the poultry project

Be good to your family

August 28th, 2008

We mentioned a couple of blogs ago that we had negotiated with the Rashid’s great uncle for a plot of land in hopes of securing a place to build a home. We returned to his home yesterday and were overjoyed to learn he and his wife decided to grant his sister the land. We viewed the plot – it is located behind the uncle’s compound and it’s perfect! Now, we must get together with our friend Juma to start the plans/construction on Rashid’s new home. We are projecting the home will cost roughly 1,000USD to complete, but we’ll worry about that tomorrow…
For the time being, we’re happy to know they have land. Things are looking up for Rashid and his Grandma.
august 27, 2008 132.jpg
The man with the land.
august 27, 2008 128.jpg
Rashid and his brother Nick.
august 27, 2008 136.jpg
The land.
august 27, 2008 151.jpg
Rashid’s new backyard.

FacebookTwitterGoogle GmailPrintFriendlyShare

August 28th, 2008

We have decided it is time for the Poultry Project to expand and hope to add 8 more families before we leave. In order to select new beneficiaries, we have asked the TASO counselors to compile a list of 12 or so clients who they feel are in the greatest need of support. After viewing the home’s, talking with the clients, and comparing the families, we will decide who will become a beneficiary. Today we visited the homes of Nakowonbi Annet, and Kitvi Caroline and Apolot Manuel.
Annet was our fist stop. She’s a beautiful 12 year old girl who is HIV positive. Margaret, a counselor, wanted to stop by because she has been skipping her treatment at TASO.
We talked with Annet and she told us of her challenges – she has no transportation to the center, she eats 1-2 very small meals a day, has a painful eye infection and can do minimal housework because she is too weak and experiences chest pains.
The family currently earns money twice a week from the mother’s efforts; she cook’s for pay on Saturdays and Mondays.
They have no livestock and small banana orchard.
When Annet has time to be a kid, she enjoys playing hide and seek with her friends and English is her favorite subject.
august 27, 2008 054.jpg
Annet
Caroline was the next client we visited, she is 7 years old, and HIV+. Her mother died of AIDS and she is currently being raised by her grandmother, while her negligent father lives next door and gives minimal parental support or love to his five children. The grandmother is raising thirteen children and is struggling to provide them with food, pay for school fees, and attend to their medical needs. She is furious with Caroline’s father for not taking her to TASO for her medication and also informed us that he has not had Caroline’s younger siblings tested for HIV. The grandmother supports herself and the children through various activities (digging, selling crops, eggs, etc); she has 22 chickens and 5 goats.
caroline.jpg
Caroline
The next home we went to was horrible. I have no other words to describe it.
Apolot Manuel is the mother and is HIV+; she moved here from Western Uganda 5 years ago after the death of her husband and has no family support.
She has 4 children: Evelyn 13, Emanuel 10, Joann 7, and Isaac 2 months. None of the children have been tested for HIV, the mother stopped taking her ARVs, and continues to breastfeed for lack of a better option.
(She stopped taking her ARVs when she became severely anemic last week, which resulted in her having a blood transfusion)
Her children live on a plot of land that is insufficient for growing food; the son told us they eat porridge once a day. The family shares a 2 room home, the mother, baby and girls sleep in the same room, while the son occupies a shack behind the house.
All of the children are enrolled in school, Emanual and Evelyn are doing poorly, Joann is in p1 and receives fair-good marks.
The family has three goats and the mother and children dig for hire to earn money.
august 27, 2008 107.jpg
Emmanual, Manuel (the mother), Isaac, Joann, and Evelyn.
august 27, 2008 084.jpg
Emanual sits in the families 2-room house. This first room is multi-purpose; it serves as the kitchen, storage room, and home to their 3 goats. The goats urinate on the floor and eat the family’s food, but are not left outside due to the fear of theft.
august 27, 2008 086.jpg
The roof.
august 27, 2008 082.jpg
The two month old baby was asleep on the foam mattress he shares with his mother. Joann and Evelyn sleep on the ground next to the foam mattress.
After viewing the home, Emmanual walked us over to the shack where he sleeps. His bed is a bamboo mat that lies over a hard dirt floor and he has no misquito net.
He stood in the doorway as we walked into his little room and took pictures. He is a responsible boy, he helps his mother, he lives outside of the home to make room for his sisters, and he wants to get an education.
Although he has very little to call his own, he takes care of the few items he does have. His room was swept and his one dress outfit hung from a wire above the dirt floor.
august 27, 2008 093.jpg
Emmanuel’s bed is a bamboo mat.
This family has been selected to participate in the Poultry Project and measurements have been taken to repair their home. We are waiting for a quote from Juma.
august 27, 2008 135.jpg
Margaret
We were all very sad on our way home and Margaret lightened the mood by telling us how she went to the bank the day before and unknowingly wore two different shoes – one had a really high heel and the other was flat.
This story made me think of my grandmother who once used red lip liner to fill in her eyebrows; my sister Theresa claims she did this more than once…

