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Reports of 2010 Visit to Ghana

DENTAL SUITE

Arti (Dentist) and Lisa (Dental Nurse). A dental team treated 77 patients in the suite originally set up by FREED UK volunteers in 2007.

Aarti Sodha and Lisa Peat travelled over 3,000 miles from their clinics in Beford and Biggleswade to treat the African patients in less than two weeks.

Dr Sodha a speciality doctor in oral maxillofacial surgery, swapped her sanitised, fully equipped surgeries of Luton & Dunstable Hospital and Bedfordshire community health clinics for a filthy, spider-ridden room in Nandom Hospital.

Arti and Lisa in the make-do surgery in action.Qualified dental nurse Miss Peat, aged 26, worked alongside her in 35 degrees centigrade in a room with intermittent running water, erratic electricity and only basic instruments.

Nandom Hospital which serves a region of one million people, has no dental clinic and there has never been a qualified dentist in the area in living memory.

The arrival of Dr Sodha and Miss Peat was therefore a welcome relief for their patients ranging from age nine to 90, all of whom had never been to the dentist. The problems treated by the duo included large abscesses, rotten teeth, gum disease and chips.

Andrew Camillari and Dr Nikolai the resident neurosurgeon at Nandom HospitalThe pair raised £1,000 in sponsorship before travelling to Ghana to pay for dental equipment such as forceps, disposable gloves, local anaesthetic and filling material which they left at the hospital on their departure.

In the second week the dental suite was assisted by Andrew Camilleri, an oral and maxillofacial surgeon from Luton & Dunstable Hospital, and Bedfordshire community dentist Ambrose Ire, who is originally from Nandom.

Despite the harsh conditions the team extracted 94 teeth, provided fillings, prescribed antibiotics and carried out surgery on a 20-year-old Nandom Secondary School pupil.

On their departure Dr Sodha and Miss Peat sterilised all of the equipment and left it locked away ready for use when another team from the UK return to Nandom next year.

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LABORATORY TEAM

A group of biomedical scientists from Warwickshire travelled to Tamale Teaching Hospital and Nandom Hospital to help develop their laboratories.

The volunteers trained staff, developed facilities and gave feedback to local medics.

The Pathology group in the microbiology laboratory at Nandom Hospital.It was the third trip for Azra Khan, a senior biomedical scientist for Nuffield Health in Warwickshire, who has seen facilities at Nandom Regional Hospital develop over the past three years thanks to the help of the UK charity.

During her recent trip in early November Miss Khan, from Coventry, travelled with Marilena Ioannou, a biomedical senior lecturer at DeMontfort University who lives in Coventry, Cathy Nestroruk a biomedical scientist at University Hospital Coventry and Lisa Brown a senior biomedical scientist with Worcestershire NHS Trust.

Working with the incoming lab manager Benjamin Botchway the team identified a room at Nandom Hospital to convert into a microbiology lab and have made recommendations to the hospital on how to develop their testing facilities.

Miss Nestroruk said she would now be raising money to buy basic equipment for the labs including gloves, glucose test strips, pipettes, plates and an incubator.

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Pupils wearing the school clothing donated by Lincroft School in Oakley, England.SCHOOL DONATIONS

A former pupil from Lincroft School in Oakley donated obsolete UK school uniforms to poverty-stricken children in Ko and Nandom.

Anne Hicks, secretary of FREED UK, who now lives in Higham Ferrers, was donated more than 50 fleeces, jumpers, jackets and tracksuit bottoms from her old school which has recently changed its uniform. The clothing was given to pupils at Ko A Primary School and Ko Secondary School near Nandom.

A group of Ko A primary school pupils wearing sports equipment donated by Lincroft School in Oakley, England.Ms Hicks, a clinical nurse specialist at Northampton General Hospital, said: “It may sound strange taking fleeces to Africa but in the winter it does get very cold and the children have nothing at all to wear.”

The unworn clothes were going to be thrown away until Ms Hicks asked if she could take them for school children on her next trip to Ghana this November.

Lincroft School happily agreed to donate the clothing and also decided to adopt FREED UK as their charity for the year. The school raised £1,500 towards a £4,600 borehole project which will be used to water farmland growing crops for the nearby regional hospital.

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BOREHOLE

Working at the borehole site.Drilling a water borehole 50 metres into the ground through six types of soil is an impossibly expensive task for the poor farmers of Ghana. But with the help of donations raised in Northampton crops can now be irrigated and successfully grown to feed sick hospital patients in the region of Nandom.

