Friday, October 15, 2010

Good water in Ghana

Earlier this month, fellow blogger and Ghanaian, Jemila of informed me about Blog Action Day on October 15. I looked forward to this day and earlier, realised that Edward of Tagoe Blogger had blogged about MoneyGram quenching Asuboi's thirst. Blog action Day 2010 (BAD2010) tackles 'water' with the premise "Right now, almost a billion people on the planet don’t have access to clean, safe drinking water. That’s one in eight of us." Let's spread the word about providing cleaner and safer water, especially in Africa where water-borne diseases are a menace still.

I've had some battles with unsafe water. In the final year in Presec, I had some 'traces' of Typhoid fever which drove me to the hospital for a couple of check-ups. I was given some medication and told to check the water I used. There had been a typhoid outbreak in Accra and a few people had died. So I wasn't going to joke around. Accra has a lot of documented water problems. I was speaking a Ghanaian friend, who spent most of the life in the US, and is now in Accra working. She complained about there being no water in East Legon. A whole East Legon! In Adenta, where my aunt lives, there's no water. We buy water from different sources and even if the water is clean, you can't 100% trust the water to travel safely as well. So the metropolitan areas of Ghana need some water work done.

Kumasi on the other hand is great. People in Accra routinely boil their tap water before drinking, just because. In Kumasi, such worries don't exist. I can't tell why but it seems the Barekese dam is a better service provider than whatever is nearest Accra. Many people buy 'mineral water' in plastic bags which are not very trustworthy these days either. The surest source is the Voltic bottles, because Voltic is a trustworthy brand with a Western name. :-) You see the mentality? Even the 'careless' me has bought into it as well. Because you definitely do not want to mess with unclean and unsafe water.

Unless you live in a random village in the Brong Ahafo Region near New Longoro (where?) and you have no access to pipe-borne water then you have no choice but to mess with unsafe water. People do this everyday in parts of Africa. They drink from pitch-brown rivers and don't fall 'sick'. They've developed anti-bodies to fight the unsafe water that this water is 'safe' for them. Strangers and guests don't get that luxury though, not that it's one they want to have. There are many ways to get safe drinking water if pipe infrastructure is not laid. I stayed in this village for a week and me and my MIT friends survived on bore-hole water.

We had filters. We had gone to these villages to preach the dangers of dirty infiltration and the cures of clean filtration. We provided cheap and ingenious ways to ensure water was safe. We need to see more of this. We need individual and little efforts like these that can empower those affected by unsafe water to fend for themselves. Because the millenium development goals are some years' away and cost a lot of money. Someone tell me it's not true. It's not? Great news. Problems solved. But here's to all the volunteers, engineers and civil servants who are striving to solve the problems facing clean, safe, drinking water in their own way. We salute you. This blog is to announce and celebrate that you exist and that help is on the way. #VIM!

And if you want to keep up on all the BAD2010 happenings, you can follow us at

Here's a flickr slideshow of water related photos|Start Petition

see a vimeo video and join the global conversation around water today.

Blog Action Day 2010: Water from Blog Action Day on Vimeo.

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