FacebookTwitterGoogle GmailPrintFriendlyShare

August 28th, 2008

August 25th
We have given Jude money to finish the construction of his shed where the goats and chickens will stay. The growth of their animal count has been stalled because the animals have been staying inside their home to prevent theft and disease. We anticipate the completion of this structure will allow the project to prosper and will alleviate some of the burden Christy will soon bear. Christy will be living in the home all alone while his oldest siblings attend boarding school; his sister Speciosa (15 yrs & 7 months pregnant) has been staying with Christy, but recently moved out and is living with her boyfriend.
Thus, Christy must maintain the entire household by himself – he’s 13.
august 27, 2008 042.jpg
Christy

FacebookTwitterGoogle GmailPrintFriendlyShare

A change is gonna come…

August 27th, 2008

25 August 2008 (Day 13)
august 25, 2008 015.jpg
We will begin construction of Hanania’s roof today!
Juma, our contractor, is standing in front of the home after taking measurements. Juma works at CURE Hospital, where we are staying. He has kindly agreed to help us with the construction of chicken coops, livestock structures, and home repairs for the beneficiaries. We are so happy we met him!

FacebookTwitterGoogle GmailPrintFriendlyShare

This Is Uganda

August 27th, 2008

August 23rd
Sipi Falls 003.jpg
Construction workers taking a break.
On Sunday, we also took a break from the Poultry Project and headed to Sipi Falls.
Our drive to Sipi Falls began with a brief 2-hour jaunt to the top of a mountain that was in the opposite direction of Sipi Falls.
Even if it was out of the way, it was well worth the drive and we were able to view the wonderful town of Mbale from up above.
Sipi Falls 109.jpg
Dr. Ngobi and a counselor, both from TASO, look down at their city.
Sipi Falls 066.jpg
Mbale from above.
As we made are way back across town, we stopped at 5 or 6 “viewpoints” where we would get out of the car and marvel at the land below us. At one of the stops we met some children and shared bananas with them.
Sipi Falls 219.jpg
A little boy enjoys his delicious banana.
Another stop was made not for viewing the landscape, but rather for purchasing meat from the local butcher. Unlike the typical meat and deli section Americans are accustomed to, Ugandans like to dangle their meat, under the sun and in wide open spaces for all to see.
Sipi Falls 144.jpg
Typical Ugandan meat stand. Yum.
After satisifying the meatlovers, we continued on our way to the waterfalls. As we navigated the red dirt roads with the windows open, a continuous blast of air muted everything but the striking landscape we passed by.
One of the TASO members looked out the window and stated, “God gave Uganda extra time when he was designing.”
We agree, but only second to the time spent on Ohio’s blueprints.
Sipi Falls 356.jpg
Above is the main event of the day, the majestic Sipi Falls at the foothills of Mount Elgon.
Mount Elgon is the second highest mountain in Uganda and is located on the eastern border between Uganda and Kenya.
After climbing to the top of the mountain where the waterfall begins, we found children and women using the natural swimming pool for playing and washing clothes.
I think we would do laundry more often if the washing machine was a gigantic pool/waterfall.
Sipi Falls 358.jpg
Laundry day at Sipi Falls.
Sipi Falls 302.jpg
Emily and Joe with the waterfall in the background.