FREED UK has spent the past two years raising £4,600 to build a borehole in the upper west region of Ghana at a farm used to provide food to the regional hospital.

Money was raised by pupils and teachers at Barry Road School and through a musical event held at The Picturedrome in March starring local band The Skatoons and singer Sarah Hepworth. Additional funds for the borehole were raised by Lincroft Middle School in Oakley, Bedfordshire and by FREED UK members Phil and Clare Page from Woodbridge, near Ipswich.

A thank you to all the people who have donated towards the building of the borehole.The charity have just returned from a trip to Nandom to see the borehole being constructed and complete, along with a range of other community projects in the region.

Tests from the borehole revealed that not only was the water safe to drink but also the pressure was strong enough to irrigate four square acres.

Further tests will be carried out on the minerals in the water to give the farmers precise information on the best crops to grow. Once the crops are harvested the food will be sold to the hospital kitchen so it does not have to rely on more expensive supplies transported from outside the region.

The farm will also provide jobs for local people and the borehole has built-in water troughs to provide drinking water to livestock.

A local Ko woman getting water from the new borehole.There is also the potential to develop the farm and provide running water for nearby Ko A Primary School.

Ms Hicks explained: “Because the borehole has strong pressure for a further £4,000 we could construct an irrigation system for the farm. We could also pipe the water one mile away to the primary school so they could have a tap with running water. This would cost a further £2,000, with the local people building the trench for the pipes.”

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KITCHEN & LIBRARY

Bespoke cabinet maker Mark Dayman downed his three-phase tools in Northampton to develop a kitchenThe library at Nandom Hospital before re-organisation with boxes and piles of books scattered all over the floor. hospital and medical library at Nandom Hospital.

The director of The Art of Wood received donations from ironmongery suppliers Matrix in Northampton and Wurth UK, in the form of screws, rawl plugs, PVA glue and angle brackets.

It was his second trip to the region after kitting out a dental suite at the hospital and building a school library in nearby Ko, back in 2007.

Books organised on new shelving manufactured by Mark Dayman and hospital carpenter Richard I-Kenye.Using local plywood and the help of hospital carpenter Richard I-Kenye, Mr Dayman built a wall of shelving to create a medical library to house the books shipped over by FREED UK. The books were cleaned, sorted and categorised by FREED secretary Anne Hicks and freelance journalist Lily Canter from Northampton.

Hospital staff were so pleased with the revamped library that they pledged to appoint a librarian to take care of the facility.

Mr Dayman’s second task was to create a kitchen work top, wall unit and three base units to house all of the kitchen equipment and food, which were previously laid on the bug ridden floor.

In 2007 the Chronicle & Echo launched an appeal to help FREED UK raise £7,000 for a feeding kitchen at Nandom Hospital. Three years later the building has been constructed and is now being used to provide food to patients and staff, plus schools in the wider community.

The aim of the kitchen is to reduce the number of people cooking meals on the bare grounds of the hospital to feed their sick relatives and to improve nutrition to help recovery rates. With no kitchen in the past, patients suffered from malnutrition and would sometimes die after successful operations due to a lack of adequate food.

It is also hoped that the kitchen will reduce the amount of livestock people bring to the hospital grounds such as live chicken and goats which wander around freely.

The official opening of the FreedUK Kitchen at Nandom Hospital.During their recent trip to Ghana FREED UK officially opened the kitchen and invited local dignitaries to the commissioning ceremony. As part of the opening ceremony FREED UK paid for all 47 sick infants in the hospital to have one nutritious meal.

MP for the Lawra-Nandom region Ambrose Dery asked that FREED UK continue its hard work and pledged to support the kitchen with an £18,000 grant for seeds to support the kitchen farm.

MP Ambrose Dery and Nandom Chief Polkuu Puo with Anne Hicks outside the new kitchen.Nandom chief Polkuu Puo-Ire re-emphasised his gratitude for the kitchen.

The money raised by Chron readers went into the first stage of the project which was making the bricks for the building and getting the outer shell constructed. For the past three years FREED UK has been raising further funds to build the internal frame, develop a store room, toilet and canteen, plus pump gas into the kitchen and buy three large cookers.

The final stage of the £35,000 project was Mr Dayman’s work to build work tops and storage units for the food and kitchen equipment.

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MEDIA COVERAGE

Former Chronicle & Echo features editor Lily Canter travelled with FREED UK to Ghana to report on the latest projects in November 2010.

