10 Oct 2009

Mediterranea's projects under development in Ghana, an update.


1)Physiotherapy centre for the Ada Dangme East Hospital.
Having generously been donated all the equipment necessary to set up the center in the hospital by the Jones family, and having even selected the space in the hospital to install the physiotherapy center we seem to have come up against a problem which is slowing down our project.
For reasons unknown to us the  company that volunteered to transport the supplies from Cardiff to Tema have not been in touch with us and does not respond to our calls. As instructed by them we sent our supplies from Mallorca to Barcelona. From there they were going to take them to Cardiff and then put them in a container with all the supplies accumulated in the UK, and ship them to Ghana.  The shipping company director had volunteered to help and unfortunately now we seem to have come to a grinding halt. Once again it is those in need that suffer. Over the next few days we will try to sort this out and if we have no luck we will ask another shipping company to deliver the supplies even if we have to pay for it. Money we spend in the first world is money we take from the funds for the third or fourth world, but the equipment sitting is a warehouse in Cardiff does not heal the suffering.

2)Nurses residence for the Dangme East hospital
We are developing a project whereby we will build a nurses residence and school next to the Dangme East hospital. The objective is to entice nurses to go there to work. Many are single mothers so a school is required. Once the school is built the hospital will run and fund it. Mediterranea will just build the centre and the residence. The more nurses in the hospital the better the medical attendance will be to the sick in the area. Africa relies greatly on her nurses, as there are too few doctors. The nurses take the brunt of the work load and in many cases are superbly trained and can handle just about any medial emergency or common problem.

3)Drifting Angels Orphanage, and other possibilities.
We will be assessing how we can help the Drifting Angels Orphanage in Ho, north of Ada. We will also be inspecting how they are putting to good use the things we gave them and set up for them (running water, tractor etc).
During our stay we will also be investigating other areas of collaboration in the poorer parts of Ghana.

Born on the wrong side of the world


Our friend Samuel from Adís died the day before yesterday. He had been fighting for years to recover from the gangrene in his leg. He was 34 years old.

Due to the last operation and the antibiotics that we sent him from Spain, it looked as if he was finally beating this problem but septic shock put an end to his life.
He had been optimistic and looking forward to the future since for the last few years and after the last operation he was suffering no pain in his leg.
He had made plans to set up an Internet café by using the second hand, repaired laptops that we have been sending. He had intended to take up the position at the checkout which would have meant that he could rest his leg and not have to move around too much.

It makes you wonder. What would Samuel's life have been like if he had been born in Spain? Would he be alive today?
He probably arrived at the hospital and they didn't have the materials or medicines to help cure him right from the first day.

This is the lack of healthcare experienced by millions of people who are born on the wrong side of the world.
Meanwhile, here we are, on the right side of the world worrying about how we just might catch swine flu etc...
Thousands of people are dying daily throughout the world due to the lack of basic First Aid and common vaccines and the large international organisations do not seem to care.
At the end of the day , the poor cannot afford to buy their medicines and only become useful as guinea pigs when new medication trials are under way. These new medicines when proved safe will then be used by those of us who live on the right side of the world.

Which reminds me, the children in Cuba who suffer from eye tumours, which are very common over there, are unable to have special ocular radiotherapy treatment because the United States of America prohibits the sale of the materials necessary. The US has also banned the sale of medical scan machines. We managed to take over a German manufactured one. Japan would not sell us one to take to Cuba. Many countries will not supply Cuba with certain types of equipment that we use daily to treat cancer.

The doctors in Cuba have to use radiotherapy on the child's face instead of using the more specialised equipment directed at the eye. This treatment can cause the appearance of large tumours and deform the child's face and result in a terrible death. This was the fate of 12 year old Ernesto. We met several years ago when I was taking over medication to the children's cancer unit in the Oncological Institute of Havana.

I dedicate this message to all of the Samuels and Ernestos who were born on the wrong side of the world, where not only  poverty reigns but the cruelty and self-interest of those who govern.