FacebookTwitterGoogle GmailPrintFriendlyShare

August 26th, 2008

21 August 2008 (Day 9)
We apologize for our brief hiatus from the blog – we experienced some internet difficulties and have been busy finalizing home visits and planning for the project. On Thursday we finished our home visits, ending with Michael, Rashid, Emma, and the late Jacqueline. This is what we found…
Michael
On our follow up visit to Michael’s home, we were expecting to learn about his health status and recent hospitalization. Unfortunately, we were met by a locked door and no sign of either child or grandmother. Their neighbor strolled over and told us how they had gone “digging” for the day.
Digging-for-hire is very common in the rural areas of Uganda. Children are sent to the field at a very young age to provide for themselves and their families. The pay for a full day of labor is roughly 1,000 UGX (approximately $0.70 USD).
Though 70 cents may seem insignificant, it is vital to Michael and his grandmother in order to feed themselves. Food is Michael’s main challenge, and without it, his ARV’s will not work, he will continue to grow weaker, and his health will continue to decline. We plan to use the money donated to improve their livestock count and provide temporary, but immediate, food assistance to alleviate their household food insecurity.
7th day 160.jpg
A child headed to the field for digging.
Rashid
rashid.jpg
Although Rashid was not at home when we visited, we found a rather unique set of circumstances that he and his family are facing. Rashid and his six siblings live with their grandmother in a house lent to them by a relative. The accommodations are only temporary, as the relative’s own children will be occupying the house as of December, 2008. Prior to this arrangement, the group of seven was evicted from their land by another relative who wished to sell it at a profit. Essentially, the family will be homeless in less than 4 months.
Sensing the direness of the situation, Peter suggested that we attempt to negotiate with the land-owning relative to allow the group to build a separate, permanent, structure elsewhere on the land.
7th day 325.jpg
Where the negotiating went down.
Emma
Our next stop was to Emma’s home. Emma’s aunt, the main caretaker of the animals while Emma attends school, showed us the progress they have made with the project. They have turned their original 5 hens into a new roof, a larger plot of land, and are currently saving to purchase a bull.
7th day 298.jpg
The new roof purchased by money earned from the poultry Project.
Emma’s aunt was very grateful for the support the Poultry Project has provided her family and was so happy we had stopped by. She told us about their current challenges and their goals for the future.
Before we parted, she ran into the house and grabbed her pocket book where she keeps a handful of faded pictures of her late bother, sister-in-law, and nieces and nephews she raised until they passed away. She worries about Emma; he is also HIV+ and has lost both of his parents and his 4 siblings to AIDS.
7th day 310.jpg
Emma’s Aunt
The Family of Jacqueline
Our next stop was to the late Jacqueline’s home; she passed away in June. Although the family was absent when we visited, we were met by a thriving project and a large amount of well-kept animals. Her project has grown from the original 5 hens, to 11 hens and 14 goats – 7 of which were donated by the Heifer Project as a result of her displayed success with the Poultry Project. The Poultry Project will continue to offer support to Jacqueline’s remaining siblings, who are also orphans and are being taken care of by an aunt.
7th day 185.jpg
The impressive structure Jacqueline’s family constructed for their goats.

FacebookTwitterGoogle GmailPrintFriendlyShare

Natule John

August 22nd, 2008

1john natule 2006.jpg
Natule John receiving ARVs at TASO in 2006.
I am sad to bear the news that Poultry Project participant Natule John passed away on August 17, 2008; he was just sixteen years old.
We visited his home yesterday to express our sympathy and pay our respect to his family.
As we were driving up the mountain Peter mentioned how he used to make the very same ascent, but on his motorcycle. We were all amazed, and kind of shocked that he would drive along those narrow and winding dirt roads. It would take nearly 45-minutes to make it to the top – if the conditions were good. I just assumed he was a secret daredevil and thought nothing more about it.
After reaching the top of the mountain, we began our silent walk to Natule John’s house. His aunt’s home, where he had been living during his final days, was beyond the dirt road, tucked into the side of the mountain among cabbage gardens, coffee trees, and miles of blue sky.
We met his family and they graciously took us to his grave where we stood over the freshly laid cement that was still drying in the sunlight. We said our prayers, made peace with John and bid him farewell. We all thought of his harrowing tales of life as an orphan, living with HIV, battling cancer, enduring the pain of neglect, and the isolation he must have felt when he was ostracized and stigmatized by his uncle (his former guardian).
Before we left, I asked his family if they wanted to say something special about John. They said he was friendly, a happy child, and that they will miss him very much. We then said our goodbyes and Peter and I made our way back to the car.
Peter then told me, “Natule John was such a jolly boy. He loved visitors so much and he would beam when anyone came to see him.”
I then realized that Peter had been making those long hikes up the mountain to see his friend. Natule John died knowing someone cared, he died knowing he had a friend, someone who supported him, and gave him love when there was nothing else to give.
Natule John will always be remembered and honored.
His untimely death will motivate us to continue the fight against HIV/AIDS and his memory will inspire us to share love with all beings, no exceptions.
Natule John, we wish you peace and everlasting happiness. May your memory live on in the hearts and minds of those who knew and loved you.
7th day 242.jpg
The view from the mountain where Natule John rests

