We set a few lofty goals when we started our work in Uganda, the largest (so far) of which involved bringing a well to Tusubira Village. A well means a lot of things to this community. It means a fresh water supply for eating and watering gardens, for bathing and hygiene, and a resource to literally sustain life. Thanks to a little “can-do” spirit and a lot of aggressive fundraising and generous donors, we saw that goal come to life. Kimberly was lucky enough to return to Uganda on behalf of our team to check on that well in addition to several other Grow Hope sponsored projects in progress. What she witnessed and accomplished during her time there was beyond encouraging.
We thought we’d pass along a little update to get you up to speed with what we’ve been working on. Progress is moving forward in our little village and we couldn’t be more pleased!
The well is functioning as it should and community members also voted to to pay a small user fee, funds would then go towards maintenance costs as they arise. It thrills us to see the people taking ownership over the well and its success, which is exactly what we hope for when it comes to the rest of our plans within the village.
So much work has been done on the 4 acres of land which will eventually host 40 gardens and various agricultural endeavors, as well as our next major focus: a multi-purpose educational compound. Trees have been cleared (leaving the existing jackfruit, mango, avocado and banana trees of course), a field of pineapples has also been planted.
While Kim was there we were able to break ground on the first of a series of buildings to be a part of the educational compound. This building will provide quarters for an on site social-worker who will facilitate the different educational, health, and community programs. Until the other buildings are completed it will also be used for meetings and to store supplies needed for ongoing projects, like the nutritional packets which we’ll touch on in part 2 of this update. We will also share the work that goes into building these buildings which begins with making each and every brick by hand.
Funds that were raised and donated by a generous school project hosted by The Grow Hope Club in Canada were used to purchase and distribute 80 mosquito nets to families in need. Assistance and education was also given to those recipients on the exact installation and use of these nets, a step further from previous efforts where no education was given at all. Malaria is the #1 cause of death in this part of Uganda and mosquito nets can be hugely effective in reducing those numbers when used properly.
The team completed a visit to the children’s hospital in Jinja, the town closest to our community. Hygiene and comfort items were handed out to all of the people there (items generously donated by those back in the states). The main focus of our time at the hospital was spent on the malnutrition ward where we witnessed first hand its devastating effects on the children there. Since Ugandan soil is so rich and responsive to agriculture efforts, we have hope that we can use the produce from our gardens, combined with ongoing nutritional and hygiene focused education, to change the way people eat and prepare their food and hopefully improve their overall health and wellness.
In conjunction with improved nutrition efforts we connected with a few different programs that feed children in Uganda in the hopes that one day soon we can donate any excess produce from our community gardens in Tusubira Village to those in need.
There was so much crammed into such a few short days that even catching up months later is a bit overwhelming. Though our time in Uganda was limited, it was extremely productive and that’s something to be proud of for those of us involved both here and on the ground back in Africa.
Part 2 of our 2014 excursion is soon to come, stay tuned to hear about the community educational focus and the advances we’ve made on a local level, along with some insight into our plans for the future.
It’s good stuff, we promise!