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#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 I., Bennu, Emma, Eric, and Victoria

Today marks our team’s fifth day in Zobogu, Northern Region Ghana! During our first visit in Zobogu (pronounced Zog-bwow) on June 4th, we had a truly surreal experience. When our team pulled into the village after a short drive from central Tamale, the first person we met happened to be the Chief’s linguist or official right hand man. We spoke briefly with Zobogu’s sub-chiefs who warmly allowed us into their village. Within 20 minutes we were able to meet with the Chief! During this meeting we asked if we could take a water survey, and speak to a couple of households in Zobogu about the water they use for cooking, cleaning, and most importantly drinking. We found that almost every person that we spoke to had an understanding of how detrimental dugout water was to their health, and emphasized that using the dugout was their only option.

We immediately agreed that Zobogu would be a perfect place to launch a Saha water business. That day we had a proposal meeting with the chief that went exceptionally well. June 4th was the mark of a blooming connection between our team and the people of Zobogu that has only gotten stronger. The next day we met with the community women and were able to choose our women entrepreneurs immediately. The women were so excited by the advent of clean water that Azaratu, one of our Saha entrepreneurs, jumped up and volunteered herself to be a part of the team. Our four dynamic entrepreneurs are Azaratu, Afeshetu, Abiba, and Adamu.

Clockwise from top left: Afeshetu, Azaratu, Abiba, and Adamu

 

Our dope translator Eric and multitalented driver Gaff have helped to deepen and establish our relationship to the people of Zobogu.

Eric with the entrepreneurs

As a result, our team has been able to make rapid progress even when mildly impeded by challenges. Saha’s unofficial motto is “What can go wrong will go wrong” and we have been able to breeze through everything that has “gone wrong” (having to re-clean the drums that we use to treat the dugout water in the blazing sun) because we have established a true partnership between our entrepreneurs. They are trusting of the information that we share with them and in turn, our team has learned from these strong, wise, and intelligent women who are passionate about improving the health of their community every day.

The team! Emma, Eric, Bennu, Abby, and Victoria with Zobogu’s chief and linguist