With your help the people of West Africa have "a chance, not only to change their own lives and their own destinies, but to change the future of an entire generation".

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Oh the joys of West African plumbing supplies

Finally in the mini clinic building we had toilets that self-filled and flushed... Then they burst and we had to mop up...

So, now we need to change many parts that appear to have been substandard and change more than we planned.

There really is no such thing as a guarantee here, even on new parts .... Thankfully one of our local bush stores has parts for sale ... By the bread girl...

So, mopping up and getting plumbing sorted will take my day and more...

Friday, September 28, 2012

Aircraft related care and physio...

We often use what we have for exercises, rehab and therapy, and Lydia is often the most needy recipient.

Whilst in Oshkosh, Veronica from Aircraft Tool Supply provided us with some lovely T shirts to help with the girls on site, and then Steve from Zenith kindly gave Lydia a specially modified cleco plier for her smaller hand size..

Each morning Lydia does exercises in her arm brace, and from tomorrow that will include cleco manipulation with that special plier in her disabled hand..It is the combination of large and small gifts that enable us to care for young people like Lydia, and we plan on doing a lot more in the coming years... Together, changing lives, one flight, one cleco at a time

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Join us on October 13th

This week should see the completion of the Mini-clinic and associated facilities... we have finally found a plumber who is working as I write - he appears to be enjoying working and has promised to complete the work this week (we will see.....), sadly another worker had been 'missing' for a about ten days now, but finally surfaced around midday and promised to resume work on Thursday... we should be ready for the official opening on the 13th October... In the mean time, the training centre is being used about 4 times per week and we are learning how to use the facilities to the best effect. Write the 13th October 2012 in your diary and be with us at 1400 for a short opening ceremony and some demonstrations!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012


The lady with a broken leg is still refusing to go to the hospital.  Unable to stand on the leg, and still being adminstered to using 'local solutions', we are continuing to lobby the community to work together to get her to seek appropriate care.  The positive side is that many in the community believe that she should go to hospital - a massive change from a year ago.  Change is slow, and we hope that we will have positive news soon.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Just part of living in West Africa

The rains have started and so has the increase in mosquitos... and Malaria....

I am not immune, and after a busy week, and being run down, have all the symptoms of this parasitic disease.

Fortunately, I have access to the latest medication, costing nearly $10 for the course... That is several days wages for many people here.

The symptoms hit me on a check flight and I immediately grounded myself. The modern medication, if taken early and the full course taken, takes effect in a matter if hours, and completely cures. I expect to be back to full operations very quickly.

We must remember that for many, this malaria season will mean a lot of sickness, loss of schooling, loss of productivity, complications in other sickness, and for some loss of life.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Fighting tradition and fear...

Audrey has finally been able to meet with the lady in the Fulani Camp with a broken leg. Her report was not terribly encouraging. This incident happened a few weeks ago now, and the lady has still not been to hospital. Interestingly, her own family wanted to take her, as have other members of the community. However, the lady is so, so scared of having her leg amputated that she refuses to leave her home.

She is laying on the floor with two wooden splints and a dirty cloth wrapped around her leg. There are a lot of 'herbs' on the leg. We are told that the 'healer' came with a razor blade and made a series of incisions to 'release the blood' and to 'enable the herbs to enter'. This is a common source of infection.

Audrey tried to see the leg better, but the lady wound not permit it. There is a limit to what we can do.

Audrey will visit again next week and try to get her to join her at the hospital, having 'encouraged' community members to work on the challenge.

Sadly, the stats are not good. 70% of all broken femurs in West Africa result in death. Many others result in amputations. Normally inappropriate, late or non- treatment is a major factor. We hope that this lady will not suffer from infections and secondary complications.

This really raises the need for better education at all levels in regards to general health and to build confidence in the 'hospital' as a place where you can get help.

