Saturday, September 27, 2014

Last of the pictures in Ghana

I really did like the grounds of the Sky Plus Hotel.  There were stairs everywhere as it is built on the side of a mountain.

In front of the office at the hotel.
The beginning of the rocky trail was easy.

It quickly became slippery and difficult.  Note the flip flops people wear here to navigate this trail to the spring.

Before hand-hauling those tanks, the women waited a long time to collect water from this spring before it was developed.

Above and below: I saw this snail shell and was glad to find it empty.

This is Atta on the left, who helped me down the trail.  He wanted his picture taken next to a councilman.

Up high in the mountain village, fish and veggies for sale.

The last day of traveling.  Panters, local councilman, right hand man to Angela who traveled everywhere with us; Joseph, Clarence and another man from the council who was with us.

One spot to look at possible wells was at a monkey sanctuary.  

The path to the monkeys--we did not go see the monkeys.

Welcome to my village...
I liked this soak-away--best ones go into planted areas to keep water from standing and producing malaria ponds.

This was not our well.  The well top was stones in concrete, which as you can see did not last.  Many culverts along roadsides were made in this fashion.
High up the mountain the children use stones to make cool looking chairs.
Up the mountain--this village was built with materials that were walked up before they had a road.
They are putting in the culverts before paving the mountain road that scared Clarence.
This site was in the city of Ho, near the area we looked for well sites.
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Angela walking from the parking lot at the top of the road up the mountain, about to walk into her home village.
Note the little 'balls' on top of this chief's sandals.  We saw many of these almost exclusively on the feet of chiefs.  Some we saw looked like pom poms.
These are the people that hiked down their hill to the village below.  They are making a motorcycle path between the two villages--there is no way but to hike to get there.
We took the ferry this time because it was not as busy as before.  It costs 8 CD or about $2.50 to take the ferry, which is faster than the 1 hour drive-around if it is not busy that day.  It is a short ride.
They are repaving this road and this is how they mark where to drive--no orange cones here.
This is where you can't drive above, so you drive on the lower part.  There is no such thing as someone stopping you at one end--you do it yourself--note the car coming at us.
Riding on the ferry.
On the ferry.
I love clouds, and they have beautiful clouds while we are on the ferry.
They have lots of sheep and goats in Ghana, these taking a ferry ride.
The nice hotel but without all the people--no longer a vacation day.  I'd love to come here to take a vacation without all the people.
 At the hotel--can you see 2 guinea hens?
The front of the hotel
 This is an oak tree--sure doesn't look like ours in CA; below: white manikins seen in front of many stores in towns along the way.  Wish they had Black ones.
They do not allow hawking on the ferry, so they try to get you before you get on; but they hawk on the ferry anyway.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Ghana Day 10

Thursday, September 25, 2014

We had the same time schedule today, but we had a better breakfast.  They had porridge and also crepes added to the menu—it was better than usual, probably because the hotel was busier that day.  We have even gotten used to the hotel, even the bed—go figure—tender little mercies I suspect.

We still had 3 more sites to look at, one up another mountain even higher than the last one, but not as dangerous a road.  It is actually the area where Angela comes from (appointed district mayor).  It is amazing to see what these people can do.  They carried poly tanks up the mountain and down to the spring.  After our meeting I walked down to the spring, keeping in mind that these women come back up the rocky trail with large pans of water on their heads.  They are part mountain goat, and they wear little flip flops while doing it.  I, on the other hand had a man named Atta on one hand with Joseph holding the other, all the time Atta telling me to ‘go slowly, be careful, step this way’.  Angela walked down there for old times’ sake since that is what she used to do when she was a ‘regular’ person.  The project will be to pump the water up from the spring to the village, and then taking it to water points.  If an engineer says there will be enough water, they might even pay to have pipes taken close to their individual homes—what an exciting improvement.  I don’t think pictures can tell the story about how slippery mossy rocks are, how difficult the path that these women take carrying their water!

I had help from two men to get me down these moss-covered rocks, but these ladies bring water up them like it was nothing at all, and they wear flip flops while hiking!

Also after our first meeting with this community, another group of people hiked down so that they could talk to us about their water needs.  The reason they hiked down is that there is no road to their village—we would have had to hike up a steep mountain to get there.  They are putting in a biking trail so that a motorcycle could go between the two villages.  We can’t believe what these people are capable of!

The men and Angela checking out the spring box at the bottom of the rocky climb.  They carried those poly tanks down there!

After our hike we departed and went on a long drive to the last village.  I was a bit annoyed from the beginning with them because even with Angela with us, it seemed difficult to arouse them enough to show up to the meeting, like they could care less, and they are the ones that want help.  We shall see.

