Tuesday, December 30, 2008
One of the most rewarding responsibilities we have had in Uganda has been the delivery of wheelchairs. 750 wheelchairs were shipped from the LDS Humanitarian Center in Salt Lake City for the disabled in Uganda. In a handover ceremony in October, 700 were given to a Ugandan National organization for countrywide distribution. We retained 50 to be given to local church members and other needy people we locate. This is not a country where the disabled receive government assistance or public access. You often see disabled people crawling on public streets. Their knees and legs are calloused and dusty and they often wear sandals on their hands. We are able sometimes to just meet someone on the street or in a public place and give them a chair. Getting a wheelchair under these conditions is truly a life changing experience.
We met an impressive young woman in Mukono, Uganda who started a boarding school for handicapped children. Agnes started out by doing volunteer work assisting the parents of handicapped children by cleaning and washing clothes for them. Over time she began taking in children whose parents could not care for them at home. She then started a school and now has 28 children there. We provided a number of wheelchairs to her residents and have plans to assist her with constructing paved pathways on the school grounds so that they can move between buildings more easily.
Some of the people we have just met through members of the church who are aware of someone near them who needs help. Susan, who works in the mission office, told us about this young man who has been unable to go outside the small house where he is cared for as he has grown too big to carry. Teenagers around him now enjoy rolling him outside in his new chair.
Olivia, from the LDS Branch we attend in Mengo, made us aware of a young mother who lived nearby with handicapped 10 year old twins. The little girl just recently died but we were able to provide a wheelchair for the little boy. Olivia is on the left below with the boy and his mother.
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
In the United States we take clean drinkable water for granted. All we have to do is turn on the tap and fill up our glass. Only 62 percent of the 30 million Ugandans have access to safe water and 60% have access to adequate sanitation; the lowest rates in the world. Only 8% have electricity. The facts are startling: approximately 300 million Africans are without access to safe drinking water and 313 million are without appropriate access to sanitation. The water in our clean, modern apartment is only safe to drink if run through a filtration system. It can be used for bathing only if bleach is added. Most Ugandans have to haul water from a source some distance from their house.
These springs can be cleaned and a protective structure built so that they can function without the repair and maintenance required with a borehole. We are requesting approval of a project in the villages of the Nakaseke District to build protective structures at 30 springs which will provide clean water to 7200 people.