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I was going to post about World Malaria Day which was in fact two days ago, and as part of the research checked the Tukae site. I’m delighted to see that it has been totally revamped and has a very clear message on the work that is being done there. It looks good and there’s some slick flash animated quotes at the top (not sure how accessible it is but that’s a different hat I wear!) The mission is very clearly stated and there is a seperate page on the job creation and revenue raising activities that are an essential part of their work at Emau Hill.

The Malaria project is ongoing – this is to implement a practical, community based, 4 point programme to control and treat malaria, with a particular focus on children. It will reduce the incidence of malaria through:

1 Providing long-term treatment bednets,

2 Providing resource for insecticide treatment of dwellings,

3 Giving access to rapid diagnostic testing,

4 Holding a stock of malaria treatment.

This is a very ambitious project and the funding needed is considerable – £12,000 initially and £36,000 over a 13 months period. £7,000 is already raised.

I’ve just found a brilliant blog from a couple from America who are having the honeymoon to beat all honeymoons.  Steve and Christy McCrosky married in California in June last year and have since been travelling all over Europe, Africa, South East Asia and Fiji.  They planned to be away for seven months so must be nearing the end shortly.  They have an amazing photo site here.  The reason I found it was they spent part of their time camping at Emau Hill and talking to Steve and Pia.  The camp site sounds great – it wasn’t finished when I was there but the fully erect and equipped tents sound good.  Have a read for yourself here.  And yes Steve and Pia are some pretty amazing people.  Oh and congratulations Steve and Christy  I’ve added your blog to the blogroll on here.

With all the excitement of the conference last week I forgot to post something on this blog’s first birthday. Last Monday it was one year old. It started as I prepared to travel to Tanzania to see my brother and the work he and his wife Pia are doing there. I had a fantastic trip and they really are making a difference to the people who live and work round Emau Hill. Their charity is relaunching their website soon so hopefully there will be something more I can post about. I really can also recommend three weeks of sunshine in a miserable and cold English winter.

Since then the blog has sort of developed a life of it’s own and it just depends what is particularly engaging me at any one moment. I’ve added tags as different subjects have come up and have included some work related posts also. The viewing figures still continue to increase and I thought I would never repeat the 72 hits I got when I first started and told everyone about it; I now get over 1000 per week and the busiest day so far was last week when 216 people visited. Not massive numbers admittedly, but it keeps me happy. In fact it has become quite a friend in a way and when I’ve been busy and had no time to post anything, it starts to nag – sigh.

Well Happy New Year everyone. I suppose now is the time to look back at the year and pick out the highs and forget the lows.

Well the year started with all the preparations for going out to Tanzania and that was definitely a high. It prompted the start of this blog which will be one year old on the 14th of this month and I’ve enjoyed posting a selection of random thoughts and ideas. It does seem to have now got the shorter identity of ‘Lisa’s Cotton Knickers’ – thanks Dave for the public mention at the RSC Conference. I hope I’ve managed to raise a bit of awareness of the work that Steve and Pia are doing at Emau Hill for Tukae.

It’s been a year of conferences, some good – HandHeld Learning, some not so good, the afformentioned RSC event! Others have been our own at the De Vere in Blackpool, an excellent single day at Salford University where I was introduced to jaiku, and a badly organised day at Manchester University (note to conference organisers, don’t make the delegates wait till 2 pm for lunch – they get crotchety).

Books of the year must include Alan Bennett’s The Uncommon Reader, as well as Kalheid Hussein’s A Thousand Splended Suns, Julian Barnes’ Arthur and George and yet more Bronte stuff. I’m looking forward to reading one of my Christmas presents, Shakespeare’s Wife by Germaine Greer as well as two more Shakespeare books, The Lodger by Charles Nichols and Bill Bryson’s latest.

It has also been the year of Facebook. What will come next? Bebo will become more popular; they are already getting new fans with KateModern – a 21st Century soap starring amongst others Ralph Little – check it out here though I think it is the season finale today.

So here’s to a new year and new aspirations. I’ve got a few ideas of what might transpire in the next 12 months, but until I’ve made complete plans it will have to stay under wraps. One thing is certain – I’ll be a Great Aunt in the next few weeks – so Good Luck Sarah and Paul!

