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Agabba, take some baby powder! You are way too sweaty for us

July 13, 2011

     Okay, I admit it. I’m starting slack on the blogs! But it is for a good reason. I’m busy. Really busy! I think that we’re doing really great work here though.

     On Monday, the group loan based out of the Tulina Esuubi community group was given to Namuwulya Betty to help acquire bricks, trees, and sand (the community contribution to the project). The community would also pitch in for the labor and receive training on water tank construction.

     Wednesday was filled with sweat, a whole clan of school children and more sweat. What were we doing? Digging a big hole. Using a parade of hoes and shovels we attacked the ground. I got my taste of a Ugandan farmer’s day. The amazing part was many of the group members weren’t winded or had a drop of perspiration. Meanwhile, I look like the recreation of every man over 200 pounds eating a cheeseburger during the summer. Don’t know what I’m talking about? Just take a look around at your next family BBQ. I tried my best though and the community appreciated the work. Gyebale (Je-bal-lay) in Luganda means “Thank you for the work” and is used constantly. This day was Gyebale day. Everyone in this group helped dig the hole. Even the kids around at the primary next door wanted to help and carry bricks! In return, some of the luckier ones got bouncy balls from my magic backpack. The dedication of these members to each other was really inspiring. Any little problem that had previously made want to leave Uganda vanished, like the water in my body.

     The next day was a protest day against high prices and constant inflation. All the shops in town closed out of protest or the fear of protest. So, not much happened on Thursday. Just another slight speed bump, just brush it off and keep going. The protest sparked an interesting conversation between my brother and I about the potential wave of change across Africa. Egypt, Libya, and more are to come. The connectedness of the youth and built up frustration of the old, from greedy leaders and unequal service delivery, are leading a wave of protests across East Africa. In addition, it is a very interesting to be in this region this weekend. It is the official creation of Southern Sudan after the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in 2005 creating an autonomous government of Southern Sudan. After years of two civil wars between the Sudanese government and SPLA (along with tribes, clans and other confusing factions), human rights abuses and millions of internally displaced people and refugees, this region will begin a new chapter. Many here feel mixed about the situation, but now see South Sudan as a possible ally to Uganda. The south is filled with minerals, oil and resources and will be an interesting trade partner to many East African and other countries.

     Let’s skip to Friday. I gathered all my materials for the tank from several towns and Masaka, and packed them into an old farm supply truck. Again, all of the community pitched in and helped build the tank. I was so excited that later in the night I had to celebrate at Ambiance, my favorite Masaka nightclub. My song vocabulary of Ugandan songs has exponentially increased. Locals were impressed. A few hours after leaving, I went back to work in village and finished the tank. Relief poured over me (as well as a flourished exhaustion). Weeks of planning and set back had finally paid off. Everyone felt so accomplished. The final touches were followed by singing, clapping and prayer by many of the group members. On the taxi ride home all I could think of how we were going to build another tank to further help these people.

     This leads me to my final note. I started some external fundraising. Feel free to take a look at the website and the attached .pdf about my project. If you are able please check it out!



P.S. Pictures tell a better story. Check them out!



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