Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Biosand Water Filter in Dalive

John Homadzi-Glidden of YCC (Youth Creating Change) of Ghana talks about a filter installation they did in Dalive village. They installed ten filters in the area in 2006 and trained locals to be filter technicians. The water source is the Volta River, seen in the background.

The people are really appreciating the benefits of the filters. This is actually surprising because when a village has a source of water like a river, the locals think their water is very good. "Our ancestors have always been drinking this water..." In this case, the villagers say the water tastes better and more importantly, they say they have had less health problems such as diarrhea.

Sunday, February 4, 2007

Filter Education in Nankuma

Fidelis is answering some questions about this water filter which was installed two years ago. The village received a drilled well three months ago, so they weren't sure they should keep using the filters. They prefer the taste of the stream water run through the filters, but the stream is very far compared to their new well in the village.


Spreading germs with Glo-Germ powder.

Some kids wash with only water, some with soap and water, and some with soap, water and scrubbie.

Comparing handwashing.

Looking for germs with an ultraviolet light.

Making germs for a craft.

Teaching Sunday School in the water filter workshop in Nkoranza. Note: the latrine in the background is now complete!

Water and Sanitation Technologies workshop in Adrakpo. The whole village came and sat for a few hours and then had a lot of questions. They will be receiving some water filters.

Facial scars are common tribal markings.

Fidelis is training a household on filter use while Kevin looks on.

Mary (standing in front of their new filter) and her family.

Pounding fufu. Boiled cassava and plantain are mashed into a sticky dough.

Fufu in goat soup. Fur and all. It's eaten with your fingers (right hand only), which may be why Kevin got so sick. Insufficient handwashing?

The latrine in Grumakrom is doing well. When we were approaching the village on our bikes, all the kids were shouting, "Melissa! Melissa!" The people are extremely grateful for this toilet.

Two hour bike ride to Nankuma.

We taught some kids to make kites, thanks to a friend and kite enthusiast at Canada Post.

Saturday, February 3, 2007

We're home!

We missed our flight connection in New York, but eventually made it
home safe Friday night. I promise I'll post some photos soon... For
now we're spending lots of time with the kids.

Sunday, January 28, 2007


The 'Youth Creating Change' organization I trained in Sogakope are
doing an amazing job. Since I left almost two years ago, they created
a filter technician team. They also do some other great stuff, but for
now I'll tell a bit about the filters.

Yesterday we visited some riverside villages whose main resource is
diving for 'oysters' in the river. About ten months ago, the filter
technician team installed a dozen filters there. They also trained
one person named Edwin from the main village, Dalive, to oversee the
filters. When we arrived there, Edwin said he had since trained
others to also help.

All the filters are being used regularly, since the people are really
enjoying the benefits. They've had less health problems and they say
it even tastes better.

Youth Creating Change are simply a group of local youths that want to
help their communities. They are volunteers who do a lot of research
and careful preparation before assessing villages for potential
projects. Tomorrow I will be giving a Biosand filter workshop close
to the Togo border, where the area is having a serious water problem.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Kevin has been the guinea pig...

...for my hygiene class. We haven't been near the internet since
Monday partly because Kevin fell violently ill for two days. Now
still recovering we have made it to Sogakope. He has become paper
thin!! The night before we left Nkoranza we installed a water filter
for a family. They showed their appreciation by preparing us fufu.
This is a dough like substance that is made of casava and plantain
mushed together with a long stick. On top was a goat stew. The goat
still had the fur on it!!!! Kevin wolfed it down while I politey took
a small sample. Lucky for me!! All I had to do was to clean up the
unsightly puddles for the next few days.
On our travel down south we stopped in a few villages where I was able
to go to some bead markets. I had a blast and now I don't know how to
get them all home.
This morning we went to teach hygiene in a school. The school was
about 600 children large and they wanted us to teach everyone. The
preschool was at least 150 kids with only three teachers!!!! After
that the kids had a dance competition. It was great fun to watch.
Thanks for all your prayers.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Dandwa, Nkoranza

We installed a filter this weekend for a family that lives near a
stream in Nkoranza. Their daughter, Mary, was a good friend of
Emma's, so we were happy to do that for them. On Sunday we visited
two churches, riding our bikes first to Dandwa village, and then back
to Nkoranza where we lead a Sunday School class. Today we spent the
morning teaching in Mary's school, and are about to leave for Kumasi.
I tried to get some pictures on the blog, but it's hard to make it
work... Maybe in another town.

Saturday, January 20, 2007


This time we took a taxi to our destination. It's WAY too far for
bikes. We went to a school where Becky taught 2 years ago. The
children all remembered us and also asked about Melissa, Emma & Levi
who briefly attended that school.

