Akwaaba to Patriensa! (Welcome in Twi, the local language in Ghana) It's day 3 here, but it feels so much longer. All of our days have been extremely full. We wake with the sunrise and don't stop until dark, which happens about 6:30 here, but even then we have team meetings at night before bed. Here's a brief update of what we've done:
Day 1: We drove from Accra to Patriensa, which was beautiful! We saw some of the most lush terrain I've ever experienced, and many small villages along the way where people set up huts made of red clay, wood, and aluminum tin, and sometimes cement blocks. They line the roads selling anything you might need. Talk about customer service! When we got to Patriensa, we met Tim and Pastor Kofi and went to the compound where we are staying to drop our stuff off. Then we went to the sachet building site to look at the progress so far, and were slightly shocked to see that not much has been done since construction first began, and it was no where near what we originally agreed on. Because of this we had a serious sit down discussion as a team and agreed that we have to complete the building before we can purchase any of the sachet machinery or implement it. This rearranged our entire schedule and caused a bit or disarray at first. We met with Pastor Kofi and the Kontihene (the 2nd to the chief) and they agreed to do whatever they can to motivate the village to make the project a success.
Day 2: It was an early morning arriving at the site to meet the Kontihene, but an amazing site to view. When we got there there were locals already working. Some were weeding near the entrance, some were discussing the roof construction and others were clearing the floor. From 11 at night until 7 in the morning, simply by word of mouth the Kontihene had led this village to work. We quickly joined in to help remove rocks and weeds from the building dirt floor. We worked for about an hour before Pastor Kofi picked us up to go into Kumasi to buy the building supplies. It was supposed to be a short trip, but everything moves much slower in Ghana, so our short trip took the entire day, but we got the plumbing and electrical supplies. We got home and had dinner and budget meetings.
Day 3 (today): It has been one of the most exhausting days! We woke up at 5:30 this morning to be at the building site at 7 and did hard manual labor all day! We got there to find part of the roof constructed, but unlike yesterday, no workers. We set to work on the floor again and cleared out 2 full rooms with shovels and our hands. We weeded, and scooped rocks and dirt, and removed it to reveal a long forgotten slab foundation. It was an exciting sight to realize leveling the building would be easier than expected. While we were working the local children joined us and made a game of helping us work. They laughed as they taught Mary and I to carry buckets of dirt on our heads like they do and when we attempted to speak Twi to them. We were so thankful for them though because they worked so hard and provided entertainment, or maybe we were the actual comedy? It was crazy hot and humid though so we took a break for lunch around 12. During that time 2 of our friends from KNUST joined us, Kristabelle and Ken, to help us with the project. After a rest break, we headed back to finish clearing the floors. The kids joined us again and we got the floor completely cleared!! The carpenters also worked extremely diligently and by the time we all left the site the structure for the roof was finished as well! It was an exhausting day, but rewarding. We're all really tired right now, but in Twi, Mahoya (which means, my body is fine.)