A palm tree sparkles under the Ugandan sky.
Colin is getting better and I am so happy because everyone keeps asking me, “How is he?”, “When is Colin playing music again?”, “Why aren’t you with him, taking care of him?”, “Where is your companion?”, “Where is Colin?”, “Where is the other muzungu?”.
Everyone will be happy to see his face tomorrow!
We’ve been preparing for the poultry project workshop on Saturday, visiting participants, and evaluating the past months of the project (and consoling people saddened by Colin’s absence and ill health).
What we’ve learned from home visits and conversations with participants is that our major mistake was distributing birds to the participants. We believe many of the birds we purchased were either not vaccinated or sick or both. Many birds died before the families even got them home. This year, we’ll do it better.
According to TASO staff and several of the participants, purchasing hens locally protects against the sale of sick birds. In fact, there are legal repercussions if an individual is caught selling sick birds, as such sales pose enormous threats to local food supplies.
Last Friday we began mobilizing the participants to come to the poultry project training workshop on Saturday, May 26. We finished today! The TASO staff planned beautifully. There’s been a vehicle and counselors ready to go everyday. Sarah Kanakwa, the Projects Officer, is busy making arrangements for Saturday (food, facilitator, etc.). Everyone is on board and working together. Last year, I didn’t trust that things would get done without my incessant pestering and hovering and now-now-now mentality. This week, I’ve just been along for the ride and everything is working out very nicely. Colin is playing guitar right now, singing St. Jame’s Infirmary – my favorite.
Anyway, we got the poultry project invitations out and I was able to visit several of the participants’ homes.
I will list the participants and a brief update (some participants were alerted by local messengers, so detailed updates are not yet available). Here are the participants I saw on Monday…
Rashid smiles proudly for the camera after showing me his school report.
1. Rashid is back in school, and his eldest brother, Izma, has returned to school also. TASO supports Izma’s secondary school education by paying school fees. Rashid and Izma’s mother registered at TASO in 1995 and she is still alive, but aloof. She abandoned her children years ago and is nowhere to be found. Grandmother has graciously taken care of the children with help from her son, who lives next to her. The poultry project has been successful and profitable. The hens have layed eggs for eating and hatched chicks have been sold. Proceeds from chick sales helped them buy a goat. The bicycle is used for personal transport needs, such as fetching water, market days, TASO clinic visits, school, etc.
Michael leads us along a path through maize fields towards his home.
2. Michael Wanaba
Michael’s health has improved immensely…he looks like a different child. TASO is supporting his return to school. They remain with 2 hens and 1 cock and one hen recently hatched 11 chicks. The other hen lays eggs for Michael to eat. Two weeks ago five of the chicks were stolen from the chicken coop. The grandmother explained her plans of moving closer to Mbale town. The bicycle is used as a boda boda and also to take Michael to TASO.
Michael laughs at my weird muzunguness with his cousin.
Jacqueline recently recovered from serious ARV side-effects. She reacted negatively to Nevirapine, but her regimen was changed at her last clinic visit to prevent further harm. She is doing well and her skin rash is also healing. She is active in school and getting good marks. When we arrived at her house we found her dying her hair black. School resumed for Ugandan students on Monday after a long holiday…Jacqueline decided to take an extra day off.
Nabude Charity, a TASO counselor, and Adobi, a Nigerian TEACH participant, tease Jacqueline about skipping school.
The TASO counselors scolded her, but laughed about it soon after. It was cool to see Jacqueline acting like a typical teenager – concerned with her appearance, being rebellious, and ditching school to play beauty shop. We told her not to do it again, though. Poultry project news: Three of Jacqueline’s hens died on arrival and she was left with one cock and one hen, which are still living. They were productive enough to enable Jacqueline to purchase a goat which just gave birth to a kid. The bicycle is another source of income as a boda boda.
Jacqueline’s goat kisses its kid. Kids are so cute!
I will add the rest of the poultry project participant updates later.
THANK YOU so much for taking time to read this blog and learn about some of the challenges that children face in Mbale, Uganda. Your awareness is a step towards change.
May 23rd, 2007