"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has." -Margaret Mead

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Sorry for the long delay, but you can release your anticipation now

I am currently typing this update back home in America, which may seem strange considering the project was in Patriensa, but let me explain...the final days of our time in Patriensa were nothing short of mad chaos. We ran more errands than one should ever need to in the span of  few days, met with the chief's court, and finished up the last minute tasks necessary to leave our project at a point of satisfactory completion. All that, paired with the very regular storm and accompanying blackout, allowed for little room to go to the tech center and update you on the progress of the project. So, I am doing it now.

Our time in Patriensa was an incredible whirlwind. When we arrived we knew our orignal scope was impossible and had very hesitant hope that our updated scope was feasible either. But, through encouraging conversations (mostly thanks to Tim, our social work Obronihene) with the Krontihene, Pastor Kofi, and the other members of the Patriensa Pure Enterprise Board of Directors, and dedicated hard work by the team and community members, the 2011 implementation trip was a success.

When we left Patriensa on June 25th, the building was completely dried in and the Presby Primary School well had running water. The building now has a floor, made of sand and concrete, plaster on the interior and exterior, soffet, an aluminum roof, plumbing and electrical work, windows and doors. We have also purchased the ceiling panels and paint. The Board of Directors is in the process of selecting the well keeper to collect money at the well and alert them when maintenance is necessary, and an initial sustainability plan and maintenance manual has been presented to the Board to use to help ensure accountability and ownership of the well.

As for where we are now: I returned to the states on June 29th; Mary is in Tansania with her Dad for a wildlife safari, and won't be back until the 9th. After a few days of rest, Tim and Alex Breckel, from the Briquette Team, have returned to Patriensa to continue working on the projects and will be back on the 18th. Tim was left with a sum of the project funds to purchase the floor tiles and pay for the labor costs to install them along with the ceiling panels, painting, and  the stairs and ramp that will lead up to the front porch. By the time they leave, the building is expected be be finished. An amazing accomplishment!

Tim will be returning to Patriensa to do his Master's Program internship from January to May, and will be the main on the ground contact for the continuation of the project. Mary and I have committed to staying with the project to see it to completion, and as of now, there is a very high chance I will be returning for the final implementation of the Sachet and Trashy Bags enterprise  implementation.

Our time was met with immense hospitality, laughter, struggles, frustrations, and joys. It was a whirlwind adventure that would not have been possible without the help of Marty Rumbaugh, Dr. Kristin Wood, and Dr. Christina White, our amazing, selfless technical advisors, Nana Krontihene, Pastor Kofi, Nana Yaw Kwyake, our partners from KNUST, and the wonderful people of Patriena. Thank you all for your time and efforts.

 The building the first few days we were there.
 The inside of the building when we arrived.
 Women of the village on community labor day, helping to haul sand into the building to level the floors
The most updated photo I have of the building. Before the final exterior plaster was finished.
 Tim with school children when we did the Trashy Bags fashion show.
 The Sachet and Briquette teams along with Dr. Wood and Dr. White by the full functioning Presby well.
Hook 'em!

For now,

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