Saturday, November 27, 2010

We got back to Kampala a couple days ago. We are here to gather some more equipment, have a break and pickup the next wave of volunteers. Simon arrived on Friday night and we have been enjoying some long walks the last couple days to show him and Cam some of the city. Colleen arrives in just under a week. Nat and I have a few more posts we have been working on – some written out, some still in our minds. We will try to get them onto the website over the next week. Here are a couple now.

The site

Kathy is our team’s resident Mother Teresa. She is an obstetrics nurse and has been engaging the local clinics and hospitals to see how she can best be of assistance. But locals have also taken note of her presence and there is now a constant stream of somehow afflicted people arriving at the site. Most are cases that have persisted after past treatments have failed. There is the young man down the road who can barely leave his room because he has had some sort of general weakness that took over his body five years ago – he is a bright guy and was a math teacher who may now do some tutoring at the school some evenings. There is the middle age guy who is crippled by arthritis, the young girl with the bowed leg, and the little guy with the enlarged head. There is the little one year old that likely has cancer in his sinuses and has trouble feeding and sleeping – he, his mother and a translator have come with us to Kampala to go to the cancer clinic at Mulago Hospital (Dr Sparling thinks it is likely Burkett’s Lymphoma which is common here and often treatable). Kathy has also treated injuries during the school collapse, cuts on the job site, and others. The community and our team are all grateful for her presence.

Kids getting water

The students wrote their last exam on Tuesday and are now on break until February. Most of the students don’t want to go home. Many live with extended or segregate family and are not well cared for. Some have had to resort to prostitution and other desperate measures to pay for food while they are away from school. The students and teachers asked us to pay for food for the kids for the next two months so they could live at the school until the next semester starts – it was a tough but clear choice. It costs 6.8 million shillings (about $3,000) a month to feed the students, money that is mostly raised by Cobra music and drama performances. We could pay for their food for the next two months or we could build most of the second building or buy a plot of land that they could farm to grow food into the future. We decided that we had to work towards long-term solutions.
As a treat for the students on their last day we offered them a movie night. As darkness came, the students collected at the site. We setup my laptop with Kathy’s external speakers and hundreds of students crowded around. They squealed and laughed under the stars while they watched Slumdog Millionaire. It was heartwarming.

Students lineup to get supper from the school kitchen. They get one of two meals - posho (maize flour in water) and beans or tapioca (cassava flour and water).

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