Mas: Action@Home: Beach clean-up and awareness creation on recycling of plastic bottles

It had seemed like the beginning of a fruitful relationship. On May 21, 2016, Environment360, ahaban, 10 RV’s from challenges Worldwide-ICS, the La Dade Kotopon Municipal Assembly Chief Executive (Rita Odoley Sowah) and Honorable Emmanuel Nyarko Baah teamed up to involve the La Dade Kotopon Community people in the beach clean-up and awareness creation on recycling of plastic bottles on the beaches and the launch of the “Baak)” project by the main organizers, Environment360.

“Action at home” – I have never heard a phrase arguably used so many times in almost every document, presentation and meeting throughout my placement with Challenges Worldwide-ICS. When this phrase was repeated at the RV’s meeting, my first thought was “What can I do to make an impact?” While I was convinced that I may probably be volunteering my time and knowledge with a charity agency for my action at home, I nevertheless was anxious for some more specific event or charity agency. Just some few weeks after, that confirmation came through. Glory – an RV on the recent Cycle 7 group posted a beach clean-up organized by Environment360 on the ICV’s Cycle 7 group chat. With no hesitation I responded “I’m keen!”

Everyday I anxiously counted down to May 21st for the action at home at the La beach. I couldn’t wait to meet my colleague RV’s who were also coming for the action at home; Lukman, Nana, Faustina, Baffour, Isaac, Junior, Leticia, Glory – who posted the event and booked our participation with Environment360, and Osmond from Cycle 6. I was incredibly impatient, instead of watching my favorite series, I anticipated the event day and went through google maps just to have a picture of the La beach. A day before the action at home, Glory posted the start time for the clean-up, it was 5:40am. “What?” Lukman posted. That was too early for even the early morning cock, I thought. “Tomorrow is not one of my late days,” said to myself and responded to Glory’s post “I’m Game!” I don’t mind, I encouraged myself.

And so the day passed until May 21st, the day commenced not as usual, getting up so early and dressing by rush light. But this morning I was obliged to dispense with the ceremony of breakfast; it was 5:00am, no time to take breakfast before leaving. After a long hour of sitting in a “trotro”, walking and navigating using google maps I got to the La beach, “There they are, everyone is here already”.

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After a long presentation by the Honourable Emmanuel Nyarko Baah on the launch of the “Baak)” project on June 3rd ; where community people can collect and dispose of their  plastic bottles at Environment360 disposal sites in exchange for non-perishable food items. In the course of the hour, my colleagues and I were assigned to regular tasks: registering of interested community people, sharing of plastic bags and hand gloves, educating community people on how to pick, clean and crush plastic bottles before putting them into plastic bags.

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“…”ahaban” is a help pact, we are here to help. What we do is anywhere support is needed we come to help. Some of the projects we undertake are supporting needy students through payment of fees and anything regarding their education. We also organize awareness programs like this, so anything to support our communities. The benefit we have is helping society. Yes! I’ve heard of Challenges Worldwide-ICS, Nana is actually my cousin. She told me you are trained to help businesses in Accra. I think we need more of such initiatives in Ghana.” – Lawrence

All of us could learn from this example. But it shouldn’t take a common problem like sanitation or recycling to draw people together to make a change. We need to recognize the importance of community, of touching other people, in our daily existence. Our health, our lives, may depend on it.

Cheers!

Mas