FacebookTwitterGoogle GmailPrintFriendlyShare

PRID Sibanga

August 21st, 2008

The Poultry Project went on the road today to lend support to another organization supporting orphans in Uganda. The Poverty Reduction Initiative for Development (P.R.I.D.) was created by residents of the sub-county of Sibanga approximately 35 km from Mbale Town. The Poultry Project first collaborated with PRID and its chairman, John Busulo, in 2006 when Kelly learned of the organization and its purpose while staying at Cure Hospital (John worked there as the security guard).
The Poultry Project and PRID are similar in that they each seek to promote sustainable income for orphaned families. Whereas the Project has focused on livestock, PRID has focused on other initiatives such as coffee farming. Currently, PRID provides services for 28 orphans and is led by a committee of elders residing in adjacent villages.
Prid founders.jpg
Above are John Busolo, Mzee Dasan and Mzee Boazi, the founders of PRID.
PRID meets in fields and the homes of the members to discuss organizational matters and they provide agricultural training on a small plot of land that was purchased in 2007 with the help of the Poultry Project donors. We spent the entire day walking through the participants’ coffee gardens and were amazed by how much wisdom the elders have and how deeply they care for their community.
Boaz.jpg
Mzee Boazi stands in front of a growing coffee tree.
He is an elder of the village and is currently raising 10 grandchildren who are orphans.
desson.jpg
Mzee Dasan, one of the chairmen and founders, is also the pastor at the village church.
After viewing the gardens, we returned to John’s home where we were greeted by women and children, many of whom are orphans supported by PRID. They were singing and thanking us for making the journey to their village. The children performed beautiful poems and songs about their struggles. The women then prepared a large traditional Ugandan meal.
7th day 128.jpg
The children and women performing a song and dance for us.
The people we met today are honest, hardworking and generous. They dedicate their time to helping those in need and unifying their community.
What a wonderful way to be.
______________________________________________________________________
Below are more pictures that highlight the development of PRID’s coffee gardens and the children they support.
7th day 047.jpg
Coffee seedlings in the beginning stages.
7th day 042.jpg
Once the seedlings have germinated and grown about 6 inches high, they are prepared in tiny, biodegradable baggies for each of the orphans. Each orphan receives 100 seedlings per year; the estimated time to harvest per plant is 3 years.
7th day 119.jpg
A coffee tree in the garden of a participant.
7th day 118.jpg
A full grown coffee plant that is ready to harvest.
7th day 149.jpg
Peter is a beneficiary of PRID and is very bright. He is 16 years old, in S-4 and he is ranked 4th in class.
Joe encouraged him to continue to work hard in school, but to also take advantage of the coffee farming opportunity. The extra time Joe spent with Peter made him feel special.
7th day 138.jpg
The orphans involved who are growing coffee and benefiting from PRID.
Thanks for reading and your continued support!

FacebookTwitterGoogle GmailPrintFriendlyShare

Into the Mountains

August 19th, 2008

19 August 2008 (Day 8) The country of Uganda is broken up into districts, counties, sub-counties, parishes or wards, and villages. Many of you are probably curious about where exactly we have been traveling to reach the Project participants. Just click on UGANDA MAP and use the key below.
29. Kampala District. We originally flew into Entebbe (40km from Kampala) and spent much of Day 1 in Kampala.
54. Mbale District. We are staying in Mbale and TASO is in Mbale. In addition, the following participants reside in Mbale District: Emma, Rashid, Jacqueline, Michael.
73. Sironko District. The following participants reside in Sironko District: Mimuna, Vasca, Violet, Protus, Yekosofat, Eric, Hanania, Shamim, Doreen, Jude.
45 (southeastern portion). Bukedea District. The following participants reside in Bukedea District: Peter, Betty, Agnes, Faith.
45 (northwestern portion). Kumi District. Engole Jude resides here.
Today we traveled to the district of Soronko. We visited with three participants: Doreen (county of Buluganya), Jude and Protus (county of Buyaga).
Doreen
The county of Buluganya is a green, mountainous region with breathtaking views. Everywhere you turn, there is a waterfall.
6th day 017.jpg
The mountains make for a beautiful landscape but a challenging traverse for the families living among their slopes. When it rains in Buluganya, many families are trapped in their villages for days until the poorly kept roads dry out.
6th day 038.jpg
Doreen is 15 years old and lives ¾ of the way up a 3,000 meter mountain with her three siblings, all of which are AIDS orphans. The living conditions for the family are very poor. Doreen is a few years behind in school but expressed a strong desire to catch up.
6th day 043.jpg
Waiting for Doreen, Emily passed out candy.
6th day 068.jpg
Doreen posing with her nephew.
The Project originally helped Doreen pay for school fees. However, due to the small amount of land occupied by the family and the challenges of keeping free range chickens in such an environment, Doreen’s chickens did not last. Doreen further explained that the bicycle from the Project has very little use since the road to her home is often fit only for walking.
We plan to explore various options including a sale of the bicycle and the establishment of an enclosure for poultry, goats, etc.
Jude
During the school term, Jude resides in Mbale with his uncle. During holidays (breaks between terms), he lives with his three siblings and grandmother at the home of his late parents in Buyaga (also a mountainous region).
6th day 092.jpg
Jude’s grandmother and her grandchildren.
Jude has maintained the Project in both locations. In Buyaga, he sold three chickens for a pig. In Mbale, he has kept one hen which has recently hatched chicks. The Project has helped Jude pay for school requirements and support his family. The siblings continue to struggle with basic needs, however, the grandmother appears to lack the necessary training for overseeing a successful poultry operation. So, both Jude and his grandmother will attend the workshop.
Protus
Protus and his five siblings (all AIDS orphans) live together with his wife and child in Buyaga. He and two of his oldest siblings have dropped out of school to perform odd jobs in the trading center for food.
Their land lies in a valley and is very prone to flooding. As a result, the family has retained one goat and has made very little progress with the Project otherwise. Protus is confident that his land is fit for livestock other than poultry (i.e. cows or goats). Until then, the family will continue to struggle and the younger siblings will risk dropping out of school.
6th day 095.jpg
Protus.
6th day 079.jpg
Emily and Joe in Buluganya.

