All the kids have arrived and are ready for an amazing adventure!
Yesterday, being our first full day in Dzita, we got a chance to meet the local staff- who will be taking care of us for the next two weeks. We also had a chance to familiarize ourselves with each other, as well as the town.
Today, we got to start our service project of compost toilet construction building and got to meet the families we will be impacting for generations to come. Construction in a rural African village is just as difficult as it sounds, but rewarding- especially when the family’s kids, whose lives you are changing are watching you with wide eyes. After service, we had another amazing meal followed by some free time where most of us rode in a canoe in the lagoon that’s the replacement for the harsh ocean located directly on our base. We got to learn a lot about each other through an activity where we got to “tell our story” with no restrictions. After dinner, we had a lesson in the local language called Ewe. The end of the day found us exhausted from an amazing start to a very promising trip!
— Aaron and Madi
Today was our second day of compost toilet building! We cut iron for the foundation and mixed cement to fill the base. Then on our way back to home base it started pouring, which was good timing since we had finished working, but our open roof vehicles pelted us with rain and we arrived home soaking wet. Since we were already soaked, all 11 of us (plus all our mentors) ran and lept into the lagoon. Then we came inside for a hardy lunch of wraps and Maddie had water, Carson had Pear flavor Ghanaian soda, Sophia had Passionfruit Ghanaian soda, Aidan had a Fanta (he thought it was “Really good!”), Genevieve had Pear flavor Ghanaian soda, Allie had Papa’s Special drink, Femi had water, Jasmine had Papa’s Special Drink (she said, “Very refreshing”, Aaron had Fanta (Aaron had “No Comment), Alanah had water, and Daniel had Coke. Then, THE CHIEF ARRIVED. The chief gave us lots of sage advice. Our biggest take away was that when your wife is on her menstrual cycle, make sure you get another wife to cook you dinner. Then we finished our Life Stories and had a group hug. All in all, A+ day.
Xoxo Genevieve, Aidan, and Allie
Today we continued building the compost toilets, adding five new layers of concrete blocks to the structures. At one of the sites, we found a dead frog and also saw a chicken get slaughtered. It was very sunny today. After service and lunch we visited the Keta Slave Fort. It was a very “humbling” and “powerful” experience. We were able to see the different components to the Slave fort and learn more about the history of slaves along the West African Coast. Today was also Danyaal’s 16th birthday and we experienced a traditional Ghanaian Birthday celebration in which he was splashed by the staff with water and flour. We also enjoyed a delicious birthday treat consisting of ice cream and banana cake. We also experienced our first bucket showers tonight because the water was shut off. It was quite an interesting experience and one we will always remember.
– Alanah, Jasmine, and Sophia
Today we worked on finishing our 8-layer foundation of our toilets. Allie fell into the hole from which we dug sand from twice. After lunch, we went to the local health clinic, where we were given a tour. It was very interesting to see how different a clinic here works as opposed to one in America. Femi volunteered to get tested for malaria as a demonstration of a common test here in Ghana (luckily, he’s malaria-free). Then, the group proceeded to go to Auntie’s- a local seamstress- to get measured for our custom clothing that we will get later in the week. There was a baby goat by Auntie’s that Genevieve was obsessed with. A nurse from the community came to address the group about health-related issues in the Dzita-Abledomi region. She recognized (and interrogated) Madi from last year. Following our visit from the nurse, we ate dinner. Then, some of us went on a short canoe ride- on which Aaron sang Willy Wonka songs. Our last activity was a very enlightening public health workshop taught by one of the local directors, Graeme. We finished off the day with a very competitive game of mafia and went to bed ready for another day of hard work.
-Madi and Aaron
Today we woke up and had a breakfast that consisted of toast, eggs, and fruit. It was also our fifth day at the service site, and we had to plaster the walls of the toilet chamber and finish building the steps for the entrance. We had a lesson on “Flicking 101” which is the appropriate technique used for getting the mortar on the walls. However, I think we got more on ourselves than on the walls. We came back, ate lunch, and then had some free time. Today, that was also known as nap time. After that we had some local drummers and dancers come and perform several traditional African dances. We had a late dinner, and then we watched a TED Talk about sanitation, which was really eye opening. We had a discussion about the video and how we can make an impact when we get home.
So today was our day off from service work where we got to recuperate for our days ahead. We had pancakes and juice for breakfast and then some people went swimming and others went on a canoe ride. Later in the day we all participated in doing journal entry where we were tasked with what one of our favorite aspects of Ghana was so far. Surprisingly enough, the overwhelming majority said “the people”. We all have a common respect and love for the friendliness and genuine nature of the Ghanian people. They are always excited to talk to us and welcome us wherever we travel, regardless of the fact that we are complete strangers. The trust and kindness that they have is something we are all very aware of and are hoping to integrate into our own culture back home.
Aidan, Sophia, Genevieve
July 14th, 2017
Today we continued to work on our compost toilets everyone is almost finished building toilets, we painted and added tiling to the floor. We came back and ate lunch. At around 2:30 we went to a local school and played games with the kids there. It was truly a beautiful sight to see the luminous smiles on all of their faces while they ran from us, tagged us, and yelled “Yavoo! Yavoo!” Which essentially means white person. Briefly after that we all came back to the lodge and the majority of us took a shower to get ready for dinner. After dinner we had a very deep talk about self love and once again as a group we are more connected.
July 15th, 2017
Instead of compost toilet construction this morning we went to the park in Dzita where some of us played soccer while the rest of us played with local kids who followed us there. When we got back to the lodge we went for a swim in the lagoon where some of us formed a synchronized swimming team (we were amazing). Next we went on a boat trip down the Volta river, during the ride some local musicians played and sang traditional Ghanaian songs for us. We made a stop during the trip where we played frisbee and soccer on the beach. After dinner we decided that our thank you to the staff for all there amazing work would be a dub of the song “Despacito” so we created and practiced it. To finish off our day some of us sat and looked at the beautiful Ghanaian night sky.
July 18, 2017
Today, our last full day in Ghana; we had some fun. This morning we got to sleep in a little longer than earlier and had breakfast at 8. Which was followed by the Opening Ceremony of the Compost Toilets. We all went to Jasper’s toilet first and we demonstrated how to use the toilet, how to properly wash their hands after going, and how to change the compost. We then traveled down the road to Balo’s compost toilet, followed by Boots’. We all took several pictures with the families and played with the kids before heading back to Meet Me There. When we got back it was time for lunch. We were all STARVING, but lunch wasn’t ready yet. It eventually came and we were all happily surprised that it was FRIES (our favorite thing to eat!!), Thai coconut salad, and grilled chicken!!! After lunch we had some free time before our afternoon activity which consisted of a cooking class with Justine (we made RedRed and fried plantains) and then we walked across the street to Atsu’s farm land and we all got to try hoeing and learned about some of the vegetables he grows. Then we had some free time until dinner was served. Dinner had come and we had rice, Red Red, fried plantains, and salad. Then it was time to preform our “talent show” for the staff. We had written a song several days ago to the music of Despacito that we sang on the stage. Next up was individual group (work groups) performances. The staff and kiddos then took pictures. It was BONFIREEEEEEE TIME. We walked to the other side of the lagoon, and danced and sang. When we came back to the other side, we hung out some. Our plan is to pull an all nighter since two of our peeps are leaving at 3:30 (am) for the airport. Since then, we’ve played games, made a sand castle, had a granola bar party and sang songs. See you guys soon!
~Carson & Allie~