the poultry project

LKWD Music Fest

August 22nd, 2013

It’s been a long year since the last post! The founders of the Poultry Project have been busy bringing life back to a circa-1924 bowling alley – Mahall’s - in their home-state: Ohio.

In November 2012, Kevin Kopanski (Poultry Project volunteer and photographer) held a fundraiser and photography exhibit to showcase his work from the 2011 Design/Build Uganda trip. Since then, Kevin has spread the message about the Poultry Project by exhibiting his work all over Greater Cleveland.

This weekend, Mahall’s will host the 2nd Annual LKWD Music Fest. All outdoor beer sale profits will go to the Poultry Project, and a service trip is being planned for early 2014.

 

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Poultry Project Evaluation

May 16th, 2011

In the Spring of 2010, students from George Washington University conducted a detailed project evaluation.  The results, below, helped us identify various areas of improvement, including the need for improved poultry shelter.

The team is heading to Bukedea today for the fourth chicken coop build workshop.  Check back for updates later today!

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Coop of the Day: coop de ville

January 27th, 2011

Erica Chladova and Richard C Preston, partners at Archriot and graduates of Cornell University’s College of Architecture, designed the coop de ville with chicken happiness in mind.  A transparent corrugated roof, elaborate water collection system, ample nesting boxes, and plenty of perch space are some of the features of the coop de ville.

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results

February 8th, 2010

Is the Poultry Project working?  Is it meeting its goal of improving the lives of children affected by HIV/AIDS and their caregivers?  How much money do they make from egg sales?  Is it enough money to make a significant difference in their lives?  Why are some families’ more successful at keeping chickens and growing their business?

We are hoping to get some answers to those questions in the coming months.  There are some George Washington University MPH students doing fellowships at TASO Mbale and they may help us conduct an evaluation!   An evaluation is long overdue and essential if we decide to scale-up and expand the project to TASO’s other 11 branches.

The evaluation will be qualitative and participatory.  We’re considering the Most Significant Change methodology (suggested by alanna from blood and milk – an intl dev blog I respect and admire).  Do you have any suggestions?  I ask that question and smile because I think I’m the only one reading this blog.  I’ll keep you posted on the evaluation.

The photo above has nothing to do with the post but I like to add an image and I don’t have any evaluation-related photos.  This photo was taken on E.105th street in the Glenville neighborhood of Cleveland.

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new year, new blog

January 25th, 2010

Thank you for visiting our new blog.  The Poultry Project, in collaboration with The AIDS Support Organization (TASO) Mbale branch, is beginning its fourth year of operations in Mbale, Uganda.  Our organization helps families affected by HIV/AIDS start their own sustainable smallholder poultry businesses. The families we work with are comprised of children that have lost one or both parents to AIDS-related illness, have HIV, and/or are being raised by an older sibling, a grandparent, or another relative.  Each family receives chickens, poultry vaccines, a bicycle, training and ongoing support from the Poultry Project and TASO. The chickens are raised as free-range layers and the eggs are sold and eaten. Families keep 100% of the profits from their poultry businesses. They use the money to pay for basic needs and school fees. We currently work with 26 families living in the Mbale region.
We are busy finishing our website and applying for 501(c)(3) charitable organization status.  Check this blog for updates and become a fan of the Poultry Project on Facebook.

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The Poultry Project

October 4th, 2008

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The Poultry Project is in it’s third year and currently supporting over 20 families affected by HIV/AIDS in Mbale, Uganda through a sustainable agriculture slash microenterprise initiative.
We are currently working on our website, http://www.poultryproject.com.
We encourage you to take a moment to visit the Africa 101 Project website to learn about an amazing HIV/AIDS activist’s heroic journey – Suzanne Engo is running from NYC to Chicago to remind people about the HIV/AIDS epidemic. She stopped in Cleveland today to show her support at the AIDS Walk. Go to: http://www.africa101project.org
Oceans of gratitude to you and yours for your continued support of The Poultry Project.
When one is infected, we are ALL affected.

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Praise the bridge that carried you over…

September 7th, 2008

We want to extend a sincere thank you to our friends and family members who have given us support and love during our stay here in Uganda.
The donations raised this year were more than we ever anticipated.
With the donations we received, we were able to purchase goats, chickens, ox plows, add five new beneficiaries, fix leaky roofs, construct structures for livestock and continue the Poultry Project.
Above all, we were able to shine a light on the lives of many children who often go unnoticed. By sharing their stories, we have given them a voice.
But, we are mere messengers and you are the people who acted. It is because of your benevolence and generosity that anything has happened here.
Thank you,
Jerry Raffa
Stelio and Katie Flamos
Susie and Dave Pavlick
Ron Marshall
Susie & Dan Lee
Belterra Casino
North End Yoga
Alicia Orr
Allessandra Miele
Loretta Bowlby
Mary Jo Barr
Sheila Bray
Emil Alecusan
Carly Pavlick
Katie Pavlick
Mary Grace and Bill Pavlick
Andy Johnson
Sarah Wineland
Lauren Alviti
We will be forever changed by this experience and ceaselessly grateful to our friends and family for being such good people.
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September 7th, 2008

