Thursday, November 29, 2007

Island Pictures

Island Budget

I wanted to update you all on the Island Project and the budget for the project. To date we have someone who will match funds up to $1500.00 and we have been pledged $1250.00. The project budget is $4700.00 and that will supply the water purification system, blankets for all for the children, a first aid kit and medical clinic for the day, starter livestock to help them get into another income source and food for all for the families. We are hoping to supply mosquito nets for the families to help reduce malaria. The pit latrine issue and roofing will be saved for another time. We will do the project in the middle of December and give everyone an update with pictures once completed.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Island Project

Here is the latest update on the Christmas Island Project.......

David had the Local Chairman and the local leader of the island take an official census of the people of Namalusu Island and gave us a list of every ones names, adults and children so we knew exactly how many people we were dealing with. They supplied us with a list and there are officially 86 adults and 56 children. A bit off from what they had originally told us.
They also wrote a letter telling us what the specific needs are. Clean water was on the top of the list as they are losing many people to dysentery, malaria and poor sanitary conditions. The island is rocky so they can't dig pit latrines deep enough to keep the human waste confined. Below is the list he gave us so you will know what these people are going through.

1. Clean water

2.Health Care
I mentioned before that they don't have any doctors or health care people on the island. No clinics and that means no medical care at all. ( not even basic first aid kits or supplies) They don't have any boats that have motors so when someone gets sick they have to row them to the mainland. Sometimes that isn't quick enough. If someone falls sick at night they have to wait it out till morning when they can see to row them in and sometimes they don't make it through the night.

3. Fishing nets
They have to piece together whatever they can find to fish with and they don't have proper nets. Standard fishing net costs $12.00, $18.00 and $30.00 each. This would be a temporary fix as the fish in Lake Victoria are being depleted. They will have to find a new source of income in the next few years. We have talked to them about putting together a pig cooperative to give them a different source of income.

You saw from my pictures that I posted that the roofs of their houses are made from trash that they have found and put on the top to keep the water out. The issue with that is when the storms come across the lake it blows the trash off and then they are exposed to the elements. They told us most of the children don't have blankets or anything to keep them off of the ground while they sleep. So, when it rains they are left to lay in the mud.

We have had people already donate to this project and have had someone who will graciously match funds up to $1500.00. Please when you donate on the website designate it for the "Christmas Island Project" and if you are sending checks please designate those as well. Again if you are sending checks address them to Orphan Children Fund 5753 Republic of Texas Austin, Texas 78735
We will do as much for these people as we have the funds come in. The first priority will be the water purification project and the gifts for the children and then we will tackle the rest of the issues as funds are donated.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Christmas Island Project Photos

These are the people who live on the island and their houses. Notice the trash for roofs.

More pictures of the people. Notice the green water.

A view of the island from the boat as we are arriving.

A floating island in the middle of the lake on our way to see the people.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

In honor of CHOGM/Thanksgiving

This week is a historic time for Uganda. Uganda will host the "Common Wealth Heads Of Government Meeting" or otherwise none as CHOGM. The country has been bustling with activity for the past year getting ready for this historic event. 54 Heads of State will be arriving or already have arrived here in Kampala for the meeting and the events surrounding the occasion. The Queen herself along with her husband the Duke of Edinburgh, her son Prince Charles of Whales and his wife Camilla will be attending.
Roads have been paved, building painted, flowers planted, hotels built and signs all over the country saying,"Are you ready for CHOGM"? The Queen arrives on Wednesday and the festivities officially start on Friday and the road we live on which is one of the main corridors for the delegates to drive on is still being painted, rails put up, lights and landscaping installed and dirt swept off of the road. Someone is not ready for CHOGM. Security is out of site with trucks of military personnel, police and other special security forces being dropped off by the 100's. They are supposed to make people feel safer with their AK 47's pointed at us, but it does the opposite for me.
So for the momentous occasion our kids and some of their friends went to the Awino Market(I will have a whole section in my blog later on that)to find special attire to see the Queen in and to go to some of the events in. They asked some of the native people what they thought about CHOGM and here is some of the responses.......

"This Mr. Chogm is causing many problems"
" I have seen this Mr. Chogm with my own eyes and he is a very skinny man"
"Mr. Chogm is bringing a lot of trouble to Uganda"
"Are you Chogm?"
"I don't like this CHOGM"
"The Queen is coming to see Mr. Chogm"
"Are you the Queen?"

So, obviously all of the press about CHOGM and the government trying to make sure everyone was READY for it failed to get the point across WHAT CHOGM is.

Happy Thanksgiving to all of our American readers. We hope you all have a wonderful day and that you are truly thankful for all of your many blessings.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Local Artist Batiks for Christmas

These are some batiks that a local artist made. They are on cloth and can be made into wall hangings or framed for pictures. He makes them out of cloth that are tie dyed and then he does the picture with different colored inks. If anyone is interested in these for presents or for themselves I can send them to you. They are approximately 14x21 and sell for $50.00 each. I will have to let you know on the shipping costs.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Boda Boda's

A local artists batiks

We are now on the 4th type of transport here in Uganda. Boda Boda's aka motorcycles. They come in 50 cc- 125 cc's. In the last few months they have been replacing the 50cc's with larger bikes and now we are seeing more of the 100cc's. If you know anything about motorcycles/scooters than you know 50cc's don't go very fast.

