By: Aaron Ohms
Monday June 13, 2011: Domeabra Village, Asante Region, Ghana
At the end of the second week in Ghana, the team embarked on a journey to a village called Domeabra. This is the test facility of the ethanol still and home to one of our main stakeholders, Nana Frimpong, Paramount Chief of Domeabra, which in Twi means “if you love me, you will come”; I will leave it up to you to determine if that is a good or bad thing. This man is quite the chief; not only does he reside over 20 villages covering 25 square kilometers in the Asante Region of Ghana, but he was also educated at MIT and started a cosmetics packaging business in the Bronx for 30 years. Suffice is to say he is a Yankees fan. BTW, the word nana just means “chief” or “boss” in Twi. Nana likes to think of himself as a mayor or sorts- do you understand what I’m saying?
Before we go any further, let’s shift gears for a second and talk about the bus ride, if you can call it that, to Domeabra. If you follow my blog, once again I am at a loss for words. We rode in what I will call a moving contraption on wheels. Local Ghanian’s would call it a Tro-Tro. Most of us know it as public transportation. Fortunately, we survived, but with some funny memories and stories to share with you guys.
Back to the main focus of the trip- meeting the Chief of Domeabra and seeing the ethanol still. Nana was very candid and genuine with us when we arrived. I was taken-aback and pleasantly surprised by this at the same time. The team was able to have a rather informal conversation with him without the presence of anyone else. Granted, he was wearing his chief sandals was sitting in his thrown. What the team came to realize though was that he is on-board with this project and very optimistic about its potential. The team was also able to clearly understand how the ethanol still operates and what components were necessary to make the thing run. All of this was a critical component to the success of this project.
After a few hours, our GlobalResolve client arrived. From there, we gave another presentation of the TwigLight and the newly designed gel fuel cook stove; the chief was impressed by both, even offering his own thoughts and insight on the design and distribution aspects of the cook stove. I am looking forward to working with the chief in the coming weeks and having a successful finish to this project.
Bye for now,