Delivering Aid by Trucks to Mali
This ambitious 2008 project to provide aid direct to Mali was an initiative supported by the Rotary Clubs of Appleby and Upper Eden and other Rotary Clubs in District 1190.
Drive trucks filled with medical equipment and other items to Bamako and Timbuktu in Mali. After delivering the equipment donate the vehicles to Bamako Amitie Rotary Club to sell to raise funds to finance additional aid projects.
On receiving the medical equipment and other supplies the village elder in Dinafra said “If the whole village worked for 500 years they would not be able to pay for the goods”.
Before taking office as president of the Rotary Club of Bamako Amitié in Mali, Sunny Akuopha visited Cumbria to seek aid for Mali, where statistics show that 108 children die from every 1000 births and 580 women die out of 100,000 women during or just after labour. He appealed for incubators and other equipments and also bricks to build a new Mother and Child Hospital for Bamako. The UK Mali Aid initiative promised help.
John Taylor (Appleby Rotary Club), Alan McViety (Appleby Rotary Club), Arthur Littlefair(Rotary Club of Upper Eden), Roger Frank (Rotary Club of Upper Eden), Carl Hallam, Gerald Braithwaite.
After 4 weeks and 6000 miles of adventure more than 50 wheelchairs were donated to the Mali Handicapped Society. Hydraulic hospital beds and medical supplies were donated to the Djenekabougou Clinic. 3 start of life machines, including an incubator (arranged by the Workington RC) were donated to Central Bamako Hospital.
Footballs and pencils (courtesy of Bassenthwaite Rotary Club) were donated to the oldest school in Timbuktu. Pens, pencils and footballs (courtesy of Workington Derwent Rotary Club) were donated to Zambougou School. Beds and medical equipment were given to the Kalaban Health Centre.
Beds and medical goods were delivered to the remote Dinfara Village where the Eden Clinic is being constructed with some of the funds from the project.
Finally £10,600 was raised from the sale of the vehicles. This money is being used to build the Eden Clinic in Dinfara and a new Bamako Mother and Child Hospital.
More than 7 tons of medical goods were sourced via Rotarian contacts and from St Luke’s Hospital in Huddersfield which was being closed and its equipment skipped.
One disused truck was sourced from Eddie Stobart Logistics and a second truck was purchased by the group. The mini bus came from the University of Cumbria.
The convoy of scrounged vehicles, with Rotarian drivers, departed on the Nov 8th 2008. Entry into Morocco at Tangier Port was a paperwork nightmare. 3 days of queuing, negotiations and delays were only resolved by the intervention of the Tangiers Rotary Club.
When a lorry blew a tyre in the desert the team had to change the tyre themselves. After leaving Morocco the convoy traversed the recommended No Mans Land track. Night time crossings were ill advised as the road sides are mined. The 2 hour Mauritania border crossing was a breeze compared to Tangiers.
Due to a recent coup in Mauritania the Foreign Office had placed the country on a 'No go' black list, hence remote desert camping was felt a safer option.
After 3 nights of bivouacking, the UK Mali Aid Team arrived in Mali on the 24th of November.
After their departure, on the 4th December, the president of the Bamako Amitié Rotary Club formally donated the materials to the Central Hospital.
The Eden Medical Centre
The Eden Medical Centre is presently being built in honour and gratitude to Rotarians and people of District 1190 in recognition of their support. It will have eight hospital wards.