Right before flying to Ghana, I grabbed coffee with my friend Amy Gaylor Nedriga. Amy runs Children Inspiring Hope, a NGO that does some truly fabulous work in Ghana, and convinced me that Ghana should be the base for Sand for Life Solutions. She reminded me that a setback in Ghana is not a bump in the road – “it is the road.”
At the end of week two, I knew why she said that. Week Two marked an important transition in the project from introductions in the villages, talking to the District Assembly, and finding materials suppliers to putting all the theory into practice. The week began by trying to get sand and gravel to the villages – something we anticipated would take one morning. It took four days.
During week one, we traveled to several quarries and found only one suitable supplier that could provide the uncontaminated, size-specific sand and gravel we needed. However, finding a great supplier didn’t mean transporting the supplies would be easy. Monday was African Union Day and the quarry happened to be one of very few private businesses on holiday. Tuesday, we purchased and transported the gravel, but then it started raining. In Ghana, rain brings everything to halt – work stops, school stops, electricity stops. So, the driver refused to go back for the sand that day. The next day, however, the power was still out and the truck had a flat tire – meaning the tire couldn’t be pumped and we would have to wait for sand until the next day. Thursday, the sand and gravel was in the villages.
Despite challenges like this, we pushed on – determined to make the most out of a less than perfect situation. We were able to spend a lot of time in the villages working on molds for filters, talking to villagers about the process, and pouring a test filter. Week two was by no means easy or what we planned but we moved forward in the face of a lot of obstacles beyond our control. For that determination, I am so very proud of my team and look forward to a very productive week 3.