Thank you Ghana

August 28, 2016

Well…The wheels have touched down and the travel team has made it back safe and sound (or yesterday we did…sorry, I’m a little behind). The travel team and I are extremely proud of the amount of work that we managed to accomplish during the past 32 days in Ghana. We would like to acknowledge and thank so many people who helped us accomplish everything. We would like to extend our thanks not only to each of the masons, laborers, and carpenters but also to our cultural mentor Fritz Mick, our structural mentor Bob Steckel, our UW-Platteville Professor and in country expert Dr. Sam, and our driver, Charles. The amount of work that we got done was very much thanks to the effort and support that we received from each one of our mentors and in-country contacts. In addition to our in-country contacts the travel team and I would like to thank our friends and family within the States who assisted and supported us on our travels. The joined support of everyone who helped us along the way is greatly appreciated and led to a successful trip filled with new experiences, friends, and nearing the completion of a new school for the village of Nsumia.

Thank you all and we look forward to continuing work to open the school in March and to begin our next project to help as many people as we can.

Almost there!

August 23, 2016

Its starting to look like a school. We have been working hard every single day and we have made some pretty good progress. Today we officially installed the final ceiling (not including lath boards) and completed the installation of the vents for the soffiting. The masons successfully poured another 2 topping slabs. We still have to install more lath boarding, prime windows, grade the site, and a few other things. If everyone keeps working as we have been we will see the pouring of the final topping slabs on Friday, our last day in Ghana. As we count down our final days there are many things that everyone will miss but we are anxious to get back to our lives in the States and kickoff another year at UW-Platteville.

Last week in Ghana

August 20, 2016

Well, the clock is ticking down and the time crunch is real. Today we officially finished the plastering of the interior of the school. We finished installing the ceilings in the second long building and continued installing the lath boards. The other day we began the painting process by painting an anti rust enamel over the rebar on the short buildings. Our next step is to install the ceilings in the last of the four buildings, complete the lath boarding, pour the topping slabs, grade the site, install windows and shutters, and paint the school….We are deciding how much we need to play a prominent role in and finish before we leave and how much we can leave funds to be completed while we are away. Today we were able to meet with the new chief of Chinto to discuss the possibility of working together on future projects and learned that they have been putting quite a bit of thought into it. We have learned a lot that will be shared with the club upon our return.

oh, and we were fortunate enough to have a visitor on site the other day that brought us this drink….According to Charles it is made from maize (corn) that is mashed and left in water for weeks and then filtered and is mixed with evaporated milk… we have since referred to it as Corn Milk…..it is very interesting…..

18 August, 2016 16:40

August 18, 2016

Quick Update

August 18, 2016

Just a quick update today. I noticed that my photos from yesterday were not uploaded… not sure why. The previous post, "Missing Pictures" was another attempt to upload them. They might come in later, they might not upload at all, but I will continue trying. As an update for work we finished another 2 ceilings today and almost finished the soffits, and the masons have almost finished the last long building remaining for interior plastering. Progress is still being made at a great pace and we are feeling the crunch of running out of time here. We know that we will be able to still get a lot of work done, but we are aware that we are short on time to do all that we would like.

Missing Pictures

August 18, 2016

A man named Moses…. and Rice Balls

August 17, 2016

Well… another day down. Today we succefully finished installing the ceilings in the first long buildings, we finished the soffiting on the second short building, and we installed the framework for the ceilings in the last of the 4 buildings.Throughout our time on site we have been working with one main carpenter. Charles. Chales, aka Chaz, aka C.K. was helping with the ceilings of the Latrines when we first arrived and agreed to help us with our work on the school. He has been an immense help and has really let us move at a quick pace. The other day though, he brought in his apprentice. Moses. With the help of Moses our productivity took a sharp increase and we have been able to make larger leaps and bounds then we thought possible in a day. Moses is a great example to show the work ethic of our favorite workers who have been helping us on site. Not only does he show tremendous skill and focus when he is working, but he is able to do so while working at a pace that is almost impossible for the rest of us to keep up with. We are constantly amazed by the skills of those who help us on site and we cannot thank them enough for helping finish the school.