FacebookTwitterGoogle GmailPrintFriendlyShare

Photo Gallery

August 19th, 2008

We have uploaded some of our pictures on the web. At this time, only half of the pictures have been uploaded and they are in no particular order. When we get more time, we will organize and label them to add context. Thanks again for reading. Click on GALLERY to view.

FacebookTwitterGoogle GmailPrintFriendlyShare

Hanania

August 18th, 2008

18 August 2008 (Day 7)
Project participant Michael Wanambwa (12 yrs), was admitted to the hospital a few days ago due to malnutrition. His grandmother became his guardian when his parents passed away, but is becoming too weak to care for him. They have very little land and her crop yield is almost non-existent. Until recently, they relied on stipends from World Food Program (WFP) to maintain adequate intakes.
With the increase in global food prices this life-sustaining ration has been taken away and replaced with nothing.
Over the past couple of months Michael’s health has plummeted and he has dropped out of school. We are waiting to receive word on his status.
Today we found a similar situation with late Hanania’s grandmother, who is raising 3 orphans (Hanania’s siblings) and is struggling to feed, clothe, shelter, and educate them all. She has very little land to grow crops and like Michael’s family, her WFP stipend has been retracted. When asked how she manages their food, she said they eat very little, when money is available they buy soya flour and maize, and sometimes they go hungry.
We were equally saddened when we learned that she sold 3 of her 4 hens and the donated bicycle from the poultry project in order to pay for a proper burial and a cement gravestone for Hanania.
We have been discussing options to help this family and feel the most urgent need is to fix the home. Below are pictures of the family, the roof, and the inside of the home. In order to fix the roof we will need $125 USD.
hanania family side house.jpg
The remaining family: Brenda, Grandma, Isaac, & Simon.
isaac and gma.jpg
Pictured above Hanania’s grandmother and younger brother, Isaac.
water can hanania.jpg
The yellow water can lies on the dirt floor – they don’t have the luxury of buying clean, filtered bottled water or Gatorades at the grocery store.
The family’s home consists of two rooms; this room is where the dishes and water are stored – and also where the two boys sleep at night.
boys belongings.jpg
A dirty sheet, foam mattress, two faded soccer magazines & a donated bag – these are the belongings of the late Hanania and his two brothers.
At bedtime, Simon and Isaac unfold their foam mattress over the cement floor and fall asleep, side by side.
hanania roof1.jpg
On the left is the wall that divides the grandmother & Brenda’s room from the boys and above is the roof that is open to insects, lizards, wind, rain and dirt.
roof 2.jpg
Walls and ceiling/roof in the boys’ room.
Thank you for taking the time to read this. Goodbye!
5th day 011.jpg

FacebookTwitterGoogle GmailPrintFriendlyShare

A Day in Budadiri

August 17th, 2008

17 August 2008 (Day 6)
One of the major challenges for Ugandans who reside in rural villages is the lack of infrastructure in their regions. There are very few paved roads and the dirt roads that have been haphazardly constructed are virtually impossible to cross. The clients we visit rarely leave their villages and often remain in isolation. They are blocked in by winding stretches of dirt roads that are filled with potholes, trenches, livestock and occasionally sludge from recent flooding.
road picture.jpg
Two boys herd their cattle in the streets of Budadiri.
Visiting Eric (6 yrs) and his mother brought us a little ray of sunshine. They have constructed an enormous house for their poultry and it keeps the chickens safe from theft and disease. She also opened up a bank account for herself and is saving up to purchase a cow. Eric is maintaining his health and has been stable since he began ARV’s in 2005. He will begin school in November and is the cutest.
eric2.jpg
Eric smiles for the camera in front of his family’s chicken pen.
chickens.jpg