I’ve written quite a bit about malaria and the campaign that Tukae are running to raise money for a clinical officer and technician to be based at Emau Hill for a year. They will provide free malaria treatment for all children under the age of 13, following Tanzanian government guidelines. So I was interested to read in the latest copy of Scientific American that a company is developing a chemical that kills viral pathogens but also suppresses the development of the plasmodium parasite that causes malaria.

The so called ‘provector’ will use visual, olfactory and chemical signals to entice the mosquitoes to ingest the antimalarial and antiviral treatments. They haven’t finalised the delivery method yet, but it looks like it might be in the form of an artificial flower which while being shielded from other insects, will have a protective surface that will allow the mosquitoes’ proboscis to get through to reach the petals. This is a totally different way of looking at Malaria prevention, in that they are targetting the pathogens themselves, rather than the mosquitoes, which are just the carriers. Whatever it takes, it is important that this killer disease is conquered. It can and does kill children in the East Usambaras where Steve and the team are working. The World Health organisation fact sheet on malaria has the chilling statistics – ‘an African child has between 1.6 and 5.4 episodes of malaria fever each year’ and every 30 seconds a child dies of malaria.

Animoto seems to be all over the blogs at the moment. It’s a great site that creates professional standard videos from your photos. There are a number of music tracks you can choose and you can do a 30 second video for free. See here for my trip to Emau Hill.

I’ve just been directed to this site by Michael at East Michigan University. It’s a sort of social mapping thing which uses Google Maps but what I like about it is you can add other locations that you like. I’ve managed to add Emau Hill next to the village of Amani in Tanzania as a location, but seem unable to add the website link to it. Hopefully the webmaster on the Tukae site will add the url so we can link up to it. You can add other blogs that are already registered, and there are pitifully few, so for it to work it will need far more registrations and people linking their own blogs to each other. I’ve invited a couple of folk, and will invite more as I trail through my feeds. A direct link to the location of the blog is here and I’ve inserted a widget in the left hand side bar.  Astonishingly, with 12 hits I am now in the top 100 on the site!  Won’t last long.

Well here we are at the end of October and I’m delighted to say that for the first time we’ve had over 3,000 hits in one month. The stats for the blog are slowly improving and in fact without the Appleby Horse Fair posts in May and June I think we would still be languishing in the 20 or 30 hits a day. They are still the most popular posts even now 5 months later. The progress is steady and we had the highest day so far last week with 144 hits, so I’m pleased.

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The above shows the monthly hits from when we started in January this year. You can also see a stats analysis if you hit the statcounter logo at the bottom of the left hand side bar. This will also give you details of locations of viewers. Although this blog started as just a report on my visit to Tanzania in the spring, it has sort of grown and incorporated my work, family and just stuff I’m interested in. So please, if you are a first time visitor or a regular – please come back again.

Lisa – with CottonKnickers

There was a comment from Althea on yesterday’s post regarding the future staffing of the Amani women’s workshop extension.  They are on the look out for a qualified person to teach Batik techniques.  The person would have to be a volunteer and pay their way and there is no electricity so it would certainly be a challenge.  However there is fresh running water (in the stream down the hill) and a brand new workshop and it is in a beautiful part of the world with just delightful people.  Steve would really like someone who could also develop design skills and take inspiration from the natural environment.  I’d do it myself if I could leave work and oh yes, do batik!  If anyone is interested you can contact the Tukaepartners site or just leave me a message on Facebook.

On a seperate note you can order books and gifts from Amazon through the Tukae partners site and a small percentage goes to Tukae.

I’ve had a couple of short emails from Steve in Tanzania with news of the goings on at Emau Hill. The composting toilets are now up and running, though I’m not sure that is the appropriate word! This means that the area in front of the dining banda can be marketed as a camp site and they are getting income from travellers camping there.

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I presume this area next to the tented bandas will be the campsite.

The extension to the Women’s workshop is being built. This will be great for the team there as they will be able to source plain fabrics and dye and finish them themselves, making a unique product for them to sell.

The malaria project is going well with over £2,000 raised so far in this country and Steve tells me he will be starting to distribute treated bed nets this week. This will make a dramatic difference to the lives of the people there. Steve has had malaria in the last few months and Hilda and another member of staff are just recovering. Malaria is a devastating illness and kills three quarters of a million children every year. Providing treated bednets will reduce the incidence of malaria in both children and adults.

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