Wednesday, July 29, 2009

10:00 GMT = 10:00 Ghana Maybe Time = 1PM Greenwich Mean Time, if I decide to show up

Senses of time are different all around the world.
In Tokyo, everything happens on the dot. Trains run on a schedule and a train 5 minutes late is bad enough that you can be excused from being late to school. Show up to a meeting right on time and you're already late.
In New York, the trains don't seem to run on any schedule, but everything is in a rush.

In Ghana...

Last Thursday (the day after last post) was the first day of Steve's workshop in Sakyikrom. It was scheduled for 2 pm I think... but we waited for a good hour and a half or so before people showed up, and then it turned out half of them were from another village who had showed up to the chief's palace to settle a curse somebody had cast on somebody. The entire workshop was scheduled to run Thurs to Sun so we showed up the next two days, but on both days we spent an hour or two waiting around before around three people showed up and we decided to come back the next day. On Sunday, we finally got a good crowd, with the help of Sammy rounding up some people and the workshop went pretty well with a couple people showing a lot of enthusiasm for follow up. So a four-day workshop finally whittled down to two...

During those days when we weren't sitting waiting wishing for people to show up, Suraj and I, with the help of Sammy, went around to households in Obodan to conduct surveys. We mainly asked them their household demographics, education, water usage, and waste and sanitation practices. Here are some key points we found out

1. people don't keep track of how many people live in their house or their ages... haha
2. many people want another KVIP latrine because the current one is overcrowded
3. people want a new water system in the form of taps in their homes, more boreholes or just simply more vantage points (currently most people get their water from either of two boreholes) (population of Obodan is around 1500)
4. the plastic water sachets that cold clean water is sold in is a problem because it litters the village, breeds mosquitoes and when buried in soil makes it impossible to plant plants
5. malaria is widespread (but also, people tend to call general malaise malaria- that's probably because it's so prevalent)

In total we conducted 35 surveys, and now we have to figure out a way to sort all the info.

On Monday, Suraj and I sat by one of the boreholes for an entire day to observe how much it was used. But by whole day, I really mean before the sun came up and a little before it went down. We got to the borehole around 4:50 AM and left at 6:20 PM. In order to figure out how much water they were taking, we'd pump water into our own 14 liter bucket, and then pour it into their container. Then we'd also ask them how old they were and how many minutes away their house was. We did this alllllll day, and the morning rush (6 to 8) and the evening rush (4 to 6) was pretty hectic. But we also got to know a lot of kids because they take so many trips. They'd come fetch water in the morning before school, then come visit during their midday break, and then come hang out after school. After a while they got the hang of it and started asking water fetchers the questions for us. They also provided all sorts of entertainment... playing cards, running around, listening to our ipods... if every 13 hours of straight sitting were that eventful I would really enjoy plane rides.

Yesterday, we picked up Clay, Danny and Chelsey from the airport- they're here for a summer program they're conducting at a high school in Nsawam.

Today, we walked around Obodan with a surveyor who is going to help us do topographical surveying, to get oriented before we actually start the surveying. Then we walked around and found the little stream that some referred to as a river... and then I played frisbee with a bunch of kids....

and now I have to finish checking my email. At this rate the next post you see will probably be a week from now, ha ha

1 comment:

  1. the other day i was late for 1 min and my supervisor called me and was like everyone (as in 2 ppl, one being the driver) is waiting for you!!! and then in the evening when we had to go back to the city from the village, i waited for them for 40min. (well first we waited for 30 min. called and was informed that we had to wait for another 30min, and then they were late for 40min from then. so i guess 100 min in total.)
    the concept of time (or the lack of...) is very interesting indeed.