These bikes again like the other modes of hired transport are owned by someone and the driver drives it for the owner. They drive around with little to no gas in them so at anytime you might run out of fuel and instead of getting out and pushing the bike like you have to do with the taxi's, you get off and walk.

Now these drivers, like the Matatu drivers, most likely do not have licenses and have had no formal training on how to drive a motorcycle. In a country where might makes right, the Boda is the lowest on the pecking order on the roads. Cars and especially Matatu's completely ignore the Boda's and sometimes I think they play games to see how many they can run off of the road in a day. No Joke!

When you get on a Boda, the price is not really set and so you have to negotiate with the driver as to how much you are willing to pay for the ride. Then they tell you how much they want and you go back and forth until you reach an agreed price and then off you go. You want to pick the newest looking bike with the highest amount of cc's. Then, when you get on you tell the driver that you will pay him extra if he gets you to where you are going alive and unhurt. This may or may not happen. Once you get to your destination they always tell you that it was farther than they thought and you,"add" to them. That means that they want more money. They only do this to the Muzungus as they think we don't know how much things cost and we all have a million dollars in the bank. Wouldn't that be nice?

The drivers think they are exempt from all traffic laws, driving on the wrong side of the road, on the sidewalks and medians. They run red lights ( where there are some) turn from the wrong lanes, swerve in and out of traffic do u-turns when ever and where ever.... They use the bike to transport people, livestock ( I have seen goats, pigs and chickens tied on the back) building materials and feed for animals. It really is amazing what they can fit on the bikes, balance and then transport. It is not fun however getting behind them on the road when they are carrying a large load on a 50cc bike. They put along at about 5 mph. Forget that if they are on any kind of an incline they are barley moving. They then have to get someone to run behind and push it up the hill.

They are great if the traffic is bad which now days is every day and when you are downtown and need to get somewhere where it is to far to walk, but to congested to drive a car or Matatu. When you NEVER want to get on one is at night. The drivers are notorious for being drunk or high when it gets dark. My middle daughter Kaci always has the rule that she finds the smallest man with the biggest bike so that if he wants to get funny with her she is bigger than he is and can intimidate them. My son Jesse carries a big knife in his pocket and my other daughter Makinzi carries a tazer.

David rides them into town quite a bit as they are cheaper than taking the car if he is alone. He never has any issues with them. Last year he was riding on one and passed a truck that had run over a Boda and had killed the passenger by running over his head. Smashed it completely flat. Not a pretty sight.

On a lighter note....... Some funny stories.

I was on one a few months ago and was riding downtown. It was a busy day and I told the guy when I got on to drive very careful with me. He was swerving in and out of traffic and then got in a traffic jam. He proceeded to try and squeeze through some of the cars at a stop and I told him it was too small of a space. He proceeded to yell back at me,"you fit, you fit". As I was yelling back at him, "no I won't" he smacked me into a Matatu. A few minutes later and a bruised knee, I was at my destination with the driver feeling very proud that he had gotten me to our destination. I guess a few bruises is considered "careful".

My sister was riding one and they had not put enough gas into it so when they got to a large hill the bike was having problems making it up. He proceeded to tell her to, "get off" she was "too fat" and made her walk up the hill. Once at the top she got back on and arrived at her destination. He had the nerve to ask her for full fair even though she had walked part of the way!

Upside: They get you where you are going fast and they are relatively inexpensive and they can give you a real rush!

You can also rent them from the drivers and ride them around yourself. My son Jesse does this every weekend with his friends while waiting for his motorcycle to arrive on our container.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Items sent to missionaries

I have to take a side line from my transportation blogging to tell you a story about a friend of mine here in Uganda from Switzerland.
I was at ladies bible study this morning and she was telling me about a care package that her church sent her. I was shocked, saddened and appalled. They sent her a box filled with USED tea bags that they had dried out after using and then boxed and sent to her. UNBELIEVABLE!!!

So this had inspired me to write the top five things never to send a missionary or friend living in a 3rd world country.

5. Electronics with no batteries
4. Used clothing with holes/stains
3. Worn out shoes with no laces
2. Sprint cell phone (totally useless without a sim card)

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Special Hires

The 3rd type of transport here are the "special hires" or "specials." They are the equivalent to the USA taxi. They are usually small cars, sometimes mini vans. You can pick one up on the side of the road or you can get a name of someone who has one and call them to come pick you up and take you where you want to go. They are people who have their own car and use them to make money or the owner hires someone to drive the car for them.
These drivers for the most part are ok. You would have them take you somewhere specific when you didn't want to ride the Matatus or at night to be safe.
The upside to these are they can take you places that the Matatus can't, you are in the car by yourself, you can usually stay clean and you are on your own schedule when you get one. The downside: They AREN'T cheap.
Sorry, no funny stories to tell you about these guys!