September 2nd
Tuesday
Today we met with TASO’s Senior Management team at the Ugandan Wildlife Education Center in Entebbe.
During the meeting we discussed our work with the Poultry Project and the possibility of expanding the program to the other branches.
The meeting went very well. The board was so impressed by the growth and progress made and the many successes shared by the beneficiaries. They also expressed their deep appreciation and admiration of Kelly Flamos and Julian Harris for taking the initiative to implement such a program that has changed the lives of so many vulnerable children.
Lastly, they were equally grateful for the many caring friends and family members we have back in the states and thank you for your compassion and continued support.
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Joe, Emily, Tina Achila (Dir. of Psycho-Social Programs), Juliet Tembe (Chairperson Board of Trustees), Harriet Wanyoto Mabonga (Dir. of Advocacy), and Rober Ochai (Executive Director TASO)
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Mufasa.

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Fixing a hole where the rain gets in

September 7th, 2008

August 31st
Sunday
Today was our last day in Mbale and we had one last stop to make.
We went to Hanania’s house to check on the new roof.
When we walked around the bend of the dirt path, standing out behind the thick green bushes, was a shiny tin roof glistening in the sun.
The family greeted us and proudly showed us their new roof.
Their happiness is attributed to our friends and family who have generously reached out their hands to help the greater good. Thank you all for you donations, you have helped this family, given them shelter, and renewed their hope in a better day.
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The new roof is responsible for their smiles – and the glare in the picture.
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The new roof.
As we drove away from the late Hanania’s home, we all felt at ease. It was a great way to leave Mbale and begin our next journey. We are in Kampala and staying at a magnificent hotel – it will be nice to relax after three weeks of hard work.
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On our way to Kampala the driver stopped to buy goat meat kabobs. This billboard towered over the streetside food market.
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We also got to see the Nelson Mandela Stadium, home to the national football team.
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And we saw advertisements that would get very few responses if posted in an American city.

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Workshoppin’

September 7th, 2008

August 30th
Saturday
The Workshop was today!! Every single participant showed up, some came with their aunts or uncles, some came with their siblings and few came alone. They all received a Poultry Project T shirt and they wore them proudly.
We introduced the new participants and the new organization model. There are now a total of 28 participants and they will be separated into divisions of 5-7, based upon where they live. The divisions are Bukedea/Kumi, Mbale 1, Mbale 2, Sironko 1, and Sironko 2. Each division will be lead by a chairperson who was chosen for their outstanding work throughout the first two years of the Project.
The divisional system is important for two major reasons. First, the beneficiaries are required to attend monthly divisional meetings, led by the chairperson. There, they will have the opportunity to discuss challenges and draw upon the experiences of their colleagues. Second, each beneficiary will be required to make periodic savings deposits to a divisional bank account managed by the chairperson and Peter (General Manager). Once a beneficiary has saved a certain amount, the Poultry Project will match his or her savings. Also, a higher bench mark will be used for a second savings match and once it is met, the participant will graduate from the Project. This sets up a savings culture among the participants and enforces the idea of taking ownership of their work and small-holder farming business. It also allows us to add new participants when the current group graduates.
We are very excited about the potential of the new organizational structure and hope it will increase independence and empower the children.
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The Poultry Project
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Kedi Ben, Jude and Charles: Three incredible boys who give strength to their families and carry on the memory of their parents.
After the workshop Jude, Christy, and Kedi Ben joined us for a traditional Ugandan dinner at the Mbale Resort.
Simple things like enjoying food and hanging out with your friends are luxuries we often take for granted. Watching the kids relax and not have to worry about their problems, even if for only a night, was truly rewarding. Seeing the boys act like children, being carefree and laughing, is a memory I will always keep close to my heart.
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Christy shoots pool for the first time, he was a natural.

