I always wanted to do this and I finally got to!
Today we visited a new area further outside of Ho Hoe called Liati; Liati being the name of the whole area and then followed by names like Soba and Wote for the different villages. The roads were very bad and these villages were rural but I think there was much success today, especially in Liati Soba.
When we first arrived the first thing I noticed was how clean it was in comparison to most of the places in Ghana. Though small, there didn’t seem to be trash all over the community. I sat and spoke with a woman giving her some of the health survey for Global Brigades Medical, but as time isn’t important there, I couldn’t get through the whole thing before my battery died. I was hoping to, but Ghanaians like to be leisurely, chit chat, and have length discussions to simple questions which sometimes can drive me nuts because a simple yes or no is sufficient haha.
What is currently the existance of the Kindergarden school at Liata Soba
A man came over while we were speaking and at first I thought maybe he was being annoying and wanted to tell me all these things but as my battery was low I kind of waved him off so I could try to finish the survey. After the laptop died (this thing doesn’t last all that long even though it’s new!) I just hung out with the locals for a little while and tried cocoa yam (just a type of yam, not chocolatey like I wish it was! Haha). It was pretty good dipped in this paste that looked like tomato paste but was actually a very spicy pepper.
Then I got to hold a baby on my back! Haha. I know this sounds funny but you see it everywhere, the women with the babies on their backs by simply wrapping a cloth around them and tucking it in.
A baby who wasn't afraid of the obruni/yavou (white person in twi and ewe). Lots of the babies cry when they see me
So the woman with the baby there did it for me and it was actually quite neat though I had to stick my butt out a little or I felt like the baby was slipping haha. My two goals for Ghana this year: carry a baby on my back and figure out how to carry something on my head like they do. Ha! One down, one to go!
Afterwards I decided to go see the man who came to me earlier and thank god I did! This man runs an NGO in Ghana called RISE (Rural Initiative for Sustainable Empowerment. They are building a vocational school in the community as well as working on building and staffing a few clinics. They’ve also just been donated a boat from the Red Cross to take as a mobile clinic to an island 3-4 hours away by boat in the Volta region that has 25,000 people.
Teachers at Liati Wote
There are no clinics, no electricity or anything. The people are fisherman and the sustainability level is very low. He seemed to have a great outline of what they were doing and where and is going to drop it by to me on Tuesday. They’ve had a few volunteers come through which are also greatly helping the project but he is very dedicated to helping these rural communities. Even the vocational school is planned to be very cheap and might actually draw in outsiders because of the low cost which could help boost the economy of the village even though it is so rural! I think a partnership with RISE could be a very good thing as he also seems to have connections to other organizations working in the area. He is petitioning one organization for irrigation because they supposedly received a grant for an irrigation system and he greatly wants it in Liati.
How Ghanaians carry things, even the smallest ones
I’m going to check out his website www.riseworld.org when I get to the internet café today (I type these on my laptop and then just upload them with a pen drive at the café because it’s just too slow) but I’m not sure how much information will actually be on there. I could’ve stayed there for a whole day or night even to speak further with him and the rest of the community who were all very friendly. Ghanaians in general are extremely friendly and offer you the best they can when you come to visit but this village especially. The vocational school will offer baking and catering (you have to drive almost one hour to buy bread!), sewing, batik and tye die, and computer training. All things I’m in support of for these villages.
The people of Liati Soba who kindly offered their time to me
I’m still struggling on how best the Global Brigades Education program will be run but I know that whatever we decide, I’ve already made some great partnerships!
As for GB Medical, let’s just say they could run rampant here. The villages claim there are no problems with cholera, typhoid, parasites, worms, etc but I’m wondering if it’s because they don’t know that they have them or…? They drink river water and it’s certainly not clean most of them. One village admitted that the government brings medicine once a year to rid them of worms so maybe they’re just used to them? Malaria is still the biggest problem but at least in this area if you are pregnant, the government gives you a free mosquito net.
I grilled this woman about health questions and she handled it well. Instead of me thanking her, she gave me yams and a Fanta which is a lot for a poor woman!
So in the Liati area I’m guessing maybe 40% have mosquito nets? The clinic was terrible looking! I didn’t get to see it all as the nurses were gone for the day but attached is a photo of two mattresses on the floor…that would be the triage. The immunization room had a motorcycle, a container and a desk, all of which were covered with dust. The triage had nothing but a few chairs, two mattresses and a rickety scale and the delivery room was locked but I was scared to know! They would at least have room to set up the clinic if we wanted to come though it would have to be cleaned out pretty thoroughly first!
The next village, Liati Wote, is home of the tourist attraction Tagbo Falls though it only gets a small mention in the Bradt Guide and I think should be made a little more of a big deal, especially to help bring in tourists! Though I didn’t get to go, I saw photos and it deems worthwhile.
The immunization room at the Liati Soba clinic...you can't really see but if you look close the blue container is filled with dust
The community also seems more open to welcoming tourists than the community in Wli who simply ignored us while we were there and had little to no interest. The village people here all wanted to say hello and the children came running up to me which I think is part of why we go to the rural areas of places like Ghana and Africa to not only sight see but experience the people. I spoke with a retired teacher and a current teacher here who, like the other villages, agreed that having us here would be a great help. They said that they would especially like if our Education program could help with the school drop outs or even adult literacy classes to help gain more interest in learning in addition to working at the school. Libraries seem to be a universal excitement and of course, computers.
Welcome to triage at the Liati Soba Clinic
Where the US in the early 90s was with computers is the wave here right now where interest is high, yet no one really has them. At least they understand that the whole world around them is now using them and that it is becoming increasingly important to have at least basic knowledge or you will never get a decent job as computers are “the wave of the future” if you might call it.
Liati and Fodome have been my two favorite places though I loved the headmaster and teacher at Aklamapafu because they seemed very passionate about teaching.
The drive back, there was a parade in town as elections are on Sunday. I decided to video and our car was surrounded and bombarded because they saw my camera. A woman sat on the hood of the car rocking back and forth and people were grabbing in the windows.
Liati Soba Clinic
We had to roll up the windows! Haha. If I can load the video I’ll try to. The headmaster from Aklamapafu also happened to be there when we had to slow down and as we were being surrounded by what seemed like a riot but full of happy people, he was so excited to see me again saying “Madam, I’m the headmaster. How are you?! You met me at Aklamapafu, please hello!” The poor guy couldn’t get a word in over the chanting of the people in support of their political party and the parade of cars and we had to drive away as people were rocking the car back and forth. I’ll text Bless, the teacher there to apologize for our shortness. The poor old man was so swarmed of people! Emmanuel was afraid saying “Roll the glass, roll the glass!” As in roll up the windows and I just was laughing hysterically.
The other half of triage at the Liati Soba clinic
He was panicking and I just thought it was the funniest, harmless thing I’d ever seen. Only in the movies did I see what happened to us but in those cases it was generally for a bad thing, not smiling happy faces chanting political slogans haha. I wish we could’ve done it all over again! I’m so excited to see what Sunday brings. Or maybe I should be afraid? I don’t know!