FacebookTwitterGoogle GmailPrintFriendlyShare

Save the Children

August 17th, 2008

16 August 2008 (Day 5): Agnes, Peter, Betty
Hello again. Today was interesting, productive, and at times emotional. First, a few general comments:
Ugandans are very kind. Since Emily and I arrived, we have been treated like gold. More impressively, Ugandans are nearly just as kind to one another. In Mbale (urban), the streets are buzzing with people and yet there are very few disputes. Friends are holding hands and helping one another with tasks. In the villages (rural), where land is wide open and crops and livestock are vulnerable to theft, people are generally honest and respectful of the property rights of their neighbors (with some exceptions – see Jude below).
Ugandans are unbelievably polite. Everyone is eager to greet us and welcome us to their country. Yesterday, I was greeted by a TASO staff member with perhaps the most courteous sentence ever constructed: “Hello, you are welcome, thank you please, goodbye” – as if it came out of a holster of kindness from her belt.
Ugandans have remarkable endurance. I began to detect that this might be the case when I learned that men, women and children from the villages often ride their bicycles uphill to Mbale for more than 60km, carrying produce, goods, or people on the back. The concept was fully revealed during my brief (45 min) stint as a member of the Cure Hospital fútball team. I was graciously asked to join by John Busolo, a security guard at Cure. Our first practice was on Thursday. I knew there was a problem when I was breathing heavily during stretching, after opening drills. Then the scrimmage. We had an even 8, so we split up 4 on 4. 15 minutes in, I was politely offered a “substitute”. Again, we had even numbers.
Enough with the comments. Today, we made field visits to the homes of three Poultry Project participants: Agnes, Peter, and Betty
Agnes
Agnes is 17 years old and attends secondary school at an Mbale boarding school. She lives in a village in Bukedea with 10 siblings, her aunt, and grandmother. The children are AIDS orphans (parents died of AIDS). The grandmother is very old. The aunt is a TASO client on ARV’s and is not in good health.
Of the Project participants visited so far, Agnes’s family is perhaps experiencing the most hardship. There land is very small considering the number of inhabitants. Sleeping quarters for the 14 of them are split between two huts with one bed apiece. The Project has allowed the aunt to begin building a house while Agnes is away at school, but because of her health, the house remains only half built (unlivable by any standards).
The aunt is worried about what will happen to the children once she and the grandmother pass on.
4th day 265.jpg
Agnes with grandmother, aunt and Martha the counselor from TASO. The half constructed house is in the background.
Peter (Project participant, not Peter the manager)
Peter, 20, and his four siblings are also AIDS orphans. At the onset of the project, Peter attended secondary school. Since then, he was forced to drop out of school after getting married and having a child. The orphans, Peter’s wife, and the child (7 months old) live in a small house in Bukedea. 3 of the orphans attend a local school. The 4th was forced to drop out to help with generating household income. The family continues to struggle for basic needs.
Peter has been relatively successful with the Project. He has turned the original 5 chickens into 7 goats and 3 pigs. In addition, the family has a large amount of land for ground nuts, sugarcane, and cassava (among others). Currently, though, they are relegated to plowing it by hand. They could really benefit from an ox plow (approx. $150) as their neighbors have oxen. We will continue to brainstorm.
4th day 281.jpg
Peter’s family.
Betty
Betty, 17, attends secondary boarding school in Tororo. She has 5 siblings, all AIDS orphans. The children live in a small village in the Bukedea region with their uncle and his six children.
The progress of the Project for Betty’s family brought a smile to our faces. The uncle was eager to display the 5 goats and more than 30 chickens that the Project has reared. In addition, he explained that he had just come back from some early morning work – planting 100 citrus trees and digging a new well for the village – just a little light landscaping for a Saturday. This man is tremendously hard working. He will speak on behalf of his and Betty’s accomplishments at the Project workshop. Hopefully, his words will inspire.
Emily and I finished the day with a good Indian meal in town and watched the first Arsenal match of the season (English premiership soccer) with Peter. Peter is great. He wants to study in the U.S. He has completed his studies at the University and would like to pursue a master’s degree. Any suggestions are welcome.
4th day 286.jpg
Betty’s uncle shows Joe the chickens he has acquired through the Poultry Project.
Good Night from Uganda!
First Day Uganda 023.jpg
P.S. A flickr page with more pics coming soon!

