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#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: Angela, TJ, John and Jose

Opening Night…

The car that’s been coming to our village the last few weeks showed up again today, for the first time at nightfall. The 3 salamingas that have been building the solar center jumped out of their wheel machine smelling like water instead of their typical smells of dirt and sweat. They also wore nicer clothing and seemed prepared for some sort of celebration. Little did I know I was in for a surprise…

The three met with Fatima, Fatimata, and Hamshowu; the owners of me and my goat family. During the last two weeks I’ve heard them talking about how excited they are about running what they call a “solar business.” I’m not sure what that is, but they mentioned how they will finally be able to see and do work at night. The group gathered in the structure they built next to those shiny panels aimed at the sun. Shortly after, the rest of the villagers made their way from prayers towards this building each with a gadget in their hand.

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Fatima, Fatimata, and Hamshowu

The sun was completely gone and had been for a while now. I was hungry so I decided to do some grazing. And then it happened… I’ll never forget it. The boy Mohamed lifted his gadget and a beautiful white light lit up his face! It was unlike anything I had ever seen! Then there was another light, and another! One-by-one these gadgets lit up the sky. My owners, the villagers, the 3 salamingas, all of them started dancing and laughing. All of the sudden my owner walked towards me, like he was choosing me for some special purpose. He put a rope around me and started bringing me towards all the fun. I must admit I was pretty scared. It’s a great honor to be selected by your master.

 

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Silence fell as he brought me into the center of the group and handed my rope to TJ. “Yo TJ!” He brought our village clean water the last time he was here. He’s a good guy. I thought we might just be hanging out together, but then TJ and one of the salamingas lifted me into the back of their wheel machine.

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And so here I am, telling you this story because, well… it’s been the wildest day of my life. My new owners have even given me a name, Minga! I’ve never been in a wheel machine before, let alone one with these three who now smell like sweat and dirt instead of like water. The village is all that I know, I’m not sure if I’ll see it again. I want to remember it. So I’m sharing my story with you now. Why wait? Life is short.

Singing off,
Minga the goat
Adventurer and Narrator
Formerly of the village of Moya

4 New Businesses Means… A Winter Program Wrap-Up

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It’s a bittersweet moment for Saha. We’re saying goodbye to 14 Field Reps in Accra – they’re hoping on planes and flying back home to school, jobs and family. At the same time, we’re excited to welcome 10 more entrepreneurs to the Saha Global family, in the two new villages of Kpanshegu and Moya, and two current partner villages of Djelo and Tacpili. We will let these numbers speak to the hard work of Field Reps past and present:

178 women have started small businesses with the help of Saha Field Reps.

They own and operate 74 Water Treatment Businesses which serve 39,534 people.

They also run 8 Solar Charging Businesses, serving 3,704 people.

100% of these businesses are in operation today.

We want to take this opportunity to congratulate Jake, Shak, Julia, Sofia, Marlena, Tj, Julia, Wahab, Jenni, Orlando, Peter, Allison, Marsha, Sarah, Amin, Kiana, Matt, Kristina and Paul for their hard work in their communities. It was such a pleasure to work with this dedicated group.

Nawuni labsa naa.

Kathryn & Sam

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Voices from the Field: A Moya Opening Day Poem

OPENING DAY at Moya was a great success,

Without the business women, it would have been a mess.

We arrived in the village when the air was still chilly.

Children running around, willy nilly.

The women of the village were assembled with their buckets,

Handing out lollipops caused quite a ruckus.

All of the children were so happy with water bottles in hand,

it was like a party at the polytank stand.

The village said bye-bye to the dugout water filled with poo,

as we drove away in our taxi, Moya shouted wahoo, wahoo!

Moya kiddos!

Moya kiddos!
The first customers!

The first customers!
Orlando shows the polytank love.

Orlando shows the polytank love.
Fatima, Fatimatah and Hamshaw with their new business

Fatima, Fatimatah and Hamshaw with their new business
The line for water on opening day - look at those blue safe storage containers!

The line for water on opening day – look at those blue safe storage containers!
Team Moya - TJ, Orlando, Kiana, Jenni, Fatima, Fatimata, Hamshaw and Julia

Team Moya – TJ, Orlando, Kiana, Jenni, Fatima, Fatimata, Hamshaw and Julia. Saha’s 75th water business wouldn’t be possible without their hard work! 

Voices From the Field: Team TJ with Orlando, Julia, Kiana & Jenni

Today was our third day out in Moya with TJ. The village is smaller with a lot of Fulani families and lots of friendly kids. Our first two days we spent meeting with the chief and elders and the community to explain how we wanted to bring clean water to their village. Today we started training two of the community-selected women named Fatima, Fatimata, and the daughter of the third woman, Maria. The walk to the dugout is longer than in the other villages we’ve seen, and very dusty, but we were accompanied by a gaggle of children, some very bold, some terrified of the salamingas trying to pick them up.

Team TJ loads up the taxi for a drum delivery

Team TJ loads up the taxi for a drum delivery
Moya residents visit their dugout

Moya residents visit their dugout

Jenni took lead on the first day of training which involved showing the women how to fill the three 200-liter drums with the garawas and using the alum to start cleaning the water. The women are experts on alum-ball-making, so they sped through the process. We left the three blue drums full and treated with alum, so when we go back tomorrow the sediment will be settled out.

Julia works with Fatima, Fatimata and Maria to roll the alum into balls

Julia works with Fatima, Fatimata and Maria to roll the alum into balls
Fatima, Fatimata, and Maria treat their first batch of dugout water with alum.

Fatima, Fatimata, and Maria treat their first batch of dugout water with alum.

Back in the village, we went into the chief’s palace to say goodbye, and we were gifted with a chicken and yams, which are currently sitting in the trunk of TJ’s taxi. We are headed to the market this afternoon to pick up locks and other small things we need, as well as the large polytank in which the alum-treated water is treated with aquatabs to make it safe for drinking.

 

Kiana and TJ pose with the most recent addition to the Moya team. Delicious!

Kiana and TJ pose with the most recent addition to the Moya team. Delicious!
The community of Moya - the chief's palace is on the left!

The community of Moya – the chief’s palace is on the left!
Julia poses with a gift from the community

Julia poses with a gift from the community