The school is on the outskirts of Techiman, we needed to find a taxi
into town where we could find another taxi that goes to Nkoranza. A
man was sitting nearby in his car and offered to give us a ride. He
was happy to drive the whole ways (for nothing) because although he is
a chief of a whole area here, he mainly lives in Toronto now, and
wanted to talk to Canadians.

Moses pulled his car along the roadside when he saw his good friend,
the fetish high priest from his village. So the priest climbed in the
back of the small two-door beside Becky. A few minutes later, Moses
saw another chief from the area and also offered him a ride. So the
priest squished close to Becky to make room for the 'Nana'. During
the drive, Moses told us that the fetish priest performs rituals twice
a week on some rocks which we used to enjoy hiking around with the
kids. Pouring libations (gin), sacrificing sheep, etc.

This all wasn't so bad, but just the night before some friends came to
visit us and told us that a local chief died about a month ago. A
chief must be buried with 4 heads, so everyone knows not to be alone
at night or you may disappear! Once the 4 heads are collected, you're
safe. Traditional rituals such as this are kept quiet (because it's
technically illegal), so one can perceive there is quite a spiritual
battle. It's been eye opening being at the mercy of local transport,
and getting to know others who have different beliefs. Needless to
say, Becky didn't stop praying for that car ride back to Nkoranza.

Thanks for your prayers!
We DO feel safe and in God's hands. Hakuna Matata.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Grumakrom and Ayerede

Today we biked to Ayerede which was only 1.5 hrs each way. Again, we
helped in a local school teaching hygiene and then visited the various
filter installations. At one of them, the family had moved. It was
great to see that they had taught the new family about the filter and
the new family is enjoying it daily! Another family with a filter had
also moved, but tried taking it with them. They're not made to move,
so we'll get it set up again...

On the way back from Ayerede, we stopped at Grumakrom. This is the
village where Melissa helped to get a latrine built. The kids are
regular in using it. They were all shouting, "Melissa!" when they saw
us riding up the road towards them. This poor village also received
some filters. We gave a lesson and did crafts with the kids in the
school. The teachers and other adults seem to enjoy that just as

Wednesday, January 17, 2007


Today we visited the filters in Nankuma and Nkwabeng. Nankuma is a
tiny isolated village at the end of a long road. We took a taxi there
with our bikes in the back (because you can't find a taxi there - end
of the road!). The bike ride back was 2 hours in the mid afternoon
heat. And dust! When we arrived in the taxi in Nankuma, we got out
looking like orange men instead of white men. The dust was thick.

We checked on the filters. The villagers previously walked a long
distance to a bad source of water. Three months ago, someone drilled
a well in there village. So now they don't have to walk the distance,
but they since stopped using the filters. They don't like the taste
of the well water, so sometimes they drink from the filters. Using
filters occassionally isn't good, so we re-educated them and answered
their questions. They're now excited to know that it's okay to use
the filters, and even a benefit to use while they are fetching well

Then we visited their school and we gave a hygiene lesson. The kids
made some bugs for a craft, to represent bacteria. We also used a UV
LED light and 'Glo-Germ' product to help them visualize the effect of
the quantity and quality of handwashing. We had a great time. We
really enjoy the small out-of-the-way villages. It was worth the dust
and bike ride...

In the evening we worked with the youth at the church. We gave a
lesson about the body of Christ having many parts, and the made some

Please pray for the youth as they try to identify their spiritual
gifts and use them in the church which is struggling with unity.

We're healthy and pooped. A roadside stand is now making some rice
for us. Then we're going straight to bed.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007


Thanks for your prayers - we made it to Nkoranza no problem and fast!
As soon as we arrived, we walked through town and kept meeting all our
old friends one after another. It was so exciting and special. We've
rented bikes to get around. We had an "official" welcome from some
local pastors last night. They shared about the many struggles
they've had, including divisions. Please pray for them and the
churches in this area.

Today we visited places where some filters are installed in Nkoranza.
Praise God - it was exciting to see the hospital pharmacy and lab each
using their filters regularly.

Funerals are the biggest events in Ghana. Today we passed by a dead
body on the side of the road - dressed nicely in frilly clothes and
ribbons. People were wailing over it. It didn't smell.... yet.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

we've arrived

we landed safely in Accra and so did our luggage. Getting north is proving difficult because the planes and buses are all full (school begins tomorrow.. ) Please pray for that. lt's a wonderful feeling to be back.

we have a phone number: 011 233 246 980 930
we're eight hours ahead of pacific standard time.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Countdown to Departure

At 2:00 AM, Saturday, Jan.13, we'll be driving to Seattle for a flight to Accra via New York City. Still packing and preparing...

Check this blog for updates; we'll add to it whenever possible (maybe frequent or never).