Submitted By Jonathan Porter
Those who read about the trip to Battorkope recently will be pleased to hear that the village took its own initiatives and proved once again that people are what make nations great - PEOPLE POWER RULES!
Last Friday, James, the village Health Rep from Battorkope arrived at Kpong Field and said that the Chief would like to have a clearing that could be used for medical and other services by air. He asked for Capt. Yaw to come the next morning to meet him. Unfortunately, with a 7 hour round trip by road and a loaded weekend of flying that was not possible.
However, Capt. Yaw did fly over the next morning (30 minutes round trip in a small aircraft) and, assisted by Marcel A. flew past Yogaga (the mountain), over the ridges and then dropped two flour 'bombs'. Small bags with flour (or oats or cassava flour or anything like that) are used to mark the begining and the end of the proposed clearing area. With a bit of practice you can get quite good at the technique! Our best hit was about 2m off of the targeted termite mound!
We flew back after after a brief air-ground phone call (Kasapa network covers the area) and thought no more of it.
On Sunday, Paul J and I flew out to the site to find an entire village excited and jubilating at the sight of an aircraft. People standing in their boats, people jumping, farmers waving and ignoring their crops, cattle boys climbing trees to get a closer look at the aircraft as their cows wandered across the fields. In short the term People Power took on a new meaning - and raised hope that there are still people out there who will invest themselves for their children's future..
Since then we have met with James who insists that the strip will be reading in two weeks. Remember, they have no tractors, no mechanised tools - this is 100% by hand - there is not even a chain saw involved - just cutlasses, mattocks and muscles!
We are now organising a meeting for the District Chief Executive (like a Mayor), reps from the Health Service, PLAN International, Manya Krobo Queen Mothers Association, The Traditional Council and the Chieftency from Battorkope as we look at proposing that Upper Manya becomes an example zone of medical and educational aviation for the people - with Battorkope leading the way. (the meeting will be on the 8th June - and you are welcome too!).
The whole area is like a fluted cake - Asesewa lies on the top plateau and down each flute runs a dirt track, dropping about 1000' towards the lake. At the bottom of each flute lies a village - each village is agric-fishing and apart from the 'port' of Akatengh they lack much infrastructure. There are no transversal roads joining across the flutes. A fascinating landscape and an incredible people.
You really need to see first-hand what these people can mange without support, troubled daily by malaria, Bilhazia and, I quote, 'a lot of diarrhea' - everybody here is very excited and just hope that we can keep up the enthusiasm of this little village with great needs that has taken a magnificent stride towards self help.
If you would like to help us - we really are in need of funds - this very site is becoming a pay site soon - and we did not budget for it. So far, nobody at MoM gets paid for what they do - we all do what we do because we love what we do. We need to get sponsorship to have a full time doctor (Dr Zee is ready to do this, if you can help sponsor) - and we need practical support in so many ways. Being a part of MoM is so very exciting - if you find the story of Battorkope exciting - why dont you become an active actor in the changing of a community, and know that you are doing something magnificent as part of a worldwide team!