When Given the Chance to Learn and Help with Water to Drink
“I hope that, by the efforts of this noble organization, the world would be a better place for people to live, one step at a time. And, that rural-urban migration will reduce because people would not be going to urban centers in search of a better education and better drinking water.”
- Eli Hedidor, CIH Intern 2019, University of Cape Coast
We first met Eli in 2014, when James - a former CIH participant, turned Duke University scholar - traveled with us to Ghana to introduce the technology of biosand filters to two villages we had already identified as “in need.” Other models had failed, including a borehole that extracted brackish water for those near coastal rural farming villages. Recently out of JHS, and with time on his hands, Eli showed up to help and never left our team’s side for six weeks. His endearingly quiet and gentle nature won us over.
While that model also didn’t succeed as a longer-term solution community wide, James’s family has helped support Eli’s education since then, getting him through Senior Secondary, then beginning college at the University of Cape Coast. Eli is the first to attend both in his family - an answered prayer, and a dream, fulfilled. This past summer, he joined us as our first University Intern in Ghana.
One aspect of his internship was to assess the functionality and use of the 150+ filters CIH has brought to the villages in the last couple of years, since launching our Water to Drink Service Project. As part of our continuing commitment to help with advocacy and sustainable clean water, families were re-educated on proper use and maintenance for the filters. They were redistributed for those not taking advantage of them, and instead were using water sachets, a cheap but environmentally degrading plastic option.
Most excitedly, Eli met with the local public health clinic who shared with us that waterborne illnesses - dysentery, cholera, and typhoid - are down 40% since we began bringing filtrations systems! Now, that is not just clean water, but improved health! Eli also met with local assembly representatives, where he shared this good news and that we were continuing our efforts to get them the next extension in the public water line. He was able to witness our successful cross-cultural collaboration and the process of aiding one of our schools with a borehole installation, and better understand the science of clean water.
Eli also assisted in garnering a deepened understanding of the needs of our burgeoning scholarship program, Chance to Learn. In his final report, Eli requested help with providing food to one of our scholarship students, and a walker or wheelchair for another - our only two students not performing above average. Problem solved. Eli shared that this opportunity enabled him to be bolder and more confident. He learned how to approach people and speak in public, and how to better understand society and human behavior. And he, too, enabled us to better serve our communities - in education, health, and clean water!
We are only $550 shy of our goal to deliver another 100 to three villages, bringing us to 250 filters delivered, in the next month. Click here to give the gift of clean water, and health, to a family in Ghana.