The clinic at Gyetiase is pretty well finished. We’re looking for a part time eye nurse and a part-time optician to screen a short list of cataract patients. Dr Peter Osei-Bonsu, the Komfo Anokye Hospital eye surgeon, will then visit twice a month to operate.
Meanwhile, Nana Ab Roy (see his picture below) is starting to collect secondhand spectacles in a big way. We plan to buy in lenses of different strengths and set up a little workshop to glaze these into the old frames. Unless they’re very poor – and I don’t know how we’ll determine whether they are or not (suggestions welcomed) – people will be asked to buy their new spectacles for a very small sum of money.
We expect people to come from far and wide to get their spectacles at the clinic, and we’re hoping the money they pay for them will make a substantial contribution to staff costs in Gyetiase.
One of our biggest projects right now is to develop the borehole drilled a couple of years ago in Tadiesa village. It provides enough good quality water not only to meet the needs of Tadiesa, but also to be pumped uphill to supply Gyetiase too. The photo shows (no, not another household latrine…) the pump house at Tadiesa, and next to it you can see the beginning of a tapstand.
We are very sorry to announce that Mr HK Marfo, otherwise known as Master, died ten days ago in Kumasi Hospital.
Master was Ashanti Development’s first volunteer in Ghana, and worked for us for many years, initially with no pay. At first he was responsible for all our work, from building the ground floor of the clinic at Gyetiase, to acting as line manager for staff, organising free school meals and looking after incoming volunteers. As a former headteacher, he was always specially concerned about improving education in the villages and delighted when we began to try to address this problem.
Master’s role as Ashanti Development’s representative in Ghana was sometimes difficult, but sooner or later he won everyone round through his steadfastness and persistent good humour. He was 100 per cent honest and reliable and always did exactly what he promised. In all these ways, he gave Ashanti Development a flying start in life. We shall miss him greatly in the years to come and never forget him.
If you would like to send a message to Mrs Marfo, please do so below and we will see she gets it.
Four friends recently joined forces to sponsor the neighbouring villages of Dadease and Mpenya in Ashanti. Ashanti News 19 tells the story of how, having funded household latrines, they set up a small jewellery-making business for the women in Dadease and are now selling bracelets and necklaces in the UK.
It’s hard to think of a practical way of providing clean water for these two villages. Boreholes are unlikely to be successful and rainwater harvesting is extremely expensive. The four friends are now experimenting to see whether local people can be persuaded to use filters for their drinking water. This is certainly not a perfect solution, but it’s a lot better than drinking polluted stream water and if the experiment is a success we’ll apply it in other Ashanti villages.
Finally, two of them, Dawn Williamson and Paul Bloch, plan to ride tandem through Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam following the Mekong, starting in January. They have set up a page www.mycharitypage.com/mekongtandem to raise money for their villages. They would really appreciate any contribution you could make.
Six members of the Leigh Rotary Club visited Gyetiase last week to inspect the work Ashanti Development had done for them at Bimma Village. They seemed well pleased with the 108 household latrines, the kindergarten and food processing plant, the free school dinners, the farm support scheme and school playground they had funded. For its part, Bimma was delighted to see them and held a grand durber in their honour. The festivities culminated with Barrie Coates, the moving force behind the project, being made a Chief of Development.
Here in Gyetiase, Dave Banks is working as a teacher-trainer to the Junior High School. He’s volunteered for one year. He’s doing a fabulous job (see the forthcoming Ashanti News) and we’d love to find some TEFL teachers or other teacher-trainers to support him.
We’re also glad to have Ruth and Sheila with us. Ruth is a nurse, who worked in Mampong Hospital many years ago. She is rather shocked to see the changes there have been since then.
We visited the sites of all our active projects, including Awanya to see the new latrines financed by a Crowdfunder project, and Aduntam, to see the clinic, financed by Ashanti Development Italia. The Adutwam Chief told us “how happy the community is with what is happening and with all the developments.”
We also visited new villages, and now have a list of 26 who would love to be sponsored. Prices for the baseline survey and household latrines for these villages (we ask donors to finance these before anything else) range from £1,500 to £65,000. More information will appear under the Develop A Village page of this website.
The two couples who jointly sponsor Dadiase and Mpenya villages are also with us and work on the baseline and household latrines for these villages will start soon. In the meantime, the sponsors are busy setting up a jewellery-making business and investigating ways of providing them with clean water nearer to their homes.
Background to everything is the forthcoming General Election. This particular election is crucial to the country’s future. The current uncertainty is causing havoc in the villages where we work, and where people of one political party are often unwilling to work with the other.
Low rainfall this summer meant that many saplings, planted as part of our tree-planting project, didn’t survive.
The project depends on children in their last three years of school being given a sapling to look after, with prizes for the best. The photos show enthusiastic school children queuing up for or planting their replacement saplings.
A stroll down the canal
How about joining on Ashanti Development’s annual sponsored walk down the Regent’s Canal. It’s always a very pleasant event, and a good time for volunteers, supporters and people who might like to volunteer at some unspecified future date to meet each other.
The walk will be held on Saturday 6 October 2012 starting at 2pm at St Pancras Old Church, Pancras Road, London NW1. You can see the route we’ll follow at http://www.thames-path.org.uk/thames_island_gardens_embankment.html
For registration and instructions, please email [email protected], and we’ll come right back to you.
On a 50:50 basis, Ab and his staff have donated enough money to provide the villages with one latrine per household, to train them in health and hygiene, and to work with their existing organisations (elected village council, chief and elders, water and sanitation committee etc) so they are strong enough to maintain the improvements when Ashanti Development are gone.
The villages are mega-grateful, and when Ab visited recently they made him a chief. So from now on, those in the know call him ‘Nana Ab.’