On 10 March 2017, FOYS-sponsored a Health Awareness Day that included advice on diet and a variety of medical checks. It was followed on the 13th by a Workshop on Garment Production Techniques that marked an extension of the kind of encouragement FOYS had previously given to skills acquisition on the Akuapim Ridge.
In addition to the above projects, Mrs Gibbs was able to use time in Ghana during February / March 2017 to follow up initiatives set in motion on previous visits. These included: the Gibbs Choir, bee-keeping, First Aid Training, the Computer Lab (in Abiriw), and soap-making.
Health Awareness Day: Arrangements were made with Nana Henaku for the Palace in Abiriw to be used for a pop-up clinic on 10th March. The Abiriw Assemblyman and the local churches were involved in publicising the event, and computer teacher Felix Manukure designed an appropriate banner.This was erected by the palace staff on the 9th March, and the next morning the same team set out the required chairs and tables. The event opened with prayers and these were followed by a well- illustrated talk on dietary choices given by Praise Boama of the Akwapim North Health Directorate.
Nurse Rosina Osae (below) and her team moved smoothly into and through their programme.
One-hundred and eleven presented and were given a a a series of blood-pressure, blood sugar, body weight and ENT tests. As the picture right indicates, most of those who attended were older, female members of the community. (Only 15 were in their thirties or younger, while the 50, 60 and 70 ‘somethings’ were well represented; ten were in their eighties, and one was over ninety.) Though in a small minority (about 20%), there were more men than on some previous occasion, and it was gratifying to see both Nana Henaku and Nana Tufuhene.
This profile of those who attended drew attention to the importance of offering, as FOYS has in the past, special health-awareness days in schools. [Cost per person on 11/3/2017: £3.]
The Workshop on Garment Production Techniques, held at the Presbyterian Vocational and Technical Institute/ a.k.a ‘ICCES’, Abiriw on March 14, was led by Pat Azu with administrative support from Ebenezer Owusu. Topics covered included making patterns and garments for women, and placing and making button-holes. Two teachers, 2 dressmakers, 2 students and one tailor attended, and all provided overwhelmingly positive feed-back on the ‘hands-on’ workshop.
In addition to being involved in the planning of the event and providing examples of Ghanaian dresses from her own collection, Mrs Gibbs allocated FOYS funds to subsidise the Workshop fees. [Cost to FOYS £50.] The Workshop was planned and delivered by Ms Azu (PAZU Fashion) with diligence and enthusiasm; it may be repeated.
The Gibbs Choir continues to grow in numbers and rehearses regularly. (Often daily!) Enthusiasm has been sustained partly thanks to the key-board handed over on the last visit. (See Newsletter for 2016 /2) On 18 March, the choir gave an evening concert for families and friends at Mrs Gibbs’s house. (Plans were made to post a video of the occasion.)
The Choir is very fortunate to have retained the services of Mrs Bertha Anorh-Nyarko, who continues to provide leadership even though she has moved away from Abiriw. She returned to lead special rehearsals when the Choir was asked to sing at the funeral (on 11 March at Aburi) of the Rev’d Salome Ntobea Twum, who had been the minister at Calvary Presbyterian Church in Abiriw in 2012,.
A remarkable woman who died at forty and yet had achieved a great deal, the Rev’d Twum had made contributions on various levels during her brief ministry at Abiriw. For example, she had sourced funds for the purchase of a generator for the Church, and had raised over GHC 90,000 to support elderly members of the congregation. (See Funeral Brochure.) She had been much admired by members of the choir, not least for her educational achievements and for the contributions she had made through holding posts in national and international organisations.
After the concert on the 18th, Francis Koranteng offered to provide accountancy advice for the Choir, and Mrs Gibbs made further contributions to the group. This was partly in cash, and partly by paying for six members of the choir to join a Calvary Church excursion to Elmina.
Reports were received and checks made on the progress of FOYS projects set in hand on previous visits. In this context it is gratifying to report that excellent use is being made of the Computer Lab donated to the ICCES, that there have been good honey harvests, that some of those trained by the St John Ambulance in first-aid continue to offer their services at events attracting large numbers of people, and that stocks of FOYS soap were replenished by soap-making sessions with Abena Foriwa.
Funding: The work undertaken by FOYS in Ghana is made possible by the generosity of supporters in the UK, US and France. The photograph on the right shows Keith and Verna Carlyle making a generous donation towards the costs of the recent Health Awareness Day. A previous gift from the Carlyles was spent on the paint used on the Presbyterian Junior High School at Abiriw.
*Praise Boama contributed to a scientific paper on an outbreak of gastroenteritis in the Eastern Region that can be found at http://www.journalrepository.org/media/journals/IJTDH_19/2013/May/1369629496-Opare332013IJTDH3684.pdf Email: email@example.com This document: FOYSA Newsletter 2017/ 1 Portrait