Our goal was to leave for Accra at noon, but I am sure it was at least 1 PM before we were able to do so.  We stopped for lunch at the nice hotel, this time deserted by those herds of people that were there because it was a vacation day (Founders Day Clarence said).  I thought how fun it would be to go there without all those people.

We got back to the hotel in Accra at 6 PM and saw how crowded it was here, teaming with people from various countries, some of them NGO’s I would guess and many businessmen.  We came to take a wonderful, normal shower (not out of a bucket), sleep on a much softer bed, and eat a bit better food.  Gee, it actually feels like we are ‘home’.  Tomorrow we go to the office at 8:30 to begin our paperwork and project development worksheets for the two areas to request various types of water projects for some of the villages we visited.  We depart on Saturday, but then it takes a couple of days to get home.

See you soon.

Love, Mom & Dad, Jim & Karen, E/S Greding

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Ghana Day 9

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Jim informed me that I had my days mixed and that yesterday was Tuesday.  This morning: up at 6, breakfast at 7, depart at 8.  A variation on breakfast: scrambled eggs, warm beans this time, watermelon, toast.  They serve sausages all over Africa, but they are not American and I skip those.  From the Sky Plus Hotel where we are staying there is a lovely view, but it is always foggy so we can’t get a good picture. 

This was to be the last hard day of traveling to meet with communities.  We had met with 8 yesterday, but we only managed to do 5 today even though we got a much earlier start.  The other areas we’ve visited were almost all ready to be considered to have some type of water system.  They had shown that they had been able to collect money for the water, have a bank account, repair old wells, etc.  Each community is supposed to have its own WATSAN committee.  Today we met some that never had one, were not organized in any way, hadn’t fixed their broken wells, don’t collect money, don’t have bank accounts for transparency, etc.  Once again, the largest communities were less organized and had a tendency not to cooperate with each other.  They are foolish enough to pay a company that puts water in little bags, instead of paying the same amount for and entire bucket of clean water out of a well.

                                          A very rocky community way up in the mountains.

Today we went up a steep dirt road with hairpin turns, ones that frighten Clarence.  He has a palpating fear of heights.  He even gave up his front seat to sit in the rumble seat on the way down the mountain so he wouldn’t have to see it up close and personal.  They are still working on the road, making ditches for the rainwater so it won’t spoil the road.  These ditches are made with available rock set in concrete.  We don’t know when the road will be paved, but the steepest parts are at the hairpin turns and Clarence tries to hide how freaked out he gets.  I kept telling him that our dirt road rides in Nepal were much worse.  He was delighted to be down.  I was also happy when we left too because it had just begun to rain and we were not sure how slippery the road would be in a downpour.  The village has a spectacular view from up there but it was hard to capture its beauty with my camera. 

                                   Picture this view in vivid colors—all brilliant green and red dirt.

This is the first day we got back at 5 PM.  Tomorrow we have the same schedule in the morning, but we’ll be visiting two more villages high on the mountain and one down below.  We are going to do some spring developments here.  Before they built the road the people carried their telephone poles up the mountain so they could have electricity—amazing—it is very steep.
We could not figure out what these mounds were.  A man who spoke very good English said that the old ones in their village still worshiped these 'Gods'!  

This stone is used for sacrificing a goat or other animal, once again only used by the  elderly.  We have seen                                                        something here from the Old Testament!

One more half day of visiting communities before we head back to Accra.

Pictures Day 8 Ghana

Maize in the village: a young, tall, slender woman with a baby on her back and a long stick spent a great deal of time keeping the goats from eating the corn.

A better-off community's veranda.

Do you think they might need clean water?

Another African clothesline.

We think this might have been a Pentecostal church because of the drum set shown here and the large speakers at the back of the church.

This is where it began to rain very hard, with thunder and lightening; it rained so hard on the tin roof that no one could hear what anyone was saying.

I never tire of taking pictures of beautiful women and their darling little children.

The wealthier village where they didn't collect money, didn't have a bank account, didn't fix their broken wells, but wanted us to help them...but they did have a nice facility that I got to use.

A broken borehole--it will probably have to be replaced.

The limping chief shown in the center is the first one that we had to stand for.  There were other chiefs in this meeting, but this was the high chief and he showed up after we were sitting down.  Perhaps that's why we all had to stand up when he came in.
We went into a lot of villages set inside the jungle.
The simple but nice Ho District Building. 

This is Angela, the appointed mayor of this district.

A typical veranda in a poor village.

How did I know that this was a poor village school?
This is how I knew it was a school.