Good Morning! or in the Zongo language of Hausa, Ina Kwana!
I write to you this morning from the quiet and peaceful terrace of the Fairhill guesthouse where I will be staying for the next five weeks. Much more so than previous trips, I feel as though I have come home – to friends, colleagues, and a place so familiar that I notice when a single tree had been cut and a kiosk shop removed. Having completed my thesis this past semester on the socio-spatial history of Cape Coast and The Zongo, I’m more attuned to when, how, and why the city and settlement has, and continues to evolve with changing social, economic, and political pressures. With this in mind, I’m particularly interested to see how this increased understanding of the urban and social history informs, overlaps with, and enriches The Zongo Water Project. Thus, I will begin the project in the next few days with a combination of in-depth interviews with community members – residents I had conversations with concerning the history of the Zongo, participants in the soap-making workshops, and recipients of new rainwater collection systems. From these conversations, I hope to gain insight into how the history of the Zongo might be able to inform its future by generating community knowledge and agency. In addition (and more short-term), I hope to better understand the successes and failures of the rainwater collection system implementation and soap-making workshops from last year’s Zongo Water Project. To what extent do the residents use these systems? Do the residents know how to use them? Is the water shared? If so, with whom? Who maintains these systems and have there been any modifications since their installation? Are the residents able to make a profit from the soap-making? What business and profit-sharing models might improve the success of the business? What are the failures and successes of last year’s workshops? Finally, from these interviews I also hope to receive direction from the community about a third and new component of the project – educational workshops with the children and residents that lead to visible, tangible change (whether this be a small design-build project, an exhibition, or planning document).
Thank you so much again for your support of The Zongo Water Project. I look forward to sharing my experiences and the project’s evolution over the next four weeks. Please feel free to send any suggestions, questions, or concerns to me by email as well: email@example.com. The Zongo residents and I would love to hear from you.
I’ll sign-off now to join the community in their celebrations of Eid Al-Fitr (the breaking of the fast at the end of Ramadan).