One Volunteer's Experience Via her many Facebook Status Updates
40 hours and we finally hit a bed... Slept like a rock! So happy to be in Uganda.... Weather is awesome and people are marvelous....African tea and eggs... We will get acclimated today and then head to our first town tomorrow to work... Will keep you posted!
First person I saw this morning saw this morning was my widow friend Evelyn. She has beautiful beads this year and tomorrow I will post pictures of the beads and her! She was so happy to see us and she said God has blessed her so much this year that she actually has been able to use some of her blessing to help other ladies in need. Pay it forward! I love it.
Traveled to a village today. Met with about 50 women. These are women that have a copop sew and bake. Did medical assessments. The stories are heart wrenching. 90% widowed most have aids and malaria. Some without shelter.
All have horrible arthritis heart issues and terrible eyes. They are learning to bake bread. 1300 rolls a week made and sold. Total of 104 women in all. We have funds for a new oven from many of you generous people. This will double their earning capacity.
They are learning to sew and we will teach jewelry skills while here too. Those that can see will do these skills. Practical ways we might be able to help: mosquito nets, reading glasses and education as most complain of ulcers and diarrhea. Poor food safety, need to boil water.
They sell a dozen rolls for .50. Some only make $5 a month. They have as many as 10 children in a home to care for and feed. All on thier own. Digging or farming by hand for land owners is their other source of income. Hence the arthritis. I shall never complain.
Last note of the day.. I met with Bernard tonight. Owns a jewelery store in Jinga. We discussed ideas and looked at African materials for new designs. We will meet again On Thursday and he will teach me the stringing technique and then together we will make a few designs to teach the women at Care and Share. If we can get them proficient, it will be another means of income, as he will sell them in his store!
Hi again! We went to Iganda, about 1 1/2 hours away. We went to do assessments on the woman in the village. We are trying to get demographics and then seeing if there are specific trends among them. This information will be used to help starting the CHI, Vanessa Crowley's baby. Its the Community Health Initiative of Fount of Mercy, and... will be used for education purposes for the women in the villages regarding health and hygiene.
It is obvious there are specific trends that can actually be addressed and with education, many can be alleviated. The major health issues though that require medical assistance, require money, which most can't afford. Carol and I have found that the women our age (actually a decade younger) are experiencing menopausal... symptoms! But don't understand what is happening to them.
I only have one picture of some of the ladies journeying into to the area. We were very busy, both of us with an interpreter and didn't get many of the ladies. I know Carol may have gotten a few and did get a little video. Another group from California is here and has been in this village for several days.
The other group was doing teaching with the children. They divided them into groups. Younger and older. They were really excellent with them and the children are learning colors, numbers and sentences in English. The older group was learning about emotions today. One made the sentence that she was hopeful when her mother had food for her.
Another said she was embarrassed when her mother whipped her! One said
he got excited when he passed his exams! They understand a lot for sure.
enjoy the pictures of the children today. Thank you for the prayers.
A great day in Jinja today. Learned some African jewelry making technique from Bernard who is a genius and so creative! We all will go to the village tomorrow and teach the widow ladies so they can make and sell. It was definitely an eye opener, and let me say I have a lot to learn.... so much fun today...
Getting ready for bed. It has officially been a great day and we have adapted to the pace and the time zone. Again I am impressed with the simplicity of life and the creative nature he has given these people. It is survival for most here, but happiness exudes each one we come in contact with. Night!
Outstanding day today! Back to the village with the ladies and the bread baking. They are a group of "guineas" as Bill would say! what fun, listening to them fellowship and chat together. We women need our friends for sure! Jewelery making a huge hit! Bread making: loaves and donuts for the first! Interviews and health teaching: another home run.
Vanessa taught on personal hygiene, hand washing, body etc. and also food cleanliness after handling raw meat. I taught on water and why it is so important to sterilize it and drinking plenty is so important. Also on mosquito nets and where malaria comes from. Carol did menopause! They knew so little and truly enjoyed ...the education. They also asked really good questions!
You would be surprised what we take for granted informational wise. They have many misconceived ideas passed down from many generations. I have truly been blessed by them and their sweet spirits and friendships. Tomorrow we will return for a day just like today. Many more come each day we re here. By the way we have had interpreters all week!
It has been so fun this year for me and Carol. Working with the women is new for us and we feel like we really have clucked lol clicked with them! Get a bunch of women together and there is alot of clucking even if you don't understand. It's been good.
we've been away from wifi few days. Great time again with the women of Iganga on health assessments and sewing, jewelry and bread baking. These things are really empowering the widows of this community and it all begins here. I have learned so much this year about the culture, good and bad and the health trends they have.
Without money for medical care these women suffer tremendous pain and illness along with the children. I was truly surprised at the lack of knowledge of the body they had and knowledge will help to begin the change in generations to come. This is the goal of FountOfMercy.org the organization whose umbrella we are under.