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September 7th, 2008

August 29th
Friday
Today we made our way to Ikokole Esther’s home, a potential beneficiary. She was working in the field when we arrived, so we sat and waited under the shade of a large citrus tree.
Linda, a counselor who is notorious for stealing oranges during home visits, made use of her free time and large bamboo pole she found on the ground.
Linda had found the perfect apparatus for extracting the tiny green fruits (yes, the oranges here are green).
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Linda at work.
After feasting on the stolen oranges, Esther and her family finally arrived. We carried out the typical assessment, viewed the home and talked about the many challenges the family faces.
We learned that Esther (15 yrs) lives with her five siblings and an aunt who is HIV+.
The aunt’s health is deteriorating, and as she grows weaker, Esther is beginning to take on more responsibilities. She is currently in S1 and excels in History, French and fine arts, but paying for school fees is becoming increasingly difficult.
When we asked her if she had any plans, should her aunt pass away, she looked away and began to cry.
This may seem like a harsh subject matter to bring up, but it is essential to survival that they prepare. The children will have to bear the burdens of caring for the land, paying school fees, managing their health and food — all while providing each other with love and support.
It’s overwhelming, but this is the stark reality faced by many children here in Uganda.
So many children are living alone…
So many children are suffering…
The only thing we can do is to tackle the problem one child at a time.
Esther has been added to the Poultry Project and her 5 chickens, a bicycle and a chicken coop will be delivered to home within the next week. It’s a small offering of support, but the gesture seemed to brighten her spirits. Esther seemed genuinely happy and flashed us all a great big smile.
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Esther
We then made our way over to Michael Wanabwe’s home to deliver the bulk food purchase we made at the local market. We bought Michael and his grandma 10 lbs beans, 10 lbs rice, 9 lbs posho flour, 1 lb sugar and a gallon of oil.
The food was purchased because earlier in our trip we learned that he had fallen ill due to malnutrition. He is HIV+ and on antriretroviral treatment, but the treatment is useless without food.
In the past, the family of two was receiving WFP food stipends, but with rising food prices and food shortages, the organization has withdrawn from the region and is giving support to internally displaced people in northern Uganda. Without that crucial dietary supplement, their current diet teeters between one bowl of porridge and going hungry.
When we arrived at their home, we were greeted by an overjoyed little boy who kept rubbing his teary-eyes, almost in disbelief that his friends had returned.
He was so grateful that we were there and for the food we brought that would enable him to have his first meal of the day (it was 7pm).
I tried to contain myself and not be overwhelmed. He was so thin, though. And as I stood there, looking at his little, bony arms and his stunted stature due to years of too little food, I no longer felt the weight of the bags I carried. Rather, I felt the weight of their destitute situation; the insurmountable poverty wreaking havoc on their lives.
Regardless, any pain they were experiencing was hidden behind smiles and to us they revealed only gratitude.
Right now, I hope that Michael and his grandmother are enjoying a big bowl of beans and rice, sprinkled with love.
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Michael

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A beautiful mind

September 7th, 2008

August 28th
Thursday
Today we met Nekesa Florence (12), who lives with her HIV+ mother in a one-room, rented home. Her father died of AIDS and she has four siblings, but neither she nor her mother knows where any of them are.
Florence is in P4 and is ranked seventh in her class. We asked how they are able to afford school fees and learned they are often waived because the faculty sees what a promising young student she is. Given her life at home, it is quite remarkable she is able to do so well.
We want Florence to continue to follow her dreams and aim high, because a great mind is a terrible thing to waste.
With the support of our friends and family, Florence will join the Poultry Project and will receive five hens, a bicycle, and a chicken coop. You have all given Florence a chance to shine. Thank you!!!
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Florence

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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.
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The man with the land.
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Rashid and his brother Nick.
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The land.
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Rashid’s new backyard.

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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.
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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.
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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.
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Emmanual, Manuel (the mother), Isaac, Joann, and Evelyn.
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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.
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The roof.
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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.
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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.
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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…

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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.
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Christy

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A change is gonna come…

August 27th, 2008

25 August 2008 (Day 13)
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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!

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This Is Uganda

August 27th, 2008

August 23rd
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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.
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Dr. Ngobi and a counselor, both from TASO, look down at their city.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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Laundry day at Sipi Falls.
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Emily and Joe with the waterfall in the background.

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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.
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A child headed to the field for digging.
Rashid
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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The impressive structure Jacqueline’s family constructed for their goats.

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Natule John

August 22nd, 2008

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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.
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The view from the mountain where Natule John rests

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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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Below are more pictures that highlight the development of PRID’s coffee gardens and the children they support.
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Coffee seedlings in the beginning stages.
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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.
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A coffee tree in the garden of a participant.
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A full grown coffee plant that is ready to harvest.
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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.
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The orphans involved who are growing coffee and benefiting from PRID.
Thanks for reading and your continued support!

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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.
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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.
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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.
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Waiting for Doreen, Emily passed out candy.
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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).
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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.
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Protus.
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Emily and Joe in Buluganya.

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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.

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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.
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The remaining family: Brenda, Grandma, Isaac, & Simon.
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Pictured above Hanania’s grandmother and younger brother, Isaac.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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Walls and ceiling/roof in the boys’ room.
Thank you for taking the time to read this. Goodbye!
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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.
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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.
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Eric smiles for the camera in front of his family’s chicken pen.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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Betty’s uncle shows Joe the chickens he has acquired through the Poultry Project.
Good Night from Uganda!
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P.S. A flickr page with more pics coming soon!

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