The most important project completion this year was the commissioning of the KVIP in Anyako. The initial digging of the foundations began just before my return to England in April 2009 and so it was with enormous pleasure and satisfaction that I was able to return to play a part in the commissioning ceremony on March 11th 2010. Agbotadua Kumassah, my project partner in Ghana, had organised the ceremony attended by all the pupils of Anyako Basic RC School, by members of the RC church, by the President of the Volta Foundation and his wife, by Keta Municipal Chief Executive officer, by Education planning officers, by representatives of Anyako assembly and by many others interested in being present. After a number of speeches, the actual commissioning took place with the unveiling of the plaque provided by Norwich Blackfriars Rotary club and a blessing of the installation by the RC Reverend Father. The JohnAnna Foundation (known in the UK as Ghana Storytelling) also bought and presented rubbish bins for each cubicle, disinfectant, a mop and bucket, a broom and toilet rolls. In order to highlight the need for education in hygiene awareness, I presented a large board illustrating the rules for hygienic hand washing which are to be used by the teachers in their classes.
Norwich Blackfriars Rotary Club
Norwich Blackfriars Rotary club contacted me after my visit to Ghana in 2009, asking if there was any project in which they could become involved. After various meetings, it was decided that the group would help raise the outstanding money for the completion of the latrines. This they very kindly did with a fundraising day and so the KVIP building work was completed in January 2010 although they were not used until after the ceremony described above. My sincere thanks go to Norwich Blackfriars Rotary club.
A direct result of the Rotary aid was that I was able to offer the money I had collected this year to Have and, following another wonderful visit, Togbe Krakani and his team of storytellers and musicians in Have Domefe have deliberated the best use of the £1,300.00 I gave them. Their final decision is to buy a further 100 plastic chairs and, in addition, 50 foam mattresses all of which will be for hiring out for events such as weddings and funerals. They have also decided to plant a new and popular strain of chilli pepper between the rows of moringa so as to maximise the return from the land. It is obviously important that they invest in something which will give them a reliable return so that they can all reap some financial benefit. I am confident that I shall see the fruit of their earnest deliberations and choices when I visit in 2011. I was delighted to meet two new members of the team who were obviously thoroughly enjoying the opportunity to revive their old stories and music. Part of Togbi Kumassah’s and my entertainment this year was the traditional games I had asked Togbe Krakani to show us. We watched some dancing, clapping and chasing games played by the women and a very skilled game of marbles (using highly polished nuts) by the men.
Men and women playing marbles in Have:
The first thing that struck me when I saw Mr. Nutsugah this year was the fact that his glasses were attached to his head with two lengths of wire which meant that the lenses were not actually level with his eyes. Togbi Kumassah and I therefore arranged to take him to have his sight tested and to buy new glasses. This entailed arranging for the barber to smarten him up so that when he put on the new clothes I bought him last year he clearly felt proud of himself and was very keen to be photographed with the new spectacles. A further conversation with him let me know that he was very keen to have a mattress to sleep on instead of just a mat on the floor and also to have a new room of his own. Although he has a room, it has no windows and is therefore very dark and totally airless. As a result, he sleeps under an open-sided canopy of palm leaves but will be forced back into his dismal room when the rains come in May. As it has always been somewhat difficult to find a satisfactory way of helping Mr. Nutsugah, I was delighted to realise that I had at last found a way forward. Just before I returned to England I arranged for a mattress to be delivered to him and for the local builder to give me an estimate for building him a room. I was able to leave most of the requisite money with Togbi and the rest will follow shortly. The making of the cement blocks has begun and the carpenter has started building door and window frames. No B and Q over there!