Setting up Shop in Gbong

While Peter has been hard at work in Cheko, Shak and I have been working to set up a water business in Gbong. Gbong is a large village (about 800 people) located about 40 minutes south of Tamale on the Salaga road.

boys "doing laundry" at the Gbong dugout

As I mentioned in a previous post, our meeting with the Gbong elders a few weeks ago was one of the most formal village meetings that I have had in a while, and that formal trend has definitely continued.  For example, in most of our other villages, we will meet with the chief of the village a few times at the beginning of the implementation process, but once he gives us his blessing to work in the village we are pretty much given free range. We can come and go as we please and concentrate on getting our work done. In Gbong, however, we have to greet the chief every time we come to the village and say goodbye to him each time we leave. While this may not seem like a big deal, the time spent traveling to the chief’s palace (which is in the opposite direction of the dugout), then greeting/saying goodbye, definitely adds up. Many times we will also have to stop and greet another elder (who sits by the side of the road all day long). The formal-nature of this village also slows down their decision-making process quite a bit, which in turn slows down our implementation process. We had our initial meeting with the Gbong elders the same days as the Cheko elders, but we probably won’t open the water business in Gbong until Monday,over a week after the business in Cheko opened!

Even though all the greeting and good-bying adds time to our day, I do enjoy getting to know the chief of Gbong. He can speak english very well, which is really fun for me! The village has been very receptive to our team and seems really excited about their water treatment center. We are planning to open the center tomorrow, on World Water Day, and I’ll make sure to capture it all on film. Later that day, we are planning a party at the CWS office for the women working at all 5 of our water treatment businesses. It will be the first time that they all meet  each and we can’t wait! What a great way to celebrate World Water Day!

Here are some pictures from the past two weeks at Gbong:

Putting our truck to good use- building the polytank stand in Gbong!
Fati and Amina cleaning out the blue tubs and then filling them with dugout water
First day of water treatment training with Fati and Amina: Amina treating the dugout water with alum.
Day 2 of water treament training: Fati and Amina scooping the water (now clear from the alum) into the polytank where it will be disenfected using chlorine
Distributing safe storage containers. Peter came to help out me and Shak since Gbong is so big (almost 90 families!)

The water treatment center at Gbong is sponsored by iContact. Thank you iContact for helping us to provide a safe drinking water for over 800 people! Your contribution has really changed the lives of the people in Gbong!