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#sahappy2behere – Reflections on the 2017 Winter Global Leadership Program

It’s crazy to think that less than a week ago we were saying farewell to the 2017 Winter Field Reps. Thanks to this group of awesome, driven individuals, Saha was able to partner with with 9 communities in Northern Ghana to open 7 new water treatment businesses and 2 new solar charging businesses, which provide jobs to 21 new entrepreneurs. 1,664 people now have permanent access to safe drinking water and 752 people have access to reliable, clean solar electricity. Additionally, 5 of our water entrepreneurs have now been trained to run solar businesses, increasing their earning potential!

Alex C, Alex K, Ann, Becky, Caleb, Caroline, Celine, Elijah, Erin, Joanne, Kalin, Kevin, Laura, Lexie, Louis, Matt, Maureen, Micah, Mona-Mae, Morgan, Nikita, Olivia, Qingyi, Sarah, Shaminika, Shane, Shanelle, Shannon, Terynek, Tess, Walker, Wyatt, Yu and Zulean,

We can’t believe that just under a week ago, we packed our bags and loaded up in front of GILLBT for the last time! We are so grateful for the excitement, enthusiasm, hard-work and positivity that you brought to team Saha. Because of you, thousands of people are living their lives with more opportunities for health and happiness. It was such a pleasure to work with all of y’all, and we consider ourselves lucky to count you as part of Sahayili! As you head off to your next impactful adventures, please don’t forget your community and all of us here at Saha, and let us know what we can do to further your missions. 

With gratitude,

Amin, Eda, Eric, Kathryn, Morganne, Peter, Shak & Wahab

And now … for the jumping pics!

Eric, Iddrisu, Erin, Qingyi, Sarah and Shane in Chihigu

 

Elijah, Kalin, Ann and Wahab in Defisa

 

Wyatt, Caleb, Joanne, Shanelle and Shak in Jagberin

 

Celine, Laura, Olivia, Matt, and Nestor in Juni

 

Terynek, Micah, Shannon and Becky in Labariga

 

Morganne, Mona, Simply and Alex in Kpumi

 

Walker, Shamanika, Sita, Lexie and Tess (not shown) in Parishenaaya

 

Louis, Alex, Caroline and Maureen in Tuya

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Field Rep Voices: Team Lexie, Shama, Sita, Tess and Walker

Team Sita here,
So far we have had an amazing two weeks in Tamale, Ghana. We learned a ton about the Ghanaian culture and language during the first few days of orientation. We then visited a water business that was set up earlier in the year to see what the community thought about it. We heard nothing but positive feedback, such as: “Our stomachs do not hurt anymore;” “We love the taste of the water;” “It is soooo clear!!!We love it!!!” We were also all pleasantly welcomed by the community especially by the children. I can speak for the group when I say that we definitely didn’t have enough fingers for all the little hands that wanted to hang on. That experience certainly helped us build a vision for starting our future water business.

The team with Parishenaaya’s polytank stand

Fast forward to today, we worked from 7:30am-2:30pm out in the field with our two female entrepreneurs, our translator Sita, and of course one of our village’s babies, who we promptly named “angry baby,” came a long to watch us. We began the day by filling up our Poly Tank with our three 200mL drums. We treated the drums yesterday with alum and let them set overnight. It was crazy to see all the settlement and dirt that collected at the bottom of the drums. The women always love to comment on how clear the water is. The other day we were touched by how the women reacted when we had to dump out some of our newly purified water to start a new cycle. They were upset because the water was so clean, so they decided to collect the rest of it and bring it back to the village with them to share with their community. After we added in the water to the Poly Tank we purified it using three chlorine tablets. We then helped the women fetch water from their dugout to refill the three drums and treat them with alum again.

Alum work with the new entrepreneurs

I then tested the women on how to fit the tap to the buckets and they did a great job after a few tries. Next, Shama taught them how to fix the red button on the tap so they were good to go to help their community with any problems they may face with their safe storage containers. We then walked back to the village where Walker, Tess, and Sita went to thirteen family units and talked them through how to use their safe storage containers so that they do not re-contaminate the clean water that they buy. Because I was working with Shama today, I can go more in-depth about what it was like for us keeping the kids occupied and learning more about the villagers. The first hour or so we played around five games of Duck Duck Goose, which consisted of a lot more than just simply running around the circle. During one of the rounds it was only Shama and I with one of the girls left and I was going around and decided to pick Shama. I took off running in the opposite direction because I knew she would have been able to just reach around and catch me because of our small circle. I took off into the field with Shama right on my heels and Parishenaaya’s kids and elders laughing hysterically in the distance. Needless to say both Shama and I got our workout in for the day!

Shama, Tess, and Sita with the polytank

After Duck Duck Goose we taught them how to play Down By The Banks where you sit in a circle and hit the hand of the person sitting next to you until the end of the song. It was funny to watch the kids try and guess when the song, which they have never heard before, was going to end so they knew when to pull their hand away. We were even able to get one of the older men involved with our game but he was just as confused but joyful as many of the children were. We then played some volleyball with a soccer ball which marks the first time any of us have seen “angry baby” smile. Walker claimed that “angry baby” was the cutest out of all of the children in the village, yet he feels like this baby in particular hates him the most. We have tried tickling him, making funny faces and even faking our own deaths a few times now; however, nothing but a soccer ball can make that baby smile. We hope that in addition to the soccer ball that clean water will also make him crack a grin, were not asking for a smile…just a grin would be a success in our book. Overall, we had a really productive day and look forward to continuing to distribute our safe storage containers tomorrow so that we can hopefully open up for business on Wednesday. We are all so excited to finally see our business come to life because we and the village have put in a lot of time and effort to see this business through.

Team Sita’s favorite “angry baby”

This has been an eye opening experience for all of us and we would definitely recommend it to everybody looking to make a positive and long lasting difference in the lives of so many. Our community, Parishenaaya, is made up of 30 different family units and on average those households can hold up to eight people so having clean water will definitely change our community for the better.

Cheers,
Lexie, Shama, Walker & Tess

Tess cleans the polytank