Letters

Ferro-cement giant!

Students at the Nambikkai Foundation in India were interested by the article on Ferro-cement Tanks in Footsteps No 1. They were encouraged to build their own tank to provide water to irrigate the agricultural projects at Manbikkai. Work on their enormous tank was completed within three weeks and then the tank was allowed to cure and gradually filled with water. It has a diameter of just over 9 metres and holds 120,000 litres of water. All the work was carried out by trainees at the Foundation, who learned a lot about the construction of these tanks. As you can see they look very pleased with the result!

Editor's note: This really is an enormous tank and I would not recommend that such large tanks be built without expert help – which was available at Nambikkai.

HIV Testing Kits

ECHO – a Christian group who supply equipment to Charity Hospitals – are able to provide HIV Testing Kits so that blood can be tested before a transfusion, thus avoiding the awful tragedy of transfusing HIV positive blood. These kits are available, thanks to generous donations, at very low cost to hospitals in Africa only at present. Kits available are the new HIVCHECK 1 & 2 and the KARPAS HIV (which needs refrigeration).

ECHO also supply AIDS Support Kits containing protective materials and equipment together with supportive drugs for hospitals. Many hospitals in Africa can obtain huge subsidies on these kits. AIDS Protection Kits are available for individual travellers.

Please write with full details of your requirements and queries to:
ECHO, Ullswater Cresent, Coulsdon, Surrey, CR5 2HR, UK.

Well-earned rest

I was interested to read Sue Hanley’s replies to the Knotty Problems about traditional beliefs concerning childbirth in Cuzco, Peru. While agreeing with most of her replies, I would question her third answer about encouraging mothers to get up as soon as possible after birth.

What is the real reason for the long stay in bed? Is it the only time these hard-working mothers are ever able to legitimately rest? Perhaps the only time (in their lives?) when they can honestly lie back and let someone else wait on them?

Does it allow special bonding between mother and child before the return to a heavy work load? Are the rates of infection reduced by their isolation from other sources of dirt? What is truly harmful in the practice? If there is anything, then tackle these aspects rather than trying to do away completely with this tradition which may be of value.

Many years of working in an isolated rural area of Zambia have brought an appreciation of the positive value of many traditions which at first are easy to reject as unhelpful.

Sandra Michie

Holistic Development

I am delighted to hear about Tear Fund’s publication Footsteps. To us it is good news covering various aspects of rural development blended with biblical principles, all aimed at the holistic development of humanity (spiritually and physically).

Our Diocese, through its service departments of Planning and Development, Christian Rural Service and Heath, is involved in rural development work among its ten Archdeaconries. I believe that through your publication, we shall be able to learn and share with others all over the globe, new ideas and experiences for improving our work among the people and above all to the glory of God.

Praise God for the ministry that Tear Fund is giving God’s Church.

Rt Revd Misaeri Kauma, Bishop of Manirembe Diocese, Uganda.