The impact of sweet foods

As a health promoter I accept the nutritional value of eating fruit and encourage this in my daily work here in the UK. However, as an oral health promoter, I also know that one idea to improve health can sometimes have a negative effect on another aspect of health.

I believe we are sitting on a timebomb of oral disease in the South. The introduction of Northern diets and lifestyles mean that tooth decay is rising rapidly in many areas as more sodas are consumed. I have spent years discouraging the use of fruit squash due to its harmful effects on teeth – from both the sugar content and the acid in the fruit.

I long to see children’s health improve, but would question the use of fresh fruit squashes (Footsteps 64), especially if they are seen as ‘nutritious’.

Thelma Edwards, 7 Pinewood Gardens, Bognor Regis, PO21 2XB, UK

The role of theatre in protecting the environment

We all have a duty to protect the natural environment, for our benefit and for that of future generations. Theatre is a powerful tool for sharing messages, and young people often love to take part in plays. We recommend putting on short plays in schools. I have written a short play about protecting animals in danger of extinction, called A plot against the environment, which I would be happy for others to use. It can be adapted to local needs. Please email me (in French if possible), stating whether you want the play in English or French.

I also produce a regular electronic newsletter in French and KiSwahili for grassroots groups. Each issue looks at different aspects of the environment such as soil erosion, flooding and land clearing. Again, I would be happy to send Footsteps readers a copy.

Kitambala Kabwe Clément

The art of invention

Where do ideas come from? They are like seeds that God has spread in the air. We catch them by being open-minded and aware of our surroundings.

In order for these seeds to grow and produce fruit, they have to be fed. We must have a good imagination, like fertile soil, for them to develop. Inventors are usually quite ordinary people, with a certain talent. When we see something new, we might say ‘Why didn’t I think of that?’ Inventors are people who see things that others have not noticed. There’s nothing mysterious about them: they simply use all their senses.

Creative ideas will never be exhausted, because they change with every generation. However, God is really the only Creator of everything. As people, we simply participate humbly in God’s creation.

Nzabakulikiza Emmanuel
c/o La Rustica, BP 45, Ruhengeri, Rwanda 

Mosquito control with neem oil

Indian scientists have found that adding 1% neem oil to the kerosene used in kerosene lamps reduced the number of mosquitoes in living areas by nearly 75%. The number of cases of malaria also dropped significantly. The neem oil used was obtained from a pharmaceutical company. Locally produced oil should also work well. The scientists claim that this method of control would be cheaper than using mosquito coils.

From Indian Journal of Malariology No 33: 81-87