Our challenges appear to get bigger every day.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Thank you to our friends in the Show-me State

Our thanks go to some new friends in Missouri who recently donated a range of air tools to the workshops at Kpong for use by Avtech girls as they learn to build and maintain the machines we use in the various outreaches that make Kpong Airfield such a special place in West Africa. Lex, who used to be a pipe welder, married to Rich, who used to work at the Boeing and Douglas aircraft plants, now run a very successful and professional Tattoo studio in Columbia, Missouri. When Patricia recently asked for an aeroplane tattoo, the discussions went to 'air tools'. Rich then ran home and came back with a box of tools that we had only dreamed of owning. With the start of term, we rolled out these immaculate, well used and well loved, tools ready for a new training session in the workshops. It is the donations such as this that help us to save funds and increase capacity, enabling greater efforts towards changing lives, one flight at a time...

If you are ever in Columbia, Missouri, pop by and say a big hello to the amazing team at http://www.blackthorntattoos.com/ - they have big hearts and have made a difference to the opportunities for the young rural women of Ghana! Tell them 'thank you from Ghana'...

(a special thank you goes to Susan H for discovering this location in the most original manner, that only goes to show that Missouri really is an amazing part of the USA!)

Monday, September 17, 2012

First training in the Mini-Clinic

Lydia, the disabled student at the AvTech academy, has her arm brace set every night, exercises every morning and 'remoulding of her brace' about every 4 to 6 weeks.

This is an ideal teaching opportunity. Lydia, always with a smile, is a happy subject and ready to be prodded and practised on. Yesterday we demonstrated the moulding of the new arm brace (and we can see the progress over the first one already!)

The environment of the mini-clinic is much more conducive to learning and much more hygienic than the old method of using the briefing room table! Now, it is a privilege to have such a fantastic facility and to be able to use it to up-skill others on a daily basis.

Our thanks go to Dr Dieter and Ute in Germany for having put together the bracing programme for Lydia and to Palmer Chiropractors in Iowa for developing the physical therapy exercises with us.

Once again, the international input to our daily lives takes our breath away. We look forward to your involvement in the coming years!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Lydia update....

Whilst in the USA Lydia met with some outstanding people with specialisms in hand surgery. It was made very clear that any surgery to correct her hand, at this point, would result in a loss of function. Consequently, we are continuing with the long term night-time bracing that is already helping a little, thanks to help from a German doctor.

Whilst in the USA Lydia helped with the build of a CH750 and also in the repair of the tornado damaged factory demonstrator CH750, proving that nothing is beyond her determination.

Lydia is a brave girl and has decided that she wants her Pilot's Licence within the next year. She has grown up so much recently, we all believeshe can make it!

Saturday, September 15, 2012


The first media coverage, in 2006, at Kpong Airfield was done by the amazing and incredibly versatile TV and radio personality Blakofe (cheers and claps). So, when she dropped in today (Friday) to see how we were all doing we were thrilled. As a leading promoter of 'African Women being African' and heralding the importance of not bleaching skin (a common, damaging, practice in our part of the world) as well as other 'pro-the-way-we-are-and-should-be-proud-of-it' stuff, such as natural hair, etc... with some very convincing stories on how peoples health can be affected by a lot of the strange products that are now common place in the African beauty market, she gave a great motivational moment to the girls at the airfield. Support from Blakofe is wonderful, and her personality spilled across the field as she enjoyed the facilities that she has seen grow over the past few years from just a stick and thatch hut to a small village, changing lives, one flight at a time... Thanks Blak, come back soon!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Putting a smile on our faces

One of the real pleasures of our work comes in the special appreciation we get from time to time.  Eva, a pre-school visitor to the airfield, recently put a big smile on our faces... Here, Eva has magnificently created portraits of Captain Yaw and Patricia.  Thank you Eva!

Not your every day Paper airplane...

This amazing model was designed by Christoph Stahl from Germany, the example shown here was built by David Sakrison from Wisconsin.
YES ... it's a paper plane.........
1:60 scale
You can build your own 1:33 scale Medicine on the move CH 801. Just follow this link

Christoph also designed and built a 1:60 scale model. Again you can find the files and information you need to build on here.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

The first treatment in the mini clinic.

