Monday, January 10, 2011

Days 5 and 6

Today was a busy day and I can't for the life of me remember what day it is. Thanks to the laptop's calendar, I'm informed that it's pretty late on Thursday night. We spent the majority of our day in Nsawam, but before leaving we made sure to complete a few other tests including some pump tests, coliform tests on latrine urine and pH tests on the solid waste.

When we arrived in Nsawam, it was as though we were dropped off in the middle of Canal Street at it's busiest. It turns out that today was market day, so there were hundreds and hundreds of people packed on a narrow street. Everywhere we looked, something new was being sold from Nike shoes to delectable Fan Ice (Ghanain ice cream) that Suraj recommended. While walking through the market we bought six small tanks to collect urine for summer testing, plastic spoons for further solid waste/compost testing, and a sack to carry sawdust from a local woodshop to the latrine pit.

Along the way we noticed many barber shops and Sammy, Garrison and I all felt that we needed haircuts. Suraj said he'd rather wait until he got home, but the rest of us went ahead with the plan. Sammy shaved his head because he'd rather not have any hair to deal with, but Garrison chose the classier fade. As for myself, I just needed a buzz cut to shorten my out of control hair. However, the barber had never cut a white man's hair before so he called me his teacher and I
explained what he needed to do.

We all left feeling fresh and considerably cooler in the sun as we walked through the streets to the house of Sammy's sister-in-law, where his sick wife was staying. It was really nice to meet his wife for the first time and we stayed and chatted for a little while before heading out again to grab food at McDonal's. This time around it was much easier to order our food since we knew what we wanted and I even took a leap of faith to try fufu, a common Ghanain dish of cassava and goat meat in a flavorful soup. It tasted delicious, but it was very strange since you're not supposed to chew the food, you're supposed to just swallow the pieces of cassava whole. Even though we tried starting a movie later that night, we couldn't charge the laptop and use the speakers that Sammy let us borrow, so we just decided to hit the hay a little earlier tonight, which I will be doing, well, right about now.


With a great deal of our tests underway, we took time off from the specifics of our project for a little while and decided to volunteer our manual labor on Sammy's pineapple farm. His 25 acre farm that will be growing 20,000 pineapples this year has been expanding over the last few years and even has it's own website, thanks to the website design course that Sammy took at Polytechnic University last semester. Like a superhuman, Sammy is able to balance himself as a graduate engineering student, a successful farmer and Assemblyman of his village, all while having a daughter and a wife that is now pregnant again.

To prepare for a day of hard work, we were treated to a breakfast of mashed maize with a spicy dipping sauce and tiny, whole fish. Working on the farm was very tiring work as we battled the tough, rocky terrain alongside Sammy's other, paid workers. It was fun to help out on the pineapple farm amongst such a gorgeous landscape, but the power of the sun took its toll and tired us out. We were exceptionally dirty on our walk back from the farm to Obodan, which made the flow of water that much more satisfying when we finally reached the borehole to clean ourselves off.

Upon arriving back in our room, we made sure to record the results of our previous water and urine tests from two days prior. Also, we performed a pH test on the solid waste sample, which yielded a very favorable result. After a relaxation and group bonding period we decided to head off to Nsawam. Our first order of business was to stop at McDonal's for the third night in a row because we were quite hungry from a day at the farm. Afterwards we stopped at the internet cafe because at this point we were sufficiently Facebook and internet deprived and we each got our own 30 minutes to ourselves (it's a much shorter time than you might initially think, even with a decent internet connection). Yet again, Garrison was unable to finish the movie we set out to watch before bed as he was beneath his mosquito net, fast asleep before Suraj and I had made it to the halfway mark in "City of Men."

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