Two new boreholes

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.

How people pass their time

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?

An amazing new year gift

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.

Mampong Maternity Hospital
Mampong Maternity Hospital

Develop a maternity ward

We’re starting a new project called ‘Develop A Ward’ in Mampong Maternity Hospital. The hospital has 55 beds catering annually for 2,000 deliveries and serves 102,300 people in Mampong District. It is also the principal referral point for maternity cases in its own and several neighbouring Districts.

We’ve chosen five rooms in different areas of the hospital to start with, and talked at length to the staff. They’ve told us how the absence of equipment damages their work. If, for example, if they had a scanner (price £405) they could measure the baby’s pulse and position and if necessary, rush the patient to theatre. A portable ultrasound machine that could move round the hospital would be only £4,035. Dozens of babies’ lives would be saved.

On this basis, we’ve put together and costed ‘shopping lists’ of everything needed in these five rooms. They range in price from £356 to refurbish a room in the antenatal ward to £12,439 to set up the mother and baby unit. We will use our own staff to oversee the work and they will account for every penny spent. And when we’ve finished the job, we will raise money to do the same for five more rooms.

Now we just need some donors to fund them. Please let us know if you have any ideas where we could find it.

Planning for the past

In Ashanti, social structures are tending to break down. For example, the old rites of puberty, engagement, marriage and many more are dying out, and alcoholism is spreading.

Martha Boadu, our founder, is concerned about this, and has built a museum to preserve the Ashanti heritage. There are already museums in Ghana, but most major on sepia photos of colonial rulers, with ceremonial thrones and drums. By contrast this museum will specialise in things collected by local people.

So far, the museum has a little house, built by traditional building methods (see bottom photo); lots of clay and wooden bowls; some old muskets; tribal robes and witchdoctor’s equipment; old Ghanaian currency and even European currency, which local people may never have seen. It’s planned to video ceremonies and children’s games and storytelling evenings, and display them too.

Maybe one day this will be a really key museum of Ashanti culture. And the building’s great too!

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