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Anne returns to Nandom - March 2008

Our secretary travels to Nandom for a quick visit to do a bit of organising - This is her report.

Friday 14/3/08. Arrived Accra at 05.15 am and was met by Sister Juliana and Driver Henry. No Orange phone signal. 26C Humid. Depart for Kumasi approx 06.45.

Arrived Kumasi 3pm following very cramped journey – pick-up truck is loaded and 2 passengers on board. Chance to sleep and shower. No meeting with Rotary club tonight, collected by Luke and taken for a meal. Still no phone – Ghana SIM activated but takes time to register. Luke contacted Dery in UK to inform him that I had arrived in Kumasi. Unable to contact the family in UK.

Saturday 15/3/08. Leave Kumasi 8am – pick-up now even more overloaded! Passengers still on board, Ben is travelling to Wa and takes up all the room on the back seat. Dan – accountant sitting in front seat – me, squashed in the back again!! Stopped to buy plantain and Pineapples at roadside. After various other stops and detours arrived in Wa – Dropped off Ben and some goods from under tarpaulin?? Deliver goods to Hospital in Jirapa. Finally get to Nandom at 8pm - 36C very hot and dry, no humidity. Room waiting at Zenuo Motel. Had Star Beer with Charles (Dental Nurse), cold shower then to bed exhausted by 9.30pm – hungry!

Sunday 16/3/08. Tea, toast and pineapple (brought yesterday) for breakfast at 7.30am. To hospital to find the key to the store room where container goods are being kept. Met Dr Robert, Simon the anaesthetist and Simon the administrator, known as SS. Now 11.30am – 2 helpers available so we set to work. Boxes are stacked to the ceiling so they have to climb to pass boxes down. Each box/bag had to be opened and put in separate areas depending on where they are being delivered. Back to Zenuo – 2pm and too hot to work at  44deg C and it is Sunday!- for cold water and pineapple. Back to hospital at 4.30pm for more sorting etc. 2 helpers plus Dr Robert and 3 theatre nurses all work until 6.30pm. Back to Zenuo where I met with Celia - Public Health nurse - very happy now hospital has CD4 machine. Discussed ways to reduce infant and maternal mortality rates. Power off 7.45pm – Jolof rice and Star for supper. Power came back at 6.30am – nearly suffocated in my room with NO fan and 3 mosquito bites, little sleep and feeling dehydrated but better after breakfast.

Monday 17/3/08. Bags packed ready to move to hospital bungalow this pm. To Ko this am. Had to travel in the ambulance minus equipment from inside as too many bags/boxes for other vehicles. Very hot by 10.30am - 38 deg C at least. Delivered books to Ko Sec first – the American teacher with Peace Corps, Blake is in Tamale and not due back until Tuesday evening. Contact Phone No given. Also delivered 2 x PC for the new ICT room Blake is organising. Met with Headmaster and school has 227 pupils and is increasing weekly. He asked FREED(UK) to support his request for a vehicle if we meet with the Regional Education Minister. On to Ko A Primary school next – Head teacher Gabrielle was very surprised, shocked even. More boxes/bags unloaded. Library was unlocked for us to put things – very dusty, I wonder when it was last used? Gabrielle asked for a Photo of Chris and Jenny to put on the wall of their New Library. Back to Zenuo for cold shower, pineapple and cold water to drink. No air-con, roads very dusty and at least 42 deg C today. Move bags to Hospital and unpack – should have a fan tonight!! Back to store room at 2.30pm. This time 4 helpers, last of sorting done. More books for Ko Sec found but leads for ECG monitor lost (I think they are in storeroom at KO Sec). Medical books to be kept in admin block for new teaching/seminar room? This will be a project for October 2008. Martin (FREED) not answering his phone so walk to radio station at 6.30pm to find gates locked. Back to Zenuo for Star beer and on to bungalow for Jolof rice (now cold as cook finishes at 3pm). Hungry and exhausted………

Tuesday 18/3/08. Woken at 5am by birds on Tin roof! But slept well with fan. Back to Ko A to see Gabrielle, deliver more books etc – she didn’t understand why I hadn’t time to stay for the day! Met with Sr Jan from day nursery and delivered toys etc – again no time to stay. Back to Ko Sec to deliver more books and retrieve leads for ECG machine. Back to Hospital to meet Martin from FREED – arrived on bicycle as no vehicle is available and no funds for fuel. He will deliver books to Nandom and Pina FREED libraries when he can. SS will store the books at Hospital until they can be delivered. Back to bungalow at 2.30pm for more pineapple, water and a shower. Toys delivered to Nandom Hospital Day Nursery at 3.30pm once children had gone home. 3.45. Matron Catherine arrived back from Tamale – her vehicle had been involved in a bad accident and had rolled several times! They were wearing seatbelts which prevented serious injury although she is shaken and bruised (given Ibruprofen and paracetamol for pain relief). We discussed the possibility of an ophthalmic surgeon from the UK visiting – list of instruments etc. provided for him to bring and photos taken of facilities to indicate what is available. 5pm. Tony the Kitchen architect, arrived from Wa. Prices for cement have increased by 50% he is now waiting for funds to re-start work. The next stage will be concrete foundations and floor and metal rods for the framework (both expensive) but we have enough blocks made to complete the building. We will then need to fund a roof and electrics (drains should have been done at foundation stage). He is confident that it can be finished before we arrive in October providing he receives funds. Walked to Zenuo for beer and to wait for Luke. He arrived at 7.30pm and had had to travel by public transport to Wa – not happy! But at last he is here and I have someone to translate and help. Note: CRS will phase out school feeding in the 3 northern regions from Sept 2008 due to lack of funds!

