the poultry project

Under the weather….

May 22nd, 2007

Kelly has generously allowed me to write a solo blog entry (she’s actually sleeping, so this may be edited tomorrow). Here goes:
When we returned from our sightseeing in the city of Entebbe, I was not feeling well. In my mind, I was suffering from ebola, malaria and a poisonous bug-bite — all at the same time. Nearly the entire medical staff of CURE Children’s Hospital has assured me that what ails me is a simple case of sun poisoning, and expect a full recovery within days.
Nambozo, as Kelly has been affectionately named, has been working steadily with TASO; I, on the other hand have been steadliy active with a toilet and a book.
However, we also began working with John Busolo, a guard at the hospital who co-founded a non-profit organization – Poverty Reduction Initiative for Development (PRID) – to benefit children, many of them orphans. At first, we decided we would build John a self-sustaining fish farm; until after further research, we realized this is something we could not possibly accomplish in our four-week visit (although this is still among plans for PRID).
The Boardmembers of PRID currently possess a small plot of land in Kimaluli, where John is from, to grow and sell coffee to benefit children. The group is searching for a larger piece of land to hold a demonstration farm, that will actively involve the children and give them desperately-needed support and guidance.
I was so excited to help PRID, that at first, I grabbed a shovel in the village and asked where to dig. We didn’t need to dig, we need to think. The fish farm is a long term goal that we hope will be sparked by the success of the coffee project.
Coffee is something that cannot be planted in exchange for immediate monetary results. Coffee trees will not bear the beans we love to drink for up to three years. Progress is made from the sale of the coffee tree seedlings.
On June 2, we will again meet with the elders of the village and PRID Boardmembers to discuss what is the next move – and how we can best help those in need.
John knows what it is like to be an orphan. When he was a child his parents abandoned him, though he said there were a few people to look out for him. Many of the children in John’s village are not so lucky.
“When I looked at my life, I realized that orphans have the hardest lives,” he said. “There must be somebody to look after these children, and love them.”
The experience in the villages with TASO is something I will not forget. Seeing so many children suffering from HIV/AIDS is something that does not get any easier.
I heard a name mentioned throughout the day last Friday; but I heard “My Mona.” I kept wondering why does everyone have posession over Mona?” She must be special, if she belongs to everyone.
When I met Maimuna, she was on a homemade crutch walking on the side of the road with her friend to the outreach clinic. She had already struggled to walk miles for treatment. As Kelly mentioned, not only is Maimuna suffering from HIV/AIDS, but she has a severe case of herpes on her leg, which has immobilized her. She was somehow still graceful, as she tried to stand tall; and like that afternoon, a beautiful smile occasionally broke through the clouds. When we spoke to her, with the help of TASO counselors, I was forunate to be wearing sunglasses. I broke down. I felt terrible; ripping the heart out of my chest would have been easier, than to see this sweet girl at about 10 years of age, all on her own and suffering. I casually made an exit so she would not see me sad. I am excited to see “My Mona” again and hold it together so I can make her laugh.

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2 Responses to “Under the weather….”

  1. Loretta says:

    Colin, you will make her laugh & smile. That is a gift you have. I am so proud of both of you…
    Love Mom

  2. emily says:

    Colin- I don’t think the manager can find anything to edit. Reading your blog entry was no different than having a conversation with you; it was a reminder of how talented you are! Thank you for being so honest in your writing and for having the courage to put your heart out there for the children. I’m proud of you!! And – you really are making a difference!!
    Glad to hear you’re feeling better!! Ben and Jerry’s came out with a new flavor – “Stephen Colbert’s AmeriCone”. He’s on the container.
    Emily

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