"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

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Day 17 – 8 June 2012


Friday started early. We arrived at PPF around 8 am because the Kontihene had called for a community work day. When we arrived there was no one there. Jeseth and Kim walked to the village center to talk to the community while Gordon and I stayed at the site to start cleaning. Soon several women began showing up with brooms and other cleaning supplies.  While women were cleaning the inside of the building, the young men and I cleaned up the large debris around the plot. There were several concrete blocks and planks of wood scattered around the site. By 10 am the site was cleaned and the community members left.

Prior to this, George had come in the morning from Accra to pick up the Sawdust Team. We were expecting him to bring chemicals provided by Francis to clean the tank. However this didn’t happen. So after the community work day we were devising a way to clean the tank without the specified chemicals. We finally decided to ask someone at our hotel, where we could find bleach. I didn’t know this, but bleach is just a solution of 5.25% chlorine and water. So the hotel staff led us to a super market in Konongo Market where we found a bottle of bleach. After successfully finding the bleach, we took a cab back to the school for lunch.

After lunch we walked back to PPF to clean the tank. First we had to drain the tank. We wanted to save as much water as possible, so we gathered trash cans and filled them using a hose we had attached to the tank. Then people noticed what we were doing and started bringing their own bowls and pots. The little water that was wasted was sent down the trenches we dug earlier in the week to the roadside ditch, so our property wouldn’t be muddy and the recent cleanliness of the building would be preserved. It took about three hours for the tank to drain. After the tank drained, we installed the overflow pipe. Then we had to put the bleach in the tank. We did some calculations and found that putting on galloon of bleach in our 10,000 liter tank would make the chlorine concentration of the water to be about 20 ppm (parts per million). On average, the chlorine content in US water systems is around 10 ppm. The chlorine would have no adverse effects on the community, however it would definitely be noticeable by taste and smell, especially since the people here are not used to having it in their water. With this information in mind, I climbed a ladder, sat on the tank, and dumped the whole bottle of bleach in the tank. After adding the bleach, we turned the pump back on and let the tank fill back up while we had dinner.

We returned to PPF after dinner to shut off the pump. We arrived about three hours after we started the pump. The water had not reached our top sight tube, so we weren’t sure how long how much longer it would take. We needed the tank to fill to ensure that the chlorine would clean the entire tank. At this point it was about 7:30 pm and the sun had already set. While we waited for the tank to fill, we spent time with the kids who hang around the building. Apparently they hang out there day and night. It seemed that the kids had even more energy at night; they wouldn’t leave us alone.  Eventually the tank filled, we turned off the pump, and escaped the kids to go home. 

Friday seemed like a really long day, but we were able to complete most of our tasks that we couldn’t finish throughout the week. That’s all for now,

-Kofi Matt (Kofi is the name for someone born on a Friday)

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