Monday, January 10, 2011

Day 4 continued

Suraj exchanged our American dollars for Ghanain cedis yesterday which finally gave us the freedom to purchase materials and pay for transportation ourselves without having to depend on Sammy, who is very busy with his pineapple farm and Assemblyman duties. As a result, we were very productive today and we were also able to expand our food choices beyond the various chewy bars that had dominated our diet.

The first order of business was fixing the latrine. We bought some new pipes, a pipe reducer, joints and glue for a plumber who took out the old urine pipe and installed a new one. So far this new pipe has worked well with no problems. Before the pipe was installed we took urine samples from the basin in the toilet that was overflowing due to the clogging and used those samples for testing. Next we determined the depth of the solid waste in the latrine which turned out to be less than we expected it to be, probably because they don't use the latrine as often as we thought they would. With the help of Sammy we were also able to take solid waste samples from the latrine by nailing a metal can on the end of a long bamboo pole and scooping the waste with that. It turned out that the waste was much less solid than normally expected, but it was most likely a result of the overflow from the clogged urine pipe into the solid waste pit.

We continued our day by surveying the families that use the source-separated latrine. We asked them their thoughts on the latrine, how often it is used, by whom and what could be improved. While talking to the families we developed the hypothesis that the small children could be the reason behind the clogged urine pipe since they're too small to use the source-separated toilet properly. We also asked Ebenezer and Kwobe's family to put ash into the latrine more frequently
than they have been to help solidify the solid waste and help it compost. While we surveyed the homes, we also took water samples to test for coliform.

When the sun went down we knew it was time for dinner. Garrison, Suraj and I took a taxi into Nsawam where we first stopped at an Internet cafe for a few minutes. Since they only had one computer available we each took turns filling out mandatory EWB-USA forms and quickly checking our emails. By this point we were very hungry and went to a previous favorite of Suraj's
called McDonal's (no relation that we know of to the largest fast food franchise in the world and yes, doesn't have a "d" at the end). We each had chicken and fries and we shared a plate of rice that was washed down with passion fruit flavored Alvaro.

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