Buwalula,, a village chief said: “In my village, before BkB’s intervention, water for both home and animal use came from a pond which we used to call a well. People in my village were always sick from using that dirty water. They got diarrhoea, typhoid, bilharzia and other dirty water related diseases. Children could have blood in their diarrhoea; but now not many people have a need to visit medical facilities and everyone is happy with the newly protected spring in our village. People in the neighbouring villages are asking us for BkB’s contact information to try out their luck for a new water source donation”. back
A young girl with a baby on her back and a very small child clinging to her skirt walked up the hill to the mobile clinic. Her brother followed carrying a toddler on his back. All three little ones were crying. After examining the children, the nurse realised from her records that this was the third time in four moths the children had been treated for malaria.
The village chief, our home visitor, the nurse and a woman from the children’s village talked about the children. With horror they realised because the children still had both their father and mother they were never considered as needing help. The neighbour explained the father was dying of TB, the mother was crippled and had no wheel chair, the eldest son ran away from home when 14. The 11 year old girl is the one most able to take care of the family.
The children were taken back to their village where the family lives in a small mud hut. In the kitchen shed there were three boiled sweet potatoes for the children to share. The small garden does not have enough crops to feed the family through the ‘hungry season’. Clearly the family needed help. Here is what our joint response team came up with:
– The village chief asked a neighbour to report emergencies to her.
– The community to help the family plant beans, maize, cassava and sweet potatoes.
– The family was given non-perishable foods: beans, peas, peanuts, corn, meat, rice, sugar
and salt to see them through the famine.
– The family were given funds to build a pig sty and buy 3 piglets to start a small business.
– Friends gave funds to buy mattresses, blankets and mosquito nets.
– The children were sponsored for their schooling. back
We drove to a remote village where the family compound was quiet. The children: thin arms and legs, distended tummies, dry skin and sunken eyes. They were without energy and looked sad. Their grandparents greeted us politely and were clearly glad to see us. Because of the large number of orphans the community had chosen this family to be the recipients of a pregnant cow. They learned how to build a shed, grow grass for the cow and understand the importance of providing plenty of water for the animal. They had promised that each child would drink one large mug of milk every day. The rest they could sell. They learned how to use the cow dung for their crops and the urine, mixed with ashes, hot peppers and bitter roots as an organic pesticide. Before long their crops were increasing to a degree that they were able to sell the surplus. The extra cash was used to send the children to school. They started growing herbs to sell to restaurants and hotels. They built a new house, a new kitchen and bought a bicycle to transport produce to the market.
Seven months after that first visit we returned. The moment our truck drove into the compound all the children came running to greet us. They looked healthy, full of energy and eager to show off the English they had learned in school: “Good morning Madam, we are well thank you.” All this because of one cow! back
Jane Kizito was among the first women to take part in our vocational training programme: looking at businesses, drawing up a business plan, marketing, management skills. She and a group of neighbours and friends were taught how to use and maintain hand knitting machines by Angelina Campbell from Scotland; how to produce high quality goods, how to save and/or reinvest profits. After one of her regular visits to groups around the country, Angelina announced that her knitters had become so good they were now better than their trainer.
Last year Jane was recruited as a knitting machine instructor at a vocational college in Kampala. They were so impressed with her skills that they expanded the department and hired Zina, another experienced knitter form the programme. Jane and Zina are now doing what they love, earning enough money to support their families, pay school fees and medical bills and save a little for emergencies. Also, they are teaching other women to develop the skills to help them out of poverty.
A woman dying of AIDS spoke to Angelina: My daughter now has the skills to enable her to make enough to keep the family. She is a good knitter and will be a good business woman. I can now die in peace knowing my children will survive. back
The Inspector for schools, Kampala City Council:
“During my visits to schools I keep on noticing that some classrooms are different. These rooms are bright. There are many learning materials. The children are actively involved in meaningful activities and the teachers are highly motivated. When I inquire about the reason for the difference I am always told that the teachers in the unique classrooms participated in BkB’s workshops for teachers. back
When the last of her seven children died, Jaja (grandmother) Kaluba found herself caring for her 22 grandchildren. She was old, widowed, alone and poor. Relatives offered to take some of the children. Others saw this as an opportunity claim part of the family land.
Together with the village chief, we encouraged the grandmother to keep the children together so they would grow up with their siblings in the family home which we enlarged for them. Keeping the children together would enable them to keep their parents’ home and land. With the elders gathered we marked out the boundaries of the land and recorded it as belonging to the orphans. When the children are older they can build homes on their land and stay close to one another. back
We put Mama in a hole in the banana tree garden behind our house. We put her next to Tata (Dad) who is next to Aunt Manti who is next to uncle . . . Afterwards we eat. The old people sat together and talked. Jaja (grandmother) said she would look after us. Our uncle took my sister away. I never saw her again. Everything was different after Mama died; the house so quiet. Jaja is always tired. Her legs do not work well. She does not want to talk. She does not smile. She does not laugh. I do not feel good.
Every morning I wake up early. I wake my brother and sister. I take the goat out to eat grass. I light the wood fire to boil tea. I wash my face and put the bed mats away. Breakfast is black tea with cold sweet potato from last night. I help Jaja plant beans, maze, sweet potato. Our meal today is sweet potato and spinach soup.
I see my friends walking home from school. I want to go to school. I want to read books. I want to wear the blue uniform like my friends. I ask Jaja if I can go to school in the morning. She turns away. She cries. What is happening? My friends call me. It is time to fetch water from the swamp. The older girls help us balance our water cans on our heads. When I walk home chatting and laughing with my friends is my favourite time. When the sun goes I bring the goat in. The little ones whisper to me. They ask questions. I don’t know the answers. I am tired. I want my Mama. back