Lily Cantor helping to organise the books on the library shelves.Ms Canter, who now works as a freelance journalist and university lecturer, wrote articles for a range of local and regional newspapers, national magazines and websites. She also photographed the various projects and took video footage of the football training and tournament.

Her media coverage included features in the Northamptonshire Chronicle & Echo, Northants Evening Telegraph, BBC Northampton online, Biggleswade Chronicle, Nuneaton News and Sheffield Star.

Ms Canter and her husband Mark Dayman, who worked on the kitchen and library project at Nandom Hospital, were also interviewed on BBC Radio Northampton on the John Griff show.

The opening of the hospital kitchen in Nandom was also covered by the national radio, web and newspaper media in Ghana.

Links to media coverage:

Ghana web: http://ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/NewsArchive/artikel.php?ID=196590

Northants Evening Telegraph: http://www.northantset.co.uk/features/FREED-to-transform-the-lives.6634697.jp

Northampton Chronicle & Echo: http://www.northamptonchron.co.uk/news/local/charity_

brings_hope_to_ghana_hospital_1_1618808

BBC Northampton: http://news.bbc.co.uk/local/northampton/hi/people_and_places/newsid_

9209000/9209618.stm

Hull Daily Mail: http://www.thisishullandeastriding.co.uk/news/Surveyors-Ghana-mercy-mission-help-poverty-stricken-children/article-2786512-detail/article.html


School Report 2010 by Christine de-Manuel

Double click on the images to enlarge them.

Ko A children welcoming the group with song and dance.Visiting Ko A school was tinged with a sadness at no longer being able to see Gabriella the old head teacher. Sadly she passed away last year just before Mr Ignatius standing with his library helpers in Ko A Primary School Library.she was due to retire. However on a positive note the library we set up appeared to be being used on a regular basis by the school pupils and the classes were in full flow when we arrived with the new Head, Mr Ignatius teaching the P1 class.

Some staffing had changed. The school has three trained teachers, one new probationer Ms Harriette Dassah who was awaiting her results, the Head and Mr Tinibe who had been the previous Head of Ko B. Familiar faces were the old Youth Employment staff, Cosmos and Christalinus who were no longer being paid - the new government having placed new young staff, Mr Baawue and Ms Munder under the scheme. In conversation with Cosmos he explained he was trying to manage with his small farm and his response as to why he stayed on at school with no pay was; "What can I do, they are my people". A man with true community spirit!Ko A schoolgirls playing a clapping and jumping game at playtime in the playground.

We gathered statistics from Ko Junior High school about the children who had gone on to Ko secondary and improvements had been made.

Anne and Dery came out on one day to gift the clothing donated by Lincroft School to both Ko A and Ko Secondary school.

It was a good opportunity to see progress at the computer laboratory in Ko secondary school. Joe a visiting teacher from the U.S.A. had taken over Joe, the visiting teacher from the USA with pupils from Ko secondary school in the computer laboratory.where Blake left off and we saw students at workThe Ko secondary school cooks in their improved kitchen wearing donated jackets from Lincroft school which will help keep them warm in winter. in the lab. He was using a power point presentation and a projector to deliver lessons. I knew Blake would also be pleased to see the cooks had now got a covered open air area and new stoves to cook on, an improvement he had been wanting!

Dery and I also talked to the Head, Mr Kilian about helping us to locate students from his school for teacher training sponsorship in the near future. We have engaged the help of the Freed manager in Nandom, Mr Kupiel Ruphira to help us with this process too.

Sitting in Ko A library training Ko A Primary staff to use the phonic teaching resources given to them.With my time at Ko A I was able to share new numeracy and phonic resources with the staff along with some basic training, including use of the tape recorder! They were much amused by my taping of all the phonic sounds along with the relevant letter cards and images. I said they would need to spend extra time as a staff together using them to be more confident in application.

Alex, Cosmos and James the football coaches standing on the football pitch at Ko.

The children were happy to get letters from the Barry Primary school in Northampton and of course to set about football training with Alex and James. I was able to watch the teaching of some phonic lessons which seemed to be going well.

Ms Munder, the Ko A primary staff librarian standing in the re-organised Ko A library.

The library had received some shelves and cupboards along with more books which needed organising and cleaning. Ms Munder (left photo) had been given the library as a responsibility and helped me out on my final day to label the drawers and shelves.

The school had been given a good selection of sets of books so I explained how to use these as group readers. I took the staff through a session that I might do with children that included  reading aloud and asking relevant questions about the text.