FacebookTwitterGoogle GmailPrintFriendlyShare

Honoring James

August 17th, 2008

14 August 2008 (Day 4)
The Angura family is a true child-headed home, meaning they have no other family members (aunts, uncles, or grandparents) to help with basic needs, such as clothing, food, shelter, education and transportation.
The 5 brothers have been getting by to the best of their ability. They are maintaining their health, trying to attend school, and farming their land for food. However, they suffered a great loss when their youngest brother James, who was six years old, passed away last year.
Their lives are so much different from anything I have ever known. Aside from the periodic visits to/from TASO counselors, their mental health goes largely unnoticed. They are together with each other, they smile and laugh like children should, but in the same breath they are dealing with extreme poverty, chronic malnutrition, and the traumatic loss of two parents and a sibling.
When the brothers led us to James’s grave, we could do nothing but bow our heads as we stood in silence. There in the middle of the garden, rests sweet little James. His brothers have lovingly carved his name into the stone and placed him alongside their mother and father.
grave.jpg
______________________________________________________________________
TASO Clients
After going to the villages, we were given a break and a chance to connect with some of the TASO clients back at the main office. While Joe spent the morning with Peter, I stayed with the female clients in the skill-building class for HIV+ women. There are about 15 women enrolled, most of them are in their 30’s, with children and have had very little education. TASO has created a program for these women in order to teach them a skill and empower them to start their own businesses – or at least sell what they make in the markets. The craft they are learning is raffia and sisal weaving. I may need some extra time skill-building, I was unable to make much more than semi-braided/deformed raffia stick.
basket weaving.jpg
Deena weaves a colorful raffia basket at TASO’s skill-building program.
Shamim stopped by to color, but found looking at pictures of Kelly more exciting.
shamim.jpg
Shamim happily looking at Kelly and Colin’s wedding album.
Christine Acan is the aunt and caregiver to 6 children, including Faith, who is 9 years old and the original participant in the Poultry Project. Christine is single and chose to remain unmarried in favor of raising her brother and sister’s children after they and their spouses passed away due to HIV/AIDS. With the lively Christine stepping up and taking over the poultry rearing, Faith and the other children are able to attend school and are improving. Ben is the eldest and is preparing to apply for college in November – he is also among the top students in his class of 400.
3rd day 294.jpg
Joe, Ben, Emily, and peanuts.
From the original 4 female chickens and 1 male cock, they have acquired 5 goats and more than 20 chickens. Christine gave us a small bag of peanuts to show her appreciation.
3rd day 290.jpg
Faith (left), Aunt Christine and brothers show off their new goats.

FacebookTwitterGoogle GmailPrintFriendlyShare

A Day with Jude

August 15th, 2008

14 August 2008 (Day 3): To Jude’s
Today we visited with Engole Jude. For those of you who have just started reading this blog, he’s 19 yrs old and has lost both parents to HIV/AIDS. He has been the sole provider to 3 siblings (Christy 13, Speciosa 15, and Maria 17) and 2 grandparents since 2005, when his father passed away. Jude is a star participant in the Poultry Project and has excelled since the onset. He has turned the original 5-hen allotment into 2 Chickens, 6 baby chicks, 3 goats, and 1 cow.
2nd day uganda 102.jpg
The Engole Cow was purchased with 12 hens and 2 goats.
Jude's Land.jpg
Jude’s family’s land: kitchen, house, bathroom, grandparent’s house (left to right).
Despite his successes, Jude’s situation has recently become significantly more complicated. First and foremost, Jude attends boarding school an hour away from his home in Mbale, and relies on boda boda (riding on the back of a motorcycle for cash) for transportation. He is away for the vast majority of the year and has only the cell phones donated by the Poultry Project to communicate with his family (and run his business).
Most recently, Jude spent three consecutive months at school. While away, several factors threatened the family’s sustenance that Jude had worked so hard for: Speciosa revealed to Jude that she was 7 months pregnant; various hens and goats had been stolen by a neighboring clan; the same clan asserted ownership of the land occupied by Jude’s family and threatened to take it back.
Jude has many remaining needs and the Project can help. We have allotted time with TASO workers to brainstorm Jude’s options.
2nd day uganda 126.jpg
Beautiful Speciosa cleaning cassava.
So long for now. We will blog again soon as we now have a fairly consistent internet connection. Sorry about the delay.
Our Schedule
15 Aug – 22 Aug: Field visits with remaining 20 Poultry Project beneficiaries
23 Aug – 24 Aug: Field visit with P.R.I.D. (orphan support organization – will explain later)
25 Aug – 29 Aug: Planning for Project workshop, donation distribution, meeting with executive director of TASO in Kampala
30 Aug: Poultry Project Workshop

FacebookTwitterGoogle GmailPrintFriendlyShare

We Love Uganda :)

