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Field Rep Voices: Laughter is Universal

Alexis is a senior from Long Island, New York who is getting her Bachelor’s Degree in Public Service & Administration at St. John’s University.

If her story inspires YOU, apply to work with us in Ghana this summer: sahaglobal.org/gotoghana

 

Why did you decide to apply for the Global Leadership Program?

Whenever my family would go on vacation, my parents made sure we gave back, especially in places where we have roots, like Guatemala, Argentina and Ecuador. So instead of going to the beach, we’d go work on a farm. That’s where my passion for partnering with people in developing communities began.

I heard about Saha Global from my friend Kayla who was a field rep in 2016 with the solar program.

What did you take away from the experience?

Going to Ghana with Saha Global was life changing for me. With everything that’s going on in our country it was a reminder that we are all human. If we aren’t willing to work with one another, who is? That was something very important I brought back home with me.

I got very attached to my community, Zakariyili, especially a little girl named Charisa, the chief’s granddaughter. She was with her mom (one of the entrepreneurs) every day. I could see that one day she would become part of the water business, too.

Even though we didn’t speak the same language, we formed strong emotional bonds with people. Our translator was great. She helped us communicate with everyone. And laughter is universal. The entire experience just left a place in my heart.

What was your “Saha aha” moment?

On my last day in Tamale I heard the women in the kitchen singing. The song was written by my church back home. In that moment, everything came full circle.

I gathered all of the things I wasn’t going to bring back — clothes and bug repellant — and gave them to the women. They were so happy that they were crying, and then I was crying, too. It’s not just about the communities you’re working in every day. You can change how people feel about their day through a simple gesture.

How has the Global Leadership Program influenced your career plans?

I’m really, REALLY passionate about social justice, especially systemic racism in our country. The program pushed me to look even deeper and understand my interest in social justice. I’m interested in finding work in Flint, Michigan after graduation (their water is STILL dirty). I never would have considered that before going to Ghana.

Someday I want to start my own nonprofit, so it was really awesome to see the inner workings of Saha and learn how to fundraise.

What advice do you have for future field reps?

Bring a first aid kit. My mom got me a traveler’s first aid kit with everything under the sun — ointment, Advil, aspirin, even a thermometer. I ended up using a substantial amount of it.

I wish I would have brought more stylish clothes. The women in the village were dressed so beautifully and I was wearing athletic gear the whole time.

Most of all, take it all in. The experience goes by pretty quick and you don’t think it will. Soak in every day and make as many connections with people as you can.

If you think you could help Saha bring clean water to a new community this summer, get your application in now!

You can still make our “First Round” Application Deadline: February 24th.

Let us know >> Apply Here!

 

#sahawaterworks – reflections on the summer ’18 program

It’s been just one week since we said goodbye to the 2018 Summer Field Reps. Thanks to this awesome group students and young professionals, Saha was able to partner with with 6 more communities in Northern Ghana to open new water treatment businesses. Because of them, 2,356 people now have the ability to drink clean water each day. 26 women entrepreneurs are able to provide potable water to their friends, family and neighbors through  community-supported small businesses. And Saha is able to welcome 24 new faces to our global Saha family!

Abby, Abby, Alexis, Ariel, Ben, Bennu, Cèline, Chase, Corey, Dai, Emma, Fiona, Griffin, Jack, Jean, Julie, Lexie, Lindsay, Mary Reade, Michael, Muriel, Sam, Samantha & Victoria:

Can you believe it? We sweat through taxi breakdowns and laughed through luggage pepperoni foibles. We rolled alum balls on the porch and rolled with the punches more generally. We navigated the market and the ins and outs of a new-to-us culture. Most importantly, we found joy and success in the surprise of the unanticipated. Though not every moment was easy, all the (literal) blood, sweat and tears certainly paid off. 
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 adventures, please don’t forget
Dalibila, Jegun, Kpalkore, Nafarun, Zakariyili and Zobogu
and all of us here at Saha, and let us know what we can do to further your missions.

With gratitude,

And now… the jumping pics.

Team Cèline, Evans, Julie, Chase & Michael (not pictured) in Nafarun

 

Team Bennu, Emma, Eric, Gaffaru, Victoria and Abby in Zobogu

 

Team Corey, driver Hustla, Griffin, Samantha and Mary Reade in Dalibila

 

Team Fiona, Jean, driver Sadiq, Lexie and Samantha in Kpalkore

 

Team Abby, Jack, Alexis and Ben in Zakariyili

 

Team Ariel, Lindsay, Dai and Muriel in Jegun

Field Rep Voices: Team Abby, Alexis, Ben, Jack and Sumaya

Life is often measured by how much someone has accomplished. Whether that be an accumulation of wealth, brains, or talent. These are the three main things people mention when being asked about what they want out of life. Does that necessarily equate to happiness? Happiness is something that is found within someone’s being. The people of Zakariyili exude pure happiness. The kind of happiness that we should all strive to fulfill by the end of our physical time on earth.

This all began on our first day in the village of Zakariyili. Ben, Abby, Jack, and me had answered the chief’s palace in hopes of having them open a Saha water business. The moment we entered the room, all the pepped up fear of how the meeting could possibly go, went out the window! The chief and the elders of Zakariyili held the kindest of spirits. Although our translator and our hero Sumaya was there to translate everything between the two groups, it felt as if we were speaking the same language. Their smiles, their love, their laughter, and their compassion became one with ours. The children were reserved yet willing to help in any way possible. From schooling Abby in soccer, to Sharifa being attached to Jack’s hip, to every kid having an instant connection with Ben. This lovingness that the children of Zakariyili hold is one that has been learned from their elders within the community. The Zakariyili men and women hold this love and compassion that everyone in this world could use.


This communal feel is one that is established by the women specifically. Women like Abiba, Awabu, and Amina carry a strength that is unprecedented. They essentially carry the community on their backs. Both figuratively and literally. I have never come across a group of naturally strong women who walk a mile’s worth to collect water for their families. There is something so beautiful and admirable about watching them fetch water and carry these heavy buckets on their heads… Effortlessly. During alum training, we had to step back because they did not need our training on how to use their hands. They were cranking out 3 alum balls for every half an alum ball we were producing.


Zakariyili will forever be in our hearts. The distance means nothing when a group of people have taught you how to care and love others without borders. Something that is not necessarily taught in a classroom. This is something that is within their essence. Their love, care, and compassion are by nature. It is a reminder that no matter where we are in the world, we are all running the same race together called life. The key component to this race is to learn from one another because that is what makes the race worth while. The people of Zakariyili taught us a valuable and memorable lesson. Laughter, love, and compassion are universal. There is no language for it. As a global community, we should try to incorporate these three key components into our everyday lives and maybe then, we will be able to grow together.

  • – Team Sumaya