Mr Solo suffers from an old injury that is playing him up. Today he became the first beneficiary of the mini clinic facility. Some massage and then some light exercises to help improve his range of leg movement. We hope to have some volunteer Chiropractors next year, who will make good use of this room and also help Mr Solo and others even more.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The Francis Norman Data Centre

Today the Francis Norman Data Centre held its first class. Attached to the mini-clinic and equipped to modern standards, it was a pleasure to work in. Today we were teaching about health and safety - which is a challenge in this particular environment - 'normal' is far from the 'standard' one might expect in Europe or the USA. Interestingly, many of the hazards identified came out in special ways - such 'a-falling-down-hazard' or a 'feet-may-get-hurt-hazard' or 'he no choked the car proper' - but the ideas and standard phraseology soon came along. 

We use a number of drawings and pictures (snippets shown here) that show situations that are then used in discussions. Interestingly, the image that creates the most discussions is the photo of a workshop posed with a variety of safety issues. Out of these discussions we then consider health and safety in other areas of life, and quickly get some understanding that there is a lot we can all do to reduce our risks and infections! The biggest issue here really is 'appropriate footwear' and the discussion about 'you know when you walk barefoot in the market with the broken glass and old razor blades on the ground, in the same dirt that children urinate in....' very slowly raises the concept that there are a number of simple and affordable changes we can introduce to our living and working styles to protect ourselves. 
We are all very excited at what this will open up!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Do you sing in the shower???

Come to Ghana and you can try the acoustics in ours.

Finally, the tilers returned to complete the shower tiles. The clinic is the first bathing area to get tiles, and they look splendid. We still have to connect the water supply but it all is very close to entry to service!

Clean, flowing water is taken for granted by many, but these showers are more than a luxury, they are a necessary part of helping those with long term wounds towards understanding the need to wash with clean water, and to keep locations hygienic.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Back to school

Next week we will recommence drop runs in Upper Manya Krobo. We decided to refrain from drops during the school vacation, since the usual drop zone is a school park!

The first drops will be for the schools. We plan to include some aviation based learning materials and some 'aviation health facts', making this drop more 'fun' than previous ones.

What would you put into a 'rural school start of academic year fun drop pack?'

We will be preparing these on Wednesday to drop at the at end of the week.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Stocking the shelves!!!!!

Finally we start filling the cupboards... It its amazing how this picture represents several thousands of dollars of spending of your support.

With the nurse ad out, and the cupboards full, plus the calls from the communities asking for more drops, the next few weeks look very exiting.

Thank you for helping us get this far, we have so much further to go, together!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Former students

As a lecturer on college and university courses in the UK, I had the privilege of teaching some amazing young people. Often I would use aviation and African themes in my delivery.
Many of those students are still in contact via the wondrous social media of today. One of the most wonderful parts of my day is to check on Facebook, my email and Twitter for their latest news.

The support and encouragement that they give is immeasurable. Thank you to all my ex-students for your support, moral, financial, in equipment and through simply staying in contact.

Remember you all need to come out and visit! I have homework for you!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Medicine on the Move position available

As we are within a matter of weeks of the official opening (13th October) of the mini-clinic and training centre, we are actively recruiting a nurse (see attached ad running in the Business and Financial Times next week). The successful candidate should have the right to work in Ghana and be recently qualified, with a real, deep-seated, desire to help the people in rural Ghana.

We will undertake the costs of training them to fly as well as basic aircraft engineering - and provide a unique working environment with a good amount of self-determined direction;
the successful candidate must bring a good community nursing mind, preparedness to handle advanced first aid on a regular basis, and to teach others basic medical skills to a high standard, a sense of adventure, enthusiasm, a good sense of humour and lots of dedication and energy to the table.

Please forward this mail to anybody you know who may be interested - and if appropriate, please post a copy on the notice board where you work.

There are exciting times ahead for those in rural Ghana, and we look forward to adding some fresh energy to our vibrant team.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Fire dmamge from the air

In these pictures we can see how the work we have done to keep the grasses low around the fence lines has helped to prevent the rage, running parallel to our site, that ran down the river line. During the shoot today we saw another bushfire consuming a few hundred hectares... Over the next few weeks the entire area will turn golden brown and black - waiting for the rains to return it to its emerald rebirth in late September.