Naaaaa from Ghana, if you don’t know what that is it’s the response to just about everything here in Northern Ghana. We are team 3, made up of Evan from Virginia, Abby from Maine, Meagan from Indiana, and Krysta from Ohio. We have been matched up with our translator, Mohammed and our taxi driver, Nkatey (pronounced like Cartier) to implement CWS into the village of Yakura. It is about an hour drive from our home at GILLBT to our village.
Our first day in the village was Monday, June 11th. As we drove into Yakura for the first time, we could see the apprehension on everyone’s faces as we passed. “Who are these people? What are doing they doing here?” We met with the chief and elders for the first time and set up a community meeting for Tuesday.
The community meeting on Tuesday was wonderful. The entire village was enthralled at the prospect of having clean water. Meagan was our point person to talk to the chief. She explained the importance of clean water to maintain health and showed them the difference in 3M tests of the dugout water and clean, boiled water. Her speech was respectful, informative, and gracious. After the meeting, there was a jubilation dance. Women started bumping their butts against one another and got Abby, Krysta, and Meagan to join in. A man invited Evan to shake it out along with him. They took us to the location where they wanted to build stand: under some shade, next to the deeper dugout, and raised above the ground to keep from getting wet. The children came out and walked with us hand-in-hand while skipping along. Earlier before the meeting, we were teaching them children’s songs like “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” and “Are You Sleeping.” Without asking them, the children started singing to Meagan with songs of their own. Communication extended beyond individual languages.
Wednesday we began building the stand for the polytank. In the morning, we could see a parade of men over the tall grass each carrying a block on their heads. There wasn’t a mason in the village and it was too expensive to hire one, so Mohammed mixed the cement and plastered them together.
Thursday we finished building the stand and collecting other materials. Soon we will start training the women and finish the building the treatment center. We hope to host opening day either Monday, June 18th or Tuesday, June 19th.
As a team we are excited to continue our progress and help the people of Yakura receive access to clean drinking water. Naa-oon-ni-tib-e-ow—God bless you.