All posts by Hollie

HIV/AIDS Patients Need Your Help

For many years, Father Augustine has ministered to patients at the Apam Hospital who are infected with HIV/AIDS. He and the patients pay for medicine and food by raising  Grasscutters (Thryonomys swinderianus) as livestock.  Also known as the greater cane rat, grasscutters are considered a delicacy in Ghana and several other West African nations.

Grasscutters eat grasses that are harvested from the wild for free and they are successfully raised in wire mesh and wood cages.  These cages do not shelter grasscutters from rain and sun. The cages must be kept under roof. And the roof at the Apam Hospital HIV/AIDS clinic grasscutter business is leaking and undersized.

Your gift will help replace the roof. To keep the grasscutters comfortable.  To provide a source of revenue for Apamites stricken with HIV/AIDS. Click on the “Donate” button on the Building Solid Foundations website homepage or mail your check to Building Solid Foundations at 963 E. Market St. York, PA 17403.

Father Augustine with grasscutters being raised for food.Grasscutter Grasses being delivered by bike to the HIV/ AIDS grasscutter shed.

Left: Father Augustine in front of grasscutter cages in Apam. Center: Grasscutter. Right: Grasses being delivered by bike to the HIV/AIDS grasscutter shed.

 

September Trip to Apam Cancelled

After very careful deliberations, the Board of Directors of Building Solid Foundations voted to cancel its September trip to Ghana based on the recent Ebola outbreak in West Africa. Board Member and Co-Founder Dr. Seth Quartey explained that outbreaks are considered over only after 42 days have passed without any new cases. This represents two times the incubation period. “This means the current outbreak will continue until at least mid-September, the start of our planned trip” explains Dr. Quartey.

Grace Quartey, Co-Founder and Executive Director adds “We understand there have been no recorded cases in Ghana, however, we feel it is prudent be cautious and to consider the concerns raised by some of our volunteers and family members.”

“We are looking a January 2015 trip and pray that the outbreak will be contained soon.”

The following email was received from Francis Yawson, Interim Hospital Administrator, Apam Catholic Hospital in response to the trip cancellation announcement.

Hi Grace,

 Thanks for the information but sorry that plans for 2014 had to be cancelled owing to the recent Outbreak of EBOLA in neighbouring countries in West Africa. We equally share your concerns and Safety and pray that this deadly disease will finally be contained.

 The information will be passed on to the patients and when all is over we can continue with the programme next year.

 Greetings to everyone.

Francis

Francis Yawson (center) with BSF Board Chair Steve Shellenberger (left) and Dr. Robert Davis, Vice Chair and Head of BSF Surgical Team.
Francis Yawson (center) with BSF Board Chair Steve Shellenberger (left) and Dr. Robert Davis, Vice Chair and Head of BSF Surgical Team.

Want to know more about our volunteers’ work in Apam? Attend the pre-trip meeting on April 6.

You are welcome to attend a pre-trip meeting on April 6, 2014 at 4:00 at Aldersgate United Methodist Church, Tyler Run Road, York, PA to learn about opportunities for you to put your energy, compassion, and skills to work in Apam, Ghana.

During this meeting, BSF volunteers will share information about the work planned by the construction, medical/surgical, agriculture, education, and ice plant teams for their upcoming trip to Apam, September 20 – October 4, 2014.

Applications to be a part of the team will be distributed at the April 6 meeting. If you are interested in traveling to Apam with Building Solid Foundations and you are unable to attend this meeting, please email hollie@buildingsolidfoundations.org for more information.

Thank you to BSF from the Odadee ’83 Association

BSF’s Board of Directors recently received a heartfelt thank you from The Presbyterian Boys Secondary School Old Students Association (1983):

Dear Sir/Madam,

After a short delay, we are on scheduled to complete the toilet facility at the Presbyterian Boys Senior High Schools (Presec). We expect to complete the project by the end of March, 2014.

Your gift of $5,000 will have a great impact on our budget which will in turn reflect importantly on the health of the boys in Presec.

