Thank you Gifts

Over the past 18 months CWS has gotten some pretty amazing thank you gifts from the villages that we work in.  We have loved them all, but have also found them to be pretty hilarious:

Yams From Nyamaliga - January 2009
A big bag of groundnuts (aka peanuts) from Nyamaliga - September 2009
A chicken from Gbong - February 2010
Eggs from Cheko - May 2010 (and no, they are not for eating, they are for hatching!)

“Chlorine Kills Germs and Makes Water Clean”

As I mentioned in a previous post, we have started preparing our water treatment businesses for the rainy season which starts in mid-June. In most of our villages, there are no major operational changes in the rainy season. But, in a few of them, the dugouts flood during the heavy rains making it hard for people to reach the water business to fetch drinking water. In the flooded villages, we are planning to move our water treatment centers to the center of the town (away from the flooded dugouts) and harvest rainwater as a way to fill the polytank. In order to make sure that this rainwater is safe to drink, and to avoid re-contamination in the home, the women at the water treatment centers will still be treating the water with chlorine. This can be a little confusing to people in the village because many of them assume that the rainwater is clean because: 1.) it comes from the sky and/or 2.) its clear.

While rainwater is MUCH better to drink than the dugout water, there are many ways that it can become contaminated in the village. So, last week, we decided to have our first “water education” meeting in the village of Gbong to explain how rainwater gets contaminated and what chlorine and similar tcca products can do to help. The meeting was really fun and we think it was pretty successful. Here are some pictures from the day:

Women in Gbong gathered for the meeting

checking out an aquatab

What We’ve Been Upto

The past couple weeks have been devoted to monitoring, updating my monitoring files (pretty much as fun as it sounds…), preparing for the rainy season, and  getting ready for our awesome Fellows who arrive on June 7th! Its hard to take pictures of these tasks, but I managed to snap a few, enjoy! Be prepared for a post with our updated monitoring results soon!

Shak showing the results of our water quality testing to a woman in Gidanturu. We like to do this to show people what happens with the water samples we take from their safe storage containers. Its fun to see their reactions when they see the difference between a test with their "safe water" and the dugout water!
Showing the water tests to some cute kiddos!
New signboard at Gidanturu - thank you village sponsor, Colleen and Jeff Clopeck!

The next few pictures are from an old Guinea Worm Containment Center. In order to prepare for the rainy season, our team went to check out some rainwater harvesting projects (in two of our villages, the paths to the dugouts, and therefore the water treatment centers, flood during the heavy rains. We are thinking about setting up rainwater harvesting systems to fill the polytanks with rainwater during this time – ill keep you posted!). We stopped by this containment center to look at their rainwater harvesting system and found out that the center had essentially been abandoned. Why? Because there haven’t been ANY Guinea Worm cases in this area in months! Such great news!

Guinea Worm is a horrendous water-related disease that has been endemic in Ghana for years. Due to the amazing Guinea Worm Eradication Campaign, led by the Carter Center, the number of Guinea Worm cases has drastically reduced – especially over the past few years. Shak visited this center in 2008 and said that there were so many patients that they had to put beds on the veranda. Not anymore! As the Carter Center explains on their website:

“Humans are a Guinea worm’s only host, so spread of the disease can be controlled by identifying all cases and modifying human behavior to prevent it from recurring.  Once all human cases are eliminated, the disease will be eradicated.”

I recently heard through the volunteer rumor mill that soon, it is going to be announced that Guinea Worm has been eradicated from Ghana!

Since humans are the only host for Guinea worm, these containment centers were built so that infected persons could be effectively treated and the disease could be kept from spreading

Empty Beds - wahoo!
Picture on the wall of the Guinea Worm Containment Center advertising the LifeStraw - a point-of-use intervention designed to filter out the water fleas that cause Guinea Worm

Fit Girls Support CWS

One of the awesome new village sponsors that committed to raising money for CWS at the Medfield Fundraiser, was the Medfield Fit Girls, led by Fit Girls founder, Sarah Nixon. Fit Girls is a fitness program for girls in 4th and 5th grade that uniquely combines training for a 5k race with reading and community outreach. Each year, the Fit Girls choose a charity to support, and this year they chose CWS!

The Medfield Fit Girls launched their Safe Water Campaign last week and sent us a few pictures from their first meeting! We are so grateful for their support and so excited to be partnering with such an awesome organization! Thank you Fit Girls, we’re looking forward to working with you this spring!