We have had a very eventful first couple of days in our village, Jangbarayili! Our first challenge was to pronounce the name of the village…a task we are continuing to work on. We set out early morning on the first day to greet our village. At 6:00am we left with our translator to get the engine fixed to make our voyage. We waited 2 long hours for the repairs to be completed and then were hopeful to get going. As we were driving we had our first run in with the Ghanaian cops, not once…but TWICE (within 5 minutes of each other we might add). Finally, we arrived and were greeted with children fighting to hold our hands, so much so, there was one child per finger. This is when we knew this would be a great village to work with. Trying to break free from the kids’ grasps we met with Chairman Yaya to seek a meeting with the chief and elders. The chief was out farming, so we busied ourselves by trying to find the crocodiles known to lurk around the dugout. Once the chief returned, he and the elders were already seated and waiting for us to pitch our purpose of working with them to create a solar power center and business to be run by respected women in the community (the same model that was implemented by Saha Global for the previous water business). They accepted without any hesitation and even said “No was not an option.” They were gracious for the opportunity to bring light to their village and we were excited to stat working with them!
We woke up the next morning eager and hopeful for the day ahead. We ambitiously left to gather and purchase ALL the supplies that morning so we could prove our commitment to the village. Unfortunately, we ran into unexpected complications in the process. For instance, we had no idea what the items should cost in GHCs, and did not know which items could be bartered for or what item had set prices. We also had to go many different places to cut the wood because some businesses ran out of power. After many stops and learning experiences, we got most of the supplies and were pleasantly surprised by how many people in the community had gathered to work and how much they had already accomplished in building the structure. The men in the community taught us how to make mortar by mixing water and clay in a pit, so we all literally jumped in to get our hands and feet. Everyone helped out and even the little kids made their own assembly line carrying little piles of mortar to connect the bricks. In no time at all, it was finished!
Day three, we started on the roof with a local carpenter. Since the carpenter was an expert, there was little help us or the community could give him, so we took the opportunity to get to know the women entrepreneurs. We asked them questions about their water business as well as going over their solar business that was soon to come. They even gave us a chuckle with a funny story about a spider who thought he could be oil in a pot. The funniest part was not the story itself, but the women acting out the scene complete with shouting and wiggling her behind. Another team member bonded with the boys playing soccer and another brought together the community with her Ukulele. At the end of the day, we accomplished all of our goals and even more! We are now ready to tackle each new day with the village and all the challenges that will arise.
P.S. Drought is alive and well in Ghana’s rainy season. Fortunately, it has just started pouring as we type.
-The Greatest Team (Lindsey, Heidi, Greta, Hunter, Jaleel)