Voices from the field: Team Shak

Jazmin training the Dundo entrepreneurs!
Jazmin training the Dundo entrepreneurs!

Desibah (Good Morning in Dugbani)!! Our names are Meghan, Bryan, and Jazmin, aka the Dream Team. We, along with our awesome translator Shak, were assigned to the village Dundo for the CWS water sanitation center implementation. Our first day was short: we entered the community, which is approximately 70 households, and introduced ourselves to the elders, and learned the chief was away traveling. The elders were rocking Ray-Bans and lounging under a tree, so needless to say we had a good feeling about the village. Bryan delivered a stunning proposition to the elders, telling them about CWS and gauging their interest in the clean water project. With a quick yes, we were on our way.

The second day we got to meet the actual chief, and we entered into his palace to introduce ourselves. He already had the down-low on the project, and gave us his blessing to start our work. In leaving, Meghan fell off the bench and into the arms of an elder, which she soon learned meant that he was now her husband. Things move quickly in Ghana, apparently. Afterwards, we headed to the dugout accompanied by the village mason to start building the stand for the treatment center. Other men jumped in, and the foundation was set in no time. Bryan attempted to help but ended up breaking two bricks instead, and was consequently sent to go play with the kids. An hour of catch and a few games of soccer later, and it was time to go.

The next day, we held a community meeting. Around 70 people were there, and each of the group members took turns explaining the project. This was met with many “Mmmmm’s” and we soon headed to the dugout. The men had already filled the foundation and the stand was ready to be plastered. The mason got right to work mixing the concrete, and used a trowel to spread it over the foundation. Bryan again attempted to help, and while tossing the plaster onto the stand ended up missing completely and nearly hitting one of the workers. He was once again sent away to play with the kids.

The next morning was a hectic search for all the items needed to start training the women. Shak led us fearlessly through the back alleys of Tamale, and after lots of bartering and getting pulled over by the police, we made it to Dundo. Jazmin took over with the training of the women, and helped them fill the blue drums and use the alum on the water to make the particles settle. She also mastered balancing a small bucket on her head, to the amusement of all the women carrying giant drums of water on their heads with ease. After the center was all set, it was time to distribute the safe storage containers. Meghan took over now to give instructions to each household, and with Shak they managed to hand out 20 containers. Thoroughly exhausted, the team headed back to Gillbt.

Next, it was time to set up the polytank and complete the water treatment center. Walking from the village to the dugout, a few of the braver kids decided to hold our hands. Shortly after, each of us had a kid dangling off each finger. We set up the tank and the two women filled it with the clear water from the blue drums, with the help of the other women whom they coerced. After that, Bryan and Meghan did more distribution, tackling around 30 households. A train of about 15 little kids helped carry the safe storage containers for us, and were slightly distracting when we were trying to instruct the women.

Today was filled with more training of the two women running the center and more distribution. They learned how to use the aquatabs, how to manage their money and profits, and more about the bacteria in the dugout water that makes them sick. We then distributed containers to the other side of the village and gave the chief his own container. The kids were all in school, so our lunch was very quiet, and we got to ask Shak all about polygamous marriages. Our taxi driver, Ibrahim is planning on having 4 wives and Shak is planning on having 23 kids, fun fact. After lunch we had nothing else to do, so we went home. Opening day is just two days away, and we feel prepared and excited for the villagers to taste the clean water from the treatment center!

Meaghan distributing safe storage containers with the help of some village members
Meaghan distributing safe storage containers with the help of some village members
After the community meeting Meghan, Bryan & Jazmin
After the community meeting Meghan, Bryan & Jazmin jump in for an awesome pic