If you have been reading my blog for a while, you know that Uganda has made a big impact on my life. Not just by giving me my children. But by making me fall in love with the country and its people. I have been working with 3 other wonderful ladies that I met while in Uganda, they feel the same way as I do and they are adoptive moms too. We decided to start Awaka Children's Foundation. We have travelled a winding road, trying to find what it is specifically that God wants us to do for Uganda. We have helped some people already, but we are beginning to focus in on a couple of projects that are near and dear to our hearts. We have also picked up a partner along the way. Lara Gordon a wonderfully organized Brit, has already started her non profit, Craft Aid UK. Lara was a volunteer at the orphanage that we all adopted from and has a heart for Uganda as we do. She is already helping an organization, Peace for Children Africa. They work with 'street' children. Children that have no home to go to, no one to look after them. Children as young as 4. We want to help too.
Our dear friend Godfrey, who is our eyes, arms and legs in Uganda has also found a project for us. It is the village of Kamengo Ffunvu. Godfrey has spent a lot of time there and has sent us a report of his findings.
Kamengo Ffunvu Village Report
Kamengo is located in the south of Uganda, 45 Kilometers from Kampala. Depending on traffic it takes 1 ½ hours to drive, ther road is 70% tarmac and 30% terrible(dirt) as you turn off the main Masaka Road. Kamengo is a big county having over 80 villages, these villages are headed by village local council chairmen, who head a committee of 8 people, women being part of the committee. I basically did not move and check out the 80 villages, I did concentrate on one call Ffunvu village. I met the local leaders on my several visits and these are my findings.
The population of Kamengo-Ffunvu village is about 1000 people, children below the age of 7 years taking the greatest percentage, followed by women and men last. Kamengo has a good number of elderly, poverty stricken people with special needs. I was delighted to meet kids with special needs. I met a couple of deaf children who were deaf since they were born, they have never attended school, because they count of Kamengo has no schools for deaf. I believe there are more deaf people in the other villages that make up Kamengo.
I also met kids with eye problems, when I asked, people told me its because of bugs, dirty water that is a major cause. Parents neglect taking their kids to hospitals because they have no money and believe the local herbs will heal their children.
I also saw people who were crippled with no wheel chairs, children with big heads full of water that need attention.
Ffunvu village has only two primary schools and one secondary school where all children between age of 4 years and 16 years go for school. One of the schools is called Andelo Primary Infant School and they chare 35,000shs-40,000shs as school fees from primary 1 to primary 7. The other primary school is called Kamengo Grammar School. This is a little further from Ffunvu village. It means kids walk long distances to the school, but is has good teachers and better buildings. As regards to secondary school, I went and viited St. Mark Secondary School. They cahre 80,000shs for school fees, but and additional 50,000 as registration fees for candidate clases like s.4 and s.6. Most children don’t have school uniforms, those who have one have torn shirts and shorts. Untiformsa for primary kids costs 10,000shs for girls and 9,000shs for boys, but parents cannot afford, no school fees. Books are very hard to get, especially children in candidate classes, need lots of books and parents cannot afford. Kids walk long distance and this affects the kindergarten kids especially who spend lots of time on the way and some times they never make it to school. 90 percent of children did not have shoes on their feet, no pencils, no toys to play with like balls, ropes for girls. Teachers are demotivated.
Kamengo Ffunvu village has got a inadequate health clinic run by and old lady call SSebuyingo Florence. She’s a qualified mid-wife and she has helped lots of pregnant ladies. 90% of ladies have given birth from this house clinic. She charges a small amount of 10,000shs from every woman that comes to give birth. She has 2 extra rooms behind that house where she admits sick people, especially those ladies that come to give birth and need medical attention afterwards. She really needs help as regards to birthing kits. These village ladies come with nothing and she told me that one challenge she has is that sometimes she fails to protect new borns from getting HIV from their sick mothers.
HIV is quite high in Ffunvu village, many men and women are drunkards, besides they cannot afford buying condoms as at times they fail to get money for food, so they don’t have any for condoms. The lady told me she needs help as in mattresses, sheets, gloves, basins, soap, and besides the inadequate facility needs to be buil well with at least ten beds. She actually asked for any volunteers. As I was talking to her bugs did bite me till today my skin is itchy. She needs to fumigate her clinic. She always pays a boda boda guy to take people with complicated cases. She receives a little fund from the county council at the end of the month to carry out that good work.
Ffunvu village has a lot of Malaria cases, many die fo malaria, ania, ring worms, syphilis, skin problems due to bad dirty bedding, jiggers as a result of walking bear footed. I saw maggots in one of the mattresses which come as a result of too much urine in the bedding. Children have dental problems, like decays.
Like I said Ffunvu village has a good number of old. Many don’t have good shelter. Most of their children are married to drunkards and many run to the city for greener pasture and never return home to help the elderly. Many need wheel chairs, need eye glasses as they have poor sight. Many don’t have mattresses. Many go to bed at 6pm as they don’t have kerosene lights to keep them going in the night. Many have back problems and need ointments.
Many girls are in their teenage age, and they have a problem of monthly menstruations. They don’t have sanitary towels, they use dirty clothes and end up with infections. They lack knickers, bras, clothes and many smell bad. They need deodorants.
Many are Catholics and Protestants, but by my survey, they are willing to give up anything for Jesus Christ if we do something. We need to evangelize and let them know Jesus cares.
Many rear an animal at least at home. Mainly pigs, goats and cows. Many depend on agriculture for sustainability. They gorw mainly cassava, maize, matooke. They love growing corn for sale and ginger. If at all possible we need to help them with seeds.
Ffunvu village have many single orphans, a few cases of double orphans, many youth have HIV and any help as regards to ARVs is welcome. We need also to come up with a feeding program for kids, as Katie Davis does it. Many women also do craft for survival though they lack market for their products. They manily do baskets and mats.
Many homes in Kamengo do not have toilets. I saw people using the bushes.
The water source is a problem. Like the picture I sent before, they share wter source with animals. I still have itchy skin from that water. Many cannot afford things like soap, sugar mattresses, mosquito nets. Awaka needs to com in and help as in sponsoring kids to school, helping the medical clinic, school uniforms, books, shoes, eyeglasses for elderly, wheel chairs, immunizations, and ARVs. I thank you.
I hope this report moved you as it moved us. We are trying to get money together for a well for the village and to help with some of the medical issues quickly. We would then like to start a feeding program and school sponsorships for the children. This is a chance for those with an abundance to give to those in need.
Would you be Jesus for someone today? someone a world away? someone you will never meet here on this earth, but maybe, just maybe in heaven one day?
Since we are just beginning Awaka, we do not have our non-profit status with the IRS yet. If you would like to make a donation anyway, it would be most appreciated. Please leave me a comment. We will have an Awaka website soon, with an easier way to donate and craft items you can buy. I just felt the need in Kamnego Ffunvu was great enough to start asking for help immediately.
Thank you for your help.
5 months ago