Monday, June 15, 2009

sorry about the delay!

Hello parents, friends, and donors. we are SORRY that it has taken so long to post. We have been running around like crazy and didn't have the password to this blog. but we do now and so we will have a regular update at least once a week. We will continue to update you on the group. Here are some projects we have been working on and with starting with our weekly report from last week.

Hand washing stations

We found a new design to build hand washing stations because we couldn’t find all of the materials necessary to build the old model. After discussing the new design with Wilson, from Youth Outreach Mission, we decided to build hand washing stations that are a little more durable and therefore more sustainable. Today we will order one for the market and will install it as well as teach hand washing early next week. After seeing the finished product and its durability we will decide if we want to build them elsewhere.

Women’s Group

We met with the local women’s group on Thursday and discussed the possibility of building a mushroom house which they feel would be the greatest benefit to the group. I will discuss this with Jake, the project lead for mushroom houses, and run it past the group when they get home from Gulu. Also, Tifanee and I have been learning how to do the paper bead jewelry so we can teach the women’s groups this craft. We have made great progress but still have things we need to learn. In order to do this we will be meeting with a friend of Wilson’s in Kampala who makes these beads as her profession. She will help us to perfect the craft and purchase all the necessary supplies that we cannot buy here in Lugazi.

Aids Awareness Extravaganza

The extravaganza is growing at a rapid rate. We now not only are going to be showcasing performances and our work here in the villages but we also will be offering free HIV/AIDs blood testing and giving out free mosquito nets. We have been working a great deal with Wilson and Robert from the Youth Outreach Mission. This week we sent out letters to the Embassy asking for funding and asking for their attendance. We will meet with the Youth Outreach Mission again this coming week to go over the extravaganza to complete the details and begin renting all the equipment and starting all the details.


16 members of our group left last Wednesday to travel to Gulu. They arrived safely and had a great time there besides a few logistical problems, but that’s expected. The group then safari’d and will be back tonight. Kellyn and Jake came back early so this is a brief update of what they did while they were there.

The Gulu trip was very successful and we completed 11 stoves. We built the stoves in 3 areas; Paichu, an HIV group around Gulu University, and a very rural village an hour outside the city center. The first day of building, we broke into three groups and each tried to complete the foundation for three stoves. One group completed all three, but because the other two groups did not have the materials ready for us, one group did one and the other two stoves. All in all it was a very productive work day even with the numerous complications. The following day, we split into five groups so we could accomplish more. Two groups filled the stoves, and the other three groups built 5 more stove foundations and taught the groups how to fill them themselves. We used ant hill clay instead of mud which made the stoves stronger. Also we discovered you can use the clay as a substitute for cement so that everyone has the opportunity and financial means to build his/her own stove. Overall everyone was very receptive and excited about teaching neighbors and friends how to make their own stoves. Personally, I felt like these two work days were the most productive and beneficial of all the work days this first wave.

They also went to meet with the invisible children headquarters and had a long discussion with the president of the organization there.

Kawolo Hospital Eye Camp

The eye camp is being spearheaded by ryan and jake. they are planning a week long camp to perform surgeries on rural people for cataracts and glaucoma. it's going to be big and we are really excited about it. The Eye Camp work has been very productive this week. We are going to separate the Doctor shadowing and the Eye Camp into two different projects. This week we haven’t done anything with Doctor Shadowing. We met with SightSavers in Kampala on Monday and they agreed to help us with the project and donate about 6 million shillings towards the project. We will try and provide for everything else through HELP and private donations. We met with the Superintendent of Kawolo Hospital and he approved our idea and clapped for us, it was cool. On Tuesday we met with Annette and Betty who are the Ophthalmologic Assistants in charge of the project and we created a budget with them and sent an application letter into SightSavers. The following day we met with the District “Healthy” Minister and he told us that he is very willing to help us with this project. We made flyers to pass out to all of the rural health clinics where we will be having the screenings and were going to go to radio stations so they will announce the Eye Camp but we were waiting for the final confirmation from SightSavers which didn’t come until Friday evening. While we were waiting we went to the church in Mukono where the teacher training was and I pulled a worm out of my arm. That was pretty crazy. We did however receive confirmation from SightSavers and so we will be meeting with Betty and Annette on Monday to go to the radio stations so they can announce the Eye Camp. This will get as many people to go to the Eye Camp as possible. Dis is gonna be da best project eva. Peace out Mike.

Music Dance Drama/HIV group

The MDD group started out slow the last couple of weeks and then kicked it into high gear this week when we found out that the performance for the town council members and Embassy members was moved to this past Thursday. We hurriedly camp up with some monologues and poems about Hope and not being afraid. The group performed some songs about getting rid of the stigma that accompanies having Aids. It ended up being a powerful performance and I think the audience really enjoyed it. We will continue working with group through out the summer so they can get ready for other up coming performances.

Business Training

Promising progress has been made in business training this past week. With the arrival of Taylor Mackay, our group numbers have increased dramatically (from 1 to 2, to be precise, which doesn’t include the intermittent members), which makes the workload less overwhelming (and less lonely) to manage, the vision more possible to fulfill. On Thursday, we visited Stanbic Bank to learn the process of opening bank accounts for home and for business, as well as Pride Microfinance Ltd. to better understand its methods of loaning, credit, outreach, and training. With all introductory meetings behind us, we are fully set to commence business classes with five separate groups (two of which actually had their first classes last week). In order to better facilitate discussions with class members, we have contacted Professor Joan Dixon at BYU and requested Pro-literacy materials that specifically address business concepts. From here, we will run classes and continue to research what else can be done to benefit people through business.

Mushroom house

the mushroom house has been constructed for a women's group. they each have been given one small bag to start and are being followed up with business classes so that they can learn how to expand. they are also committing to save 10% of profit for their children's education funds.

Adobe stoves

Andrew Harrison has been heading up adobe stoves and has built over 15 in lugazi. He is doing a great job and people are really excited about their stoves. the stoves help with respiratory disease, cut costs of firewood and are time savers.

Sanyu school

there is a rural school that we have done teacher training, a square foot garden for math teaching and to add more nutrition, and a chicken coop for income generation for students who are unable to pay tuition.

Youth outreach

we have partnered with some college aged ugandan students who are really impressive. we go with them to different schools or help gather street children and orphans for one hour of soccer (andrew lovel donated the jerseys) and then one hour lesson on AIDS awareness and on basic sanitation and health.

public health outreach

we meet once a week with a woman from the mukono branch named margaret who plans outreaches, this week we are going to have a soccer match with a secondary school and then do some trainings. we have done business, health, and teacher trainings in the past. we are also expected to give speeches and the village performs for us. it's great.

there are other things that I'm sure I'm forgetting but we have a great group of volunteers and we are really excited about what we have going on. I'm trying to encourage more partnerships with other ngo's. we have a list of over 300 working ngo's in uganda.

five of our volunteers are leaving and it makes me sad. I'm going to miss lezlie, matt, kellyn, kat, and drew. I'm excited for our new ones that are here though. they are also going to be great!

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