Thursday, January 9, 2014

It's your favorite CU EWB "obronis" (foreigners in Twi, our perpetual nicknames) reporting as we complete our first week in Ghana. First, we have some exciting breaking news: Radhe Patel is our new EWB USA New York City Metro Representative! She just received the email from an internet cafe in Nsawam where this blog post is coming from. Congrats to our fellow travel team member!
       On a more project related note, we have encountered both challenges and breakthroughs in the past days. From soil tests we performed several days ago, we found that some of the source separating latrines we implemented are producing "untreated organic fertilizers" or compost in a moderately active stage of development. Because we planned to prescibe use of latrine compost for trees and non crop plants, this is wonderful news! It appears that the community has been able, on a moderate scale, to turn their waste into
usable compost!
       Community members were pleasantly surprised when shown samples of this compost. Based on these results, we plan to help the community remove the compost from beneath the first latrine we built in Obodan,
commonly known as the pilot latrine. Although the contents of the pit are not ideal compost, we will use it as an educational initiative to show what is possible and what can be improved.
       Speaking of education, that has been a major project in the past days. We have been conducting household surveys by asking for feedback about the latrines and new water system, and assessing the effectiveness of the projects. Despite the moderate success of some of the latrines, there has been suboptimal maintenance, including clogs and insufficient cleaning of the toilets. We have also learned some problems that community members have with latrine design. Our goal is to help the community meet their water and sanitation needs as effectively as possible. Part of reaching that goal is understanding how we can best assist the community, and part of it is making sure they can maintain it independently, reaping the benefits for as long as possible and taking their own initiative to address issues. All EWB projects are, after all, community owned. These house to house surveys have helped us reach a myriad of community members who are directly affected by the infrastructure systems. We have engaged in dialogues with everyone from old women to young boys, and feel that the information we have gained and shared will positively affect the projects.
       We are currently working on ways to address the problem of a perpetually flooding latrine pit. Through talks with the commuity and the cheifs, as well as assessment of current sanitation infrastructure, we will come up with short term recommendations for the community and long term action plans for ourselves.

1 comment:

  1. Congrats Radhe! I'm sure you will do a great job as NYC rep!
    And that's great news about the composting! Hopefully the good news will continue as you work through the challenges ahead =)