Ko A library being re-organised with helpers, Lily, Dery, Natalie and myself.

Library re-organising was dusty and tiring work and I was grateful for help from the children especially Collins and Elvis and also team members Natalie, James, Alex and Lily (see picture right) when they were free to help.

Children sitting at their desks enjoying biscuits.I had some time at the Kindergarten with the nursery age children which was accompanied by the Ko village Chief. They now have over 100 on role and more to come, quite a challenge for 3 staff! I enjoyed playing and teaching the children some action rhymes. They were pleased to get the tape recorder with tapes and my melodious versions of the songs that I had left the words for on my last visit.The Kindergarten toys organised on the shelves given them by Freed UK.

The children reacted by dancing as soon as they heard the music. After giving the staff a lesson in how to work the tape recorder, I finally got to see the shelves we had organised to be built on our previous visit. We got more shelves built for storage and had a varnish finish added to both for protection.

A group of school children in their playground at Bagri school run by Savannah Education Trust.We were grateful for help from Savannah Education Trust. Charles Karbo  gave Luke and I useful information about how they support The teaching staff at Bagri school standin with Christine in the head teachers office.teacher training to staff the schools that they have built. We re-visited Bagri school, met the teachers and were able to leave a few boxes of books and resources for numeracy. They were also very happy to get some Savannah Trust newsletters that I had brought with me which depicted their school on the front page.

The partly finished buildings of Gberi school with planks and roof trusses lying in the foreground.Dery and I also made a visit to see Gberi School, their latest venture.  Charles and his assistant Albert, accompanied us to Gberi which has previously had no local school. It is situated not far outside Lawra. Albert and Charles in the kindergarten classroom at Gberi with bricks and planks providing seating for the children.Sadly it was too late see the children at school. However it was interesting to see how things were progressing with the Kindergarten and P1 class up and running - the only 2 classrooms with a roof on! Class P1 has a role of 84 children and has desks and the Kindergarten with 48 on role were doing fine with just planks and bricks! Charles explained the plans for further Albert, Christine, Charles and Dery at the Gberi school borehole.development of the site.

We walked out to the bore hole (Picture left) which he said gave a plentiful water supply so served to aid irrigation of local fields and a drinking supply for animals as well as the school and local community.

The quickest route to one village was across marshy ground so they are planning to create a raised walk way to make access quicker and safer for the children. Charles explained the school had been placed in a location central to a few settlements to make it accessible to all. The area seemed so peaceful and calm, the place had a lovely atmosphere. I could never imagine a school in England up and running with only two rooms finished and roof trusses in the playground! Wonderful to see a community working with what they have and making the best of things.

Coaches and children resting outside Ko A after football training.On the subject of bore holes, one of our dreams for Ko school - which could not be achieved due to depth of the water table - seems at last to be showing some light (electricity being another dream). The new bore hole we saw finished for the Ko community this year could also provide water from a tap at the school. Further funds could be raised to purchase solar panels which would provide energy for a pump to send water along a pipe to the school. All we need is cash and some digging!

Collins sharing a book with his friend in the library.Thanks to Ko for our warm welcome and the gifts they give us, we know they cost you in time and resources.

Main visit achievements were:

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Orphanage report 2010 by Natalie Skinner

Young children on the floor having a snackAfter months of fundraising and gathering reusable nappies, toys and clothes to take with me (and trying several attempts at packing my suitcase to fit them all in!) I was finally in Ghana starting out on my first charity trip. My excitement was tinged with some nerves as I didn’t know what to expect and after three days of travelling I couldn’t wait to go and see the orphanage. The trip from Nandom to the orphanage in Jirapa took over an hour due to the poor state of the roads after the recent heavy rains. When I first arrived at St Joseph’s orphanage I was approached by a small girl who reached out for my hand and didn’t let go! Sister Lydia seemed pleased to meet me and took me inside for a tour of the orphanage.

Natalie on the floor with some of the children.Whilst at the orphanage my aim was to deliver the supplies from England which had been kindly donated by several businesses and individuals and to establish the most important areas of improvement for future projects. Something that is always needed at the orphanage is milk formula for the babies so I spent some of the money fundraised on several crates of milk formula 1 + 2, this was purchased locally to ensure the money went into the local economy. I had tried to purchase this in Jirapa but after a trip out with one of the sisters I was unable to find more than 10 tins in the whole town! So Luke kindly bought the tins for me from the larger town of Wa.

