Two New Villages!

For the past 3 days, Shak, Peter and I have been hard at work getting the new Community Water Solutions house/office up and running. The final few pieces of furniture should be ready tonight, so I promise to post some pictures this weekend!

Now that the house is almost ready, my team and I were able to get back to the field this morning. We quickly stopped by Nyamaliga and Jarigu to collect water samples from their treatment centers (to test in our NEW lab!) and then visited two potential new villages: Cheko and Gbong.

Cheko is right next to Jarigu, and after stopping by there last fall, Peter and I knew that it would be a good fit for CWS. They’re only source of water is a dugout (see below) and the dugout does not dry out in the dry season.

the Cheko Dugout

Today, we met with a couple of the village elders to explain our work and answer any questions that they may have. The chief of the village was not home, so the elders that we met with are going to speak with him his weekend and let us know on Monday morning if they would like to work with us. The elders seemed very receptive to a partnership with us and we are pretty sure that the chief will be on-board with the project.

If Cheko agrees to work with us, then Peter will be implementing the water business all on his own. This will be the first village that Peter will be working in without me (or another founding member of CWS), and he is very excited about it! As I said in my last post, we have been so happy with the work Peter has done over the past year and definitely think that he is ready for this promotion!

While Peter is implementing in Cheko, Shak and I will most likely be setting up a water business in Gbong. This village was suggested to us by our good friend, Soufoo, from Nyamaliga (see below).  Soufoo’s half-brother is the chief of Gbong and he had been worried about their water situation for a long time.

Me and Soufoo in Nyamaliga.

We had our initial meeting with the chief of Gbong in the fall, and agreed with Soufoo’s assessment of their water. Their only source of drinking water is a heavily contaminated dugout, and this large village seemed like it could greatly benefit from a CWS water business.

We re-visited Gbong this morning to officially propose a partnership with their village. This meeting was one of the most formal village meetings that I have been to in a long time. There were about 15 of the village’s elders present! The chief will be calling Soufoo this weekend to give us the official yes/no on the project, but again, we are pretty confident that they will agree to work with us! I’ll keep you posted!

After returning from the field this afternoon, I conducted the inaugural water tests in the CWS lab! Here are some pictures from this exciting event!

Water samples. The two on the left are from Cheko and Gbong (its the water that people there are currently DRINKING). The two on the right are from the water treatment centers at Jarigu and Nyamaliga.
Water samples, micro-pipettor and pipette tips, may not seem exciting to many, but to the CWS team (and Brian Vozzella) having these items in our lab is VERY exciting!

And just because Shak, Peter and I love it so much, here are some more pictures of the TRUCK!

Peter and I with the truck at the end of our first day in Kumasi
Peter behind the wheel
Big Alex in his signature outfit.

Does all of this look like fun? Want to come work with us in Ghana this summer? Apply for the CWS fellowship! Get more information at

Applications are due March 8th so you still have all weekend to finish yours up!

Exciting Changes For the CWS Staff

Now that Peter has been working with Community Water Solutions for a year, he has been promoted to full-time project manager! This means that, in addition to monitoring Nyamaliga and Jargiu, Peter will be implementing a CWS water business in a new village on his own. We have been so pleased by Peter’s work over the past year and are confident that he will do a great job in his next village. Congratulations Peter!

Since Peter will be off on his own, I needed a new translator to help me run CWS’s operations in Tamale and implement our businesses in new villages. It didn’t take long to find the perfect person to fill this position…..

WELCOME TO THE CWS FAMILY IBRAHIM SHAK!! Shak is a great friend who I met 2 years ago through my thesis advisor, Susan Murcott. Shak has just joined the CWS team as my translator/right hand man and we are thrilled to have him! It seems as though everyone in Tamale knows and adores Shak. He is proactive, knowledgeable, and extremely hard-working. I am really looking forward to working with Shak this year.