August 15th, 2008

12-13 August 2008 (Day 1-2): We have arrived!
We spent our first evening sleeping at BOMA Hotel in Entebbe. Considering our 17 hour trip, neither of us had the energy to be frightened by the five lizards that were stationed, motionless throughout the hotel room. We both decided that lizards are better than hairy spiders and slept peacefully until the morning sun shone through the window and the music of the birds filled the air.
In the morning we feasted on delicious bananas and coffee as we waited for Peter (director of programs at TASO) and Saulo – they graciously offered to transport us on the 4 hour trip from Entebbe to Mbale.
When they arrived at BOMA, they told us they had to pick up medications on the way back to Mbale. To make a long story short, we ended up waiting for 3 hours in a car at the Joint Medication Store; this is where TASO purchases their antiretrovirals. And then we then had to make a quick pit-stop and purchase a refrigerator.
refrigerator.jpg
Purchasing a refrigerator in Kampala.
The road trip lasted longer than 4 hours (11 to be precise), but along the way we were given a glimpse of a world that is so different from anything we have ever seen. The landscape is magnificent – vast, lush, and flourishing with sugar cane, tea and matoka trees. Periodically the driver would pull off to the side of the road and get out of the car – we met these children during one of the driving-breaks.
girls by yellow wall.jpg
Today we learned that we will spend the majority of our time here with Peter Wenlikhe. Peter is the director of programs at TASO, Mbale branch and has devoted his life to helping orphaned & vulnerable children and fighting HIV/AIDS. He oversees the Poultry Project and ensures the participants are given the support and resources they need to be successful.
Yesterday, after leaving a village that is completely isolated from the world we began discussing the many challenges faced by children who live in these environments. Peter also grew up in a similar village and when asked if he was personally frustrated with the lack of support and access to the outside world, he said “No, I am not frustrated because I know that if I work hard and struggle, then I will make it.”
peter.jpg
Peter Smiles for the camera as we drive through Entebbe on our first day in Uganda.

FacebookTwitterGoogle GmailPrintFriendlyShare

Saving the Planet One Ziploc Bag at a Time

August 11th, 2008

Hello all. It’s Sunday and Emily and I are preparing for our trip to Uganda. We fly out of Boston tomorrow and arrive in Entebbe, Uganda on Tuesday evening. From there, we will travel to the Cure Hospital in Mbale, Uganda on Wednesday.
We have been advised by the Poultry Project’s founder and our lovely sister, Kelly Flamos, to keep our expectations to a reasonable level. So, after a long a conversation, Emily and I have decided that if we accomplish nothing else during our stay, we would like to, at the very least, save the planet.
In furtherance of that humble goal, Emily has come out of the gates firing on all cylinders. She is applying a machine-like methodology to her packing. Each of her bags is exactly fifty pounds, perfectly square, and consists of individually numbered one-gallon baggies filled with clothes, toiletries, and gifts. I cannot be sure why the bags are numbered, but like an Enron shareholder I will blindly trust the legitimacy of such a complicated system.
”Emily

FacebookTwitterGoogle GmailPrintFriendlyShare

Gratitude

August 7th, 2008

We are entering the third year of The Poultry Project, a program that has provided twenty-one families of HIV+ children, AIDS orphans, and single mothers living HIV with an opportunity to be empowered through education and training to make money from smallholder poultry farming.
This project began with a collaboration of minds (Julian Harris, MD, Kelly Flamos, Robert Oluka, Charity Abude, Margaret Muzaki, Sarah Khanakwa, and several other TASO Mbale staff) and a generous contribution from John and Dobbie Luppino of Philadelphia. The Luppinos responded to an email that Julian Harris sent to family, friends, and colleagues asking for assistance to help the children Julian met during his visit to Mbale, Uganda. The Luppinos responded with a large donation that made the implementation of The Poultry Project possible. Without their compassion, generosity and empathy The Poultry Project would not be. Their donation motivated Julian, Kelly and the TASO Mbale team to move forward with their dream. After the Luppinos offered their support, other family and friends of Kelly and Julian donated their hard-earned dollars to keep The Poultry Project going.
On behalf of The Poultry Project participants and the staff of TASO Mbale, we extend our sincere gratitude to the Luppinos for making The Poultry Project a reality.
Stayed tuned to the blog. Emily and Joseph Pavlick will be in Mbale from 13 August 2008 through early September working with The Poultry Project. They will update the blog with photos and stories about their experience.
We are saddened by the loss of three of our project participants to complications of HIV/AIDS. This summer, Jacqueline and Hanania passed away. Last summer, we lost James. Please keep them and their families in your thoughts and prayers.

FacebookTwitterGoogle GmailPrintFriendlyShare

act now