Sunday, July 19, 2009

days 1, 2, 3 and 4: getting settled

Hello from Ghana!! Suraj, Steve (our professional advisor) and I arrived safely in Ghana on Thursday and have spent the last few days settling in.

Here's a brief breakdown of what we've been up to:

Day 1 (7/16/09)

1. Met Sammy, our Ghana EWB man who's worked with us for a few years now and has been great about showing us around and arranging lodging and transporation and meetings with people and well.. everything!

2. Took a nice nap- I fell asleep and when I woke up I felt like I had slept so much that I thought it was the next day

3. Ate dinner

4. Settled in at Unity Lodge in Sakyikrom.
(our assessment trip is going to be focused on the village of Obodan, which is about 20 minutes away from sakyikrom. steve is conducting a community needs assessment workshop in sakyikrom, which we'll be sitting in for a day or two)

Day 2 (7/17/09)

1. Met the chief of sakyikrom (i'm going to stop capitalizing because the shift key is so stiff.), and steve explained plans for his workshop and decided to start it on tuesday.

2. checked out a house we were thinking of renting, which is in nsawam, the city that sakyikrom and obodan are near. living here would be cheaper than staying at unity lodge

3. went to ghana telecom university college in accra (sammy is the president of the EWB chapter there), met with national EWB Ghana members, accra poly ewb members, a guy from princeton who is getting set up before their implementation team comes, and tom powell, who is starting up an affordable homes company here.

Day 3 (7/18/09)

1. went to the edge of sakyikrom where there is construction going on. (you may know that the chinese gov't is involved in building lots of infrastruture in africa; as part of that they are building a highway that will bypass sakyikrom.) the chief and a bunch of other people were doing a libation and we made just the end of it. they had sacrificed a cow and were taking out the organs and cooking some of the meat...
it was very muddy around there too and my right foot completely sunk into the mud as i was walking. my sneaker got caked with mud.
the land here in ghana is all very clay-ey. it's all orange and quite dusty. (preliminary notes for erosion assessment!)
we also walked to the school in sakyikrom where ewb installed a rainwater harvesting system a few years ago. it was so nice to finally see something in real life what i had seen in pictures millions of times!

2. visited obodan. met with the chief, the queen mother (who is sammy's mom) and the family of the chief who passed away recently. we walked around and saw the KVIP (kumasi ventilated improved pit) latrine that EWB built in 2005! we also saw the two boreholes they use, lots of houses, lots of people, and lots of chickens.
(we see lots of goats and chickens. this morning i awoke to roosters crowing right around 6 AM. steve says they do that every morning- i guess the first two mornings i was too tired to hear them)
we found that we'll be able to stay in obodan instead, at the teachers' bungalow at the school there, for free. this'll be good because we'll cut on transportation cost, lodging cost and we'll cook our own food so food cost too. and living in the community will be a great way to get to know them.

3. went to a mall in accra to shop for things we'll need to live in obodan (gas stove, a mattress, utensils...)

now we're on day 4 and we're just going around accra seeing things. i'm running out of time on this computer and still have to check lots of email so i'll wrap it up for now. maybe next time i post i'll have some pictures.

we'll probably start actual work in a day or two and i can't wait! look out for new posts.
next time i'll try to be more comprehensive too.


  1. poor college students love free housing!!

  2. Very cool Claire! I look forward to hearing all about it when you get back.