Last post talked about the Namatala slum. We've been talking a lot about possible projects that we could do there. We for sure want to do some work with water sanitation. The team last year got a couple of water filters donated to the slum. They're still doing well and have prevented problems from a recent cholera outbreak. They currently only have two water filters in a slum of 20,000 people. So we'd love to do research on good organizations and get them some more access to water. Currently one of the men living in the slum that is selling them water from a water source that he has access to--that's there in the slum. Selling water that's not clean. Does that rub anyone else the wrong way? We want more people to have access to free water that is clean. We also are really interested in some micro-financing projects and doing some workshops teaching women about hygiene, etc. I'll keep you posted!
We met with the Ministry of Education (several of us call it the Ministry of Magic because we Potter nerds find it hilarious) on Monday. The teachers in the area really struggle because they don't always have very good training and oftentimes don't have a curriculum. So the scores at the end of the year are usually low. So we're really interested in working with them to do some teacher training workshops and have like a big science fair type activity at the end of the summer that could bring kids from all over the district together.
Yesterday our friend Sula picked us up in this "taxi" and brought us to a village called Kakoli. The welcome was overwhelming. When we rounded the corner the women were yelling (this cool african AYE YAYAYAYA) and dancing and literally pulled us out of the taxi. Everyone was so excited to see us. They escorted us to chairs that they had lined up and then came down the line and all shook our hands and hugged us. We had NO idea what was going on but none of us had ever experienced anything like this. They sang a song for us in english and then sang one in their local language. It was unreal. Here are some pics:
Sula later took us to several different areas--schools, community groups, etc. A couple of the schools that we visited had some details that were mind blowing to me. For example, did you guys have these things painted at your schools growing up?
I don't know if you can read what they've painted to the right but I'm not joking you, it says, "Avoid gifts for sex". Yeah, "Say no to drugs" is not their only concern here. Apparently girls sleeping with their teachers as a bargaining chip has been a problem. Unbelievable and just so sad.
At one point today we were meeting with the head of an elementary school and I saw a poster on the wall that had warnings about HIV/AIDS and had a bunch of questions on it like, "At what age should I get involved in sexual activity?". Is that crazy to anyone else?! Elementary school! One of the schools that we went to had a spray painted sign saying, "Virginity is power." We all laughed because most of us were raised in the LDS community so the message is funny to us. But when we understand what it means here and is trying to prevent...it's pretty eye opening.
We have a meeting today with a man in charge of an orphanage. We have a LOT on our plates. There are a lot of organizations that would appreciate our help. If we do have spare time here and there, we'd love to volunteer at some orphanages. So that's the most recent agenda. I apologize if this post is less coherent. It's still the middle of the night and I'm not entirely sure how I awake I am. haha But the bugs are starting to congregate to the light from my computer so perhaps now, with an empty bladder, and outdoor bugs currently in the process of singing me to sleep (instead of the dogs from an hour ago) I'll try to get some sleep before our orphanage visit. I'll update you again soon! Mal