Lending a helping hand

We’ve been given an amazing donation from the Health and Nutrition Development Society (HANDS), to be spent on cataract operations in the Ashanti.

Our home village, Gyetiase, has an eye clinic with an operating theatre, funded and equipped by SpecSavers. When we have identified enough patients who need cataract operations, we employ surgeons from Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital to come and operate on them. We are eternally short of money to do this, and often turn away patients through lack of funds.

HANDS International, working with the Muslim Community & Education Centre, has given us funds for large numbers of operations, and we are eternally grateful to them and in particular the HANDS founder, Professor AG Billoo.

The same but different

We’re currently building latrines in two villages, Afromano and Bobin. Now that the rains are with us, work in Aframano has come to a halt. The roads are very bad, sometimes impassable, and it’s terribly difficult to work in these conditions. On top of that, Aframano is a long way from town and people have picked up very limited building skills, for example, they have to be taught to make mud bricks.

By contrast, in Bobin, all the mud bricks were made sometime ago and when the rains are light construction can continue. Bobin people are really keen to get latrines, as they’ve heard over and over from other villages that latrines and hygiene training mean that diarrhoea will disappear. So they’re determined to continue work whenever it’s humanly possible. Here are a few pictures of how they shelter their half-finished latrines from the weather.

The value of training

Dave, our teacher-trainer, has been working via Skype and Whatsapp over the last few weeks, delivering training to all eight District circuit supervisors plus two teachers from the schools for which each has responsibility. The training focused on specific techniques which teachers are expected to use when planning their lessons. It aimed to further increase pupil talk and engagement.

Dave’s working closely with Samuel, one of the circuit supervisors whom he feels is amazing in his understanding of what’s required and how to deliver it. Because of Samuel, Dave feels able to spend a lot more time at home in UK.

More training in each circuit and in individual schools will follow, with teachers trained to share techniques in their own school and to assist colleagues in lesson planning. The circuit supervisors will monitor this work and will be given small amount of money for transportation and refreshment costs.
Samuel has sent samples of lesson plans produced and Dave reckons this method of teacher-training is great value for money.

Walk in the sun

Yesterday was a great day for walking. Twenty of us met at St Pancras Old Church to do our annual walk down the Canal to Limehouse. We sometimes talk about changing the route, or perhaps walking in the other direction down the Canal, but everyone seems to like the walk just as it is.
Some people came from a long way away – Cambridge and Fleet, for example – just for the walk. We’re very grateful to everyone, but to them especially.

Night lights

More photos of the distribution of solar lamps, kindly donated by BasAid. We’re not told which villages were the beneficiaries, but from their clothes one could guess that the people are settlers – people who’ve come south because it’s too difficult to maintain life in Northern Ghana and the Sahara. Settlers are usually exceptionally poor, so the solar lamps must be a great bonus. Apparently there was such a scramble for the lamps that at one point the Chiefs and community leaders had to be brought in to restore order.

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