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".

Monday, May 27, 2013

Farewell Marcel.. we hope to see you back in Ghana soon

 Wednesday we sent Marcel to the international airport in Accra at the end of his volunteer stint at the
Marcel has made a massive difference to the infrastructural development at Kpong. The new workshop doors, electrical installations, oversight of the tractor and agricultural centre for airfield maintenance, fixing this and that, working on radios, car challenges, fetching fuel and cement, organising blocks and water. ... but perhaps his biggest triumph was that of saving Flaperon who is now the airfield dog!
We hope to see Marcel again soon.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Preparing for the Afram Plains...

As we complete the preparations for our 1000 drops into the Afram Plains, Patricia met with Confidence
regarding materials and the target messages.

From the discussion it became clear that our flights are already impacting on young women in the community.

The challenges of poor school attendance and teenage pregnancies appears to be a major concern in the area and one that our efforts are seriously working positively on.

We have decided to produce a special series of drops for the Afram Plains and to use key women who the girls see as role models. It was made clear that Patricia and the girls from Kpong are key role models and they want that personal message.

Our scope of impact is greater than we realised. We will stand up to the plate and work on changing lives hand in hand with the community leaders.

We are still short of funds to complete the drops and ask that anybody wanting to support the drops to the Afram Plains visits our donation pages at..... http://www.medicineonthemove.org/index.php/donate/donate

Thank you.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Meet Mabel

Mavis, our site catering queen has a new assistant, Mabel. Mabel was one of the disabled students from our recent disabled fly me day event.

Mabel is for all intents and purposes totally deaf. Although we get the occasional glimpse of some sort of sound appreciation, until we can arrange testing and potentiallly some form of hearing aid, communications are limited.

Mavis, however, has spent time learning how to communicate with Mabel and spent time with her family. Mabel does not know how to sign, yet her family have invented their own system. ... which Mavis is learning.

Mabel works only weekends, for the moment, until we can afford to give her a full time job. We hope to be at the point of making that a reality by the middle of August.

Today Mavis (left) taught Mabel (right) how to pump diesel for the site generator.

Changing lives comes in many forms and we are pleased to say that Mabel is clearly discovering positive changes here at Kpong Airfield.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Red Bull.... 'Spirit of Africa'

What a wonderful evening. We rarely get to much socialising, but last evening was special. Paul H hosted a preview evening for showing the latest Red Bull media house documentary about our work called 'Spirit of Africa'. The story is based on the development, aims and ambitions of Lydia and follows the thread of our preparations to first drops into the Afram Plains, through Lydia's eyes.

About 12 people sat and watched the presentation which goes out soon in Europe and then around the world as part of the Bullet Magazine of 22 documentaries from around the world. It led to positive discussion about many aspects of our outreach.

I won't spoil the plot for you but will tell you that the story told puts Schistosomiasis, a neglected tropical disease, in your face - a rare thing for this disease. Not only does it get mentioned but the life cycle and means of transmission are clearly embedded in the story.

The footage covers many aspects of our activities including visits to schools, training young women, engineering, flying, health education, the clinic and more.

As soon as we know the airing dates around the world we will share them with you all.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Harassed by Mother nature..

We continue to be harassed by the weather. It seems as if the storms are coming more frequently and with a wider distribution pattern than usual. We seem to barely recover enough from one wet episode, mow the airfields excessive growth and then BAM another rain storm hits. This is the worst year we have ever had, so far, for weather related challenges. We hope that it will pass and we will soon return to operations as normal. (NOTE: other flight operations in various parts of the world are echoing our story of 'not good enough to fly' weather more than usual). In the meantime, we will work on our engineering backlog and health poster preparations.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Our AERO Friedrichshafen adventure

Our recent tour in Europe, where we were actively fund raising at AERO Friedrichshafen for support for
aerial supply into the Afram Plains and explaining what we do as we met with other partners in development of sustainable light aviation for humanitarian purposes in West Africa. We managed to raise support for an estimated 200 - 300 drops, and created much greater awareness of our various areas of endeavour. For the record, the travel was varied.... we

Flew KLM to Amsterdam (Netherlands)

Flew Swiss to Zurich (Switzerland)

Drove from Zurich to Friedrischshafen (Germany) (thanks to Franz)

Drove, Bus and Trained for the week at Aero (thanks to John and Marlys)

Drove to Wels in Austria, then on to Salzburg (thanks to Onni and Angelika)

Rode the Train/Drove to Oldenburg (thanks to John, Onni and Joerg)

Flew the R90 and SR20 to Juist (thanks to Joerg and Friends)

Emmanuella and Lydia flew Motor Gliders (for the first time) on the Island of Juist (thanks to Jubi-Juist and Joerg)

Flew back in the R90 and C172 (again, thanks to Joerg and Friends)

Drove to Hamburg (thanks to Joerg and Francis)

Flew Lufthansa to Frankfurt (Germany)

Flew Lufthansa (Privateair) to Accra (Ghana, home!)

In total we slept in 5 different locations (often for just a few short hours) excluding the plane and train sleeping components.... and yes, we are still tired!

