Saturday, March 26, 2011

Oh Happy Day

Who is the happiest person in this picture?
We have been anticipating , waiting with bated breath and this morning when we awakemed at 7:00 am there was an email saying that Nathan had some very exciting news to share.

Yes it is official, we saw the beautiful ring, everyone was smiling and Nathan had this expression of relief spread across his face.
Nathan Barlow and Eliza Baird are engaged.

Wahoo!!! The happiest people are Mon and Dad Barlow (and by the looks of this picture so are Eliza's parents happy about this event.). Eliza is a beautiful, kind, fun, loving person, just that special one Nathan has been waiting for all his life.

Congratulations Nathan - good job.

Oh Happy Day!!!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Family comes to Kampala

How excited we were to have Keith (our son-in-law) and Ryan (our grandson) come to Kampala to help with the Dental Outreach project.

The Dental Outreach is a project with the Kampala North Rotary Club and supervised by Dr. Drew Cahoon of Raymond, Alberta, Canada. The project reaches out to school children p5 p6 and does dental screening identifying children needing dental care and targeting easy fix beginning cavities. The dental health officers fix the minor cavities right there at school so that the children can see that cavities can be repaired and teeth do not need to be pulled just because they have a cavity. They teach proper dental hygiene, screen each student, treat minor problems and refer more complicated problems to the dental office in the area.

Keith and Ryan came to mentor the dental officers in the communities doing the outreach. They assisted in 2 schools where Keith mentored the DOs and Ryan entertained the kids as they waited for screening.
Ryan was amazing. He brought his ukulele and taught songs to the students, gave them soccer balls for the school (the first soccer ball the school had ever had) and shared his culture with them as they shared theirs.

They sang and danced for Ryan. They played games with him much like our dodge ball and jump the rope but with a new twist. Dodge ball was played with a baseball size banana fiber ball and they were vicious on how they threw the ball at the person in the middle.
The children had braided banana fiber into a rope for jumping.

The children loved the ukulele
Ryan used the banana fiber balls to show off his juggling skills. Then they each had to have a try at it.
My juggling skills were a flop but they got a good laugh.
Creating banana fiber balls
The children did not have a chance to be afraid of the dental treatment as Ryan kept them busy till it was their turn to be screened and treated.

Besides the Dental Outreach we had a chance to go on Safari. Seems our family came right in the middle of the National Election and so we had a few down days and decided to sit out the election on Safari. We went to Murchison Falls and had a grand time.

Murchison Falls is a waterfall on the Nile. It breaks the Victoria Nile, which flows across northern Uganda from Lake Victoria to Lake Kyoga and then to the north end of Lake Albert in the western branch of the East African Rift. At the top of Murchison Falls, the Nile forces its way through a gap in the rocks, only 7 metres (23 ft) wide, and tumbles 43 metres (141 ft), then flows westward into Lake Albert. The outlet of Lake Victoria sends around 300 cubic metres per second (11,000 ft³/s) of water over the falls, squeezed into a gorge less than ten metres (30 ft) wide. It is an impressive site and it's sheer power and force is overwhelming.

We took a boat ride on the Nile. We saw some pretty amazing sights like a crocodile 15 ft. long.  He flipped back in the water so fast we couldn't catch his retreat on the camera - amazing!

There are hundreds of hippos on the Nile. They are huge. This guy was scared up pretty bad. Our guide told us that when they fight they can be very vicious.(note gash on his hind quarter).

We had a game driver, Eric who made our Safari drives incredible. He was very knowledgeable.
Our vehicle allowed us to view the savanna from many different directions, not missing anything.
Families of giraffes
- Rothschild's giraffe
- an injured lion that had been caught in a poachers snare. We returned to check on him the next day and he had chewed his paw off and was walking around on three legs. A vet had been called to treat him and he was going to be transferred out of the park for his protection, probably to a zoo,
- a very old lion that had been pushed out of the pride and was wondering alone
- other lions and lionesses that were quite majestic.
Many types of animals like the Oribi

- warthogs and antelope
Cape Buffalo
- exotic birds of all sizes and kinds

- this guy caught a fish and proceeded to bang him on this log till he stopped flipping around.
And a whole heard of elephants.

