Friday, July 31, 2009

Divine Connections

2009-07-31 23:00 Kampala Time, 16:00 Roanoke Time.

Today has been productive. The Word says that the steps of a righteous man are ordered of God, and we wholeheartedly agree with that!

Step One...This morning at breakfast Debbie began talking with a missions group from Brooklyn Tabernacle. They just finished up a medical clinic here in Kampala, and most of the group will return home Saturday. One family, however, (Roger & Olga and their son David) will be continuing on through Massai Country holding additional medical clinics. Apparently BT sends out medical teams on a very regular basis.

Olga, a Physician's Assistant, had the responsibility of organizing and overseeing the entire Medical Clinic project. She shared with us some of what she'd done and allowed us to view some of the photographs. Somehow the topic turned to nebulizer (breathing treatment) machines. We'd brought machines and circuits with us, but had been unable to bring any albuterol (a breathing medication) with us. We'd hoped to buy it here, but we've been told that it's difficult to obtain in Uganda. Olga generously offered to give our team a box of the medication for our Free Clinic days. Praise God! What a blessing!

Another Step...I had been told of a man who dehydrates food on an island in Lake Victoria. Since the Solar Drying project is my "pet project", I was very interested in meeting someone locally who had already done what we are wanting to do.

By Pastor Solomon's request, our project has a two-fold purpose. It has both socio- and economic purposes. By socio- I'm referring to the aspect that will help the individual families preserve their own food, extend the use of the foods from their growing seasons, and provide a community activity that can be an actual "communal" activity. By economic I'm referring to the income potential that is opened up by the marketing and distribution of the dried food product being produced.

This afternoon I had a 1-1/2 hour meeting with Mr. Ephraim Muwanga, the Project Coordinator for the jali ORGANIC Development Project. I won't go into great detail about what that is, except to say that it is a 14-year, 5-Component project, with it's initial focus being the Agro-Development Project. The Project is being conducted on the island of Busi in Lake Victoria. There is no electricity or modern conveniences on Busi. Many of the people still use lake water for drinking purposes. :-{

The end purpose of the jali Project is that the residents of that area will be self-sufficient through sales from their organic food dehydration plant. The plant provides jobs to the local residents and will provide money for health and education services and for providing clean water. All without having to beg for help from outside sources.

I wanted to meet with Mr. Muwanga because he originally started with solar drying, before switching to a commercial bio-mass-powered dryer for efficiency. He had done months worth of research across Uganda observing other organizations' dehydration methods, which products were best suited, etc. I don't believe in re-inventing the wheel if it's already been invented, so I wanted to pick his brain.

Admittedly, much of what he shared was not applicable to our project at this time due to differences in financial backing...he had investors...we had a challenge raising money just to get here. (It seems to me there has to be SOMEONE out there who'd like to help an impoverished community in a third world country become empowered to not only feed themselves better, but to be able to provide financial support for themselves as well.)

Anyway, I gained some tremendous insight into not only Mr. Mugawa's project, but into how to help Pastor Solomon develop a realistic plan for the Bulenga community to establish a similar project, albeit most likely on a smaller scale. We're thinking in the right direction at least.
This afternoon we went to the mall (yes, a real mall) and bought a couple cell phones and a few other items. we finished the day with the traditional Namirembe Guesthouse Friday Night BarBQue: All you can eat Goat, Pork, and Chicken...and various veggies, desert, and a soft drink. It was delicious. Just like we remembered it from last trip. And only $7.50 USD.

Last night there were no mosquitoes, but tonight I think I was on THEIR menu. I've been bit by more in the last hour than I saw in my whole last trip...I guess I use the mosquito net tonight...yay... :-(

Gonna close. Good night to everyone!

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