Thursday, August 13, 2009

It's always sunny in Obodan

Well, it isn't really, considering that it was wet season so on most days it was somewhat overcast if not rainy. But there's something about Obodan - it's either the bright orange soil or the wide open space or the kids or the enthusiasm with which people greet you ("How are you?" "I'm good-" "Fine! Fine-fine-fine.") - that makes it look like the sun's out. Cheesy much? Maybe you just have to see it for yourself.

In retrospect, we probably could have accomplished everything we needed to do in two weeks or less if we had to. Having three weeks though, we were able to go and collect data for things we hadn't on one particular day, fairly easily since we basically lived within 5 minutes of anything we had to do.

Like in the picture- you can see Danny, Suraj and I in the back by the borehole... We were measuring the flowrate of the water artesianing out of some holes in the borehole- water constantly flows out of it because the borehole is built over an artesian well. Saving this water for use instead of letting it flow to waste is something we'll work on.
And in the front are Nicholas and Ismael, who, like all the kids love to pose for the camera. (Oh, but not just pose- they like to take the camera and take photos too. A good two thirds of my pictures are taken not by me but by the kids)

Living in Obodan for three weeks also gave us a sense of the villagers' lives which would have been difficult had we stayed only briefly or if we hadn't stayed in the village. And as the days went by we learned each others' names and faces and I reached that state where pulling into Obodan after a day out in town felt much like it does when you come home from a trip.

We also had time to meet with many people who are related to EWB Ghana, all of whom will be very important and helpful as we undertake our own project: not only the members of EWB Ghana but also people interested in partnering with them to form a stronger and resourceful organization, people we've worked with in the past, and students from other EWB student chapters.

What next?

CU-EWB Ghana meetings, extensive data analysis, constant discussions, neverending fundraising. Project designs. Project implementation!

Very briefly, through our assessment trip we've identified the following as potential projects:

-Water distribution system
-Waste management system
-another KVIP Latrine
-Rainwater harvesting system

(Erosion control we pretty much ruled out, since it would be quite a big complicated project beyond our scope.)

Ah, Obodan.
I already can't wait to go back.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Home time

Before I can do a end-of-the-trip post, here's a recap on the last few days since the last post.

This past week, we placed seven benchmarks throughout Obodan to use for surveying and then spent two days doing the surveying. The surveying was mainly done by a surveyor though (actually, all of it), who works at Engineer Apatu's (Vice Prez of EWB Ghana national) office. We will now have a much better topographical map than we expected we'd have. Yay!

By then we had completed all the tasks we had come to do for our trip, so we spent our last days visiting the Piece It Together guys at the Nsawam high school and having meetings with people.
We met with Winnie, who will be our new professional advisor taking over from Steve, and talked about the growth of EWB Ghana and how it will be a great help for student chapters coming in to work.

On Saturday, our flight was scheduled to leave at 10:20 AM. We arrived at the airport at 9 to find that Delta wouldn't let us check in because we were late, saying that check-in closed at 8:20. Then they changed their mind and we were halfway through the check-in process when they told us the flight was full and so we got our flight pushed to today.
And we thought we were just adhering to GMT... But seriously, we got delayed 24 hours when we were still an hour and twenty minutes ahead of departure.
I had been excited to go back and sad to leave, but being unable to leave and then not being in Obodan when we had stay was just a strange depressing feeling.

Luckily, we spent the night at Todd's grandmothers right off of Accra where the other guys were spending the weekend. And now we are here at the airport, relieved that we are finally going to board a plane soon...

Photos and another post or two to come as soon as I can use internet for free!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

brief update

The Piece It Together guys (Clay, Danny, Chelsey, Todd) have moved into the teachers cottage in Obodan and are living two doors down from us. They'll be here for a month and you can read about them on

The last few days since the last post has been more play than work :)
I can't remember what days we did what anymore, but Suraj and I have sat by the other borehole for a day, and we've all gone and visited Elmina Castle and the rain forest by Cape Coast, and gone to a funeral (imagine a wedding reception, and you've got the right idea).
We've also played some good frisbee and soccer with the kids. The kids are absolutely awesome.

The weather this weekend has been surprisingly chilly.. you'd think that it's August and it's hot sweaty weather, but it's been cold enough to wear a hoodie (if I had brought one).