Recycling Water Sachets: Volleyball Net Edition

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Last week I posted a blog by Laurie, a volunteer in Accra, that discussed the lack of recycling and the immense amount of waste found in Ghana. This past Friday, I was able to put some of that garbage to good use and build a volleyball net for New Life.

New Life is a school and an orphanage that a ProWorld participant, Max, teaches at.  We thought that we would be making a football (soccer) net, but it turns out they lack field space. The children seemed quite happy with having a volleyball net, and since they now know how to cut and weave the sachets, they can make any type of sports nets. Football, tennis, basketball…the sky’s the limit!

There are five steps to making a net using water sachets. First, you must wash the sachets. Since some of them are picked off the ground, they can get pretty gross. The girls in Forms Three and Four took care of that step.

Step 1: Washing

Step 1: Washing

Next, you need to flatten the sachets, so it is easier to fold and cut them. The boys in Forms Three and Four had a lot of fun with this step. For about half of the time, I was supervising them.

Step 2: Flattening

Step 2: Flattening

Third, you fold the sachets on the long side (hotdog style, rather than hamburger). It was hilarious because the students in Forms Five and Six were pretending that the sachets were money while they were folding them.

Step 3: Folding

Step 3: Folding

Fourth, you cut the sachets in half and down the seam. This gives you two plastics rings. I worked at this table during the second half of the time.

Step 4: Cutting

Step 4: Cutting

Lastly, you weave the rings together to get a net. This was the trickiest part, but we had several dedicated weavers in Form Six that did a great job. It’s a bit tricky because it is difficult to get the net even. Our net ended up being a bit lopsided, but some of the teachers plan to fix it.

Step 5: Weaving

Step 5: Weaving

Once we deemed it long enough, we took it outside and hung it up on two poles. The kids immediately struck up a game to try it out. I was great to see children of all ages playing together with the next. I hope that they now see water sachets in a different way, and don’t just throw them on the ground. I really enjoyed hanging out with the children at New Life. They were funny and sweet. I hope that recycling initiatives like this spread in Ghana and that more schools make nets out of water sachets.

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