90 degrees - That’s how hot it was when I stepped off of the plane today. Naturally, I felt a little awkward because I was holding a long-sleeve thermal, a sweater, and a hoody in my hands. I tried to remind myself that I was braving below-freezing weather back in Cambridge, Massachusetts less than 12 hours beforehand, but I was bewildered nonetheless. After all, this is the dry-season, the very reason I came to Ghana one and a half years ago to start Project RISE in the first place. From October to March, Ghana gets hot and dry and farmers become idle as a result. An irrigation system can fix this problem.
As I stepped off the plane, my mind started drifting to back to August 2009, when I first came here to implement Phase 1 of the project. I would be lying if I said I didn’t feel a sense of deja vu, however this time a plethora of factors were different. I remember in 2009 how I was completely shocked (check the 2009 - Day 2 blog post for proof) about the disparities and inequalities that existed in Accra, Ghana. I remember being very nervous as I had not met the people of Ekumdipe in person yet and I did not know how they would respond to my plan. I remember being extremely anxious, because although Phase 1 was preceded by months of irrigation research, I wanted to be able to put our pumps and pipes through a real-life test.
However this time, none of that was the same. The inequalities in Ghana did not faze me this time around. In fact, they merely served to reinforce my determination to try and do something about it. Also, at this point I know for a fact that the RISE irrigation system works because I had the opportunity to see it work with my own two eyes(check out the 2009 –Day 6 part 2 post if you want to see too!). Finally, rather than nervousness, I am excited to get to Ekumdipe again because at this point the people know me and the project and they know what we are aiming for. I am very pleased with the steps we took in Phase 1, but that is not enough. One and a half years ago, I knew that it would be naïve for me to think bringing pumps and pipes to the village in one trip would be enough to create substantial impact - that’s not how ADI works. This is just another significant step towards the long term goal of creating a beneficial, self-sustainable system to help fight poverty. This is Project RISE Phase 2.
Tomorrow I’m picking up my good friend, Darryl Finkton, from the airport and we’re taking off for the village! Stay tuned.