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.
Ready for Day 2. We told our guide that we were not going home until we saw an elephant!
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!
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.
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!
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!
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!
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!
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!
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!
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.
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!