All 20 of our Summer 2019 Field Representatives safely arrived in Tamale this week! In just a few short days, they’ve had a crash course in the global water crisis and water-related diseases, as well as the Saha model for intervention.
The teams joined Rhiana and Simply in the field with their first visits to current Saha villages of Dalibila and Laligu. They were able to see working centers, meet some of our women entrepreneurs. Mma Ayishetu in Dalibila gave some great advice: “be patient with the women you are working with, and teach them very well how to run the business, and they will be very patient with you and accept you.”
In the afternoon, the teams learned how to use alum, a common coagulation-flocculation product, to remove particles from the water. Then they learned how Saha monitors our current communities, and practiced having curious conversations with their translators.
Today, the teams were on their own for the first time in current Saha communities of Zowu, Mile 40, Libi, Nangbagu, and Tibugu, practicing monitoring, speaking with current entrepreneurs for advice, and learning more about how the Saha model works. Tomorrow it’s off to their new communities for the first time! Good luck!
Over the past few days, the fellows have been finishing their orientation and are now ready to use their skills to bring clean water to six new villages. The teams practiced household visits on Saturday afternoon, then got to monitor real households in existing CWS villages on Sunday morning.
That afternoon, they practiced for their meeting with the chief and elders to gain permission to implement a CWS water treatment center in their village while continuing to run tests on water samples they collected from villages they had visited. Some of the groups had their chief meetings in their new villages yesterday, while the remaining groups will have their meetings today. All six teams report that their villages already seem enthusiastic about CWS building water treatment centers in their villages.
When Tyler, Jenn, Brigid, and Leah arrived in their new village, they saw feces and livestock drinking from one of the most turbid dugouts we’ve seen. Then, an old man came up to the dugout and began drinking water from it! If all goes well, this man and the other people in his village will be drinking clean water in just two weeks.
The teams will begin building the polytank stands today and tomorrow. Some teams have interesting dilemas to work out with their villages before they begin. Team 5 (Sarit, Marwa, Brittni, and Khadija) have to decide where to build their treatment center in a village with two dugouts, a closer one that dries up in the dry season and a farther one that always has water.
The dugout in Team 6’s village (Mark, Kelsey, and Moriah), which they share with Team 1 (Zoe, Kelsey, Alex, and Olivia), floods during the rainy season, so they have to help their villages decide where to place their center and if it might be more beneficial to build two stands and move the center during the rainy season.
We look forward to hearing more from each of our teams as they come back from the field each day, eager to share their experiences with the other fellows. Look for their own takes on the blog in the coming days!
I have officially been in Tamale for a week now, and what a week it has been! After spending a few days getting the office all ready for the Summer Fellows, I headed out to the field to help Shak, Peter, Wahab and Amin monitor some of the newer villages that I had never been to before (crazy!) It was so much fun to be back in the field and to see how awesome the water businesses are doing in these new communities! Over the past four days I visited Yapalsi, Laligu, Kpalung, Kagburashe, Libi, Gbung (an oldie but goodie), Sakpalua, Buja, Kadula, Kpaniyilli, Kurugu Vohoyilli, and Kpachiyilli!
March has been an exciting month for all of us here in Tamale. Monitoring continues in our new villages, and its been fun to get to know 9 new communities better! Staff spent a “lazy” Sunday in Libi, fishing with some of the village men there. We brought home a rice bag full of Talapia and some hilarious memories from our day in the river.
In Laligu, the treatment center has undergone a few changes. Residents decided to construct a new center platform in a more central location, so that water would be more accessible to everyone. The ladies now pay a donkey cart from near-by Sevelugu to fill up their blue drums. They are very happy with the increase in sales they have seen already after “bringing the center home”!
In Kagburashe, Amina and Mayama have really taken charge of center operations, making some changes to the way the business runs. Staff have been happy to work along side these two enterprising ladies to make the treatment center here unique to Kagburashe’s needs.
Monitoring also continues in our older villages, but with some twists. Household visits have been extremely helpful for project evaluation and educational purposes, but we’re experimenting with some new approaches as well! This month, Shak began a water, health and hygiene educational program in Zanzugu, Zanzugu Yipela and Yipela. With a little work we will be able to expand this to other classrooms too!
No matter how many times we visit, kids still crowd around for pictures. Somethings never change.
What’s up, from Team F?!?!? Today, we had the last day of training for the women of our village, Laligu, and had to finish distributing our safe storage containers. When we met our women at the dugout, we taught them how to manage the money that they will be earning from the water sales. Our women will be charging 10 pesewas for each bucket of water. This money will go towards purchasing supplies in the future and also to provide them with a small container. Asia, Luke and Lindsey acted out purchasing the water to show our women how much they need to put aside each day so that they can keep the center functioning well into the future.
While today was not our most exciting day, we were all running off of the emotions of yesterday. Two days ago, Team F started the purification process in what was one of the most demanding days we have experienced thus far. Lindsey and Kelly had to fill up one of the 200 L blue drums with water. Since we have yet to master the art of carrying buckets on our heads, it required many trips back and forth with small pails of dugout water. After a long morning, Team F was able to add the alum and call it a day. Monday, however, was probably the most exciting day for our team. We finally got to show our women how to run the center on their own and they caught on so quickly. We were taken aback at how easily they were able to figure out the best ways to clean out the drums, add the alum and fill up the 140 L polytank. But the moment of truth came when we opened the spigot for the first time and out came clear water. Lindsey started passing around a cup filled with clean water and telling all the children that had gathered to drink the water. This was a very emotional but wonderful experience for us all!
The women who will be running our center, Sharatu and Abawu, were so happy after seeing the clean water. They told us that they are excited to have clean water because now they will be able to keep their kids healthy and make their medicines. If that doesn’t make all the work worth it, what does?! Tomorrow, Team F will be opening our Clean Water System in Laligu. We are expecting a great turnout. Even the chief (who has never been to the dugout) is going to be there! We are so excited about tomorrow and even more excited about this wonderful opportunity to provide clean water to our village!!