Friday, October 31, 2008

The great Fundraising

Sometimes what one thinks is fun can turn out to be very productive.
Last weekend was surely a great day for us , the Acholi community in Kampala and those from abroad who were here on holidays or for some kind business. I have heard a lot over the years about this function that every once a month there's such a gathering , but never bothered. This time a friend thought I should be pulled , because he thought it's kind of related to my field of work.

Over five hundred people or more could be seen already dancing or slowly sipping their beers, when I came in. This occasion was organized by a Canadian NGO called CPAR(Canadian Physicians Aids), it was in conjunction with one of the telecommunications companies Warid). More than 20 local musicians from the North performed and that was great , It was promoting their talents and fund raising at the same time. CPAR is trying to raise fund to resettle the people of Acholiland who have for the past fifteen years or so been living in the camps . This was so interesting, with very many Canadians I supposed so. You can see a Mzungu here and there trying to make every bit of the day interesting. All the local dishes from northern Uganda was available and many traditional dances were performed at least to the satisfaction of everyone present.

This, I am sure fetched a very good sum of money for the organizers, and I strongly feel that more of such functions can help bring change to our communities, what seems difficult here is the organization, I really wish all like minded people could come up and set up such functions. There are surely many wealthy people from this war torn area but can never take any initiative. I have seen that when they are invited for such things, they all come and with lots of enthusiasm for for such things , this could become a very strong fund raising tool for people who are trying to help bring change in Africa . I have mentioned Africa here because it's really them who are still a bit behind with the idea of giving to others, but they love their culture very much and would do anything to get closer to it. So this could be a very good bait for our tycoons.

I just enjoyed every moment of the function and I was left yearning for the next one.

Monday, October 27, 2008


After another tour of the town last week, I still feel that nothing was more interesting than my little tunnel at Kisenyi. I would have taken time off to say a little about the other places that I visited, but I have a temptation to give my full account of the plight at the Kisenyi house, lest I forget some very important information.

In my previous post, I described how tiny the room was, this was my greatest concern because I cannot imagine 21 souls living in such a congested place, with almost no ventilation at all, without contracting any contiguous sickness. What if there was a malaria attack, then obviously the whole house will be sick, and talk about the treatment cost; you begin wondering where this money will come from, try and give it a guess!

As we already know, this place is runned by the two young men, Fred kayiwa and Mansoor kabugo. Fred is a University student, with a lot of needs for himself and one wonders where they get what to feed these children. Mansoor told me that, the children are very understanding, because when they are told there was no food for that day they just go to bed. He feels happy though that when their fees is paid in full, they are able to eat their lunch at school, but this is yet another story, because two boys who should have done their Primary leaving Exams in a week’s time , are not going to do it because they never paid the school dues and exams fee. Now they have to do the same class again next year yet this would have taken them to another level (secondary).So there’s serious need for them to deal with these two very urgent issues. There’s this pressing one which is feeding, I feel that they really need a very big hand to help them achieve this. These boys to begin with were mainly from the streets and I have fear that when they do not have what to eat, they may go back to the streets and this may pose a bigger problem., then the accommodation issue, this too is an urgent need to be addressed, because this type of set up can cause so many dangers to these youths, they have lived in the streets and know a lot, there's is a lot of immorality these days and they can easily be strapped into that due to the set up, let alone their health situation.

One other big problem is that these children need to go to school and attain some formal education though they have very good training in sports. This needs fees and there’s no way the two young men have been able to raise this money. Thanks though to a few individuals who have funded one or two children recently. In a situation like this, hands need to be joined so that there’s some cure to such problems. We can join discussions about their developments here:

The good side of it though, is that these people are achievers. Looking at the bigger picture of the organization, they have about 350 children who are being coached into becoming serious sports people.3/4 of these are either orphans or street children. They have won so many cups both from within and without, and they are planning to visit Norway in July 2009, we pray for them to get the funds to get them there.

A big thank you to the people who have been helping them in one way or the other. I know there's is still a lot that needs to be addressed, but whenever there's will there's always a way.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

A little light in the shadows

"This Way madam Grace", said Kabugo showing me a very tiny corridor which I thought was a door to somone's house and I had halted a bit, so he he knew what I was thinking and immediately I followed him.

Through the shadowy and very low roofed corridor, I was led by Mansoor Kabugo to yet another tiny outlet but this time with some little light. Kabugo and Kayiwa Fred are the ones who run the Kampala Junior team which engulfs many other activities, like the computer club, music, dance and drama and many others. These boys are a few of the very wonderful people I have ever met.

Today I only had Mansoor because Fred was out for his lectures. The corridor was so tiny that once in a while a running child would bump into us , but finally we came to our destination. This is home to twenty young boys in the age range of 8 to 13 years, being orphans or former street kids,solely catered for by these two young men.

In the small muddy room , I was welcomed by a lady, possibly the one who helps cook for the children, she then took leave after greeting me to give room for our discussion. After a while two of the boys came in, these seem not to have attended school today , because they were not in uniforms. They were introduced to me and they too like the lady, left the two of us alone.

The whole place look very pathetic. An office-come-sitting and bedroom. It's not really a big room to begin with, and it took me some time to get fully settled. A computer occupies the "sitting room" area and a chair or two very close to one another that you hardly find space to move freely. Separated by two wide curtains are what are meant to be the ' bedrooms" At one end, is the triple decor that supposedly nine boys are supposed to sleep on , three on each bed ! Then the other end has one large bed and Mansoor told me it was for him and three other boys. This makes 12 of them and I was wondering where the other 8 would sleep( because he had earlier on told me that they were 20 boys living with him) , then he told me that at night they remove whatever is in the "sitting room" and put down some mattresses for the rest.

