May 21, 2016
This last week of work was challenged by the two significant power outages on Tuesday and Wednesday---the last and most critical days at the shop. Not having electricity not only meant that we couldn’t use our power tools, but after our computer, phone, and electronic batteries died, we were left without our personal tools as well.
The next two days involved visiting our stakeholders, traveling between cities, and finally being tourists in Ghana. Because of this, after my computer died Wednesday, I wasn’t able to revive it until just now.
On Thursday we woke up bright and early since we had to visit three stakeholders in three separate towns before noon. Our visits had to operate with "military precision" because we needed to make it to the Road to 2016 Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Accra by 3pm. The drive to Accra takes around three hours, so we needed to be efficient during our visits if we wanted to make it on time to the summit. Our goal for the three stakeholder visits was to walk through the safety features of the graters to the two women receiving their machines, and then talk about finances to the third stakeholder who would be receiving her machine next week.
|Abigail and her new machines (press and grater)|
|Hawa and her two machines|
|Talking finances with Dora|
Once we arrived in Accra, we went straight to the summit. After the summit we went to a nearby restaurant for dinner; after eating traditional Ghanaian food for two weeks, we were ready for stir-fried vegetables and guac! We called it a night once we arrived to the place where we would be staying for the next two nights. Tomorrow we would wake up bright and early to Cape Coast to see the castles where many slaves were imprisoned before being shipped to the Americas during the Transatlantic Slave Trade.
Friday morning we arrived at the Cape Coast castle at 9am and toured the grounds for two hours with a tour guide. We saw the male and female dungeons where Ghanaians were kept for up to 3 months before being filed onto a ship. This castle operated from 1665 to 1833 and housed millions of Ghanaians. This trip was really historically significant to us and we are glad we made time for it because it’s one thing to read about the Transatlantic Slave Trade in history class, and then another experience entirely to actually walk and see the dungeons.
On the drive back home, we saw quite the scene: a large snake being carried by several men! We had to stop and take a picture.
|The "Door of No Return"|
Today, Saturday, we finally slept in for the first time in two weeks! But our bodies are so used to waking up before 6 am that most of us woke up without an alarm before 7am. Since then we’ve leisurely had breakfast and packed our bags. We catch a flight to the States tonight and arrive Sunday. This has been an amazing trip that none of us will ever forget—and hopefully some of us will be back sometime in the near future!
The most valuable experience for many of us has been to meet the women whom we design and build machines our for. To finally have met them makes it so that we have a better understanding of our product direction, as well as to have the motivation to work until we produce the machines that will create the biggest social impact. We are going back to the States with so much clarity and drive to continue fine-tuning our machines during our pilot program. We all look forward to scaling up and making this venture into a self-sustaining company in the next years.