Sweat, laughter, exhaustion, fun, homesickness, water, hugs, new friends, and unforgettable experiences day in and day out. This is only a short list of what the last two weeks have given us during an extremely impacting stay at Meet Me There African Home Lodge in Dzita, Ghana. We successfully constructed two compost toilets from start to finish, built by the Magnificent 7 – Jed, Danesh, Noah, Erin, Maria, Joy, and Rain, with the just a weeeeee bit of guidance from our trusted leaders, Ballo and Jasper. There was definitely no shortage of fun and learning with those two, and the positive impact on the community as a result of all the hard work, is immeasurable.
From the moment we all bonded over frappuccinos whilst awaiting the arrival of our dear Danesh, to the moment we all shared a good laugh as he talked for 20 minutes non-stop after drinking 5 Coke floats – ahhh never was there a dull moment! Luckily we had Graeme who humored Danesh by dishing out wisdom after wisdom – don’t remember? Just ask Jed, he seemed to remember Graeme’s teachings quite well!
Although, I’m not sure any of us listened much to his advice on mosquitos, considering we all had elbows and ankles the size of Canada due to the many acquired mosquito (and other bug) bites. However, Noah must’ve had a secret, as I’m not sure he even had one bite! Though what Noah did have was a knack for captaining the canoe, that is, so long as Ballo wasn’t attempting to flip it or jump in while in the middle of the lagoon. Ohhh the lagoon! Such a marvelous body of water! It was always so refreshing to go for a swim after a long days’ worth of activities, or just before lunch after a hard day of service work.
Agbledome, the community where we built the two compost toilets, will always hold a special place in our hearts. Remember the walk to site, first passing the seamstress where several of us bought tailor-made (awesome!) patchwork pants, then off the main road entering into the Agbledome community via small farms, then passing Auntie’s where we all had tailor-made traditional clothes made, and finally arriving to our sites to start sweating up a storm as we mixed concrete, carried cinderblocks, and shoveled sand while listening to whatever mix the dj had for the day.
Thankfully, Josie baked us delicious cookies and muffins to wane the mid-morning hunger every day, and often the locals would send a young boy up a coconut tree with a machete in his mouth to chop down some coconuts and kindly prepare and deliver them to us so we would stay hydrated and happy during those toasty, late-morning hours.
Even though the Opening Ceremony of the compost toilets was delivered in the local language, Ewe, it was still the perfect way for us to close our finished project with pride. The families that would be utilizing the toilet were taught to use and care for their new loo, and after receiving an entertaining hand-washing demonstration by Jed and Maria, I’m sure everyone will remember the importance of washing their hands after doing their business in their new, snazzy compost toilet. Needless to say, our efforts in promoting healthy living through sanitary practice were a success! Great job everyone, and thank you all for your hard work and dedication to Building Healthy Villages!!!
A few moments to remember:
-Swimming in the lagoon
-Noah canoeing…everyday ☺
-Danesh’s 7+ Coke floats in a day
-Jed’s bro-dance with Jasper
-Danesh’s Blah Ba Yo! conversations
-Rain’s VB skills
-Joy master packing skills with her backpack
-Maria’s yoga skills