I feel like there is so much catching up to do! I have so much to tell you and am not sure where to begin... So much has happened since I was in Uganda in July! The short version- I took my first (of many I am sure) trips to Uganda, met amazing people, fell in love with children, spent time with a doctor who shares my enthusiasm for problem solving, visited a children's hospital, connected with mamas on a mama-to-mama level, and returned home determined to do something to help them improve their situation.
So, Dr. Isaac and I shared ideas and got excited and made a plan and even though we didn't have much to work with, we just did it. 50 homes. 50 families. He got the village elders involved, he found a team of volunteers, and they sat out under the shade of trees with large groups of villagers, talking to them about where they were, and where they could be. The discussed health and hygiene, latrines and sanitation. They talked nutrition. He taught them how disease is spread, and how that can be prevented. They built tools that allow them to make changes in their homes, to keep things clean, sanitary. They built hand-washing stations. People got excited. They worked hard building proper latrines. Then they helped their neighbors do the same. They worked together! And they learned that when they did that, they could do even more than then could alone. They began sharing ideas, thoughts, concerns. They were a "village". And we all know- it takes a village.
And then Dr. Isaac came across baby Prisca, with her swollen feet and constant tears. Her mama Jussie couldn’t figure out what was wrong, but Isaac knew. Prisca was suffering from protein deficiency as she hadn’t had access to it. At all. So our team member Sharon bought eggs and milk and instructed Jussie to give each of the kids an egg and some milk each day. Within a week little Prisca was walking again and the swelling had subsided. In the meantime, Dr. Isaac visited the children’s hospital- he wanted to see how many cases of the same deficiency were present there. Sure enough- there were a number of cases at the hospital, which could easily be resolved with access to regular protein. And so the Chicken Farm project was conceived!
We are currently working to build a chicken farm. The structure is up thanks to our very generous realtor Ray Gonzalez and the company he works for - Real Living Real Estate in Bothell, WA. Now we will work to raise funds to purchase the baby chicks, the feed, feeders, vaccines, waterers and fencing to secure the project. Once that is accomplished we will have a sustainable business in the community that will pay for itself as well as provide employment. When the hens are laying, it will provide protein for the community through egg sales, and we plan to set up a program whereby eggs are donated to the the mamas at the local children’s hospital. It will be a win-win for everyone, with the only input from from The Grow Hope Foundation being at the beginning. After that, with the encouragement and support of SCHEP Uganda, they will be able to run a sustainable program that will benefit their community. The whole thing brings me such joy- knowing that with just a bit of help, these wonderful capable people will be able to improve their own lives and the lives of their children.
And, if everything goes according to the numbers and spread sheets that Dr. Isaac has run, little by little the cost of the initial project to get the chicken farm up and running will be repaid into a fund, managed by SCHEP that will be able to then be used to build another chicken farm, in another community. And hope goes on~