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Stern International Volunteers - Ghana: Day 1

Updated: Jan 31, 2021

Today, I am heading to Waodtze Tsatoe, a small village in eastern Ghana, with the Stern International Volunteers to develop two small businesses established there last year by a group of Stern students in partnership with Studio 189 and Adanu. One of these businesses is a fashion business that trains women to craft and sell traditional batik products, and the other is a clean water business that provides potable drinking water to everyone in the village.

This year, our goal as a class is to further improve these ventures by providing them with business training and governance and process guidance. We are hoping that our collaborative efforts with the villagers will generate more economic activity and long-term, sustainable employment in Waodtze Tsatoe. Already, one batik purchase is enough to create one job and fund one education; our mission is to empower the villagers to create even more value for themselves and their community.

In the mornings, we will be teaching children K-6th grade and building a permanent batik shed for the village. In the afternoons, we will be working with the board of directors of the two businesses to help them in any way we can. And in the evenings, we will have time to reflect and plan for the next day's work. I definitely want to keep track of my and others' experiences throughout the trip, so I'll be writing daily posts (if the Internet allows) here for anyone interested in reading or sharing their own thoughts.

"How are you feeling?"

"Last minute packing is definitely a thing." - Kitty

"Excited and ready to dive back in because I went last year, and Ghana changed my life. Let's see what it does this time." - Karan (TA)

"EXCITED!!" - majority of the class

"What are you hoping to give to the villagers of Waodtze Tsatoe?"

"A sustainable way to allow the villagers to understand computer capabilities." - Sophie

"My time and my full energy. Positive energy. I just love when something I share with other people brings some measure of happiness or insight." - Karan

"What are you hoping to learn from them?"

"Everything." - Business Training Team

"Gaining an understanding of how other people carry themselves. Seeing how one small group can make an impact in a village. Seeing the way our village can change." - Rowena

"Anything else on your mind?"

"Other than safety concerns...BUGS." - Rowena

"Terrified of forgetting to take my malaria pills." - Braden

"Don't worry, we'll take them together." - Professor Kowal

"Still excited." - Maggie

"First time going to Africa...I'm excited and anxious." - Kev

"I can't wait to eat the food." - Rowena, Karan, Sofia

And with that, we are off! Here's to day 1 of a wildly entrepreneurial venture and an unforgettable spring break adventure.

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