Voices from the Field: Team F (Saja, Chris, Rachel and Corrine)

Chief and elders inside the grand room where the meeting took place

An hour and a half drive along the rough and dusty roads to the northwest of Tamale lies the village of Kasuliyili. With around 400 households (estimating about 3,500 people), and education-levels ranging from elementary to high school, some electricity, and a dugout the size of a lake, this village holds the title as the largest that Community Water Solutions has ever had the opportunity to work with.

Team F with the chief and elders (pic taken by a kid, hence the heads cut off)

The grandness of the village made it somewhat difficult to believe that they did not already have access to clean drinking water, but the results of the test of the dugout water in Kasuliyili – rife with E. Coli and Coliform – were testament to the fact that we a had a tremendous challenge ahead. We rolled up our sleeves, layered on the bug spray and prepared for the weeks ahead!

Today we had the honor of meeting with the village chief, who is an educator and nothing short of a visionary for his community. Our team met with “Chief Patience Moves Mountains” (awesome name, right?), the village elders, the women leaders and other community members. Collectively, we discussed the different aspects of the CWS concept. We covered the importance of healthy drinking water, the building of the water treatment center, the training process with the women to run the business, educating the children in the community, and the ongoing monitoring of the business.

DSCN2944After laying out the details and answering the questions from the elders and community members, it was now the chief’s time to speak. When he told us how important access to healthy water was for the village and accepted our offer to help, we couldn’t help but be heartened by his comments. When he gifted us yams and a Guinea Fowl, we were even more moved.

Before arriving in Ghana for the fellowship, we each knew that we would meet with the chief and elders about bringing clean water to their village, but we did not know how amazing and important this would be. After the meeting, we asked our translator and longtime CWS employee, Peter, what he would write in the blog post if he had the chance. His response was simple: “it was the best chief meeting I have ever had.”

We are incredibly excited to be a part of such an incredible project in Kasuliyili, helping to move forward Chief Patience Moves Mountain’s mission to bring good health to village over the next two weeks.

-Saja, Chris, Rachel & Corrine

Voices from the Field: Team A (Jordan, Josh, Kara and Lindsay)

Jordan, Kara, and Josh building their Polytank stand

The A Team, minus Lindsay who was feeling under the weather (but is back in the field today!), started building the treatment center today in our village called Bogu (pronounced something like “Bwauw”)! Our village has 40 households and two different dugouts. Their main and closer dugout dries out during the dry season. There is a school in the village, which we’ve not yet seen open, but some of the villagers speak a little bit of English.

Lindsay (and translator Mohammed in red jacket)carrying water on her head.

The busy morning consisted of us picking up a whole drum of sea sand and making a detour into villages alongside the road to avoid the massive speed rounds. Half of our bricks were already in the village, along with our cement. Bricks, here, mean cement blocks by the way (made of sand)! Our taxi driver, Hustler, got the other half of our bricks while we started building. We cleared an area in the center of town near the chief’s hut and our mason mixed the cement, sand, and dugout water together to make the mortar. The men of the village did most of the work on the construction, while we “supervised” the children.

Josh and Jordan playing duck duck goose with Bogu’s kids.

We played football (soccer) with the kids for a long time, teaching them tricks and learning tricks from them. We also taught them duck-duck-goose which they pronounce “dush, dush, goosh.” The picture on the left is of Jordan and Josh playing that game with kids. We tried to teach them to play rock, paper, scissors, which didn’t work out so well! They tried to teach us a game where you jump, clap, and kick at the same time, and we’re going to have to work on our rhythm before we master that one.

Kara holding the dead bunny

Some of the kids got a fruit from a nearby tree, which we think is called a Bauba tree. Of course, we tried it! It had a sort of sweet taste but very dry. They also happened to find a dead bunny which our translator Mohammed made all of us hold, not excluding the vegetarian, Jordan. She was forced. Kara was captured looking not too happy in a photo in this post. We’re also learning to carry buckets for water to the dugout on our heads.

We are all very excited for the rest of our time in the village to start training the women and distributing the safe storage containers to the community!

– Jordan, Josh, Kara, and Lindsay