We’ve been visited by the agricultural extension officer to check on reported infestations of army worm. Army worms – see the photo – turn into moths, and can destroy whole harvests in no time at all. According to Wikipedia, “the larvae often exhibit marching behaviour when travelling to feeding sites, leading to the common name “armyworm.”
Luckily, we have quite a big farm support programme underway, as a result of which the farmers spotted the army worms early on, and knew where to turn for help.
That aside, the yam and maize crops in particular are said to be looking very good this year, so not much hunger in the villages.
There are two main roads to the north from our area, and we built a clinic halfway up the right hand one a few years ago. Most of its work is in maternity or snake bite and by now it must have saved umpteen lives.
Meanwhile, the villages on the left had virtually no healthcare provision until we were lucky enough to get a grant from Swiss charity BasAid to build them a clinic too. The photos show the work so far. The exact location was chosen by the local authority and is at the village of Nyinampong. Nyinampong people are ecstatic with joy.
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.