Sausage Tree. When the fruit ripens and falls to the ground the elephants eat the fruit and become drunk on the fermented fruit

When we returned from the safari we had an email telling us Jacob had been taken to the hospital and we needed to make contact immediately.

When we finally reached Christie, Jacob had been diagnosed with the onset of Juvenile Diabetes and was a very sick little boy. The challenge then was to get Keith home to be with Jacob and Christie. He was able to get a flight out on Tues instead of Thurs putting him home as soon as possible.

We so enjoyed their visit and our safari with them but then everything changed as we focused on Jacob and what was happening at home.

Two weeks later Jacob, our amazing grandson, is home testing his own blood sugar and pushing to take full control of his insulin regimen. We have prayed that he would have the maturity needed to help his mom and dad manage his health and be a willing participant. As hard as it was not to be home during this time we were so appreciative of our family who rallied around Christie and supported her threw the days that she carried the burden of this family crisis until Keith could return and give his support.

Now that the crisis is over and Keith and Ryan are home we reflect back on a great experience of sharing a bit of Africa with them. We wish all our family could experience this amazing place on the other side of the world. It was a highlight of our mission to share this experience and have them help with one of the humanitarian projects.
the Uganda Kob

Monday, March 7, 2011

Mengo Springs revisited

When we first came to Uganda one of the first projects we visited with the Glenns was the wonderful Mengo Spring. Actually it is called Nababirye Spring and is located in Kampala in a very densely populated area. People originally gathered water out of a spring fed pond. This water source was opened to cows and goats and although it was free flowing it certainly wasn't clean.

 The church funded a protected spring structure that was constructed by UCDV one of our current water contractors.
. . . and a beautiful spring it is. It always gives us a thrill to see the amount of clean water made available to this community
While visiting this spring last October with Dr. Hunsaker, our vision specialist, we were again overwhelmed with the numbers using this spring. We noted how many people were trying to wash their clothes near the water source causing a continual muddy environment to work in and then they were laying their clothes on the grass to dry. goats and cows wander in and out of this area not minding the clean clothes.
Another project was authorized to build a clothes washing station near the spring to provide a clean environment to wash clothes. Many people can wash their clothes at the same time with the used water running to the same runoff as the spring. Their is an abundance of water to use without having to carry the water long distances. Women are able to bring their children to help with the chore and socialize with other women while they are are washing. A clothes line was also provided.
The station was in full use when we arrived one Saturday morning. We had brought Olivia from Peace and Hope Training Center to teach the women the Family Health and Hygiene program and also how to make their own soap.
The local women's organization gathered for the training. Trainers from this group will continue to train the families using the spring in Family Health and Hygiene, soap making and making of reusable sanitary pads. These skills are greatly needed in this over populated area as the people are very poor with little or no money to buy supplies. They were given a good basic family health program and then taught how to make and sell soap to generate enough revenue to buy more supplies to make more soap there by insuring a supply of soap for their families needs. The reusable sanitary pad program is greatly needed as disposable pads are contaminating the environment and ending up polluting the water source.
It being Saturday, all the shoes got cleaned and made ready for Sunday.

The children didn't want to be left out. They got their hands on a Family Health and Hygiene manual and asked us to teach them, which we did. The parents may not be able to speak English but most of the kids do if they have been going to school.
We were at the washing station for about 4-5 hours and it stayed busy the whole time we were there. The woman who is chairman of the water committee said that the spring is busy all day and that different parts of the neighborhood had to be assigned different washing days so as to accommodate all those who wanted to use the station. The clothes line had been broken due to some one hanging on the crossbars. She was determined to manage the area securely and UCDV returned while we were there to reinstall the clothes line using a larger pole that would not easily bend.
How does one child's imagination work to turn a plastic water bottle and a bamboo pole into a car that he 'drove' (with sound effects) all over the neighborhood while we were at the Nababirye Spring Project?

This one project will benefit approximately 3000 people. What a great use of the humanitarian funds. Be generous, your humanitarian dollars are doing good work.