Last year we were lucky enough to get a grant for cataract operations from HANDS International and the Muslim Community and Education Centre. Eyes have special problems in Ashanti, partly because of the sun and partly because the area is on an old trading route from North Africa across the Sahara, and the traders brought a very virulent form of conjunctivitis. So there’s a lot of blindness and poor sight, which is terribly difficult to cope with if you’re a farmer.
We used half the grant last year, and then there was a pause while we assessed more patients. Last week, we used the remainder. A report is awaited, and we don’t yet know how many operations were carried out or what the success rate was, but here are some photos of the lucky ones.
Dave came across the little village of Asasebonsu recently. It’s in the middle of nowhere – you can only reach it by canoe. And it needs everything desperately, including the basics like clean water, latrines, hygiene training. The trouble is that it’s going to be mega-expensive to get all the materials safely across the stream. Here’s a video so you can see what we mean.
Last week we drilled two new boreholes, which still have to be fitted with pumps. The first was for the village of Saviour Kwamang, sponsored by a Rotary Club. The people have to walk a long long way downhill to get to the nearest stream, and then come back carrying basins of water up a steep slope. It’s about the worst journey to collect water that we’ve ever seen. No wonder the villagers have terrible muscular-skeletal compression in later life.
And the second village is Onyameani, which we wrote about recently. The water here is stagnant, and home to various wild life – tortoises and frogs in particular – and the children spend their time going to and from hospital. But no more. The drill rig arrived as it was growing dark, and drilled till midnight before striking water. From sometime next week, when the pump will be installed, the villagers will have clean water at last.
With the country in the grip of Brexit and everyone holding their breath, I wonder why the Home Office decides that now’s the right time to harrass long-standing, legitimate UK immigrants. We’re spending a lot of time helping frightened friends to appeal against deportation. Why now?
Last week we wrote about our new project called ‘Develop A Ward’ in Mampong Maternity Hospital. Room by room, we intend to refurbish the hospital and provide it with modern equipment. And we will keep a close eye to see that our improvements are properly maintained.
Imagine our feelings when we were immediately promised two amazing sums of money to start the work – almost enough to cover the whole Mother and Baby Unit. We haven’t decided yet, but we’ll probably spend the it on some of the really important equipment the hospital lacks.
Thanks to our donors, halfway through 2019 will be a much better time to be born than 2018. We couldn’t be more grateful.