Achievements and problems in Ethiopia.

Following our policy of complete transparency, I am going to try to analyse both the achievements and problems that we have encountered in Ethiopia.

I am going to begin with a general description of what I have seen, lived, experienced and witnessed during my regular visits to this country. The Ethiopians are extremely religious people and therefore subject to the dogmas and tabus that their religion imposes, this affects enormously every aspect of their society.
In general, they are very conservative.
It is an extremely male-orientated society.
It is a society in which children have little value (girls even less) and are considered to be of no use to the present or future wealth of their economy.
In this society they have  no concept of equality or social justice. A society in which those who have more than others consider themselves to be better than those who have little or nothing.
Being charitable is an unknown concept in their society.
It is a society which is friendly, very proud, hospitable and welcoming to foreigners.
They are courteous and respectful.
They are resigned to the life they lead in the belief (probably due to their religion) that a better world awaits them.
The bureaucracy in their country is overwhelming.
The country is fraught with corruption.
Lying and deceit has become more common in recent years.

 Having witnessed and experienced all of these problems first hand, I would now like to move on to all that we have achieved in our schools.
Almost 400 children now attend our schools where they are educated and eat three times a day.
Our schools are open all year.
Before opening our schools the majority of the children, now being educated, spent the day begging in the streets.
In our schools all of the staff is female quite simply because there are more female teachers than male teachers in this country.
These teachers are fun-loving, good-natured, patient and they love their work.
The non-teaching staff carry out their duties efficiently.
We employ 20 people from Abugida and and 18 in Birhan.
We rely on local tailors for the uniforms, suppliers for school materials and any other types of materials required for our centres.
Local suppliers provide food, vegetables and milk.
Many children now live with their family and no longer have to stay in state orphanages or end up living on the streets.
We have managed to put an end to malnutrition in our schools.
Our children have access to health services.
Last year we managed to teach 60 women to read and write in Abugida thanks to our literacy course.
This year another 60 women have registered for the same course in Abugida and in Birhan.


The Abugida school is a" bubble" filled with happiness where children, teachers and parents form part of a united community.
The teachers are happy, lively and enjoy doing all sorts of activities with the children both academic and fun.
The rest of the staff efficiently do the required work.

There is a bad relationship between el Edir and el Kebele. At the moment our building project is on hold prior to permission to continue from el Kebele.

                                     THE BIRHAN SCHOOL

The teachers are totally dedicated to the school and continue to work under extremely difficult circumstances.
The rest of the staff also work well.


The school is under a lot of pressure and lacks material and local support.
The poor relationship between el Edir and El Kebele.
The lack of legal documentation proving that el Edir owns the land and the school.
The lack of understanding between el Edir and Mediterranea.

As you are well aware , we dimissed the previous administrator for theft and we managed to dimiss the former el Edir's representative also for theft. The problem that we have with the present el Edir has nothing to do with theft but is a cultural problem and quite simply a different way of thinking.
He does not agree that the Headteacher (a woman) and the teachers should be allowed to make all the decisions concerning the school even though they are the proffesionals in school management and he has absolutely no idea about academic matters.
He disagreed with the decision to pension off the older teachers to replace them with younger ones.
To make matters worse one of the retired teachers is now giving adult classes.

He cannot understand that we are working for the future through the children and that they are the protagonists of our projects.
In the last 3 years we have dismissed two representatives for theft and lying.

The Clemence family long distance team (Andrew and Heather's) will run the TUI Marathon this year

The Clemence family (Andrew and Heather's) will run the TUI Marathon this year in support off Mediterranea's projects. Andrew will be running, and that is a warning for all the professional runners of Olympic standard that will partake. Be warned Mallorca has its heroes and champions. Little to we need to remind you of Richard Fosters efforts a few years ago when he ran the marathon for Mediterranea, crossed the finishing line and continued running. He was last seen going over the horizon in to the sunset. We believe he is home at last.
If you would like to follow the Clemence family's example,  please see the post below relating to the event.