Wednesday 19/3/08. To Jirapa today on Savannah Trust Bus (still no air-con) very hot by 9am. To Jirapa hospital first to deliver drugs from Intercare (which are now out of date!) Met with Matron and the Resident Dr Francis M. Djangmah, who informed me that there have been no phones in Jirapa for the past 18 months, which is why Intercare have lost contact. Only mobiles are in use. Matron had heard about our work at Nandom and asked for FREED(UK) to sponsor nurses for JirapaThe farm project taking shape. as they are desperate too. To the Nursing Training College (NTC) next to Jirapa hospital, presented Principle for General Nurses, Mr Walter Mwinbo, with 4 nursing text books and he was delighted! - Desperate for more. There are 5 nurses, sponsored by FREED(UK) who are now qualified and will start at Nandom Hosp 21/4/08: Felix Aayel, Raphael Bakura, Mary Bongkasang, Emmanuel Gelyi and Abigail Zigro. Sadly, one of our nurses had been killed in a RTA, her name was Milicent Ali and she was Sponsored by Andrew Camilleri. Finally to Jirapa orphanage to deliver many boxes of clothes, sheets, towels and toys. Facilities are still bad, it is very hot outside but humid inside, doors are closed as there are only 2 staff to look after 26 children. There are now twin girls aged 2 months in the nursery. The trial of the formula milk went very well, there were no ill effects on the babies digestive systems and they would like more – this is the single most important thing we can do to help at this point in time according to the sister in charge. I was unable to supervise the unpacking of about 20 boxes and bags. Back to Nandom Hospital – very hot now 45°C, roads Dusty – shower and more pineapple and cold water. Back at 3pm, contacted by Blake at Ko Sec who would like to meet to thank FREED(UK) for the 2 computers and take photos. We will go there before going to see the Farm Project. Blake and students very happy and they will The view down the well with rainwater at the bottom.be able to use the old student accommodation for ICT room once the students move into the new building. Blake has secured 40 million cedes as funding to set up the facilities. He would like us to mention this donation on our website (for the people back in USA to view). Arrived at Traditional house about 6pm so we took Luke’s vehicle to the farm about 2 miles away. Photos taken, the well has been dug by hand to a depth of 20’ and has now hit rock – the ladies will have to continue to carry water 2 miles from nearest bore hole until FREED(UK) secure funds to attempt a new well. Back to nurse Cecilia’s house for Guinea fowl and star beer – heaven but still 38°C at 9pm – will be sad to leave tomorrow. Note: Andrew and Celia have agreed to sponsor 2 nurses. Position of the 20 foot deep hand dug well.They are both male, Bruce Dizagl and Matron at NH will get the name of the other. I was able to obtain exact costings for Nurse Training – Dery has paperwork – but total cost of 3 years training plus exam fees is £797.00.

Thursday 20/3/08. Left Nandom 06.30 am, 20 mins rest in Bamboi. This stretch of road has improved from 100km of bad road to now only 30km. We arrived at Kumasi prison canteen to be taken to the Innkeepers guest house (driver doesn’t know Kumasi well). Finally got there 4.30pm. Time for a shower and snack before being picked up at 6pm for meeting with Rotarians from Kumasi. Very useful meeting conducted during 2 hour thunder storm - now only 26°C but very humid. Details taken to enable them to support the donations made to us by Rotary clubs in UK. Back to guest house at 10.30pm exhausted! Freezing night with air-con, (unable to turn off as remote was broken) had to use towels as blankets.

Friday 21/3/08. Planned to leave for Accra at 8am but clutch broken on pick-up finally left at 10.15am. Arrived Accra at 3.15pm to meet with Steven and deliver engine for FREED(UK) minibus. Finally arrived at Shangri La Hotel at 5.30pm. Meal and drinks – then meetings with Sr Juliana and Dominic’s brother-in-law Jude. Wash and change in the toilets and taken to the airport at 8.30pm. Checked in and in departure lounge by 10.10pm waiting for flight at 11.40pm – took off at 11.50, very turbulent flight making it very difficult to sleep. Descent into Gatwick very scary but finally landed back in UK 06.20am. Through baggage claim and passport control – Now freezing!! Time for a hot chocolate drink before being picked up by Dery at 07.30am. Temp now 3 deg C - Drove home in a blizzard.

Saturday 22nd March 2008.  Finally home and in bed by 11.20 am