other side of Tamale before we were soaked through. It doesn’t help much to put a rain jacket on after the rains begin, and motos don’t offer any rain protection, so back to the office Wahab and I drove! Tomorrow we will try again!

 

The few weeks since the Global Leadership Program ended have been an adventure. Thus far, I’ve gone monitoring with Eric, Shak, and am now starting to monitor with Wahab. Katie and I are spending a week with each full time staff to really understand how things run around here.

Eric monitors Vogyili, the community I implemented a water business in as a field rep. It was fun to monitor and see how well they were doing, especially considering they now have a solar business too. Eric also monitors five of the nine new water businesses from this summer’s GLP. All five (Kanjeyili, Baayili, Dawunyili, Mahamuyili, and Kpingiyili) are doing well!

Moto

 

A few surprises occurred when Shak and I visited Yakura. The first of which was the small lake that greeted us on the road into the village. We weren’t sure we could make it through on the moto, but a man passing by on a bicycle assured us it wasn’t that deep. However, he was taking a back route that wasn’t moto friendly to avoid the puddle, so we were on our own. I decided to let Shak ride alone, and I would walk though the puddle rather than risk a swim were the moto to tip. Thankfully, the man was right and we made it through without (many) problems, but I am glad I walked!

Puddle

 

In Yakura I also saw Mary, one of the women entrepreneurs from my time in Vogyili. We were walking into our first household to monitor and there she was!

I knew that she had moved to another community, but I was so surprised and excited to see her! She’s now helping run the water and solar businesses in Yakura. Mary was equally as surprised to see me, and asked how Victoria, Jacob, and Hailey were (my 2013 GLP teammates).  It was a touching reminder of the lasting impact field reps and Saha truly have on each community and its entrepreneurs.

Kitchen

 

And now, an update on living in Tamale and a shameless plug for our food blog! Katie and I have started an Instagram account – tamaleeats – to document our adventures cooking and eating here in Tamale (even though we have zero experience with food photography). It’s a whole new world learning what goods we can actually cook from the market, and trying to operate our oven. It’s a great day if it only takes one match to light the stove!

 

Nevertheless, I think we’ve done a splendid job so far: we haven’t eaten plain rice for any meal and we discovered donuts in the market can be a good (albeit not nutritious) lunch substitute when it’s too hot to turn on the stove. Head over to tamaleeats to see homemade falafel, mujadara, chili, and more!

Donuts Falafel

#Sahayili16 Reflections on the 2016 Summer Global Leadership Program

It’s been just over a week since we said farewell to the 2016 Summer Field Reps. Thanks to this group of amazing individuals, Saha partnered with 15 communities in Northern Ghana to open 9 new water treatment businesses and 6 new solar charging businesses, which provide jobs to 27 new entrepreneurs. 3,288 people now have permanent access to safe drinking water and 2,232 people have access to reliable, clean solar electricity. Additionally, 16 of our water entrepreneurs have now been trained to run solar businesses, increasing their earning potential!

Abby, Adeel, Alexis, Aliyah, Angela, Anita, Anna, Annalise, Arielle, Ashley, Audrey, Ayodele, Bethany, Bill, Chelsea, Christina, Davis, Diana, Erin, Eugenia, Greg, Jack, Jen, Jhoanny, John F, John H, Jose, Julia C, Julia R, Kanaha, Kate, Kathryn, Kelsea, Kevonté, Kristen, Laura, Lauren, Lexie, Lorry, Lucy, Mcrid, Micah, Molly, Morgan, Olivia, Rachael, Ryan, Sam, Savannah, Shuoyang, Swapnil, Taylor, Tim, Vivian, Wivine, Yanshu and Yi,

We can’t believe that it’s been 10 days since we packed our bags and loaded up together for the last time – surprisingly on time and without technical difficulties, a real Tamale miracle! We are so grateful for the energies, talents and passions that you brought to Saha, which were essential to the opening of these new water and solar businesses. It is no exaggeration to say that because of you, thousands of people are living their lives with more opportunities for health and happiness. It was a pleasure to work with each and every one of you, and we are so lucky to continue to have you as members of the Saha Team! As head off to your next impactful endeavors, remember your community and Saha, and let us know what we can do to further your missions. 