Anyway this is Kisenyi, one of the most congested and dirty slums in the city center, thousands of crimes are reported daily here. But more surprisingly almost all local metal fabrications are also done here , interesting isn't it? It must have taken these young men lots of efforts to make something come out of here.

Soon you will read about what actually lives behind this shadowy corridor!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Renaisance

"Talk of the Devil and he's right here."

Many people might have been wondering WHAT and WHO Life In Africa is, and WHAT they are up to and WHY they are on and off. I am sure a lot must have been said about the unpredictable LIA.

This of course is obvious of any growing child. When a child is born, everyone would want to know their gender and what names they have been given. then there's a stage whereby they are kind of forgotten by the outside people save for the very close relatives , then sometimes when they do something bad or good that's when they begin talking about them again. But here anyway we have not done anything bad , we have been going through many stages of life and at times it has really been very slow that one would think we are no more. This in fact has been one of such moments , We were born and everyone heard about us, sometimes we were very sick , almost reaching dying point but of course we recovered. This time we are coming back in a very unique way.

To me I feel it's a rebirth of LIA and this time with a lot of many different ideas. I know we have been quiet for so long but now we are up and no more silence. The "metamorphosis" is over, a lot of lessons have been learned, we feel matured now and ready to walk on confidently!

After all our restructuring which began in Jan this year , Life in Africa now has three bodies. We have the Life in Africa Foundation who is the mother of all the others. Based in Uganda, it's the one that will be overseeing all activities of Life in Africa in Uganda. We have the Life in Africa USA based in the USA that is responsible for the Fund raising and where all our funds will be directed from which ever source , then for now the Life in Africa Kireka/ Kampala, a Community Based Organization which will be one of the beneficiaries around Africa, because many more are being looked at right now.

I will not forget to give our acknowledgment to our Dear Christina Jordan who is the master mind behind all these and until now she has been our silent adviser both for the foundation and the CBO. You can look at all the great work that she is doing here:

New Developements

Life in Africa Foundation will be identifying and doing some needs assessments to some similar NGOs/CBOs in Kampala and other parts of the country. This actually is ongoing right now and I will soon come up with details about them. Part of last week saw me visiting a few local organizations , it's just so interesting to have a chance of being part of all these.

Just keep watching this blog to see how some of the unknown unveils themselves.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Our first step towards reducing POVERTY

"Poverty" as described in the dictionary, is a state of being poor, existing in very small amounts , scarcity and lack.

This seems to be a better situation though compared to the "below the poverty line" which most people in Africa are living in, and it's this and their cause that should be tackled first , so that everyone gets to the 'normal' Poverty situation then we can join hands to look at how to eradicate it.

Whether it's because of cultural background or ignorance, Africa has so much been left behind in terms of development and when people talk of poverty, it's Africa that is first on the list and maybe the likes of Asia, Latin America and so on, fall after. They must have been taking everything for granted and thought that their way of life was the best , because when you take for example one particular tribe in my country who feel that putting on clothes is bad enough, and have to be forced into it, then when will they look at any other good development as benefiting to them?

Well then when I look at Africa, most of its land is fertile and very good for any kind of agriculture , but they are the people who are going hungry and have to live on handouts, it puzzles me a lot. So I feel that the agricultural sector should be the most looked at area. lots and lots of food should be grown by a family to feed themselves and then the surplus sold . During this production period, the developed world may help with a few things like education for the children and other sectors like Micro finance and maybe markets for their production and others, because with more and more free things, people get lazy to work hard enough to sustain themselves, lets look at hoes and other agricultural tools to supply and sensitize people on the benefits of their hard work.

With Children as the beginning of life for everyone, more attention should be paid into their education and welfare, because it's them who will come up already knowing what has to be done to eradicate poverty, since they will have gone through better education, and have technical and social knowledge of how things can be done. The adults too can go through some adult literacy programs so that they are sensitized on how they can work hard themselves to elevate poverty. Thus having everyone on the globe go through some kind of learning or EDUCATION for that matter, will be a very big step forward. If some kind of Global campaign for something like EDUCATION FOR ALL or LET'S GET EVERY CHILD EDUCATED, could be set, then this could possibly be one way forward.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Mothering : Is this really the same everywhere ?

Children seem to be and is indeed the joy of every mom in the whole universe, the only thing that may differ is the way children are handled in different parts of the world. In some parts of the world and more so in the developed ones, a lot of care is taken that children are never left alone while in my world, a child as old as 4 years is left with her baby sibling strapped on her back while mom is doing her gardening work sometimes a mile a way from home. The "babysitter" will remain with the baby on her back for as long as she is asleep, then when she wakes up, she has to follow the mom for the baby to get fed. Though a lot do happen during this time of moms absence, not so much attention has been paid to this kind of set up. Sometime the babies fall very badly in the process of unstrapping it from the back cause the baby sitter is tired and wants some relieve , sometimes they get burnt because she is trying to cook something or just playing with fire and there's no one to stop her. Well looking at all these mishaps, I really admire the way the more developed world treat their young ones, a child is a real child until after 18 years , while here we feel that children need to be trained early to fend for themselves in future since sometime at the age of 13 they cease to be children and are already mothers or fathers themselves. This I think is traumatizing and wish there was some kind of force that would change this immediately.