Letters

Seed for medicinal plants.  

Following the Footsteps issue on the use of medicinal plants, I started to collect plants from this region, catalogue them with their local names and plant them on our farm.

I would like to receive or exchange seeds of medicinal plants (such as artemisia) or spices, together with information about them, from other parts of the world that can be used in a tropical climate. I can offer seeds of neem, jaca and Moringa oleifera.

Hermes de Jesus Domingos, Cx Postal 20 – Ndalatando, Kuanza Norte, Angola. E-mail: mbote@latinmail.com

People power for change

Many Kenyans long for more government action to deal with corruption. However, ordinary people can bring change themselves with determination and coordinated effort.

The police are known to take bribes from overloaded public transport vehicles. One such vehicle was travelling into Nairobi from Machakos. It approached a police roadblock. A culture of bribing the police to prevent high fines for poorly repaired or overloaded vehicles is common. As usual, the driver got out with some money stashed inside his driving licence. However, the policeman was not happy with the amount given and when he asked for more, the driver complained loudly. The passengers looked at each other and were not amused by the policeman asking for a bribe as if it was his right.

What happened next made history. The eighteen passengers got out of the vehicle and asked the policeman what he wanted. On saying he wanted nothing, they asked him for the money he had been given. He refused to hand it over and so they emptied his pockets. His two colleagues did not want to shoot and the people, who were now very angry, asked for the day’s collection. They managed to collect some money, which they said they would give to a charity. They drove to a newspaper office to report the incident. Aweek later in another part of the country, other passengers did the same.

Now public transport vehicles can drive without having to bribe. These events led the government to tighten up the laws on overloading and vehicle safety.

This means drivers can no longer overload their vehicles and must keep them roadworthy. This was a small action that led to a big change in the right direction for the people of Kenya in terms of public transport and fighting corruption.

Bernadette Kyanya, PO Box 2722, KWH, Nairobi, Kenya E-mail: bkyanya@todays.co.ke

Association Misola

Our organisation gives priority to breastfeeding and to preventing malnutrition in babies and young children. The energy value and protein value of food for babies over six months old, based on local flour, can be greatly increased by adding natural enzymes. These break down the food, making it easier for babies to eat, without the need to add a lot of water.

Before cooking, toast the dry flour on a thick pan or grill it briefly. Use one measure of flour to two measures of water, mix together and cook until the mixture thickens. Add one of the following instead of adding more water:

  • a pinch of malted flour (flour made from germinated grains)
  • a small amount of mashed, ripe avocado
  • a few drops of the mother’s breast milk (as long as the mother does not have HIV).

Xavier Laurent, BP 1557, Yaoundé, Cameroon. E-mail: xalaumisola@yahoo.fr

Things grow better with Coca Cola?

Indian farmers have a new way of keeping their crops free of pests. Instead of paying for expensive pesticides they have discovered that by spraying their crops with Coca Cola, pests die. We suggest Footsteps readers might like to try out this idea!

A J Richardson, 4 Brooke Ave, Killarney Vale, New South Wales 2261, Australia