The Fulani can be a very frustrating people. They LOVE their cows, so much so that they bring their children up in a similar manner... herding them, getting them all up at the same time, and sending them all to bed at the same time. They also feel that the living condtions and diet for both are 'adquate'. Or at least that is how it seems!
With it their priorities are not always aligned with ours. Allai, our 'son of the village chief' and main intermediary was asked 'what is the most important thing in your life?' and he replied 'my children.'. We explained that 'if they are important then their health and education should be important to you too.'. With a bewildered look on his face he 'agreed' not realising that the concepts of health and education for our two different approaches are very different.
Eliasu has missed 3 weeks of school because of asthma in the fall term. We asked if he had been to the doctors, but the answer was 'our health insurance has run out'. Currently there are problems with the National Health System. It appears that 'if you go on the NHIS, you get the cheap (often less effective) treatments', and 'if you pay under the table you get seen quicker' and 'if you pay fully you get what is called 'correct' treatment'. This is not true for all hospitals, it is not true for all staff - but it is rapidly becoming a perception. With this being an election year, we will see how that perception is managed, corrected or painted over.... but in the mean time, there are many people in need of health care, simple health care, who are not getting it. Eliasu stayed at home until 'he got better'. We will try to get a change in that attitude as the year progresses.
Eliasu's school report was good - he is really doing well and is very serious about it. He really enjoys drawing - and does very well at it too.... some of the best pencil control I have seen in his environment. His younger brother has come to live in the camp, and he wants to take his younger brother to school too - we will be encouraging that one - Audrey has a plan... which we will share with you if it works!
After a lengthy chit chat and some New Year treats from Audrey and Anita for the children, it was time to say goodbye, informing the camp that next month will see some focus groups in order to try to 'rearrange' the priorities in favour of health and education - as 'non-nomadic-cattle-herdsmen' see it!
Next month will see a big increase in MoM's activities, with Ben and Michaela being full time available to make it happen - and we wish them well as they prepare for this adventure!
For $250 you can sponsor a child for a full year of school. If you wish to donate towards a Childs education please contact Jonathan Porter directly.
Our educational program is run a little differently than others. In accordance with our philosophy that you must take an active part in helping yourself, we will not ‘give’ money to families to send their children to school. This approach has a proven history of failure in Ghana. We will only offer a scholarship to a child who is willing to ‘earn’ it though hard work and satisfactory school attendance. The scholarship will be used directly to support the expenses related to education (certain fees, clothes, if necessary some feeding support, etc as well as towards the monitoring and evaluation with associated encouragements - the things that make it actually work... Basic education in Ghana is technically free, but technically and practically are different.
While MoM administers the funds and monitors the progress of the children in the program MoM does not keep any portion of your contribution. We believe that an education is the most powerful tool in helping rural villagers understand basic healthcare. As such is a valuable investment and well worth our time to administer. An education in Ghana is a privilege that can reap rewards throughout the community for generations to come.
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". Please donate today and change a childs life forever.