Opening Day in Chongashe with Team 7!
Saturday was the big day for Team 7! We finally opened our CWS water treatment center in Chongashe! The other two teams opened yesterday so we were anxious to finally see ours in action and it was a HUGE SUCCESS!!! Every household in the village eventually came to collect water.
We set our alarms for 5:30AM so that we could get to our village, which is almost two hours away, in time for early morning water collection. We think that it was the first time this whole month that we’ve actually left on time – “Ghanaian time” is usually at least half an hour behind schedule. We were on the road before 6 AM even though Rachel slept through her alarm and Sanita had to wake her up…
After days of dreaming about it, we finally stopped at a food stand for egg-bread sandwiches to get a protein boost before the big morning!
We arrived in Chongashe and greeted our welcoming committee, AKA a group of 50 children who swarm our truck jumping and clapping whenever we drive in. People brought out drums and we all headed towards the center, the truck loaded with kids and buckets to be filled with water.
Once we got to the center, we still needed to scoop some water from the blue drums and add Aquatabs to the polytank so that we would have as much clean water as possible. Mata and Wasseela, the two women who we had trained to run the center, handled the process as if they had been running it for years. After emptying the blue drums they filled them up immediately and were quick to stir in the alum too. It was great to see that our training sessions were so effective!
While we waited for the chlorine in the Aquatabs to kick in, the crowd of women holding their new safe storage containers grew and grew! TJ entertained everyone with his awesome drumming, and the music led to a big dance party giving us a taste of traditional dancing!
By the time the center was ready to open, there were already forty buckets ready to be filled. We were so excited by the big turnout! Since we had distributed our safe storage containers in large groups, we were worried that our message hadn’t gotten across to everyone, so it was very encouraging when so many people in the community turned out over the next few hours. Many families even brought cups to wash out so that they would have designated drinking cups that wouldn’t re-contaminate their new clean water.
The long line of buckets got hectic at times, but we reassured the ladies that it wouldn’t always be so crazy. There was also some confusion about which bucket was whose and a few problems with leaky buckets, but it all got sorted out in the end. Within a few hours all of the buckets were filled and we were proud that all of our hard work setting up the water treatment center paid off!
The next day we had a day off, so Rachel, Sanita and Eleanor went with TJ and Wahab to the Kintampo Falls for a relaxing and awesome morning.
Then we hurried back to Tamale to finally catch a soccer game in the Stadium. We’ve been waiting all session to see a game there – and even though it took us until half time to figure out which team was Tamale, we were still pumped about the experience.
-Team 7 (Eleanor, Rachel, Sanita and Fabiola)