Friday, September 19, 2014

Third Day, Ghana

Wednesday September 17, 2014

I went to bed late last night, getting less than 5 hours of sleep.  I need to quit doing this!  This morning we met in the lobby of the hotel before 8:30 to meet Elder & Sister Dever (exports from Liberia, now being assigned to Kumasi, Ghana) and traveled to the District Office where the District Chief Executive and his development team were waiting.  They led us to four areas of possible water projects, out in the poorer areas of the district.  They will be doing the hygiene training, so we are anxious to see their program later in the week.  It was pretty much determined that this well project would go forward, but we needed to meet with each group to ensure that they would be willing to save enough money to achieve a portion (usually 10%) of the cost of the well.  This money may or may not to be used by us, but to show that they can save money to be used when the pump breaks.  When a certain amount is achieved, we will go ahead and drill or dig the well.  There are many more boreholes here than hand dug wells because of the depth of the water.  In every case, some very willing, some reluctant and had to be talked into it, agreed that they could get the money.  Since they have had other water systems that they have kept working, it is a good sign that they will keep another one going as well. 

It was a cloudy day, keeping the sun at bay.  We are thrilled with the cooler weather (it is not cool, but just not nearly as hot as it often gets here).  At the end of the day we saw a few other wells that we had refurbished quite a few years ago, and then got back to the hotel by 6, ate by 7:30, and had a little time to get other work done.  Because we have to go earlier tomorrow, I am hoping I actually get to sleep at a reasonable hour…yeh, right!

The lobby of the Golden Tulip Hotel in Kumasi, Ghana

Another pool we don't have time to use.

One of the nice things about this hotel is that they have a lady who asks new customers how they like their accommodations and then tries to fix any problems.  They are really trying to be the very best hotel!  So, if our beds were a little too hard, they add memory foam liners.  If Jim can’t get the ATM to work, she helps him do that.  If our friends, who aren’t using the hotel can’t get the Internet to check their e-mail, she helps them with that too.  They are really very accommodating!  How nice.

Thursday: We did a repeat of yesterday, again meeting WATSAN (water/sanitation government group), going out to see communities to see if a project can be done, with them providing lunch.  I say this because it has not been our experience in other countries that a group that works for the government ever does anything for you—in fact, we always had to pay them to come to do their job.  If we wanted their help, we had to provide fuel for their vehicles or take them around in ours.  You can really tell how much better this country is doing because of things like this.

It was another grueling day, and it is 8:30 PM when we are finally back to our room after dinner, and that is only because we got the buffet instead of ordering food, which would have added at least 30-60 minutes to our dinnertime.  We rode around with E/S Dever again, while Clarence & Bullocks traveled together, again with Clarence driving.  The dirt roads are full of giant potholes that sometimes encompass the entire road, and they are filled with water.  Sometimes it got surprisingly deep.  More than half of our day we get tossed around like rag dolls as we travel long distances between communities.  Tomorrow we get to do it again—I can hardly wait…

It’s been a bit of a fun ride passing through a road riddled with giant potholes filled with rain water.

The funny thing for me today was that I couldn’t stay awake while we had these meetings in the villages.  I kept passing out and even dreaming, and I did that 10 times in less than an hour.  I think my late nights, coupled with jetlag, really have begun to affect me.  I was hoping that no one noticed.  But when everything is spoken in a foreign language, it is doubly hard to stay awake!

The man below in the yellow shirt is the chief.  I had no clue—obviously not a traditionalist.  In the next picture it is obvious who the chief is.  The traditionalist chief had an opening prayer and as was translated to us, he said that first we give thanks to God, and then we can give thanks to others (such as LDS Charities, who are going to help them with water).  In the villages not very many people spoke English, so in all our travels, Clarence spoke for us.  While there, he also promoted his campaign as part of a polio initiative, which was to start Friday.  He is a polio initiative volunteer, which the church is highly involved in and is assisting the Red Cross just like they do for the measles initiative.  The members work freely to try and get children into the clinics for their polio vaccine.

 Till tomorrow,

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

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