Looking Back on 2 Years in Ghana

All CWS staff

Me, Eric, Shak, Peter, Amin, Chelsea, Kate, Wahab, Sam and my dog, Dauphine! – April 2014

One of my favorite Ghanaian expressions is “small small” or “bayla bayla” as it’s known in Dagbani. Ghanaians use this expression all the time. Let me give you a few examples. You go to a chop bar in Tamale to get waakye, a local, favorite dish of rice, beans and other delicious, spicy toppings. The woman working at the chop bar starts to serve you waakye and motions towards the palm oil. You say, “small small” to mean just put a little, not too much. Or you are learning Dagbani, the most widely spoken language in Tamale, trying out some phrases with Dagomba friends. They say, “Oh you try” and you respond, “small small”. You are a CWS field staffer riding around on motos day in and day out. It just so happens you need to replace the piston and the rings on the moto. The fitter (mechanic) tells you to move “small small” so that the moto will be “free”. The list goes on… What I’ve taken from this whole “small small” business is that as long as you are moving “small small”,  you are moving forward!

When I moved to Ghana in June 2012, I did not think I would live here for 2 years, although I am very happy now that I did. It all started “small small”… learning to ride a moto, figuring out where to buy food, navigating Tamale, learning Dagbani, working with the CWS team, meeting the entrepreneurs for the first time, encountering various challenges in the CWS communities and out on the “rough roads”. In the beginning, I didn’t feel like I was adjusting well. I found the heat unbearable, I felt lonely, I did not think I was qualified for the position but I kept trying and moving “small small”. And “small small” turned in to feeling comfortable in Tamale, being confident in my role at CWS, truly enjoying my work and getting to know my coworkers, developing good relationships with the CWS communities and entrepreneurs and feeling like I was positively contributing to this idea and project greater than myself. This upcoming September I am heading to Dublin, Ireland to get my MSc in Global Health at Trinity College. I hope to focus on women’s health and technology in developing countries. I know I would not be on this path if it were not for my experience with CWS in Ghana.

So without more small small babble… here are some pictures looking back on the last 2 years. The “small small” moments to the big ones. A big thank you to my CWS family: Kate, Sam, Kathryn, Chelsea, Shak, Peter, Wahab, Amin, Eric, Mark, Yacabu, the CWS board members, the fellowship translators, the fellows, the fellowship taxi drivers and all of the CWS partners for this fantastic opportunity. It has been a pleasure working with you! To all my friends and family who supported me and continue to support me, thank you! It has been quite the ride. Ghana, I will miss you-ohh! Until next time.

-Brianán

Opening day 2

Opening Day in Kpachiyli – January 2012

Opening Day Kpachiyili

A line to get clean water on opening day in Kpachiyli! – January 2012

Kpachiyili Fellowship

Team Peter! Mark, me, Larissa, and Sarah! Winter 2012 Fellowship Program

Azara Kpachiyili

Azara selling water on opening day – January 2012

Learning how to ride

Back in Ghana June 2012 – learning how to ride a moto for the first time. Thank you Madame Kathryn!

Crazy storm!

My first week as Ghana Country Director, Wahab and I were caught in a CRAZY storm! We were under that roof taking shelter for HOURS. I thought every day of the rainy season was going to be like this… little did I know!

Shak's jeep!

Loading up Shak’s jeep with safe storage containers! RIP

WWD

World Water Day March 22, 2013

On Peter's farm in Libi!

On Peter’s corn farm in Libi!

Madame Kathryn's final solute

Madame Kathryn’s final solute… now not looking so final!!

Eric and Peter jumping picture in Kabache/Kasawuripe Salaga!

Eric and Peter jumping picture in Kabache/Kasawuripe  monitored from the Salaga office!

Caught in those birthday rains - September 12, 2013

Caught in those birthday rains – September 12, 2013

Moving offices!

Yacabu, Chelsea and Wahab stand by the moving truck as we move offices in Tamale!  – March 2014

The start of the solar pilot in Kurugu Vohoyili!

The start of the solar pilot in Kurugu Vohoyili! – March 2014

Ayi and Fuseina with their solar business in Kurugu Vohoyili!

Ayi and Fuseina with their solar business in Kurugu Vohoyili! – March 2014

My mom comes to Ghana and meets Fuseina in Kurugu Vohoyili!

My mom comes to Ghana and meets Fuseina in Kurugu Vohoyili! – April 2014

My family comes to visit in April and hangs with the staff at How Cool Joint in Tamale. Ow ow!

My family comes to visit in April and hangs with the staff at How Cool Joint in Tamale. Ow ow!

Azara, me and Mariama, the water business women in Kpachiyili. 2 years after opening day!

Azara, me and Mariama, the water business women in Kpachiyili. 2 years after opening day!

CWS Ghana staffers!

CWS Ghana staffers!

My sister Danya comes for the summer 2014 fellowship program!!

My sister Danya comes for the summer 2014 fellowship program!!

This past June I got to lead 8 wonderful fellows in Salaga with Blessing and Peter!

This past June I got to lead 8 wonderful fellows in Salaga with Blessing and Peter!

Kata, me and Sam. It has been a pleasure working with you both!

Kata, me and Sam. It has been so much fun working with you both!

Passing off the "torch" to the new Ghana Country Director, Chelsea Hodgkins!

Passing off the “torch” to the new Ghana Country Director, Chelsea Hodgkins!

A BIG THANK YOU TO THE CWS TEAM!!! Going to miss all of you :)

A BIG THANK YOU TO THE CWS TEAM!!! Going to miss all of you 🙂

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This entry was posted in Kpachiyili, Thank you!, The CWS Team. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Looking Back on 2 Years in Ghana

  1. Ryn Miake-Lye says:

    THANK YOU, Brianan!! We are all rooting for you as you begin your Master’s at Trinity! What an amazing two years. “Small small” positive actions every day build “big big” sustainable change in health & ownership.
    It’s the Rotary Four-Way Test in action!

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