Ogoloi Day 1
Our arrival this morning at Ogoloi after a 30 minute drive down a long and bumpy orange-colored dirt road, and another 10 minutes through the bush, was met with the usual dancing and singing and fanfare. The kids always meet us about half a mile down the “road” (really more of a path) and we have to pull the van over and walk the remainder of the way with the kids singing and dancing as we go.
As usual we were marched down the trail to the CarePoint where we were met by the second group of singing and dancing mothers and caretakers who had been expecting our arrival all morning.
|Juma manufacturing toy trucks.|
The kids are in great spirits and appear to mostly be in good health. There were a couple of cases of malaria in the kids but they were all on meds and recovering. The kids with HIV are all taking their ARV’s and are responding well. This is one of the many benefits of being an orphan in the the program, as it would be highly unlikely that an orphaned child in this region would be able to afford the simple medicine needed to help them recover from Malaria. Crazy to imagine that tens of thousands die every year from mosquito bites requiring about $10 worth of meds.
We bumped into Juma, a fantastic kid that has been in the program but recently left the region due to changes in family. He is back in the area, apparently recovering from a broken arm and leg (you can see the bend in his wrist which was not set very well). We are told that he fell from a Mango Tree. Juma suffers from epilepsy and is struggling in school so we need to see if we can arrange for him to be back in the program, however it might be a struggle as it sounds like he is moving in and out of the region trying to work for people in order to survive. It’s a touchy situation, and we can’t control the outcome…but it was good to see him still around making his toy cars with beaming pride.
I found my 4 buddies and we went to their “ore’s” (homes) again for a brief visit. My aTeso vocabulary is getting pretty substantial and I am able to communicate about a quarter of the time in their language which is an absolute blast – though still limiting. It is terrific how pleased they are they we are working to know their language, and you can tell that they understand that we are here for the long haul.
Our team took off like champs on their first day, overcoming the language and cultural barriers like seasoned pros.
Mark took a walk with some of the boys to check out the well and spent a significant amount of his day having his leg and arm hair played with. (they have little to no body hair and find ours fascinating)
Jordan connected with his sponsored child, Isaac Omoding. He and Whitney sponsor Isaac as well as two more kids in Bukedea. It sounds like Isaac was shy, but opened up when Jordan shared photos with Isaac of him receiving his album from us (from Jordan and Whitney) on the last trip.
Tyra went straight into “momma mode” and spent a lot of the day conducting interviews with kids that are sponsored by many of the friends and family members that she has “coerced” into sponsoring kids. She really has done a terrific job of helping mobilize new sponsors so I am glad to have her with us this time, as Jen (my wife) is not here and Tyra is doing a great job filling the big shoes that Jen wears here administratively. That said I am still wishing my wife was here with us terribly.
Matt (Tyra’s husband and my brother in law) kicked off the day with his usual ridiculously unsustainable high energy sporting activities that he somehow always seems to sustain over the 8 days. Not to mention that he was dressed in Jeans and a long sleeve shirt. This picture is of him taking some of the boys and Damon (his 9 year old son) to the drinking well.
Here is a picture of Damon, a big fan with all the kids. He is now officially the youngest person ever to come on a Hope Chest trip to Uganda at any of the CarePoints. He is being a real trooper, despite the fact that he is still licking his hands when he eats (a fact that is driving Matt insane).
|The current CarePoint building|
Around noon we arranged for a brief “20 minute” (read 2 hour) tour of some of the land options that we are considering closer to the school for the new CarePoint site. The current site is owned by a local pastor and serves as a church and we are now eager to locate a permanent site for the CarePoint closer to the school, having raised enough funds this Christmas to begin construction on the infrastructure for the CarePoint. Joe and I took some bicycles and piki-piki’s (small motor cycles) and headed out with several community leaders to go and visit some of the sites. A couple are available as free donations from the community and two others are available for sale. There is a lot of politics involved in a transaction of this nature, and we have been working on this negotiation for well over a year so this was a momentous occasion.