Monday, May 20, 2013
Hello to all! We hope you are enjoying the blog and learning a lot about what we do in Uganda! Today our team split up and went three different ways. Dave worked on budget concerns in the morning and then met District Health Official, Patrick Tuisuime, regarding the Ikamiro Clinic and the building of the placenta pit. He told Dave that our efforts to become a level three clinic are too difficult to achieve and there is no reason we need to do it. A level three clinic requires a minimum of fifteen staff members, but babies can be delivered at level two clinics if a placenta pit exists. So, Dave also met with our builder, Martin, to discuss building the pit and installing some shelving at the Muko Empowerment Centre. He is also going to do some minor repairs at the clinic. The hole was dug for the Peace Pole by two villagers, a woman who dug the hole with her hands and Herbert, our security guard. The woman was Moses Nasasira’s mother. Moses is part of our MukoHOPE program and is sponsored by Elizabeth and Dave Neithamer. The Peace Pole will go in on Thursday just before our Board Meeting.
John and Michelle, accompanied by our fantastic photographer Elizabeth, looked at a garden plot owned by a man named George, a recipient of Hope Seeds who has had great success with the seeds. Stephen showed also showed the team a beautiful piece of land he is donating to ACT adjacent to the Hope gardens where it is his dream to construct a greenhouse. Elizabeth has taken over 1200 photos and at least a dozen videos so far, with the goal of helping to tell the story of our trip in a visual way. On the way to John Karungi’s coffee plantation Christopher almost met his match on a steep hill that was little more than a path. He even ordered the team out of the van in order to manually turn on the four wheel drive. After successfully making the climb, the team learned about interplanting coffee seedlings. From there they came back to the Muko Empowerment Centre to meet with village farmers who also received Hope seeds. They wanted to “clap their thanks”, and then gave feedback on the productivity of each seed and scored nearly 100% for beets and 0% for watermelon and okra. It was surprising that parsley, after being grown for the first time ever, was a smashing success. They love it as a crop and it sold well in the market. The villagers seemed open to further education and possible seminars with Kulika Uganda which is an NGO teaching permaculture. John and Michelle felt the meeting was very successful. They surveyed some additional plots of land for possible demonstration gardens. Michelle found a site for her permanent summer home overlooking Lake Bunyonyi. They saw a flock of crested cranes take off and fly over the lake into the sunset… which made Michelle’s day even though there was no marriage proposal today! After surveying a very steep plot of land, we came up with an idea for a new fitness class called “aerobic land surveying”.
Karen and Kelsey spent the whole day training the violinists. Haward, Demas, and Francis are making an impressive start. If you compared them to “Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?” In Karen’s says they are about three months ahead of an American beginner. They practice in between rehearsals. When we asked them if they were tired, Francis responded with, “For sure”, the others remained silent. However, if asked if they’d like a break they answered, “Africans do not take breaks!” Karen helped them prepare two Ugandan tunes they are planning to perform later this week. We made a video of one of their performances and tried to send it to the USA but the transmission failed. Every day more students have come to the office to begin violin. We have started them in three different stages, some of them playing all at the same time. The younger ones are invited to watch, the older ones are given a beginning lesson. Kelsey has been very valuable as a second teacher. She drills the students when Karen brings them along to a place where they just need repetition. We are working on a plan for the best places to store the instruments so the players can get to them to practice. We are going to ask the Headmaster at Muko HS, Medard, if we can keep a couple in the office at their school for Haward and Demas. We have not yet successfully skyped because of power issues, so there is some doubt about the ability to skype lessons in the next months, however, we have not yet given up on this idea.
We have enjoyed the staff so much. Josiah will celebrate his 40th birthday in July and has invited us to attend a special ceremony at Ikamiro Church. Alexander is getting more and more excited about his wedding. We don’t expect to see much of him on Thursday and Friday as he prepares for the events. We are thinking of our dear Generous in China and hoping all is well with Generous and Richard.
Upon returning to Kabale, Dave, John, Kelsey, and Michelle stopped at the supermarket downtown to buy the fixings for hamburgers. Heinz ketchup, French’s mustard, Nutella, Cadbury chocolate, Pringles, Arribiata pasta sauce were purchased…yes, they were in junk food heaven! They figured the steep walk up to the hotel would negate the calories consumed and it was a much needed mental boost. We are wishing all of you the best, and thank you for your prayers!