The Mukono team has recently gone through a rather disturbing loss. May Blythe, Brooke, and Brooke have the best two years-okay 18 months-of their lives, May Jen have a successful school year with the 4th graders and the infamous Vern. Let Melissa booty shake her way through Provo, without the constant stress of food on her mind. May Kaile enjoy her name being back to a ‘girls’ name; farewell Kelan, Peter will never forget you. Let Gwen fully enjoy her adventures through Rome and Greece. May Lexi completely take in and enjoy her ‘long’ fingernails due to her recent broken habit of nail biting and last but certainly NOT least, wish Scott on his endeavors of finding a girlfriend. From us troopers who are still here, we unanimously say…good luck with the deworming process!!
For those of us left behind we fully accept and appreciate the extension of our wardrobes, left over peanut butter, jerky, and pistachios, and the extra mattress extending our beds from 2 inches to 4 inches. The house has become much quitter and the fight for food has become less stressful. We miss you all dearly, but no worries; we will fully invest our sorrows in porridge, matoke, and posho. Till we meet again, Bella Bulungi.
While we were anticipating and getting over the loss of half our team, we were kept very busy this week. On Tuesday, Rachel Zani and Kaile did an amazing job planning a Disability Outreach. A number of volunteers extended their hands and put on five rotating stations for the disabled youth while their parents and caretakers were involved in a series of seminars educating them on the proper health, sanitation, hygiene, grieving procedures, and Cerebral Palsy management. Despite a few of us being urinated on, all who were involved enjoyed their time blowing bubbles, reading, and singing to the children.
This week, a few volunteers were also involved in putting on three HIV and AIDS assemblies in local schools. This was also very successful. We taught close to 400 students about what HIV and AIDS does to the human body, how it is transferred, and how to prevent it. Along with this, we did a Q&A session where we passed out papers so that the students can ask question anonymously. This went over very well because the students were able to ask questions without feeling embarrassed or ashamed. Most students do not get the opportunity to ask such questions so it was a good chance for them to get honest answers.
A new and upcoming project that is starting to take a lot of focus from a group of our volunteers is the Grow, Learn, Give project. Grow, Learn, Give is a program that helps to keep young girls in school during their menstruation cycle. Research shows that while some girls are menstruating they do not have feminine hygiene products so they stay at home till they are done menstruating. Some girls even drop out of school because menstruating becomes such a burden when they do not have any feminine hygiene products provided. Grow, Learn, Give will enable girls to stay in school during their menstruation period by providing re-usable sanitation pads. Along with this program it educates girls, boys, and parents on what is happening to the girl’s bodies through this time, importance of menstruation hygiene, and de-sensitizing this topic. We hope to include Uganda Christian University students who are interested by helping us implement this program in schools. There is still much to do with this project, but we are excited to be getting started at the very least.
I would be lying if I said that we were all work and no play. Saturday, we had the pleasure of going to the Rothy’s (LDS couple missionaries in Kampala) and indulging in the delicacy of pancakes!! It was truly a lovely taste of home, which I can say for the entire team, was much, much needed. Overall, this week had its ups and its downs. We are sad to lose so many members of our team, but we look forward to the extra time we have here in Uganda. There is still so much work for us to do, so we are what? Anticipating some more success!