African Languages and Societies | Liberal Studies


Dr. Roderick Morgan


On a seemingly normal day during my study abroad in Ghana, we noticed that the sun was shining in a sky that seemed to have no clouds. We were taking a trip to visit the water source of a community that contained nearly 1,000 people. Although it amazed us to think that that many people were fetching water each day from a river, we understood that others do not have access to the purified, city water that we are fortunate to have at home. When we pulled into the community, the reality of their lifestyle contrasted with what we had imagined. We saw a small city full of stone, cement, and brick buildings that went back as far as we could see. Between the cars zooming past on the road, we noticed people walking along the road using cell phones. As we walked toward the riverbank, we saw two young women leaving the area carrying large buckets of water on their heads. We were told that this was the singular location that the entire community fetches water from. As we approached the river, we noticed two teenage boys joyously fishing. They were happily catching catfish next to another child who was quietly bathing himself. Within the same 30 feet of riverbank, a strong woman was lifting the largest bowl we had ever seen on to her head. As she lifted the bowl full of water, the two boys who were fishing ran over to help her lift it. The realization that this community was in dire need of a clean water source came when we joined these individuals at the waterside and took a brownish-yellow, turbid water sample from an area not far from where the strong woman had just collected her own.