Saturday, April 18, 2015

Our Time at Chanshegu

We had the privilege to visit and overnight in the small village of Chanshegu. This village is about 20 minutes outside of Tamale, and is the same village where Muriel was given the honour of being named a King.  Previous years of students have done a lot of fundraising to provide access to clean water, and development of a health clinic.  We were taken to the village by Kassim, who is Sinbad's younger brother, and he ensured we were well taken care of.
Outside the Clinic.  Kassim is in the Centre,
Josef the Chief's son on the left, and on the right is the young man who works with the orphans
 Upon our arrival to the village, we were warmly greeted by the people and children. We were promptly introduced to the Chief, who greeted us into his village. We then walked to the clinic that is secured but not yet ready to be opened.  We were able to see the new windows that we had arranged to be installed the day prior to our visit! The clinic is nearly finished, but further funding is required for plumbing (septic tank, sinks, toilets etc) and then furniture and supplies.  
The Chief in his Traditional Hut

We handed out toys, nail polish, stickers, pencils, crayons, colouring books, tee shirts, and toiletries to the 38 orphan children of the village. They were so excited to receive our gifts. When we first arrived we thought the village had an orphanage. We were pleasantly surprised to find out that the 38 orphan children have actually been adopted into the care of the community and it's families. An amazing sense of unity and love in this village!

They Loved the Colouring Books

 We also had stickers, pencils, and other small goodies for the other children of Chanshegu.

The River
Their source of water
We walked down to the "river" which is actually a large, murky watered pond with many of the children. There were children and women at the pond fetching water that they carry in large buckets on their heads back to their homes. They walk on dirt trails through a forest, many bare foot. This water is their drinking, cooking, and bathing supply. Sadly, the village does not have a reliable supply of fresh drinking water brought to them, even  though there are black water  tanks in the village. They are only filled every 3-4 months, which results in the village not having clean drinking water  for months on end. The water from the pond is boiled and filtered using a special stone, though it is still not properly treated or entirely safe to drink. It is all they have.

A local family prepared our lunch and dinner for us. Boiled yam for lunch and TZ and groundnut soup for dinner, a typical Ghanaian dish. We said thank you for their kindness and each took a few bites to show our appreciation, though we are not fond of the local cuisine.

After dinner, we watched drumming and dancing as performed by the villagers. We each took turns entering  the circle to dance as well. The locals were laughing at our lack of rhythm and ability to dance to their dances.  Chanshegu only has power for a few hours at night, so the village is most often without power. This makes it hard to find reprieve from the extreme heat!

Our Home for the Night
We spent the night in the Chief's son Josef's  mudhut, all four of us side by each. We were lucky to have had a thin mattress, though it was not big enough for our whole selves. We found out how difficult it is to get comfortable and sleep in such heat without electricity to power a fan! We all enjoyed our experience of living like the locals of Chanshegu and were happy to have spent time in the village we have all heard so much about.

The Chief has a Canadian flag in his traditional hut, and he shared with us that we too are his family.
Playing by the River

What a wonderful community.

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