A New Bone Saw

Heidi does her fair share of amputations at BMC in Nalerigu, Ghana. Sometimes they are due to traumas but sadly, many of the amputations are due to poor wound management. A snake bite treated unsuccessfully with traditional medicines. A wound not cleaned properly that festers and becomes gangrene.

A few months ago, she had a series of amputations to do in a short period of time and became aware that the theatre only had one manual bone saw and it couldn’t be sterilized fast enough to do the all the amputations necessary. She ended up doing all the cases but had to spread them out across several days so that the tool would be available.

A medical volunteer who was coming out heard about that issue and generously provided a high-powered, battery-operated bone saw kit for Heidi’s work. We’re so grateful that God brings people along at just the right time who bless us with their generosity.

The Soak Away

01-william-digs-hhaun-1934Last week our soak away, the drainage pipe and stones underground, from our main bathroom was blocked and overflowing. I hoped it was just some gunk clogging it at the start of pipe but it turned out the entire 40 feet of 3″ pipe was crammed full of tree roots.

The bad news was that we had to dig up the entire pipe as well as the soak away pit which is full of stones. The really bad news was that the pit was a whooping 8’x12′ and 4′ at its deepest! The really, really bad news was that when it was created 30+ years ago, the stones were covered with toxic asbestos roofing!!

The good news was that we were just dealing with drainage from the bath tub and sink (not toilet sewage) and I had some friends help me out.

Five days later we had it replaced, covered, and draining well. Let’s pray that this round lasts another 30+ years.

Ghana’s Worm Snake (Leptotyphlopidae)

20161120-whaun-ghana-worm-snake-leptotyphlopidae-whaun-2149I found this little fella while digging up old drainage pipes in my yard. In Mampruli, the Worm Snake is called a kpariwaafu or “Farmer’s Snake.” Some call it kpaŋwaafu or “Guinea Fowl Snake” because the birds like to dig them up and eat them.

Here’s are some details about this tiny snake from the fantastic book West African Snakes by G.S. Cansdale.


Members of one of these small families, known to naturalists as Worm Snakes, are seldom recognized as snakes. They are very small, measuring only 5-7 in. when fully grown, and with a body about as thick as a pencil lead. The mouth is minute, with some very small solid teeth, in the lower jaw only, and these Worm Snakes feed entirely on tiny insects, especially ants and their eggs. Some 8 different species are found in various parts of West Africa, mostly in the dry country outside the high forest, but they have been collected so seldom that their habits and distribution are still little known.

The colour of these tiny Worm Snakes varies from pale brown to blackish. The scales are always rather smooth, shiny and dry, distinguishing them at a glance from worms; examined under a lens, they are seen to have no more than 14 rows of scales around the body. The eyes are scarcely or not at all visible, and the body is of more or less the same thickness throughout its length. Worm Snakes seldom come above ground on their own and are usually found by pure chance. The only specimens I received were found by small children while hoeing their farm plots.

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KJ and Trey Today

Here’s a look at how Trey & KJ are growing. Trey is now 10 and KJ will soon be 1½

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Baŋŋa di samni ka wuuwa ŋmaai daa soori.

The agama lizard owes money so the monitor lizard stops going to market.

Mamprusi Proverb

Missing the Shot

I always try to bring my camera with me whenever I go on a trip. You never know what you’ll run across along the road.

This week I went to Tamale to pickup Tommy Harrison and since it was a quick in & out trip I decided just to bring my camera with a small wide lens instead of a telephoto lens (zoom).

And of course, this was trip when a huge savannah monitor lizard decided to meander across the road in front of me. I got a photo, but only with a wide angle so I have to crop in for a decent look at the lizard.