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2015 Summer Program ends with a dance circle

IMG_3293Dear Kelly, Jessie, Bria, Kelsey, Rachel, Andrew, Val, Sol, Jessica, Phoebe, Mekleet, Britt, Molly, Isabel, Kevin, Emma, Hunter, Lindsey, Greta, Heidi, Josh, Camille, Hallie, Paul, Cassi, Dani, Robert, Lauren, Morganne, Katie, Dawnelle, Kristely, Nardos, Tara, Sarah, Richard, Sasha, Danaite, Elizabeth, Maggie & Havana,

We can’t believe that it was just a little over a week ago that we were sitting at the top of Giddipass cheers-ing all your hard work, closing the 2015 Summer Global Leadership Program with an epic dance circle.

YOU DID IT! We are so grateful for your dedication to fundraise, visit doctors, and struggle with visas, sit on a 12+ plane ride followed by an 18 hour bus ride, smush into a taxi for a ~2 hour ride out to your village, work under the sweltering African heat and sun, eat the chicken and rice, jump in the cold showers, and own the layer upon layers of dirt.

Working in some of the most remote villages in the Northern Region is hard work. The work to get these businesses up and running is grueling. Some days you may have asked yourself,  “What the heck am I doing here?” But each day you rose to the occasion. Each day you were quickly reminded of the end goal, maybe from watching a child run to the dugout to grab a drink of extremely turbid water, talking to a mother about the effects of kerosene she has seen within her family, or chattin’  with the chief and elders about their community’s options for water or electricity.

Words can hardly express our gratitude. We really enjoyed getting to know each of you. Your passion and drive are infectious. From the moment you arrived in Ghana we were impressed by your energy, go-getter spirits, and ability to learn on the fly. You all were exactly what we needed on our team to reach our goal of 11 new businesses this summer. We are so proud of the work that you were able to accomplish and feel fully confident in the sustainability of the businesses that you implemented during your time in Ghana. Thanks to each of you, approximately 1,320 people now have a permanent source of clean drinking water, 2,240 people have access to solar electricity and 28 women have become business owners.

Welcome to the Saha Family!

Sincerely,

Kate, Shak, Peter, Sam, Amin, Kathryn, Wahab & Eric

Yepala - Kelly Jessie Wahab Bria Kelsey

Kelly, Jessie, Wahab, Bria & Kelsey worked in Yepela to bring a source of clean drinking water to 456 people and a new job opportunity to Abiba & Amina.
Yakura - Cassie Sharifa Dani Paul

Cassie, Sharifa, Dani & Paul worked in Yakura to bring a source of electricity to 184 people and a new job opportunity to Ayi and Awabu.
Warivi - Nardos Kristely Dawnelle Sita

Nardos, Kristely, Dawnelle & Sita worked in Warivi brought a source of clean drinking water to 392 people and a new job opportunity to Fati, Fesina, Salamatu & Zuleha.
Vogyili - Nestor Josh Hallie Camille

Nestor, Josh Hallie & Camille worked in Vogyili to bring a source of electricity to 264 people and a new job opportunity to Asia, Fushina & Sanatu.
Namdu 2 - Andrew Sol Rachel Val

Andrew, Sol, Rachel, Val and Shak worked in Namdu 2 to bring a source of electricity to 288 people and a new job opportunity to Fusiena, Rabi and Wumbe.
Namdu 1 - Morganne Katie Khadijah Robert Lauren

Morganne, Katie, Khadijah, Robert & Lauren worked in Namdu to bring a source of electricity to 544 people and a new job opportunity to Fatima & Sowda.
Kpenchilla_Isabel_Emma_Kevin_Eric_Molly

Isabel, Emma, Kevin, Eric and Molly worked in Kpenchilla to bring a source of electricity to 512 people and a new job opportunity to Zuera, Sana and Damu.
Komlanyili - Sasha Richard Sarah Tara Amin

Sasha, Richard, Sarah, Tara and Amin worked in Komlanyili to bring a source of clean drinking water to 272 people and a new job opportunity to Nina & Safia.
Jangbarayili - Hunter Lindsey Greta Heidi Jaleel

Hunter, Lindsey, Greta, Heidi & Jaleel worked in Jangbarayili to bring 176 people a source of electricity and a new job opportunity to Aisha & Salamatu.
Belmapuso - Britt Phoebe Mekleet Jessica TJ

Britt, Phoebe, Mekleet, Jessica & TJ worked in Belampuso to bring a source of electricity to 272 people and a new job opportunity to Beremina, Damu and Sana.
Bamvim - Elizabeth Havana Simply Danaite Maggie

Elizabeth, Havana, Simply. Danaite and Maggie worked in Bamvim to bring a source of clean drinking water to 200 people and a new job opportunity to Mariama and Hawabu.

Voices from the Field: Team Jaleel

June 14th

We have had a very eventful first couple of days in our village, Jangbarayili! Our first challenge was to pronounce the name of the village…a task we are continuing to work on. We set out early morning on the first day to greet our village. At 6:00am we left with our translator to get the engine fixed to make our voyage. We waited 2 long hours for the repairs to be completed and then were hopeful to get going. As we were driving we had our first run in with the Ghanaian cops, not once…but TWICE (within 5 minutes of each other we might add). Finally, we arrived and were greeted with children fighting to hold our hands, so much so, there was one child per finger. This is when we knew this would be a great village to work with. Trying to break free from the kids’ grasps we met with Chairman Yaya to seek a meeting with the chief and elders. The chief was out farming, so we busied ourselves by trying to find the crocodiles known to lurk around the dugout. Once the chief returned, he and the elders were already seated and waiting for us to pitch our purpose of working with them to create a solar power center and business to be run by respected women in the community (the same model that was implemented by Saha Global for the previous water business). They accepted without any hesitation and even said “No was not an option.” They were gracious for the opportunity to bring light to their village and we were excited to stat working with them!

chief meeting

Community Pic

June 15th

We woke up the next morning eager and hopeful for the day ahead. We ambitiously left to gather and purchase ALL the supplies that morning so we could prove our commitment to the village. Unfortunately, we ran into unexpected complications in the process. For instance, we had no idea what the items should cost in GHCs, and did not know which items could be bartered for or what item had set prices. We also had to go many different places to cut the wood because some businesses ran out of power. After many stops and learning experiences, we got most of the supplies and were pleasantly surprised by how many people in the community had gathered to work and how much they had already accomplished in building the structure. The men in the community taught us how to make mortar by mixing water and clay in a pit, so we all literally jumped in to get our hands and feet. Everyone helped out and even the little kids made their own assembly line carrying little piles of mortar to connect the bricks. In no time at all, it was finished!
June 16th

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Day three, we started on the roof with a local carpenter. Since the carpenter was an expert, there was little help us or the community could give him, so we took the opportunity to get to know the women entrepreneurs. We asked them questions about their water business as well as going over their solar business that was soon to come. They even gave us a chuckle with a funny story about a spider who thought he could be oil in a pot. The funniest part was not the story itself, but the women acting out the scene complete with shouting and wiggling her behind. Another team member bonded with the boys playing soccer and another brought together the community with her Ukulele. At the end of the day, we accomplished all of our goals and even more! We are now ready to tackle each new day with the village and all the challenges that will arise.

Team Jaleel: Greta, Heidi, Lindsey, Hunter and Jaleel (not pictured)

Team Jaleel: Greta, Heidi, Lindsey, Hunter and Jaleel (not pictured)

P.S. Drought is alive and well in Ghana’s rainy season. Fortunately, it has just started pouring as we type.
-The Greatest Team (Lindsey, Heidi, Greta, Hunter, Jaleel)

Voice from the Field: Team Jaleel (Melissa, Sarah S., Christina & Nicole)

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Sarah S. saying hey!

Greetings from Ghana! Team Jaleel, which consists of Melissa, Nicole, Sarah and Christina, have been working hard to prepare for opening day tomorrow! We are working in the village of Jangbarayili, which means ‘man’s village’. Over the past couple of weeks we have completely fallen in love with the Jangbarayili community. They are wonderfully kind people and have been so welcoming since the moment we set foot in the village. It is an absolute pleasure to be greeted by Yaya Chairman at 7am every morning. We have really connected with community, especially the kids. In our free time we have played cards, duck-duck-goose, Frisbee, and soccer. They are an extremely active community. We were also surprised to find out that the dugout the community currently drinks from has a family of crocodiles living in it! We have had a couple croc sightings but we are far from the Crocodile Hunter experience.

Melissa chilling with some kids on the polytank

Melissa chilling with some kids on the polytank

We began working in the village about a week ago and already we have set up the water treatment center and trained two of the community women in business management. It was an incredible moment to see the dugout water transform into clean, healthy, drinkable water. The results from our 3M test showed that the Jangbarayili village had some of the most E. Coli infested waters that CWS has ever seen. We anticipate that the clean water provided by the new center will have significant positive impacts on the health of the village. Today we finished distributing our safety storage containers and informed all members of the community of our big opening tomorrow! We also have a big surprise for the kids in the village. We are going to set up a rope swing by the trail leading down to the water center! We are so excited for our big event tomorrow! This has been an amazing learning experience for all of us and we are so grateful to have this opportunity to bring clean water to the Jangbarayili community!

-Melissa, Sarah S., Christina & Nicole

Nicole heads down to the water treatment center

Nicole heads down to the water treatment center
Christina carries some supplies on her head for construction

Christina carries some supplies on her head for construction