Blog

Fun In Mole!

Last weekend Lisa (my roommate), Maria (her boss), Shak (good friend and former Pure Home Water employee) and I went to Mole National Park for a fun Ghananian adventure. Even though the rainy season is not the best time to see animals in the park, it was nice to get out of town for a couple days! Here are some pics of the animals that we DID get to see.

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Day one: getting ready for out first Safari (Maria, Lisa, Me)
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Antelope- pretty much the only thing we saw on day one...
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You can't really tell but this is a Baboon!
IMG_3843Warthog
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Ready for Day 2. We told our guide that we were not going home until we saw an elephant!
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Fresh elephant footprints! Time to start tracking....

 

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Elephant or big foot?
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Treking through the bush - determined to find our elephant (sorry but I couldn't get the picture to flip the right way..)
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We found you! Too bad the grass was too high to get a good pic.... ūüôā

A Busy Week!

Peter and I have been very busy getting things set up in Jarigu this week. Here are some pictures from the past 7 days!

Monday and Tuesday: Building the polytank stand

One of the first steps in setting up a CWS water treatment center is building the polytank stand. We try to work with a local mason to build the stand, but since none of the men in Jarigu were experienced masons, Soufoo, our good friend from Nyamaliga, came to help!

Loading up the taxi with bricks, cement, and sand to bring to Jarigu
Loading up the taxi with bricks, cement, and sand to bring to Jarigu

Soufoo working away
Soufoo working away
Almost done with the first row
Almost done with the first row
Halfway done and finished for the day.  It may not look like much, but it took a lot of work! Thank you Soufoo!
Halfway done and finished for the day. It may not look like much, but it took a lot of work! Thank you Soufoo!
Filing the middle of the stand with gravel
Filling the middle of the stand with gravel
Last step! Covering the outside of the stand and building the stairs
Last step! Covering the outside of the stand and building the stairs
All finished!
All finished!

Wednesday: Delivering the polytank and the blue tubs

Since Kasaligu now has access to municipal water, we decided to move their water treatment center to Jarigu. This is something that we discussed in detail with the Kasaligu chairman and with Fati, the woman who works at the center. They were both happy to move their polytank to a new village that needed the treatment center (we will still be working with Kasaligu on safe water storage to prevent the re-contamination of the piped water in their homes, and Fati will be selling small Aquatabs that people can use to chlorinate their own water). Originally, Peter and I planned to either rent a truck or find one of the cheap peterbilt used trucks for sale to move the polytank, but we decided at the last minute to use a taxi instead. A few hours and two runs-in with the police later, the polytank and the three blue tubs that make up the water treatment center arrived safely in Jarigu.

Loading a blue tub into the trunk outside of Fati's house
Loading a blue tub into the trunk outside of Fati's house
Having a little trouble fitting the polytank through the door at Fati's house...
Having a little trouble fitting the polytank through the door at Fati's house...
Loading the polytank onto the roof of the taxi - apparently the Tamale police didn't think that this was a funny as I did!
Loading the polytank onto the roof of the taxi - apparently the Tamale police didn't think that this was a funny as I did!
Ready to go!
Ready to go!
Some of the men from Jarigu who helped set up the water treatment center
Some of the men from Jarigu who helped set up the water treatment center
Filling the blue tubs with dugout water
Filling the blue tubs with dugout water

The

Thursday: Distributing Safe Storage Containers and Water Treatment Training

On Wednesday, Peter and I visited each household in Jarigu to distribute the CWS safe storage containers. Although it takes a long time to pass out the containers to each family individually, its a great way to make sure everyone in the village understands the project and the connection between water and health, and learns the importance of safe water storage through the use of water storage containers. Water can be kept safe and clean when stored in one of these. There are various sized containers available, depending on the need and quantity of people. As there is not always running water, it is only best for numerous amounts of villages to have access to these containers. It makes life just a little bit easier for the residents. Just like with any job, it was a LONG but fun and rewarding day!

Peter explaining the different components of the CWS safe storage container
Peter explaining the different components of the CWS safe storage container
Attaching the tap to the safe storage container.
Attaching the tap to the safe storage container.
Checking out the safe storage container
Checking out the safe storage container

On Thursday we also started water treatment training. Usually, we will work with members of the community to select two women to be in charge of the water treatment center, who we then train to treat the dugout water. The village then decides what time of the day and how often they would like the center to be open. We like working with women because they are usually the ones in charge of all water-related household activities (collecting water, cooking, washing, etc) In Jarigu, however, we are doing things differently. This village already had a local man, Alhassan, “guarding” the dugout. He sits by the dugout all day long to make sure that no one walks too far into the water (this helps to prevent Guinea Worm contamination). Since Alhassan was already sitting right next to the water treatment center, the village thought that he should be the one in charge of it and we agreed. Since Alhassan will be at the dugout all day, everyday, the water treatment center can be open all of the time. While this makes it a little bit harder for us to monitor (instead of coming to the village for a few hours on the days the center is open, we will have to be there all day if we want to observe the center’s sales), it is much more convenient for our customers in Jarigu! Here are some pictures from our first night of water treatment training with Alhassan – he is a quick learner and very fun to work with!

