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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: Robert, Katie, Morganne and Lauren

The lighting in the room flickered between light and dark as many faces took turns crowding the doorway.  The excitement was palpable.  We sat with Fati and Sowda inside our newly constructed solar center, huddled around the Genset. We soon mirrored the smiles surrounding us as our two women entrepreneurs reassembled the equipment from memory without prompting.  Having just concluded our meeting with the chief, elders, and entire community of Namdu One, it was clear that everyone knew this new clean energy business was “Ghana be a success.”

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When we arrived, the chief and elders had congregated around Namdu’s emblematic big tree.  Slowly, community members of all ages (yes, even the Fulani) joined the expansive circle in expectation for a big announcement. We sat tentatively as the audience expanded.  We, dressed in freshly tailored Ghanaian fabric, and the elders well dressed in colorful smocks and tunics, set the mood.  Despite our nerves, we began to officially present what we had been working on for the last week.

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Highlights included the dangers of kerosene and lead acid batteries as well as the benefits of solar energy and an outline of the solar business. Attempting to showcase the awesome durability of the Burro brand waterproof lanterns, our hearts collectively stopped: our showy toss of the plastic light to the ground took a turn for the worse, and the batteries and backing popped out.  The crowd was unimpressed to day the least. But we recovered our demonstration when we plunged the lit buoyant lantern into a murky bucket of dugout water.  Still lit, we walked it around the chief and elders who then regained confidence in the product. IMG_5284
Whether it’s due to the newly installed solar panels or the anticipation of our opening night, there is electricity in the air of Namdu one.  And when we did not think the day could get any brighter, Katie fulfilled her dream of riding a donkey.

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Team Khadijah: Robert, Lauren, Katie, Morganne