We, of the Odadee ’83 Association, wish to ‘Thank you’ very much for your partnership. As we improve lives in Ghana, we promise to use your gift wisely.

Very best wishes to you for 2014!

Thank you again for your wonderful gift.

Sincerely,

Felix Ankomah Asante, PhD
President,
Odadee ’83 Association

Share what you know about gari with us!

Gari is a popular food in Ghana and in other Western Africa countries.  It is made from cassava tubers and is used in a way that is similar to rice, couscous, and quinoa. Building Solid Foundations volunteers are exploring ways to streamline the time-consuming and laborious production of gari.

In Ghana, women prepare gari. When mature, cassava tubers are dug by hand and washed to free them of dirt.  Then the women peel the tubers and soak them in water. Later, the tubers are hand-grated and as much water as possible is squeezed out of the grated cassava. A few days later, after the grated cassava is partially dry and fermented, the grated cassava is spread out in the sun to dry. When it is almost completely dry, the grated cassava is passed through a mesh sieve, and then fried until it is totally dry. The final product is gari, which can be stored until needed.

Building Solid Foundations is searching for ways in which some of the physical labor involved in turning cassava tubers into gari can be replaced by portable, inexpensive machinery.  Our goal is to increase the amount of gari that the women can make.   Gari that they make in excess of what they need for their families could then be sold at market to help support their families.

If you are interested in knowing more about the production of gari or if you are already familiar with gari and would like to help BSF find ways to streamline its production, please send an email to hollie@buildingsolidfoundations.org.

Popular gari recipes can be found at www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/food/gari.html.

Upcoming Trips – 2014

We are pleased to announce that the 2014 humanitarian trip to Apam, Ghana will leave York, PA on September 20 and will return to York on October 4, 2014.

An informational meeting will be held prior to each of the trips. Watch this space for announcements concerning these meetings.

If you would like additional information about this trip or if you have questions about volunteering, please call 717 718-5751 or email hollie@buildingsolidfoundations.org.

Cromoglass Waste Water Treatment Project Begins at Presbyterian Boys School

On August 10, 2013 Kwame Amoakohene emailed BSF with the following update on the Cromoglass project at the Presbyterian Boys School. “We have started. Please let Steve and the group know. We found out that the land is quite big and therefore we will have to think about some landscaping , a garden, park or sport ground or something that we will use the Cromoglass water for. But our toilet facility has started and any idea on the use of the land is welcome.
I will let you know when we are ready to pick up the Cromoglass unit.
 
Picture of some of my Classmates with the Headmaster and School Chaplain dedicating the Project to God before we started land clearing.
 
Thank you also for the help.”

And, the Building Solid Foundations Board of Directors would like to add their thanks to our York County donors for making this project possible. 

See photos of the ceremony and the “before” photo by clicking on the Photos Tab.

Apam Community Cold Store Business Plan

Francis Yawson, President of the Rotary Club of Apam, and Steve Shellenberger, Building Solid Foundations Board Chair were present as Apam’s District Chief Executive of Theophilus Aidoo-Mensah, signed the Apam Community Cold Store Business Plan. 

The purpose of the Apam Community Cold Store (formerly known as the Apam Fish Storage Freezer) is to stabilize the amount of fish in the community and provide a storage option for fishermen when supply exceeds demand.  A series of freezers will be available for fishermen to store fish for future sale or transport out of Apam.  In addition, block ice machines will create ice blocks for preserving fish while out on the sea.

Upon deposit of the fish into the Apam Fish Storage Freezer, the fisherman will make a down payment on the storage fee.  Upon withdrawal of the fish, the remainder of the fee will be tendered.  The fee is based on both the amount of fish in storage and the length of time spent in the freezer.  All ice will be paid in full at the point of sale.

Building Solid Foundations is approaching this project as both an economic development project and a humanitarian mission in the town of Apam.

The full Business Plan is attached.

AFSF Business Plan

Apam Community Coldstor