Step 1: Particle removal.  We you alum- a locally available coagulant/flocculant for this step of the water treatment process
Step 1: Particle removal. We use alum- a locally available coagulant/flocculant for this step of the water treatment process.
We usually add alum to the water in the everning, and by the next morning, the particles in the water settle to the bottom and the water is clear.
We usually add alum to the water in the evening, and by the next morning, the particles in the water have settled to the bottom and the water is clear.

Friday: Water treatment training day 2

On Friday morning we returned to Jarigu for the second day of water treatment training with Alhassan. We transferred the water from the blue tubs (now “clear”) into the polytank and treated it with Aquatabs, a chlorine product that disinfects the water. Its now ready for opening day!

Step 2: transferring the water to the polytank
Step 2: transferring the water to the polytank
Once the polytank is full, we disinfect the water using chlorine.
Once the polytank is full, we disinfect the water using chlorine.

Saturday: Opening Day!

Opening day in Jarigu was a big success! 34 families came to buy water from Alhassan and a good time was had by all! Thank you again to Susan and Greg Gintoff at Volunteer Shredding, LLC for sponsoring this water treatment center!

Alhassan selling water on opening day at Jarigu
Alhassan selling water on opening day at Jarigu
Me with a happy customer is Jarigu
Me with a happy customer is Jarigu
Opening day at Jarigu
Opening day at Jarigu
Me, Alhassan and Peter at the water treatment center in Jarigu.  Thank you Volunteer Shredding, LLC!
Me, Alhassan and Peter at the water treatment center in Jarigu. Thank you Volunteer Shredding, LLC!
The CWS water treatment center at Jarigu.  Sponsored by Greg and Susan Gintoff at Volunteer Shredding, LLC
The CWS water treatment center at Jarigu. Sponsored by Greg and Susan Gintoff at Volunteer Shredding, LLC
Children hanging out at the CWS water treatment center on opening day.
Children hanging out at the CWS water treatment center on opening day.

Welcome to the CWS Family Jarigu!

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After two weeks of visiting many rural villages in Northern Region Ghana, we have selected Jarigu to be the next site for a CWS water treatment business. Not only does Jarigu meet all of the CWS village criteria (the only source of water is a dugout, the dugout does not dry-out in the dry season, the village is the right size, and there are no current water treatment projects), but it is also about 10 minutes away from Nyamaliga, which will make monitoring the two villages much easier Peter (our project manager). I met with the village elders today to explain the project and they were very eager to work with us and seemed to really understand the idea of a water treatment business. Over the next two weeks Peter and I will be working with members of Jarigu to build the water treatment center, distribute safe storage containers to every family, and select and train two women to work at the center. We are really excited to start implementing in this village and look forward to updating everyone on our progress. Thank you to Volunteer Shredding, LLC, Greg and Susan Gintoff for sponsoring this CWS water treatment business! Your donation is providing a permanent source of clean water for ~750 people!

Jerigu
Jarigu
The Jerigu Dugout- a shallow, stagnant, mad-made pond.  This is their only source of water.
The Jarigu Dugout- a shallow, stagnant, mad-made pond. This is their only source of water.
Close up of the Jerigu dugout.  People frequently ask us what water the people villages were drinking before we got there, well, this is it.
Close up of the Jarigu dugout. People frequently ask us what water the people villages were drinking before we got there, well, this is it.
Getting a water sample from the dugout- the water tested postive for E.coli. which indicates fecal contamination.
Getting a water sample from the dugout- the water tested positive for E.coli. which indicates fecal contamination.
Children in Jerigu
Children in Jarigu

Safe Storage Containers

I spent the beginning of this week in Accra, the capital of Ghana, meeting with The Melcom Group, the company that manufactures the buckets that CWS has been using for our safe storage containers.  Safe storage is a key component of the CWS water treatment model because it helps to prevent re-contamination of the water  in the home.  In the past, we have purchased these buckets from a retailer in Tamale, and installed taps in them ourselves.  This was a very long, arduous task that involved heating a metal pipe on a gas stove and punching holes in hundreds of plastic buckets.

Well, the meetings in Accra were a huge success!  Not only did Melcom sell us the buckets and taps at the wholesale price, but they also punched holes in the buckets for us and shipped them to Tamale for free.  The buckets arrived in Tamale today, only two days after I ordered them!

Excited and still a little surprised that the buckets arrived on time
Excited and still a little surprised that the buckets arrived on time
Trying to fit all of the safe storage containers in one taxi...we almost did it!
Trying to fit all of the safe storage containers in one taxi...we almost did it!

Potential New Villages

For the past week and half Peter and I have been using the mornings to check out potential villages to work with. We’ve been to 13 villages so far and are going to see at least one more early next week. Although the rainy season is ending, it still storms about once a week, which can make our journeys to these villages in a taxi very exciting. Luckily, we found Joe, a great taxi driver who is willing to navigate the treacherous roads for us! Here are some pictures from our adventures.

typical road, a couple days after a rain storm
typical road, a couple days after a rain storm
Guys helping us decide the best way to get around the mud
Guys helping us decide the best way to get around the mud
All of our helpers
All of our helpers
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Peter chatting with the elders at FUU about their water sources

Checking out the Dugout at Wumbeiyili
Checking out the Dugout at Wumbeiyili

I am hoping to start implementing a new water treatment center in a week and have found a couple of communities that seem like a good fit!