We have settled into a nice routine here in Tamale. We visit a handful of houses and check up on the treatment center in each village once every week or two. Even in the new villages our faces are familiar by now! And speaking of faces: I am trying my best to get pictures from each village so that those of you at home who remember your community can see how everyone is doing.
The tricky thing about routines, though, is how easily they are broken! This was also definitely a week of firsts as well.
In Kadula, a runaway tractor (incredible mental image) got away from its owner after being ‘bathed’ in the dugout. It ran downhill and (naturally) hit Kadula’s treatment center. Luckily only the stand suffered any damage.
The silver lining to this unfortunate incident is how well the community is doing literal damage control. When I arrived on Tuesday to speak with the chief and elders, they already had a plan for repairs and some new rules for vehicles around the dugout. I will keep you updated on their progress!
In Jagberin, Ayesha and Fulera decided that it was time to clean the polytank, so when we visited on Thursday we talked them through the process. In this split community each village ‘side’ takes a turn filling the blue drums, but this time they both pitched in to get everything cleaned quickly. We were pleasantly surprised to find the center up and running the next day.
So our team, Team Pineapple Express, started off our Tamale adventure really strong, winning the scavenger hunt with a prize of pride, but hey, we also found Barack Obama underwear, which is a prize in itself. Our team is Stephanie, David, Matthew and Abena and we all come from different backgrounds and came to Ghana for different reasons, making our team a really interesting and dynamic grouping!
Everything has been really great so far. After visiting two different villages that already had worked with CWS, we were really excited to finally visit our own village, Jabrang (which we are still working on pronouncing). Although its one of the farther villages, we’re really excited to be paired with this village, which has about 33 households and lots of enthusiastic members and adorable kids! Our chief meeting went really well; he was really excited to have us and all the elders and other present members could not wait to get working and get the project off the ground. The dugout water is really dirty and full of algae and bacteria. We’re really happy that we can assist this village clean up their water.
After our initial meeting with the chief, who by the way is awesome, we held a village-wide meeting the next day. With the help of our trusty translator, Wahab, we explained to men, women and children who we are, what CWS does, and what our partnership would look like and how we are able to help them. We explained in detail the implementation process and how the water business operates. We also brought with us water samples, both clean and dirty, to help all the villagers visualize what we were talking about. It is an understatement to say that they were all on board, excited, and extremely grateful. They gave us a round of applause in the end and wanted us to start immediately! We’re so happy to have a village that is so thrilled. We know we can really make a difference in Jabrang!
Yesterday we started the building process: manual labor day one! Fortunately for us, Wahab is a great mason and takes the polytank stand construction very seriously! He requested a lot of pictures to be taken, mostly solo shots! But he really did a great job! We had a crowd of about 25 people, men and children mostly, watching the stand being built and just coming around to show their support and see if we needed any help. It was great to see such a good turnout from the community. The kids are also finally warming up to us! Can’t wait to play!