During my time at the orphanage I received a mixed reaction from the children, many seemed excited to see me and wanted me to carry them or just hold their hands, some of the younger ones however would burst into tears at the sight of me as they were not used to seeing white people. I Some of the children trying on clothesplayed with the children and gave them musical instruments with which we had a lot of fun making a racket and they laughed and danced when I played them some music on my phone. On one occasion I attempted to teach them cricket with a mini cricket set I had taken with me, this was naïve of me as it just ended in chaos! They decided the wickets would be much better used as drumsticks!

I had the enjoyment of watching the children’s’ eyes light up when I told them they could choose some clothes to try on. Although I soon learnt not to go by the size on the label as these children were The old kitchen at the orphanage.much smaller than western children! The kitchen situation has not improved since FREEDs last visit, with the staff still preparing and cooking the meals in the sheds outside.

After discussing the priorities for the future of the orphanage with Sister Lydia (the sister in charge) it was agreed that the kitchen needs rebuilding with a more practical set up, at the moment the cookers are too large and they cannot afford to fuel them. Sister Lydia also mentioned that she would like to get some indoor play equipment for the children and I was encouraged to Some of the old chipped and warn cots that the children have to sleep in.find on one of my visits that an outdoor see-saw was being installed. I would personally like to see some new cots for the bedroom as many are chipped and flaking and it would also be good to get some new bed linen.

Putting the facilities to one side, the main issue for me is what appears to be the lack of stimulating toys and games and the need for more adult interaction with the children. Some of the children seem quite happy entertaining themselves but many are just desperate to be held and played with.

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Football Training 2010

By James Strawhorn

After a 2 day journey from Accra to Nandom I was eager to start work and with the help of Alex Stephens (left in the picture below) we were both ready to take on the very important task of coaching the football mad children of Ko.

Photograph of Alex and JamesOn arrival at Ko School we were introduced to the headmaster, staff and children. The children were so overjoyed to meet us all and kindly welcomed us with a song they had specially composed. The first day gave us an opportunity to find out more about the School and how we could best help and assist the coaches. By speaking with the coaches we were able to prepare a training programme for the time we were there.

The first day was spent preparing the football pitch. Boundary areas had to be dug and marked, a goal post had to be erected and long grass had to be cut back. All the children were using machetes to cut the long grass, which was for me a surreal experience, but of course they are all trained to use them. We helped cut a tree down and with the support of the children we carried it the short distance to the football pitch where we erected the missing goal post. The whole school was involved with the pitch preparation which just showed how much the football and tournament meant to the children.

Boys playing football with James keeping a close eye on proceedings.We allocated a 2-hour session from 8:30am and an afternoon session of approximately 2 hours from 2pm and this fitted around their classes and usual school day. Each session had two main groups, Ko A and Ko B. The training session would generally comprise of football drills covering passing, shooting and controlling the ball which was then followed by training matches. The coaches and in particular the players were all so dedicated and focused on the game. The children were all enthusiastic about playing; it is such a passion for them all. They were such a pleasure to coach and work with.

For the remainder of the time we were involved with the children’s library at the school helping children with their reading and sorting books. We also visited the Kindergarten and spent time with the children there. I remember a little girl came up to me and handed me a gift comprising of a bag of ‘’Senser Cakes’’ as a thank you. Her mum had baked them for us all as a thank you for just making Group photograph of the two teams.the effort to spend time at the school. I was so humbled by this and it was such a touching moment for me. I will always remember this.

We organized a football knockout tournament for our last day at the school. The match day was a huge success with children from Ko A and B Schools and the local village watching, cheering, singing and dancing throughout. It was a spectacle and had such great atmosphere. The groups consisted of under 9, under 10, under 12 and an under 15 girls' team. The final would be a grudge match between the under 10s at Ko A and Ko B. Both teams were kitted out in the NPS Humber funded Hull City football Kits. Ko B won the last tournament in 2008 and Ko A desperately wanted the Anne Hicks presenting the trophy to the winning team.trophy this time. It was an intense match, both teams evenly matched with many shots on goal.

However, even with extra time added, no goal was scored so it went to a tense penalty shootout. There could only be one winner and Ko B School held their nerve and won the Trophy donated by Freed UK. It was such an amazing and rewarding experience. To have had an opportunity to contribute in some small way to the lives and the happiness of the children made it so worthwhile. Ghana is such an amazing country and I look forward to returning again soon.

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