Friday, February 29, 2008

Update of OCF Project

I had promised an update on our project in Nakasongola. So here it is............

We have put together a team of Ugandans and other ex-pats to start the process of creating a master plan for what the orphans and vulnerable children here in Uganda need.

Since we have lived here we have had the opportunity to do a lot of research on the orphan dilemma (I sent out a paper we wrote about that via email a few months ago. If you would like a copy please let me know and I can send it off to you)
What we have found is that there is a huge whole or gap in the children that are 14-18 years old. So many are on their own, living on the streets and on the verge of being sent out of the orphanages they are living in to try and take care of themselves with absolutely no tools to succeed. Most have not completed school and never will. Others maybe have but will not be able to attend higher learning to be able to get a job that pays enough to live. The main University is called the Harvard of East Africa, and they have approximately 7,000 masters and 20,000 bachelors that graduate every year and can't find jobs. Our friend has a man who drives his car for him and he has his masters in finance.
So, with that in mind we have decided to start our orphan project with teenage boys. It will be a 3 year curriculum in reading, writing, math, character development, business and vocational training. Our goal at the end of the 3 year program is to have every boy able to start and run his own business or we will be able guarantee him a job in his vocation that he has been trained in.

So, that is an overview of where we are starting and what it will look like in a broader sense.
With that in mind, we are meeting with the core team 2x's a week to develop the farm plan, school and curriculum for the project. It has been very exciting to see how things are unfolding. We hope to have our first group of boys start with us next year.
While that is happening we are plugging away with the day to day running of the NGO, life and all that entails here in Africa. We are still waiting on out NGO renewal paperwork and work visas (both for the past 7 months) It is a constant battle to get the paperwork completed. David is in town every week at the offices trying to get the things done. TIA! We have to just smile and take a deep breath.
On a different note, we have finally felt like we are "home" now here in Uganda. It takes awhile to get settled in. We still have our struggles an disappointments at times, but all in all everyone is happy and doing well. Below I have put a list of things together that we would very much like you all to keep in your prayers for us. You all are such a blessing and we appreciate you prayers, financial support, letters and emails and the occasional phone call and care packages. My mom gets the award on that last one. Every time a box comes it feels like Christmas!


Monthly living and operating expenses
A vehicle ( our borrowed one ends in April)
Plane Tickets to come home this summer
Work visa fees
Medical bills
Clearing fees for our container
New laptop
Jesse's school tuition
Remainder of land paid off

Things wrapped up:

Work Visas completed
NGO renewal completed
Land title's completed


The master plan for the orphanage
Dealing with people on a day to day basis
Title work on land completed

Thank you all so much for keeping these things in your prayers.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

our vision statement

Wanted to share with all of you our vision statement. You can read it below.

“Motivated by our example of Jesus Christ, we wish to instil the values of integrity, honor and self worth in the vulnerable and orphaned throughout Uganda.
To enable them to gain leadership and life skills and realize their full potential by creating a sustainable modular training program that delivers vocational, academic and practical training of value to both them and Uganda, therefore breaking the culture of dependency.”

Birthing update

After my last posting about the birthing conditions here in Uganda I had several people ask me what could be done to help these women. I am in the process of putting together some birthing kits (plastic, razor blades, gloves and string) to deliver in the remote villages for the women to use. If anyone wants to contribute financially to that project it would be great. I have purchased the materials for the kits and will let you know how many I am able to put together with the materials that I have. I will have updates for you once that is done.

Many of you have expressed the desire for me to do more blogging. I am only able to do it as we have power, internet connection and enough bandwith to post. I will do my best to stay on top of it though. I really enjoy your comments so keep them coming.

An update on our main project on our property in Nakasongola. We have a team put together with people here and have been in planning sessions. We have a great core of people who have linked arms with us to accomplish our goal for orphans in Uganda. I will be posting pictures of the team members so you can put faces with the names. We are excited to start the first planting on the property in the next few weeks with the end goal of our first harvest in 3 months so that we have seed to plant the next stage and the experience under our belt to go forward with the farming. In the meantime the team is meeting 2x's a week to strategise, define goals, write cirriculum etc... It's really exciting to see things progressing so well.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Giving birth in Uganda

I have a friend who just had to deliver a baby unexpectedly here in Uganda. Her story is shocking to us in the west, but really very normal here. I thought all of you would like to see what it is like for women, not priveledged to live in the 1st world, to give birth.

The woman (who is a native and works for my friend) went into labor and had alreay planned on having the baby at the main government hospital in Kampala. They gathered her "bag"( a piece of plastic, razor blade, rubber gloves and blanket for baby) and raced off to the hospital with my friend in her car.
Upon entering the maternity ward they were greeted with 40 women laying on the floor in all different stages on labor. On the ward was 1 male nurse not trained in midwifery. If the women make any noise in labor they are told to be quiet. Some have moms or friends with them, others are alone.
My friend was helping her lady waiting for a doctor or midwife to come and the lady laying on the floor beside her started screaming and she could see the head coming out. So right there the baby was born, premature barely breathing. Most babies in Uganda are born premature and no hospital private or public has the equiptment to save them. They either struggle to survive or they die. This baby was taken away from the mom and returned a few minutes later dead. No comforting, just brought back and handed to her and told it was dead. She then had to get herself up cleaned off and leave to make room on the floor for the next woman. Whatever spilled off of the plastic,(blood, afterbirth, water) left on the floor and the next woman and piece of plastic laid down.
In the meantime my friends lady had started crowning and still no doctor or midwife. The head came out with the cord wrapped around the neck. She had no idea what to do and yelled at the nurse to help. He stayed where he was and told her what to do from a distance. She eventually delivered a healthy baby girl. She was told to take her gloves off and take the razor blade and cut the cuffs off and use the peices of rubber to tie off the cord. She cut the gloves and placed them on the cord and then proceeded to cut the cord with the razor blade. That done and the placenta delivered the mom had to get up, pick up her things and move to the hall where she spent the night, again on the floor till morning when she had to leave.
This is the best public hopsital in Kampala. No beds, very little staff, no food, no blankets, pillows or supplies for the mom or baby. Forget medication too.
The ladies in the village have it a bit different. They lay banana leaves on the ground and deliver the baby outside on them. They don't have gloves and most of the time no razor blade, so they either use sharp stones or bite throught the cord to get it off. No doctor there to sew them up if they tear either. Then after all that they are expected to get up and go back to work.
Sound like fun? No wonder the death rate among infants and new mothers are so high. There are organizations here who donate clean scissors, a piece of plastic and gloves to rural areas and the death rate among infants and new moms are cut in half with just those three things.

Water sources

Water supply near Bugalobi. This is very close to Kampala and looks a lot like the water supply that most people close to the city get their water from.
Pond near Mubende where the village people get their water from. The project on the island that we did at Christmas, their water looked a lot like this from the lake.