Voices from the Field: Team C

Its that time again faithful followers! Thats right, our 2012 Winter Fellows have officially started working in their villages and so its time for them to take over the blog to share their stories from the field! First up is Team  C (also known as Team Cool…)

Team C (Peter, Zander, Michelle and Janelle) and our translator Ayisha on one of our first days in our village!

Despa from Tamale!

Yesterday was the first day that we got to meet our village! We left at 8am, but we got lost on the way so it took us almost 2 hours to get there. Being lost was actually kind of fun, we saw a lot of cities and villages, different African landscapes, and even drove through a University Campus! As we were driving, we saw a lot of signs for different NGOs, including The Children’s Fund, World Food Program, and Catholic Relief Services. It hit us that the pictures that we’ve been taking of the “bibala” (children) look just like the pictures in the Save the Children ads that we all see on TV; it made a few of us sad to think about but at the same time we were excited our team is actually here helping. When we made it to our village, Kurugu Vohoyiai, we were greeted by several men. We met the chief and Janelle began to explain to him who we are. Another NGO, Water For Life, had visited the village before us, so at first there was some confusion. Community Water Solutions contacted Water for Life and cleared everything up for us.

Our chief meeting went great! The room that we met in was filled with cassava, and we just sat on a bench with him to tell him about CWS. He seemed really excited to work with us, but explained that he could not simply make a decision for the entire village, so the next day we should come back for a village meeting.

The village meeting today was a huge success! Everyone sat around us in a big circle, the elders to the front of us, the women and girls on one side, and the men and boys on the other. Janelle stood in the middle with Ayisha (our translator), and we talked to them about CWS. We explained how we work without pipes or anything mechanical, we talked to them about the implementation and training process, and we emphasized the importance of clean water. At first, they acknowledged that they weren’t sure how to handle their water problem because the dirty dugout was the only water source god gave them, but as we continued to explain to them they began to understand that there was a connection between the dirty water they were drinking and the diseases in the village. By the end of the meeting, everyone was so excited to get started!

Janelle doing an awesome job explaining CWS during the village meeting while Ayisha translates
The men at the community meeting
Ayesha passing around the water test results that we brought to help show the difference between contaminated water from the dugout and safe drinking water.

We walked over to the dugout with the leader of the village, and together we picked out where the Water Treatment Center will be built. The children of the village followed us all the way back to our car, and held our hands up until it was time to leave. We spent the rest of the day buying supplies so we are ready to start building first thing tomorrow. We can’t wait to get started!

Peter and Janelle on their way to check out the dugout with some new friends from our community!

-Janelle, Zander, Peter, and Michelle