Last night was the Kansas City reunion of recent travelers to Uganda. It was great fun to get together over a few pizzas (staples for us when we are there!) and reminisce about the trips. Pictured are Gloria, Tom, Fred, Jane, Melissa, Randy and Lynne.
Here is the latest report from the orphanage regarding projects set up by Change the Truth and nudged along by us when we were there:
CTT is now sponsoring twenty-five secondary school age children. Each one is working hard, striving to become well educated and informed and ultimately qualified for University or a job. We continue to sponsor one student, Douglas, as he enthusiastically makes his way through nursing school.
The motorcycle we purchased is being used as a taxi. It brings in an average income of $25 per week. The funds are used for school purchases (notebooks and pens) for the orphans, as well as inexpensive hygiene supplies.
Remember the marching band Sarah and Max help set up? An instructor has been recruited, and according to Rosemary, “The orphans are steadily learning how to handle the instruments.” I can just imagine a rousing rendition of “When the Saints Go Marching In” rising up over the grounds of St. Mary Kevin!
Harvesting of greens has begun in the garden Randy and his crew planted. Cuttings are being used to establish a new garden in another area. As per Randy’s suggestion, flowers and new grass are being purchased and planted and will be in place by April. This will really brighten up the grounds and will hopefully make the children feel happier – and even proud of their home.
On that note, the children are gradually embracing Captain Freddie’s idea of keeping the place clean. According to Rosemary, “rubbish is regularly placed in bins and disposed of regularly and safely.”
All those games, puzzles and balls we took with us? They continue to be used and enjoyed by the children. They are set up on shelves in a "game room." When a teacher is on duty there, the kids can have access to some of their favorites that Melissa taught them, like Uno, Sorry, Scrabble, Go Fish and Chutes and Ladders.
We have helped SMK purchase pigs. The latest on that from Rosemary is: “Two pigs delivered ten piglets, five each. SMK now has forty (40) adult pigs, plus piglets. We plan to sell off about ten pigs around June 2009 to raise funds, and also to keep the total number below 50.” (This is a great source on ongoing income for the orphanage.)
Change the Truth pays for the employment of a part time nurse, Jane, who reports to work twice a week. Tom worked closely with her when we were there in December and was able to get the ball rolling with regular checkups. Again, from Rosemary: “Jane has continued to focus on checkups of the orphans plus first aid treatment of common diseases like coughs, fever, skin ailments, etc She refers difficult cases to nearby clinics & if necessary to hospitals. She has also started research to try and establish a link between diet and complaints about stomch upsets. She plans to take some orphans for late immunisation. She is also investigating the accessibility to ARVs by HIV+ orphans.”
Other than education, the main thrust of CTT’s mission has been to provide much needed assistance for food. Here is Rosemary’s latest assessment of that situation: “We are very grateful to CTT. The orphans are now fed better, with the correct quantities and promptly at the correct time. We have introduced soya sauce in addition to soya porridge, extra proteins in the form of meat & milk over the weekends, plus bread on Sundays.”
Thanks to all of you who continue to help us by becoming friends to these children. We really are making a big difference in the lives of the orphans who call St. Mary Kevin home. In such a short time, we have accomplsihed so much.
Rosemary always says it best:
“Friends make the Challenges of life a lot easier to handle.
And Love is the magic that brightens up the lives of the orphans.
It gives them hope for the future
And soothes their minds – to forgive & forget the past.
Thanks for everything.”
On a very sad note, the largest market in Kampala, Owino Market, burned to the ground on Ash Wednesday this past week. 20,000 vendors (70% of whom are women) lost everything. From what I can gather reading various news reports, it appears that it was probably arson. This market provided everything from CDs, radios, shirts, shoes, chickens and other animals to items for the home and all kinds of produce, fish and grains. This loss deals a huge blow to the people of Kampala and outlying areas. Our hearts go out to everyone affected.