Today was our first day driving to Kpanshegu (spelling is still debatable). It’s a remote village one hour outside of Tamale, but once we arrived it didn’t seem like a village at all. With almost 90 households living in Kpanshegu- including the Fulani homes. Fun Fact: Fulani are nomadic predominantly Muslim households that herd cattle. They travel by foot from their villages to areas where their cattle can graze. Because their homes are temporary they are usually located on the outskirts of the village.
But I digress- The drive out to Kpanshegu took us an hour. It was a pretty bumpy ride with lots of red dust. But lots of sunshine! When we first arrived we met with this guy named, Yakub. He was about 20 years old (I am guessing) and spoke English pretty well. We were told in advance that most villagers do not speak English, so having Yakub around was nice. That is why we have our team leads act as our translators as well as well make sure we are on track with our project goals. Lucky for us, our village was actually pretty hip. The chief spoke English really well! They had rice farmers who come and rent the land to harvest their crops. Yakub’s father was the chairman that Saha staff had been in contact with. He was the one who arranged our meeting with the Chief. We didn’t just want to show up unannounced. As expected we had to wait once we were directed to the Chief’s palace. I would have loved to get some photos but this was a serious meeting, so no photographs. With the help of Sam and Kathryn (our Saha program coordinators) we practiced what we would say to the Chief. Essentially we had to present a pitch of our project. We wanted to work with three women of the village’s choosing and teach them how to create and run a clean drinking water business. Aly did most all the talking, which was great, because she was phenomenal at it. Wahab translated, but didn’t have too much to do since the Chief of our village spoke English just fine. The Chief remembered talking to Sam a while back while she and Shak (another Saha team lead) had come to check out the village a few months earlier. The Chief made our lives really easy by being enthusiastic about the project. Our next step is the Community Meeting with the Chief and the rest of the Village Elders. He suggests we return on Monday, since that is when they are scheduled to have their next community meeting. Looks like we have Sunday off- maybe I will explore Tamale some more!