Both Cheko and Gbong, the two prospective villages that I blogged about last week, have not only agreed to work with us, but have been VERY excited about their water treatment centers! The entire CWS team has been very busy this week getting things set up in both locations and we are hoping to have both water businesses up and running early next week. I’ve decided to dedicate this post to the village of Cheko and will update everyone on Gbong this weekend.
Cheko is a small village of about 34 households (approximately 300 people) located about 35 minutes outside of Tamale and right next door to Jarigu (another CWS village). Like most other CWS villages, the only source of water in Cheko is shallow, stagnant pond (also called a “dugout” or “dam”) that fills with water during the rainy season.
Our Project Manager, Peter, has been in charge of implementing the water treatment center in Cheko and he has been doing a great job! Last week, he worked with our friend Soufoo from Nyamaliga (who is a mason) and some men from the village to build the stand for the polytank.
Over the past few days, Peter has been working with the “woman organizer”, Samata, in Cheko to select the two women who will be working at the center. They decided on two hard-working, dedicated ladies names Kukuna and Abiba. This morning, he had his first training session with these women. First, they collected the contaminated water from the dugout, and transported it to the water treatment center.
Next, Peter showed them how to use alum – a locally available flocculant, to remove the particles from the water and reduce the turbidity. Tomorrow morning, Peter will return for the second training session with the women!
In addition to running the water treatment center, Peter has been busy distributing safe storage containers to each family in Cheko. Tonight he told me that the water treatment center was the talk of the town! Many families had already heard about the safe storage buckets before he visited their houses and many of the women said that “their husbands have been telling them about the water business all week.” Peter also said that many children from Cheko followed him around all evening begging him to go to their houses next. He thought it was funny and promised them that he would get to every house eventually. The hardest part of his day? Explaining the safe storage containers, and the importance of safe drinking water to a “deaf and dumb elderly man who lives alone.” I really enjoyed listening to Peter explain how he overcame this challenge – its so rewarding to see how much he has learned in his year with CWS. Peter plans to finish up the distribution tomorrow and open the water treatment business on Monday!
The water treatment center at Cheko is sponsored by a good friend of the CWS team who wishes to remain anonymous. We will be sending this sponsor frequent updates on the progress at Cheko, complete with pictures and videos from the water treatment center! If you are interested in sponsoring a village, please visit our website: http://www.communitywatersolutions.org/support.html