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Saturday, August 13, 2011

Updates from airfield

By Matt Porter

I thought I would send you a photo update on what has been happening at the airfield while the pilots are away...

The first week I was having a tractor expert here, Gerard Stout from PUM - he was here for WAASPS, but obviously his work was benefiting MOM too.

We did some maintenance and overhaul works on the tractor - general servicing, and well as valve setting, wheel alignment, overahauling of brakes, and replacing of a leaky axle seal.

Gerard brought over a blade balancer too - we manufactured our replacement blades for our mowers locally from spring steel used on suspension at the local blacksmiths - they were not too bad, but being in balance helps to preserve bearings and get a nicer finish. We were able to balance our finishing mower blades and it can also be used for push mower blades.

Gerard was also able to spend some time with Ben, who is one of the workers there who is being trained up to operate the tractor and equipment. It was nice to be able to expose him to some "outside ways" of doing things - maintaining machines by repainting etc.

Gerard was also able to experience some of our local weather! We had a couple of very heavy rains, and one morning drove to find the airfield road under 1.5 feet of water!

We were also able to talk about how best to tackle the challenges we face there - old machines, lack of availability of parts and equipement.

We had a week at the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital Burns Centre with Juliet and myself - no pics though - wasn't appropriate to be snapping away there. But we learnt a lot - and were exposed to some of Ghana's worst burns cases and learnt on what to do immediately after burns of different kinds, and things like referral criteria - the course was aimed a lot higher than we expected - seminars on anaesthesia for burns patients, and physiotherapy, but a lot was taken away by us all the same. A lot of gas explosions take place in Ghana - a few days before getting there, there had been a gas explosion in Ashaiman.

While we were there, there were two people remaining from the incident, who have since actually passed away - http://www.ghanatoghana.com/Ghanahomepage/ashaiman-gas-explosion-victims-dead
You will read in the article of the challenges faced by the Centre, which is also part of the Plastics Surgery unit where Lydia Wetsi is. They are the top in the country, and many parts of Africa - we were very impressed at the professionalism and experience of them all.

Other people who were attending the course were from 37 Military Hospital, the Children's Hospital nearby and a few others.

While we were there another case of a father and son coming in was worrying - the father had been cooking, found the gas coming to finish, and went to change the cylinders over without turning either the gas off on the stove OR the tap on the connection to the bottle.

He had 97% burns.

The first thing we did getting back to the airfield was to brief the staff there on some of these dangers! Gas explosion cases are actually on the rise in Ghana - partly due to lack of education, and things such as importations of second hand gas cylinders do not help the situation.

The AVTECH accommodation has also been coming on - by the end of next week, both will be able to be moved into.

This week, with no operations at the airfield, we have also taken the opportunity to remove some of the pebbles on the undershoot - over time here, as anywhere, stones come up through the soil. So where they have started coming through, we have been digging down and removing them... A couple have been icebergs, but Ben and Moses and well as Janet have done a great job on it. We are then going to use the stones we have taken out to fill in drainage systems and the smaller pebbles for the roads...

It has been very quiet around here, and we are all looking forward to seeing some flying going on again and hear the stories of the US of A!

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