To quote Kpanshegu’s chief, as he related to Team Amin during their Chief Meeting, “There is currently a shift in the consciousness of the African culture to realize that they [the villagers] deserve it [clean water, electricity, education,etc.]. True knowledge is not knowing English or how to read or write, but rather it is the recognition of who you are and what you need to do; and if you explain that this [business] is theirs and that they need to work with you for it, that they will appreciate it and make it their own. And those who have knowledge and do not share it with others will be cursed by god whether they know it or not. It is your job with knowledge to pass it on to others and facilitate that change.” 

With gratitude,

Amin, Brianán, Eda, Eric, Kathryn, Katie, Peter, Shak & Wahab

Bamvim - Anita, Jack, Yanshu, Laura

Jack, Yanshu, Anita and Laura in the community of Bamvim

 

 

Audrey, Taufik, Taylor, Micah and Anna in the community of Baayili

Audrey, Taufik, Taylor, Micah and Anna in the community of Baayili

 

Dzorsah, Greg, Wivine, Jen and Abby in the community of Changbuni

Dzorsah, Greg, Wivine, Jen and Abby in the community of Changbuni

 

Kathryn, Annalise, Simply, Molly and Aliyah in the community of Dawunyili

Kathryn, Annalise, Simply, Molly and Aliyah in the community of Dawunyili

 

Mcrid, Arielle, Kanaha, Lexie and Nestor in Jukuku

Mcrid, Arielle, Kanaha, Lexie and Nestor in Jukuku

 

Kelsea, Lucy, Bill, Sita and Diana in the community of Kanjeyili

Kelsea, Lucy, Bill, Sita and Diana in the community of Kanjeyili

 

Ayodele, Olivia, Lorry in the community of Komlanyili

Ayodele, Olivia, Lorry in the community of Komlanyili

 

Jhoanny, Adeel and Tim (missing: Shuoyang) in the community of Kpanshegu

Jhoanny, Adeel and Tim (missing: Shuoyang) in the community of Kpanshegu

 

Erin, Alexis, Peter, Swapnil and Julia in the community of Kpingiyili

Erin, Alexis, Peter, Swapnil and Julia in the community of Kpingiyili

 

Yi, Savannah, Eugenia and Chelsea in the community of Mahmuruyili

Yi, Savannah, Eugenia and Chelsea in the community of Mahmuruyili

 

TJ, Angela, Jose & John in the community of Moya

TJ, Angela, Jose & John in the community of Moya

 

Christina, Bethany, Sam, Julia and Sumaya in Sankunpe

Christina, Bethany, Sam, Julia and Sumaya in Sankunpe

 

Ashley, Lauren, Kate, Amina and John in Tantuani

Ashley, Lauren, Kate, Amina and John in Tantuani

 

Davis, Rachael, Vivian and Morgan in the community of Warivi

Davis, Rachael, Vivian and Morgan in the community of Warivi

 

Rachel, Ryan, Kristen, Wahab and Kevonté in the community of Yapala

Rachel, Ryan, Kristen, Wahab and Kevonté in the community of Yapala

 

 

Field Rep Voices – Team: Taylor, Audrey, Anna, Micah and Taufik

Sitting in the middle of Bayili’s humble palace, Team Taufik had agreeably one of the most unique experiences of our lives. It was our meeting with the chief and the elders of the community we were hoping to work with over the next couple weeks. After taking our shoes off, we stepped into his hut and squatted down and began the greetings. The elder we came into contact with first upon our arrival to the village, offered up the 5 cedes we had given out of respect. The chief nodded to us and began speaking in Dagbani. Unaware of exactly what was happening, but eager to be a part of the process, we mimicked the men and our translator by lightly clapping our hands and responding “Naa” to all their well wishes to our lives and our families.

IMG_0991 copy

Our team member, Audrey, gave our pitch confidently and eloquently and our translator, Taufik, bridged the language gap. They nodded approval throughout the meeting and were happy to move forward with the water sanitation business implementation. Yay! The next day we got to meet with the entire community and they also loved the idea. We are so excited and thankful for the opportunity to work with our village! Here are some other things that we have been very thankful for throughout our experience…

taylor

We are thankful to have an inside look at what an official chief meeting looks like.

We are thankful that our village has welcomed us into their traditions.

We are thankful for Taufik both for his service to this organization and his willingness to teach us the ways of Tamale.

We are thankful for simple solutions and the impact they can have on people’s lives.

We are thankful for our driver, Alhassan, because he not only drives us everywhere but also fixes everything. Literally everything.

We are thankful for the village’s excitement to help us implement this business.

We are thankful for cute kids and their curious, unashamed staring.

We are thankful for laughter because no matter what language you speak, everyone understands it.

audrey