Archives for category: Cornwall

longgallerylanhydrock162918 I’m not always up a mountain in the north of Togo. Yesterday I played Poulenc’s C major Novelette on the Steinway in the long gallery at Lanhydrock. It’s always good to be back in Cornwall.


Jos used to be the centre of the Nigerian tin mining industry, and the Anglican church here is called St Piran’s.

Surprise in a Cornish graveyard

Surprise in a Cornish graveyard

Loading the car

Loading the car with new roof beams to take up the mountain. Note the Cornish flag, mark of my new minority status.


Here’s an update on the donations received for the borehole in the village where I live in Togo. Many thanks to all who have given so generously! Total needed = £11,500.

This doesn’t include the donations from Adrian Hayward’s sponsored cycle ride from Windsor Castle to Exeter Castle. Those should be coming in soon. Well done Adrian!!

Here’s the latest news on the income for the borehole. We’re getting there, thanks to all our generous donors!

Here’s the latest on the donations received for the borehole. Thanks to all our donors! Total needed = £11,500

Adapted from an article by Graham Jones

From July 10-20th, a total of thirteen hikers took part in a 100-mile sponsored walk on the South West Coast Path to help raise £11,500 to sink a borehole in a village in Togo, West Africa. Nothing unusual in that, except that it’s my home village and the people who will benefit are my Togolese neighbours.

I moved to Togo in 1995 to study Kabiye, one of the country’s 40 or so local languages.  Home is a concrete and mud-brick compound without running water in a mountain village near the northern town of Kara.

Daily life in the village is dominated by the availability of water. In the dry north of Togo there’s no rain for at least six months in the year.  Water has to be fetched from the nearest working well.  In the rainy season that’s a few hundred metres away.  But when the local well dries up, it’s a walk of up to two kilometres to find one that’s deeper.

As in most water-scarce countries in Africa, the task of fetching water falls to the women. My ‘running water’, as I affectionately call her, is 40-year-old Pauline whom I employ to refill the water barrel on my compound three or four times a week.  On each occasion, Pauline makes seven trips back from the well with a 40-litre basin on her head and often a baby on her back.  By the end of the dry season, she needs to leave home by 3am to be sure of finding supplies. This may sound an unjust arrangement. But it’s no different to what anyone in Kabiye society with a busy lifestyle and a small amount of spare cash would do.  And it gives Pauline a regular income.

Most of the village wells are uncovered.  That makes them home to frogs, not to mention the silt and animal dung that wash in from the surface.  The water is grey-brown and potentially dangerous if it isn’t filtered, which none of the villagers has the means to do.  An uncovered well is also a breeding ground for mosquitoes, worms and amoebas, contributing to the high mortality rate among village children, especially those under five.

Hence this mission to raise funds for a covered borehole to provide clean water for 30 families in the village.  The venture has the blessing of the village elders from whom I’ve negotiated a £100 contribution to demonstrate their ownership of the project and their commitment to maintaining the finished borehole.

If the Walk for Water achieves its aims, more children in the village will live beyond the age of five and women like Pauline will no longer spend several hours a day collecting water.  Other benefits will follow, especially for the female population.  With some of the traditional chores alleviated, fewer girls will be pulled out of school early to help at home and more will be educated for longer.  And more women – often the backbone of local commerce – will have the time to run businesses and earn an income.

View some photos of the walk .

View the publicity flyer with information about how to donate.

View the borehole contractor’s estimate

View the endorsement letter from the village elders.