"The camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera." - Dorothea Lange
Friday, April 17, 2009
change the truth update
I’d like to begin by saying thanks to all those generous souls who continue to reach into their pockets to help Ugandan children at St. Mary Kevin Orphanage Motherhood (SMKOM.) Times are tough here; they are even worse there. Food prices have risen significantly since our team was there in December, and the value of the shilling against the US dollar has weakened by 10%. A recent contribution to CTT that really warmed my heart was from a fellow student in the 2006 workshop I attended in Uganda – on the trip to Africa that got this whole thing rolling. The donation was in honor of his daughter, who was adopted from Kazakhstan, and it was enough to feed one child for a whole year. I thought that was very cool.
Some not so very good news from SMKOM is that malaria cases among the children have risen 30% during the past couple of months. CTT has sent much needed funds to cover extra hours for the nurse, as well as medications. All of the children have mosquito nets; it appears they are being bitten when they are outside their dormitories. We are going to investigate the idea of supplying cream or spray repellents.
The other bit of bad news is that even though CTT has provided the funds for the repair of the maize mill equipment, the price of raw maize has reached such highs that SMKOM cannot currently afford to purchase it. This project will have to be put on hold while we wait for prices to come down.
Now for brighter updates.
As of February, we were able to sponsor eight new students for secondary school! This brings our total number of sponsored students to 24, which is wonderful. The students are working hard and feeling optimistic about their futures. The newly sponsored children are: Catherine, Amanda, Marvin, Sheila, Eddie, Rachel, Rafakah and Latifa. As this is the main thrust of the mission of CTT, I am truly proud of this ongoing support we are able to offer the children who so desperately want to achieve a good education.
Remember the garden planted by Randy and the kids when we were at SMKOM in December?
They have harvested vegetables many times now and are really enjoying the addition of new flavors and nutrition to their diet.
The water tank (for rain water collection) has been a huge help. It provides water for the piggery, as well as irrigation for the vegetable garden during times of little or no rain.
Eight orphans are making steady progress in the marching band, being guided by music teacher Ivan. The projected date for income generating activities by the band is July.
The motorcycle donated by CTT continues to bring in about $30 US per week. It is being used as a boda-boda (motorcycle taxi.)
The pigs in the piggery continue to do their thing! There were ten new piglets born in the past month; they live with 35 older ones. The plan is to sell 20 pigs every six months for a steady income. We hope to be able to fund the purchase of chickens next, as a continuation of self-sustaining farm projects at SMKOM.
Social worker Melissa, member of both Team 1 and Team 2, is returning to the orphanage next month! She is planning to stay at SMKOM for two weeks and will continue her work with the children. She is so excited to be going for her third time! The children absolutely adore her and can’t wait to get their arms around her once again.
The 2nd annual CTT Friendraiser/Fundraiser is 6 – 9 PM on June 11th at the Screenland Theatre. Invitations will be mailed next month. If you are not on the mailing list and wish to be, please let me know. Lynne is working on a new documentary to be shown that evening. Dolls, drawings, clay sculptures, jewelry, tie-dyed fabric and dinner plates made by the children will be for sale. There will be food and drink and general merriment! Also, my “hot off the press” new book that includes my photographs and the children’s artwork will be available for purchase. Here is the link to the Save The Date film made by Lynne. Please forward it to a friend!
I’ll close with a few lines from a recent email from Rosemary, director of SMKOM.
“The Credit Crunch, started in the US, is biting very hard in Kampala
This is a classic case of innocent bystanders
Some people we know have lost their jobs or businesses
And prices for goods & services have increased again compared to Dec-2008
We are determined to struggle on with the Orphanage
As an elephant cannot complain about the size & weight of its tasks
And there is no fulfillment without sweat
And our true & deserved happiness comes from
The Love, care and Sharing – that we give the Orphans.”
The fantastic pictures in this post appear courtesy of Judy, a CTT supporter I had the pleasure of meeting at our fundraiser in New York and who visited the orphanage in March. Thanks, Judy!