Letters

AIDS

The recent letters on AIDS reminded me of two very serious problems in SW Mali. We worked with the Malinke farmers for seven years in Mali. As far as we could determine, we had only two cases of AIDS in that time. They were both cases of men who had gone away to work in the large coastal cities. They became so sick that they returned home to die, which they did very quickly.

A large dam was built about five miles from us. 2,000 workers were hired and with them came the city prostitutes. The Malinke society has a high moral standard so the spread of HIV would be only to a few people in a village. Now the disaster begins.

The government clinics received anti-tetanus vaccines from WHO. They told all pregnant women to come and receive the vaccine. The problem was that they only had five syringes and needles. They arranged for all the women (both local and prostitutes) to come on the same day of the week. If 20 women arrived, 15 would be injected with dirty needles. In the years ahead, I believe many more women and children will die of AIDS than would ever have died of tetanus.

How do we get this message over to the Ministry of Health?
The second major problem is that the educated men that were brought from Bamako as bureaucrats, believe that AIDS is a big lie made up in the West to change their sex lives.

Don Mansfield William Carey International University USA

Reading into action!

Footsteps really cares and means it. I am happy to inform you that our Karughe Farmers Group receives copies. We read about the uses of trees and share this knowledge. I formed an Environment and Wildlife Protection group with local people and it is trying to pave its way to recognition.

Our group learnt how oral rehydration can be done using cereals and now we are practising this. Indeed it is proving successful. May you be blessed for the work you are doing.

Joshua Bwambale Karughe Farmers Group PO Box 507, Bwera-Kasese, Uganda

Livestock

We enjoy receiving Footsteps and find something of interest each time - and pass it along to others in the field. The drawings are very good to attract ‘readers’ who don’t read English but who ask questions from the drawings.

Books are a quick way to get knowledge and information, but wisdom often comes just from listening to the experience of others - and that experience tends to be with grey hair!! From our grey hairs, here are a few tips!

Goats are a little like naughty children - they need watching. In many rural situations good work is often destroyed by wandering goats and other livestock. There is no doubt that as common lands and grazing spaces decrease with increased pressure on land, the need for stall feeding of animals becomes more and more important.

Stall feeding needs to be balanced with giving the animals concerned a chance regularly to ‘get out and walk around’ - under supervision, of course. One easy way to manage this is to let the animals out in the evening before sunset. They will then be willing to come back inside. Watch what they do when taken out of their stall and you will soon see why it is important not to keep them constantly penned up. They scratch themselves on brick walls; they will often search for weeds to improve their nutrition; they like to lie on the ground, often in dust, and roll around - this helps to keep lice down.

In making your own concentrate for goats, quite a few ‘additives’ can be included. Perhaps one of the most important things is to allow them access to salt - common rock salt is best. Keep a separate pot for mixing, and after each feeding wash the pot out and fill with water. Keep an old iron rod in the pot - any scrap iron will do. Also, if you have it, a piece of copper wire. Traces of iron and copper will then be available in the water for the goats. (It may be best to leave out the copper for breeding animals).

Parasites are a difficult problem for the really poor smallholder as they rarely have the cash for treating goats with commercial drugs - even if available. Ask what local people use to get rid of hair lice in their children - the same recipe may be useful. ‘Hand picking’ is sometimes the only solution.

For internal parasites we encourage feeding with fresh neem leaves at least once a week. The seed pods of the leucaena tree are also effective against some internal parasites.

An interesting little book is Goat Health Handbook, available from...

Winrock International Institution for Agricultural Development, Petit Jean Mountain, Morrilton, Arkansas, 72110 USA.

Eliazar T Rose New Hope Rural Leprosy Trust Orissa, India 

Thanks

I wish to write and acknowledge my appreciation for the assistance given to me through Footsteps. The publications are of great practical value due to their simplicity and adaptability. I am very grateful to you.

Nyaudoh Ndaeyo Calabar, Nigeria

Stoves project

I thought you might be interested to hear about the effect of one of your articles in Footsteps No 5 on the GTZ/SEP Maendeleo Stoves Project. I was unfamiliar with the project before, but wrote to them and as a result we have a good working relationship. Now the Maendeleo stoves are one of the most popular parts of our extension work through the independent churches in W Kenya. We have trained a number of church women in installing the stoves. Teaching about the stoves follows on naturally from teaching about tree planting and study of biblical principles. We encourage the women to charge 20 shillings for installing each stove. So it is self-financing extension.

This work has helped various Government staff to see the role of the churches as a very positive one in extension and training.

We have already found interest in the stoves from other countries and we may be able to train churches from elsewhere, introducing them to the technology and ideas for their own people to benefit.

Roger Sharland OAIC, Box 21736, Nairobi, Kenya

Support your local tree

In recent visits to Senegal and Northern Nigeria, I have been saddened by the very dramatic worsening of the drought situation and the drying up of water supplies. We continue to stress the urgent need for tree planting programmes and to encourage those working in church tree nursery projects.

In such dry conditions, tree seedlings need all the help they can to survive. We have found that using a small quantity of liquid neem (see Footsteps No 6 page 12) helps to protect against damage by termites.

Bob Mann, Methodist Relief and Development Fund, 25 Marylebone Road London, NW1 5JR, UK

Pension Plans for farmers!

I would like to tell you about a farmer I know, because his story may encourage others.

He has farmed in Chitawan for 30 years using traditional systems. All his family has depended on the family farm and worked from morning till evening to make a livelihood. But yields steadily became lower. Soil erosion and shortages of fuel and fodder became more and more of a problem. Family life was full of arguments and fear for the future.

The farmer had to overcome the desperate situation of his family. Should he look for other work in the towns? He discussed his problems with others. With their help he drew up an appropriate farm management plan in his mind. He gave more emphasis to improving the fertility of the soil and to planting trees for the future as a pension for him and an investment for his children. Now he uses alley cropping for all his cereal crops, practises crop rotation and ploughs crop residues back into the soil. He keeps animals in stalls to collect more manure and makes compost. On half of his land he is planting trees, particularly Dalbhergia sisoo (Sisoo).

The family still has to work very hard. However the farmer now has confidence for the future and his ‘pension’ to look forward to!

Padam Bhandari, Community Health Project, United Mission to Nepal Tansen, Palpa, Nepal