Experience report: The Podokonioseprojekt

Anna Sommerfeld from Berlin reported: Fighting the Podokonniose in our twinned, Khanka is operated with great success by a self-help group.

We had the good fortune in October 2015 with a tour group of teachers and students, Congregations and dedicated partners, to visit the beautiful country Ethiopia. Our concern was also, Aid projects closer to meet and to visit partner.

In Khanka, CA. 500 West of Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa, We met on village people, that support the Podoprojekt with great enthusiasm. Here is, guided by Podo e.V., really aid for self-help. Obbo (Mr) Etana Terfa headed this group; now work all already independently. Christel Ahrens from the Podo e.V. here has done exemplary.

Siegfried Menthel from Berlin with the SOAP making in his twinned, Khanka

Siegfried Menthel from Berlin with the SOAP making in his twinned, Khanka

It has become a little there, active group formed. This terrible disease of the foot can be treated with simple means. Are necessary for “large 5 S”‘: SOAP, Socks, Shoes, Salt and ointment.

With great joy we could experience, how medical SOAP was manufactured. Some of us stirred the SOAP; a costly one to two hours of continuous process. You can buy the ingredients: Oil (available in large quantities only on cover slip) and caustic soda (NaOH), which are then slowly mixed. Then still a Sud is added by leaves with medical effect. The caustic mass is poured into boxes, long time to dry and later cut into pieces to be. This SOAP is sold to people with Podo. It is important, the need to pay something, because what they raise money, What is them rar, do you have an other value estimate. The SOAP production in Khanka offers employment and a part-time women. Another advantage is, that spare transport routes.

It belongs to the treatment of disease, the swollen, entzündeteten feet with SOAP, Water and ointment to treat. Shoes and socks should be worn, to protect the skin from the silicates under ground. The community in Khanka thinking, a shoe production to initiate; a good idea and it would be a great benefit for the development in the municipality.

Members of the self-help group put on new stockings.

Members of the self-help group put on new stockings.

On Saturday, the 24. October 2015, a small group of our Berlin tour group in a remote part of Khanka went; ca, we had. one hour walk there. We had the opportunity, a support group to meet, their experiences and successes with each other shared. The persons concerned, CA. 20 Men and women at the age off 20 Years, told, how painful is this disease. It begins with tingling and numbness in the feet and legs. "The meat is burning" and they feel "Itching and pain in the thighs." This condition persists in most cases years. Therefore, it is important, to learn, What are the reasons for this disease, and that they are to treat is. Here is no witchcraft, but medicine, Persistence and discipline are needed here.

A big problem is the stigma. I was there, When the villagers reported their experiences, also by exclusion, because the feet in ongoing disease begin to stink. They told of own experience and the great successes with appropriate treatment. Christel Ahrens educates young invested and Ethiopians, they teach in schools and transfer knowledge, because knowledge breaks down prejudices.

On Monday, the 26. October 2015, guided Obbo Etana, the Podo Coordinator in Khanka, a small group of us to a school with the aim of, Wagari Bah, a 25-year Podo-staff, to attend classes in a school class. Even if the students still have not the age for the disease at Podokoniose, can report in families and their living environment about the disease and by the Heilerfolgen they.

We could experience, how this disease affects the community work. A few years ago, those concerned with the smelly feet were excluded; Today they are integrated, because of the bad smell is gone. Some people affected by Podo have now become multipliers of Anna's work.

There are soaps- and ointment production, Future plans for shoe factories and Logistika. Communities and social stations are major communication centers. Here we see a very positive development of the self-help guide "from the outside". Nevertheless is the help of the partner community and Podo e.V. be still important.

Anna Samuel

More from Anna Sommerfeld and the Khanka district you will find here: