One Step at a Time

The Kuubaare House is next door to the clinic where I live.  Chris is a carpenter who has also been trained as a latrine artisan and contracted to mold the slabs for my project.  ImageTwo of his daughters, Diana and Michelle, live with him and his wife.  DIana is a JHS student who comes to my house daily to read, paint, or help me with my housework. ImageSometimes, she comes with Michelle strapped to her back screaming and crying at the sight of me (the terrifying white lady). Not only is Chris molding the slabs, but this family is also part of the project, since his house has no toilet. I went on site to learn how to mold the slabs. Just take it one step at a time. Here is how it’s done:

1)   The mold is constructed and the iron is cut into smaller rods.

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2) The iron rods are then placed inside the mold and bound together to ensure a strong structure.

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3) Cut-outs are used to make the holes for the toilet and the ventilation pipe.

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4) Sand and small stones are mixed in with the cement, a technique also used to strengthen the slab.

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5) Water is mixed in, and the cement is ready to be poured into the mold.

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6) It is important to make sure there is a layer of cement beneath the iron rods, so that they are in the center of the slab when it dries.

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7) Make sure the cement is level while evening it out.

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8) Add some dry cement to the top of the slab to smooth out the surface.

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9) Remove the placeholders for the holes, and allow the slab to dry for one week.

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10) If you feel so inclined, you can carve writing into the cement before it hardens.

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This engraving has a double meaning…it was done on special request from a donor, but also stand for Kuubaare House. How perfect!

One Step at a Time

Not Just a Girl

When I think of summer camp, I mainly reminisce about daily sessions of eight hours of intensive gymnastics.  Any other references I have about camp come from Wet Hot American Summer or The Parent Trap, both of which are great movies but not exactly true to life.  Although, finding my long lost twin at summer camp has always been a dream of mine ever since it happened to Lindsay Lohan.  As I have recently experienced, however, camp in Ghana is definitely different from that in America (with the main similarity of unbearable heat).

I spent the last week of February at an Upper West Girls’ Camp in Lawra, organized by our regional Peace Corps volunteers.  Each volunteer brought three JHS level girls to a four day long camp dedicated to educating, inspiring, and improving the leadership skills of the participants.  I brought one girls from each of the health clubs I have been meeting with in Eremon. Smart and beautiful! 

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Each day was built around a central theme, with educational sessions in the morning and concurrent workshops in the afternoon. Themes included the importance of education, alternative livelihoods and food security, HIV/AIDS and malaria, and disabilities and diversity.  All sessions were taught either by volunteers or Ghanaian guest speakers. The girls learned why it is important to stay in school and continue their education, how to raise rabbits and chickens to eat or sell, how to ensure food security in their households, and how to protect themselves from HIV/AIDS, STIs, and malaria. Three of the students who participated in the camp are attendees of Wa School for the Deaf, so all of the girls learned some sign language, statistics on disability in Ghana, and the prominence of discrimination against that specific population.

During the workshops, the girls learned how to do different activities including sewing drawstring bags, making a hammock out of plastic water sachets, tie-dying tee-shirts, using fabric scraps to make coil pots, and learning how to turn on a computer and type a document.  In the evenings, we held fun events, including astronomy night, movie night, and a talent show.  Unfortunately, to everyone’s dismay (especially my own), dance night was rained out by a very unseasonable storm.

It was hard work but an undeniable success.  Girls from different villages were interacting and became friends over the course of the week.  They acquired so much information and learned so many new skills that they can bring back to there hometowns.  These are all of the participants who took part in the program saying thank you!

 

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PHzOOQfhPFg

P.s. I am also more than half way through with my service…check out my pizza pie!

https://sites.google.com/site/imissleahy/