Thursday, January 6, 2011

Day 6 - Tour of Tamale

Today was my third day actually working.  The morning was relatively slow, because basically everyone was waiting for a shipment of aggregate gravel (for concrete) and river sand (for concrete and rammed earth blocks).  Unfortunately, Ghanaians relationship with time differs from Americans.  A phrase I have heard from other westerners summons it up with a dash of humor - GMT (Ghana Maybe Time).  In the meantime as we waited, everyone found other projects to work on.  The chi phi boys (Stephen, Mitch, and myself) brainstormed and decided upon the best location and way to install a big trap to provide a shadowed area for working.  Additionally, we lent a hand on other small projects like sifting corn husk to be used in the mixture for the filters, helping with the cutting of steel polls for drying shelves, and various measures to be used later to determine the cost of materials for filters and rammed earth blocks.

In the afternoon, I left the site to visit other sellers of building blocks (cement blocks, bricks, etc) to get a sense of how much they sell them for.  The purpose of this price information is to see if it makes sense for Pure Home Water as a side business to sell rammed earth blocks.  Driving around the city on the back of a motor bike (of course I was wearing a helmet) was really interesting.  I got to see a wide variety of different communities throughout Tamale, included in this tour was the Tamale Football stadium, the Tamale Radio Station headquarters (91.25 FM which rebroadcasted BBC radio from Accra), and outdoor markets.  I also got a better appreciation for the wide spectrum of living conditions from relatively western style homes to thatched huts along the side of the road.  One of the more memorable sights I saw was a cellphone retailer that was named Dallas Phones!

When everyone got back to the PHW house at the end of the day, we went out for the now constitutional end-of-day drink at the Humanity (or maybes its humanitarian) Inn, right down the road.  Keeping with tradition, the only light at this hole-in-the-wall watering hole was a blue compact florescent light, which needless to say sets an interesting mood.  Afterwards we had a delicious meal prepared by our cook of chicken, a tomato soup with an interesting kick, french fries!, and salad. 

In other developments, tonight will be the Chi Phi boys last night at our guest house.  After an interesting (and at times almost horrifying experience) we will be leaving our residence for the past 3 nights (along with hopefully the plumbing and locking issues too...more to come on these stories in the future when I have more time) to move into the PHW house.  We aren't entirely sure where we will sleep, but regardless we are excited and looking forward to being under the same roof as everyone else.


  1. Hey Zachary...I smiled when I read that you wore your helmut! Thanks so much for taking good care of yourself, helps me relax and be a little more at ease with you so far away. Proud of you baby and your friends for heading out for a new adventure. xoxoxox mom

  2. Hi Zac, What an amazing experience! Thank you for sharing your day with me. I'm very sure you are exhausted at the end of each day, but you must feel so wonderful about the contribution you are making to the people there.
    I look forward to hearing more!!
    Be safe and be happy!
    Love, Auntie Karen

  3. Gooooooo Zaaaaaaac!

    How amazing you are. I literally can't wait to hear about all of the adventures and challenges upon your return. I am Christmas morning excited.

    Keep up with the blog! It is a pleasure to read.