Letters

Organ transplants.

It is heartbreaking to learn from reading the Footsteps 29 article on Children at Risk what kind of life these street children have. The situation here in Nepal is similar, with the problem of child prostitution added to the mix of potential trouble.

However, I did want to comment on the portion of the article referring to the worldwide trade in body parts. I am aware of many such reports in the popular press but, as far as I know, none of these reports has been confirmed by any medical source. Organ donors and organ recipients must be closely matched for compatibility before any operation can have even the remotest chance of success. A kidney, eye or testicle from an unknown and untested donor is useless to the doctor performing the surgery. Street children face many hazards on the street, but serving as organ banks is probably not one of them. Let’s put this rumour to rest once and for all.

Thanks for an eye-opening and educational article on this difficult subject!

Robert D Hott DVM, United Mission to Nepal Rural Development Centre, Pokhara, Nepal.

Seed thoughts

We would like to share some of the results of our agricultural activities, which take place at an altitude of 1,000 metres. We have tried out different varieties of vegetables and measured the germination of seeds, how long the different stages of growth took, any problems, how easy we found it to collect seeds and our success in marketing the crops. We found peppers had a low germination rate and suffered from various disease problems. Lettuce and cucumbers grew very well, but because they are eaten raw, we found there was little market for them. People are surprised to see how well our onions grow and all want some seed to try themselves. We have been able to collect seeds successfully except with cabbage and onions. We would value your opinion on our work.

Acheka Kambaname, Maison-Verte (WEC WAMBA), BP 500 Isiro, Haut-Zaire.

EDITOR: Some vegetables will only produce seed one year after planting. Try allowing some cabbage and onion plants to remain growing, and you should find that next year they will produce seed heads.

Discussion starter

PAS A PAS has become a real blessing for us both in development and Christian witness. For some time we have been organising animation and training meetings on the subject of development and health. These meetings bring together health workers, farmers, market gardeners and others who are interested in community development. At these meetings the copies of Pas a Pas are studied, commented on and analysed. This is followed by discussions and profound exchanges of ideas and experiences.

Adrien Latyr Faye, Mission Evangélique du Plein Evangile, BP 6, Thiadiaye, Senegal.

Learning about the menopause

I am a nurse in the Evangelical Hospital in Bembéréké, Bénin. I was greatly encouraged by the very good details on menstruation and the menopause in Pas a Pas 24. In our hospital there are many problems with these subjects. Thanks to this issue I have had successful discussions on the menopause with women who believed they could no longer have sexual intercourse with their husbands. (They brought up the very reasons mentioned in the article.) Please be reassured that, thanks to the advice given, I have managed to convince these women. May the Lord accompany you in the work you are doing!

Mahama Soussi, Hôpital Evangélique, BP 28, Bembéréké, Bénin.

Read me!

Recent visits to a number of Footsteps readers by the editor have revealed that many readers don’t read the Resources pages in Footsteps because they have no funds to pay for books. Please do! Every issue contains at least one (and sometimes more) free books or newsletters.

Onoe reader has started her own library. She reads the Resources pages first and immediately writes off for any free materials. Nearly all the books and newsletters have been obtained free of charge!

Information is power! Writing to request information really does work. Also, please pass on information about free resources so Footsteps can share it with other readers.

Saving schemes

My wife has put to good use the Footsteps issue on Credit and Loans. With other women she has managed to save US $60 in two months. I have also learned to prepare a good, simple and effective book-keeping system which has proved of great help in our day-to-day management.

Timanya Stephen, c/o St Pauls Cathedral, PO Box 142, Kasese, Uganda.

Protection of pygmies

PREPPYG is an organisation working to support and protect a pygmy group on the verge of extinction in Zaire. We are encouraging the pygmies to take responsibility for themselves through farming, education, improving living conditions and developing plant medicines.

The forest area where the pygmies have traditionally lived is being devastated and many species of plants and animals have disappeared. No-one is replanting trees or saving a plot of land for the pygmies. Poachers take animals and are a security problem. The pygmies’ traditional activities of hunting and gathering of plants has become impossible. There are now less that 7,000 pygmies remaining in Butembo-Beni. We would welcome support from interested groups who may be able to help us with ideas and resources.

PREPPYG, BP 251, Butembo NK, Zaire.

Neem products

Every topic given so far in the centre pages has been a persuasion to try it out! Though we may know about the subjects, the fact is that we haven’t tried them out until seeing them presented in a simple way with illustrations in Footsteps. Then we ask ourselves, ‘Why haven’t we tried this before?’

We would like to share a few of our experiences in farming with neem. Neem trees are very common in this part of Sri Lanka. Farmers here have been using different methods to control pests and fertilise the soil for over a thousand years before chemical pesticides and fertilisers were introduced by the West. Ours is a culture that respects all beings – humans, animals, trees and plants. We do not want to kill any living creature. We would rather control pests.

We find that using neem products respects the environment and will control pests without danger to animals, humans or the environment. We are a small organisation but we now produce three items from neem – Kimisara and Kuminal, which control pests, and Nimbil, which acts as a fertiliser. We also produce a washing soap containing neem oil.

Gallege Punyawardana Alvis, Swarna Hansa Foundation, PO Box 16, Dehiwala, Sri Lanka.

Do what I do!

Here is a useful roleplay for a workshop contributed by Rev Rabboni of Mbarara, Uganda. It is used to show how to encourage communities to change. Choose three participants, tell them the story and encourage them to act it out.

Two men are stranded on a river bank. A good Samaritan comes along and offers to help them reach the opposite bank. First he carries one over on his back. However, he is quickly exhausted and has to leave him on a small island in the middle of the river.

He goes back to the other man but this time he first teaches him how to swim. He tells him, ‘Do whatever I do.’ As they move into the water, he holds and supports him. This time it is much easier to cross. They go to the island and the good Samaritan tells him to help his neighbour to swim across – which they do successfully.

Encourage participants to discuss the issues this raises and consider how they could put this approach into practice themselves.

The workshop was organised by teh Archdeaconry for church and community leaders in Rukoni Parish, Ntungamo District, Uganda.

Sins in development work

by Frank Rwakabwohe

DEVELOPMENT without participation

 

Development without empowerment

 

Development without women

 

Development without the youth

 

Development without the poor

 

Development without action

 

Development without the environment

 

Development without plans for growth

 

Development without men

 

Development without the achievable.

DEVELOPMENT SHOULD BE…

  • holistic, integrated, gender-sensitive and sustainable
  • based on the basic Christian law of loving one another instead of exploiting or oppressing each other
  • liberating
  • sensitive to the environment
  • able to treat all people as equal before God and with each other.

First used in Service Newsletter. Frank Rwakabwohe is Head of the Planning, Development and Rehabilitation Unit of the Church of Uganda, PO Box 14123, Kampala.