As a side note, Ground Nut Soup and Rice Balls. The travel team and I have been working our way through the Han’s Lodge menu (all of which has been fantastic), and we have been trying to decide on a favorite dish. For several of us, we have agreed that the best dish is the Groundnut Soup and Rice Balls. Dacoda has requested that we post a picture to the blog so that when friends and family ask what it is that we ate while in Ghana, we have a simple go to answer. So, here it is, Ground Nut Soup and Rice Balls

We are back once again

August 16, 2016

On behalf of the travel team I apologize for missing the past few days for posts, internet was down again and we have been very busy with work and plans.
Since the last post we have made several leaps in progress, As the masons finished the exterior plastering they moved to begin plastering the interiors (not including the library). While the number of masons we had each day varied as did the number of laborers, quality progress was still mantained, Plastering the interior has to be finished before anyone can begin working on the topping slabs for each room We hope to have all of the interior plastering to be completed within the next few days and begin pouring the topping slabs. The masons currently have only one long and one short buliding remaining for plastering. We officially completed installing the framework for the ceilings to be installed in each room and have begun installing the plywood ceilings. Similarily, as the installation of the soffit framework was completed we are passed half way done with installing the plywood soffiting. We look forward to continue installing the ceilings and soffiting and following behind the masons as they complete the interior plastering. All estimates on time still work out however we know that we must work hard each day to accomplish it.
On a lighter note with the festival in town the masons and the travel team finished by 4 PM on Saturday and took Sunday off. The travel team was able to accompany our driver Charles and his family to church where we were able to introduce ourselves to the congregation. After a short time at the beach we traveled to Chinto (a neighboring village to Nsumia) where we were able to examine the broken down school building there. We also took notice of a new Jr. High School building that was built next to the old school that was donated by Blue Skies (a local buisness). After our explorations for the day we returned to Han’s to plan out our week.
We are making progress and we hope to continue to see where it will lead us.

Exterior Plastering= Done!

August 11, 2016

We continue to see progress everyday. Each day we seem to reach a new milestone of varying degree of importance. Today however, we reached a big one, the completion of the plastering of the exterior walls. The masons have been working hard every day to reach this goal and we cannot thank them enough. With the completion of the exterior we are allowing the masons to continue work on the interior as we hope to complete the plastering. As the masons continue working on plaster the rest of the project group has been working to keep up. Today we were able to just about finish the prep work required to allow the masons to plaster each interior room. While some of us were working on that another group was able to begin both the installation of the ceiling in the library and finish the installation of the soffit on the first of the four buildings.

Where the wild things are

August 10, 2016

While on site and in Ghana in general, you see certain things that you just dont normally see in the States. From the first day we were on site we were fascinated by the wildlife. Seeing the spiders, insects and lizards that we havn’t seen before was a treat but the excitement of that has certainly all but worn off by now. We still welcome the random mongoose here and there or the neighborhood dogs that come wandering around each day looking for food but it is safe to say that we have all gotten used to it. Today however, as we were sitting down enjoying lunch I was beside myself when I saw our mentor Bob reach into his backpack and pull out a live bird by the tail. We were all taken back, as we knew that he was a magician, and made more confused when he said that he didnt put the bird in there. At this point we still dont know where this bird came from but it was a welcomed companion as it stayed with us for the remainder of lunch. It just goes to show that you always have to expect the unexpected.

As for the work accomplished today it is much more of the same old same old, we have made progess with installing the soffits and with the soffits around the library being finished, and we have continued to install the framework for the ceiling installation. Simultaneously we have been making sure that lthe masons, now nearing completion of the exterior plastering, are remaining supplied with plaster and tools to work at an efficient pace. We hope to continue the working and, according to our estimates, we will finish as much work as we can.

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