However, it was a very positive trip where we met with hundreds of people at AERO, provided 2 forum presentations, Lydia met with a hand surgeon about potential function improvement, and we also spent valuable time with partners in development including Rotax, Stock Flight Systems, Peszke, Red Bull Media, Jubi-Juist, Airbus and others.

The results of this trip will hopefully lead to greater awareness of the challenges and successes we enjoy in West Africa, new partnerships and a resultant greater outreach to the rural people of West Africa, as well as providing cultural and skills exchanges with our partners in a dynamic and organic manner as we explore the possibilities raised during this very hectic 12 day tour. Yes, just 12 days!

For all of you who have helped to make this a reality, through your valuable time, funds and other support, we thank you. We are still not confirmed for our trip to Oshkosh (late July/early August), and would like to hear if you would be interested in supporting the trip and helping out if we took a small stand there too?

If you would like to get more involved with the amazing developments and changes to lives, positively and sustainably, that is the hallmark of our activities, please drop us a line at info@medicineonthemove.org

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Water Management

Submitted by Marcel Stieber

Along with a sizable airfield comes a very sizeable amount of water runoff anytime it rains. One of the major considerations when the runway was first constructed is where the water flowed when it rained. Those calculations have really paid off over the years. A watchful observer during a rainstorm will notice that all the water flows _away_ from the runway and to the surrounding safety areas. This helps to ensure that the runway stays as dry as possible, maximizing our flying operations and minimizing our downtime from a muddy airfield.

While a little rain falling from the sky rarely seems like a huge amount of water, when you consider that the size of our "flood-plain" is that of several football fields, suddenly that 1cm of rain in an hour becomes quite the river of water at the lower end. In order to manage all this water runoff appropriately, all the buildings on the downside of then apron were built with a water drainage system. This means that the front of the hangers has a large channel to collect water coming from the apron and prevent from entering the aircraft hangars and workshops. This channel then diverts to one of two water troughs that carries the water clear of the buildings and out the back to the clearing.

One last challenge is the runoff from the rooftops. Since they do not absorb any water like the ground does, even the slightest rain suddenly becomes a small waterfall at the roof's edge. Until recently, one of these run offs crossed our back access road and caused a big muddy spot at even the slightest rain. Today, Mr Solo, Lele, and Newton worked hard to build the iron bar framing and pour the concrete to fill the trench that we had just used for routing the power to the new agric building. Now there is a beautiful water drainage channel that will surely help extend the life of the access road and any cars that pass by as well. After a few days of curing and watering the concrete, the drain will be ready for testing at the next rains.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Troublesome Termites

Submitted by Marcel Stieber

 Every few weeks something happens at the airfield that is a pleasant reminder that we are in the West African bush. Today's reminder came whilst mowing the main runway. The recent rains and hungry bugs lead way to a fresh set of termite mounds covering the threshold of Runway 01. I'm not taking just one or two, rather several dozen of these little brown mounds that appear like mushrooms all over the runway. Sometimes they are quite soft and not much of a bother, but often they are sun-hardened dirt speed bumps which can be hazardous to our aircraft. Fortunately one of our daily safety operations is the morning FOD (Foreign Object Debris) removal walk where several people walk the entire length of the runway to check for stones, sticks, and of course termite mounds.
Maintaining a safe airfield and safe flying operations requires a lot of diligence and hard work from everyone to ensure the safety of the site and ultimately that of our people.

The photos show both the outside and crawling inside of one of these mounds!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Let the rain fall down

Submitted buy Marcel Stieber

West African weather is amazingly diverse and amazingly powerful. From one hour to the next, the blazing
hot sunny skies can get run over by massive storm clouds and start a torrential downpour.

Case Study: Morning of Friday 26 April 2013
I woke up this morning to a lovely cool overcast morning with dark clouds on the horizon. I quickly consulted one of our weather tools call EUMETSAT ( European Organisation for the Exploitation of

See: Meteorological Satellites. It's a perfect example of the wonders of modern technology. Somewhere up in the skies flies a weather satellite that can see the rain and magically make it appear on our smart phones here at the airfield. A quick visit on our web browser gets up half-hour updates on the current weather systems present over the country, and importantly, the surrounding areas to see what storms might develop. It's truly an art to interpret these images though; in real-time they are quite accurate, but any reasonable forecasting is a mix of experience, magic, and dumb luck.

The images this morning showed a nice big twin storm system over the whole country so those dark clouds
on the horizon were sure to bring a sizeable chunk of rain. The skies at 730am were already telling of the impending rains with the 25 knot winds blowing the clouds quickly across the sky. A few short minutes later and the rains began, immediately dousing the area in a downpour that obfuscated all the surrounding hills and brought streams of water flowing from the runway.

The rains come as both a blessing and a curse. For the dried earth, the rain is a welcome addition to bring fresh growth to the farms and grasses and reduce dust and pollution in the air. Conversely, the torrential rain often causes so much water to flow that roads are damaged, houses flooded, construction projects swamped, and crops destroyed. Sadly not everyone has access to the technology that can help us foresee the bigger storms and reduce damages from the water.

As I'm writing this, the storm is already passing by. The heavy rain reduced to a manageable downpour and the birds and lizards already floating around to eat up all the insects that surface when the water flows. The winds are calming down as well and we start to think about all the mowing to come in the coming weeks with the fresh growth of grass that results from the rain.