Saturday, June 2, 2012

Days 14-16: Final Days in Obodan

     Our travel team, with the exception of Christine and Mike, who will be staying an extra couple of days, has now returned home to the United States. We accomplished a lot in the past few days, leaving just a few tasks for the remaining travel team members to finish up in our absence.

     Monday was an interesting day, with nothing going completely as planned. We were supposed to supervise the pumping of Kwasi Doi at around 6 or 7 in the morning, but when we arrived there around 7:15 (we were getting used to Ghana time), there was no sign of the pump. We couldn't get in touch with the foreman we were borrowing it from either, so lacking information about the pumping, we waited around at Anoff to watch the masons work on the stairs. At noon we headed over to Borehole 2 to meet the guy who would be taking apart the pump for our second borehole test, only to find him already working. Since when are things ahead of schedule? We tried to help disassemble it, only to find that the threads on one of the pipes had rusted away, forcing us to buy a replacement. Another unexpected event was the height of water in the borehole. Almost immediately, water flowed to the top of the pipe, threatening to spill over. We had to do a bailer test instead of a slug test because the water level was too high to measure with our water meter. The recharge rate was even faster than that of Borehole 1, and we did multiple trials to confirm this. In the afternoon, we got a hold of the pump and removed the water and trash from the pits in Kwasi Doi. We needed to send some men into the pits to dig out dirt and garbage that remained at the bottom. By the end of the day, the access doors were sealed in place, so hopefully this will not be a problem again. We got some bad news that day too, unfortunately. We got the results back from our water quality tests. They indicated that the borehole water contains coliform including E. coli. This was very disappointing information obviously and it means that before implementing our water distribution system we will have to decide on some treatment system. A biosand filter might be our best option, but we have many alternatives to consider as well, including chlorination and UV treatment. Luckily we have a lot of dedicated Ghana members who can work on this issue. We finished off the day with a trip to a Chinese restaurant with Steve and went home to prepare for an early start the following day.

     On Tuesday, we left early in the morning for a day of tourism. We headed to Cape Coast which was about five hours away. We first went to Kakum National Park for a canopy walk. After a short discussion of some native plants and the park's history, we took to the rope bridges. 40 meters above the ground, we could observe the structure of the rain forest and observe some birds and butterflies. It was a beautiful view, but not for someone who is afraid of heights. Afterwards, we went to Elmina Castle, which was one of the most important stops on the Atlantic slave trade. It was a very haunting experience, seeing where the slaves were held and the passages they took to board the ships for the Americas. The castle is now a historical site; it is right on the ocean and very beautiful, though this could not distract from the eeriness of the place. On our way home we stopped for a quick dip in the ocean. The water was very warm, unlike the Atlantic Ocean we're used to in the Northeast.

     On Wednesday, we collected soil samples in the morning from the hill we plan to put our water tanks on for the distribution system. We need them to determine how strong the dirt is to ensure that our system will stay in place. Afterwards, we all packed up to get ready to leave for the airport. We left early so we could go to the craft market in Accra to get souvenirs. The merchants were selling everything from fabric and clothing to carved bowls and metal figurines. They were very eager for our money, but there were plenty of good deals to be had provided you haggle well. This concluded our trip, but we look forward to hearing how the last two days went from Mike and Christine as they finish up the remaining work in Obodan.

All the best,
Caitlin, Mira, Kabir, Kerri, Andrea, Mike & Christine

CUEWB on a rope bridge canopy walk. Look moms, no hands!

CUEWB takes a rest from hiking, posing with other hikers

We spent a drizzling afternoon at the sobering tour of Elmina Castle, a former slave castle

1 comment:

  1. Omg what'd you guys buy?? MASKS? more ghana shirts??

    lol shucks about the water test, we'll see if we need to do more assessment if we go in july/august