Trip Information Meeting May 10, 2015

If you are interested in traveling to Apam, Ghana as part of Building Solid Foundations September 19, 2015 through October 2, 2015 humanitarian trip, please plan to attend the May 10, 2015 trip information meeting, which will be held at 4:00pm at Aldersgate United Methodist Church, 397 Tyler Run Road, York, PA 17403.
At that meeting you will learn about passport and other travel requirements and immunizations. You will also learn about the projects that our volunteers currently have underway in Apam and meet other volunteers – some of whom have travelled to Ghana with Building Solid Foundations many times, and some who will be travelling with us for the first time.
This is a great time to meet the leaders of the Medical and Surgical, Education, Agriculture, Construction and Sanitation Teams.
Please rsvp your attendance by emailing hollie@buildingsolidfoundations.org. Thank you.

Travel with us to Ghana!

If you are looking for a life-changing experience, please mark your calendar and plan to join Building Solid Foundations’ volunteers who are traveling to Apam, Ghana on September 19, 2015.
Volunteers will return to the United States on October 2, 2015.
Teens and adults may volunteer. Work undertaken will include construction on sanitation and hygiene projects, educational activities for elementary and middle school students and teachers, vegetable gardening, medical, and surgical.
An information session will be held prior to the trip. Check back frequently for the date and location of this session and for immunization information.
For additional information, please contact Hollie Walkley at 717 718-5751 or hollie@buildingsolidfoundations.org.

Annual Report of Activities June 30, 2014

Building Solid Foundations conducts one two-week trip to Apam, Ghana each year beginning in late September and returning in early October. On average, twenty team members travel to Apam to dispense medical/surgical care, and to carry out educational, agricultural, sanitation and construction projects. Smaller teams of volunteers travel to Apam at other times of the year as needed.
The regularly scheduled trip was held September 22, 2013 through October 4, 2013. Twenty-nine volunteers participated in the trip. Fifteen volunteers provided medical/surgical care, nine worked with local elementary and middle schools, two- and-one-half demonstrated vegetable gardening/composting techniques, and two-and-one-half people were responsible for construction work.
Other work conducted by Building Solid Foundations during the period July 1, 2013 through June 30, 2014 consisted of preparation for the September 19, 2015 through October 2, 2015 humanitarian trip to Apam. Some of that work includes:
1. Collection of books and education supplies for distribution in elementary and middle schools in Apam, Ghana in September 2015.
2. Creation of hand-washing and hygiene curriculum to be used at elementary and middle schools in Apam, Ghana in September 2015.
3. Fundraising to purchase equipment and supplies used at the renovated/refurbished Apam Catholic Hospital.
4. Planning/coordinating refurbishing of the Apam Catholic Hospital Laboratory.
5. Collaborating with Rotary International on several waste-water treatment projects at schools in and near Apam.

Building Solid Foundations is also exploring several economic development projects that would bring much-needed job opportunities to the town of Apam and the surrounding area.

Thank you to all donors and volunteers. Your financial contribution and your gift of time and talents make progress in Apam, Ghana possible.

Announcing Strategic Plan

The Building Solid Foundations (BSF) Board of Directors is pleased to announce a new, forward-thinking strategic plan that honors the organization’s history and achievements while fortifying BSF’s future.

In order to undertake the strategic planning process, the board members completed an extensive survey and participated in two facilitated planning sessions.  First steps included reaffirming Building Solid Foundations’ mission, and defining its values and development principles. As a result of this comprehensive process, on October 8, 2014, the board of directors adopted a cohesive and ambitious three-year strategic plan that supports its mission, values, and development principles.  The strategic plan serves as reinforcement of our commitment to the people of rural Ghana.

Mission: What We Do

Building Solid Foundations improves the quality of life in rural Ghana by working in partnerships with Ghanaians to build capacity and self-sufficiency in the areas of water, sanitation, health, education, and economic development.

Our Values

  • Honesty
  • Partnership
  • Transparency
  • Education
  • Cultural sensitivity
  • Adherence to the Strategic Plan
  • Self-sufficiency
  • Faith-based
  • Welcoming to all who support our Mission

Development Principles

  1. Development begins with these basics:
    • An adequate water supply
    • Working sanitation systems
    • Quality medical and educational systems
    • Expanding agricultural capabilities
    • Sound plans for economic development
  2. All projects include Ghanaians as equal partners with an emphasis on Ghanaian self-sufficiency and sustainability.
  3. Building Solid Foundations is in Ghana to teach as well as to learn.

The Strategic Plan

From the initial survey, the board identified capacity building as the priority for our work in Ghana. Capacity building includes identifying resources both in the United States and in Ghana. By utilizing these resources, BSF’s programs will be prioritized though specific, measurable goals.

This strategic plan reaffirms Building Solid Foundations’ commitment to excellence in through bold initiatives that support clearly articulated goals, professional credibility, experience in delivering humanitarian aid, respect for cultural differences, and organization strength.

 

Trevor King Memorial Laboratory

Trevor King was born in India, spent his youth in Ghana, before returning to India as a student at St. Joseph’s Boys School.

After moving permanently to the US, Trevor met and married his wife Doris. He founded Citland International, an Atlanta, Georgia-based company in 1989. Citland International provides equipment and services to the mining industry.

Trevor visited Africa frequently for work and these visits kept Africa, and Ghana in particular, in his heart.

Trevor King died on January 10, 2012 and his family chose to honor his life and to continue his efforts to impact the lives of people around the world by making a $25,000 gift to

Building Solid Foundations in order to renovate and equip the laboratory at the Apam Catholic Hospital.

This remarkable gift will fund improvements to the laboratory physical space, installation of new laboratory equipment, and training for hospital personnel. “We are working with Worldwide Lab Improvement, Inc. to fine-tune our selection of laboratory equipment and supplies so that everything is appropriate for the needs of medical personnel working in Apam, Ghana,” said Building Solid Foundations’ Board Member Dr. Rich Kurz.

“I can’t imagine a more fitting tribute to Trevor’s memory,” said Doris King during a recent conversation with Building Solid Foundations’ Executive Director Grace Quartey.

The Apam Catholic Hospital in Apam, Ghana.
The Apam Catholic Hospital in Apam, Ghana.

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.