Over the past year or so we have been very busy with various projects in the village both at the school and the clinic.
The school’s roll has increased from 504 pupils at the time of our last visit in February 2013 to 587 at the time of writing this letter. The school only has 9 classrooms and so the school day is divided into two sessions with pupils either attending from 8am-1pm or 1pm-6pm. fortunately the regional education dept. supplies the school with additional teaching assistants to facilitate this arrangement. However during this year the school has looked to us for help in repairing or renewing the infrastructure of the buildings and grounds. The school’s water system had completely failed but we purchased a new pump which is now supplying the school with good clean water.
We have also been able to provide materials to enable the school to have their own fenced in large garden area and we were able to see many crops and fruit trees growing safe from marauding goats. The pupils work and water the garden as part of their science programme. Our final addition to the school this year has been to build a covered market area where local women can go and take food for sale to the children at lunchtime.
We have a great headmaster at the school and I’m sure it is because of his dedication and sheer hard work that a recent regional school inspection of the area identified the school as being the top school of the area. What an achievement.
The clinic is also doing very well. It treated 8,000 patients during the last year. The rainy season is always a busy time and fortunately the regional health authority provides medicines for the treatment of malaria. We continue to make a regular monthly contribution that covers the cost of the salaries of the clinic staff. We also help with any maintenance of the ambulance. Patients at the clinic are required to make small payments for medicines and treatments to help replenish the dispensary but no one is turned away.
A surprise on our last visit was an invitation to meet with the regional health officer. A bigger surprise was to hear that our clinic has been identified as a regional clinic where they would like to place a midwife. They will supply and pay for the midwife but we have been asked if we can provide accommodation for her ( and her family ) and provide extra rooms at the clinic for a delivery room and a recovery room. This is not a small undertaking. However we are keen to proceed however slowly that may be. We feel that we have the land and we have accommodation in our existing visitor’s block that provides a starting point to this venture. The need is there as local women are already choosing to give birth at our clinic as they are unwilling to face the long and difficult journey to the nearest town. There are currently more than 50 pregnant women in our immediate vicinity with 1 male medical assistant and an occasional visiting midwife.
Most of the trustees have visited Nyofelleh over the past year – some have been there twice. I would just like to add that all our visits are at our own expense and all the monies we raise for the Foundation are well spent in the village.
Our last visit was made very special. The villagers and school children put on a wonderful performance for us of music and a play and also some dancing in which we simply had to join in.
At home, as always we continue with our fund raising activities. At this point it would be a good time to thank all of you who have contributed so generously to our appeals for help. Without you very little of what has been outlined above would have been achievable. Thank you so much. Onwards and upwards!!
Pauline Payne: trustee.