2008 Uganda Combined Project
This is a combined project that will fund the creation of an administration building for Uganda Village Project, seven new wells, and two scholarships for university students. Four individuals from the Long family will be traveling to Uganda this summer where they will represent ChooseAneed and participate in completing this project that they have personally helped raise the funds for. Completed!
This is a very ambitious project that was created with the help of the Long family, ChooseAneed, and Uganda Village Project. This ambitious project is made possible through the dedication of the Long family who have personally raised the funds and donated from their own pockets to make this trip a reality. They will travel in the summer of 2008 to Uganda where they will meet the on-the-ground UVP volunteers. They will travel to the various communities that UVP is working in and will help complete the many projects they have raised the funds for. Instead of a family vacation they are taking a family mission trip! What a testament and challenge for the rest of us as we consider our vacation plans this coming year. Their trip will save lives and improve lives for years to come. We at ChooseAneed can hardly wait to see the results of these projects.
Seven new wells! Just look at the success stories link on our web page to see the impact that these wells have on the villagers. We even have some video of the well installation and the community celebrations that follow.
Two full scholarships to University for two Ugandan children. This is a huge deal! These are people who thirst for education but cannot go because of the lack of tuition money.
And finally, they have helped start the fundraising for UVP's planned administration building. With this 5,000 dollar seed money UVP plans to raise much more during their annual fund drive. This administration building will allow UVP to consolidate their activities, save money, and be able to take advantage of more volunteer offers. Perhaps someday, you too will be able to travel to Uganda and stay in this building while you work on another project.
Dave Long's report follows...
A Dream Come True
Dreams really do come true. Walt Disney said, “If you can dream it, you can do.” I had a dream come true in July.
For thirty-seven years I have dreamed of returning to Uganda, East Africa. I lived in Uganda for two years right out of college, 1969-71. I always wanted to return with Sue and, perhaps my family, to show them where I had lived and worked there.
Last fall, our son Steve called to say he had received an unexpected bonus from his company, Intel, and wanted to invest it to help people in Africa or India. He asked me to find a project for him. Immediately I began to search for something in Kenya or Uganda. Then he gave us the shocker: he wanted Sue and me to accompany him and Miriam and would cover our airfare. My dream was about to come true!
We left July 6 for an eighteen-day trip to East Africa. After a three-day stopover in London and a night in Nairobi, we arrived in Uganda to work with the Uganda Village Project. I had found the project on email@example.com web page. We would be helping villages to have clean water by digging clean water wells. Steve invested in seven wells and we helped raise funds for two others. There was also investment in the project’s scholarship fund for AIDS orphans. Two friends, Jean Cation and Mary Meyer, became honorary members of “The Long Family” for the trip.
We soon learned that digging wells was not exactly our expertise. Steve asked Kristen Shuken, the UVP ground coordinator in Uganda, if our taking up the hoe would be more of a photo op than a real help and she confirmed that it would be. Thus, we became auxiliary helpers to carry supplies, break rocks into gravel using hammers, and generally to be encouragers to the Ugandans. We did get to do the first digging on a new well and were able to visit and help with several wells in different stages of completion. We participated in the dedication of one well where Steve and Miriam pumped the first clean water for the village.
We were impressed with the clean water project because it requires the villagers to be involved in planning, digging, and maintaining the well. It is not a free gift to them except that the funds are provided for the materials. They literally do the work and then pay a small monthly charge to provide funding for maintenance.
In addition to the well project, we were able to observe three other projects. The fistula project educates and encourages women with tears from childbirth to have a simple surgery to repair the tear and to visit a hospital for childbirth. The clean water project educates about water-borne diseases and encourages the use of “Water Guard” to purify water. The AIDS orphanage provides a home and education for true orphans, including teaching marketable skills.
Sue, being a music teacher, was interested in finding a way to use fifty kazoos she had taken with her. Near one of the wells was a small village school whose director eagerly invited her in to give a music class. The older students were given kazoos and learned two songs, one in English and another in Swahili. She also found a “thumb piano” and a drum to use with her music students here.
Not all of our time was spent working. We had time to locate one of the schools where I taught. We found the house where I lived. I danced Ugandan dances – even have that on video! Sue learned to make the shrill “happy sound” of the ladies – also on video! We ate poschio (boiled corn meal), and matoke (boiled plantains), fresh corn on the cob, and the sweetest pineapple on earth – all with our hands since in the villages they do not use cutlery. It was wonderful! We gave soccer balls to village kids who became instant companions.
A highlight in Uganda was getting to kayak on the Nile River. We rode the white waters on the way to Bujagali Falls (African Queen movie fame) near the mouth of the Nile as it comes out of Lake Victoria at Jinja. What an adventure that was – only flipped over once!
But there was a second part to that dream: to meet three students for whom we have been paying school fees. We only knew them through the internet where I had read their story. After verifying the story to be true: father died of AIDS, mother is HIV-positive and very ill, older brother in university and working, three younger siblings go to school when there is money to pay their fees, we began to pay the fees of the three younger ones. We stopped to meet and visit them and were truly impressed with their determination to get an education and better themselves.
A third part of the dream was to see our son and daughter-in-law invest their resources and talents in a worthy project. I am truly grateful to Steve and Miriam for making my dream come true and for sharing the adventure with me.
We are grateful to Brian Dawson and firstname.lastname@example.org for the web site where we discovered the Uganda Village Project. Brian coordinated with Alison Hayward at Uganda Village Project. They worked with us to make the trip a wonderful experience. And enough cannot be said about Kristen Shuken who met us at the airport and was with us until we left. Kristen arranged housing, suggested restaurants, interpreted culture and projects, and arranged the kayak trip. The volunteers who were working on the projects were such wonderful young people and accepted us as a part of the team. To all of these we give a high five!
The dream is relived each time we tell our story. And the dream continues as Sue and I consider how we could spend time as volunteers in Uganda in retirement. If we dream it, it can happen!
Project Number: 0803001
Date added: 3/27/08
Date completed: 7/24/09
Sponsor: Brian Dawson - Chair
Amount to fund: $15,000
100% Complete ($15,475)
Admin costs: $25
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