Team will work to improve village’s access to water
Africa will be the destination for a field trip for two students and an administrator from the Odyssey Preparatory Family of Schools who will participate in a project to improve access to drinking water for a village.
The group that will leave Thursday will be part of a Water Is Life team working in the west African nation of Ghana.
Making the trip will be Goodyear residents Megan Olson, co-founder of Odyssey, and her son, Taggert Olson, 15, and Makenna Crawford, 16, both students at the Odyssey Institute for Advanced and International Studies in Buckeye.
The project is part of the K-12 charter school’s partnership with Water Is Life, according to Makenna’s mother, Stephanie Crawford, who is the director of communications and human resources at Odyssey.
Crawford, who made the trip to Ghana on a Water Is Life mission last year, said the opportunity to go to Africa was open to all students as part of the school’s mission to be part of the global community.
“We believe in field trips,” Crawford said. “This one, it just really envelopes all of the things we strive to do.”
In Ghana, the team will continue an effort started last year to install a water pump system to provide drinking water for the 1,293 residents of the village of Kpaachi Yili.
“It’s a big project,” Crawford said.
The system will eliminate the need for residents to walk more than a mile to fetch water.
“These people are special, they’re sweet,” Crawford said of the villagers. She said she learned that the volunteers have as many things in common as they do differences with the Africans.
The volunteers will also work with the village’s school, she said.
Odyssey’s work with Water Is Life extends back to 2011, when a teacher traveled to Ghana to distribute 500 filtration straws.
Since then, Odyssey has raised almost $25,000 to support water, sanitation and hygiene efforts for the village, including creating a latrine building, educating local women about soap making and fencing and gating a water source.
Participants in this year’s project have been raising money for the 10-day trip with various activities, including an obstacle course race in October.
Crawford said she expects the students to bring back experiences that can be shared in the classroom.
“It’s going to be a special trip for them,” she said. “I hope these kids going will open up opportunities for many more to go.”
Besides learning about the importance of water, the trip will provide lessons in biology, physics and math, Crawford said.
Since being established as a nonprofit organization in 2009, Water Is Life has worked on projects in several African countries, as well as Haiti, China and India.