Sunday, May 14, 2006

Compassion International

Sorry, it's been a while... a lot has happened. First off, for the next 2 years I'll be living and working in a village called Ntungamo (n-TOO-ngah-moe) and working for an well known organization called Compassion International. It's a Christian organization that works with OVCs (Orphans and Vulnerable Children - the latest 'buzz word' for organizations to claim to work with) One day a week (Saturday) nearly 300 orphans of various ages from 4-16 spend the day learning about AIDS, personal hygiene, nutrition, physical fitness, etc. They get a decent meal and they get some medical treatment. In addtion, they get tested for AIDS along with their care givers, they recieve mosquito nets (Malaria is a bigger problem in Africa than AIDS believe it or not...), shoes, clothing, medical treatment and transportation to hospitals if necessary, and ARVs (drugs provided by the government to help slow the AIDS virus and build up immunities). 49 of the children have HIV/AIDS and of those 14 are taking ARVs (the others are not to that 'critical' stage yet) There are 4 full time staff (including me) the director who is my age was a former Compassion Child himself. Compassion even paid for his University Education and now he feels like it's his to give back to compassion. All but 3 of the children currently have sponsors, most of which come from the US but a few come from Canada, Australia, etc. There are 136 Compassion 'projects' throughout Uganda and occasionally the sponsor will come and visit the child they are sponsoring. I think it costs about $15 a month to sponsor a child, but check the website for more info. OK, that's my NGO i'm working primarily with. My housing is pretty good. I have a room, much like a studio apartment. It has a bathing area inside (a luxury) which i call solitary confinement. I also have a 'sit-down' pit latrine!! Imagine a concrete bucket turned upside down with a tiolet seat on it... hey! It's better than squatting over a hole!! The 'apartment' is in an office for the church right next door, but it seems pretty quiet. there is a small office, a sitting room/multipurpose room and a spare bedroom and storage room also inside the building. Which is cool because the other housing they offered me was like a duplex where i'd be sharing a house w/ 2-3 other. I'd have my own private space, but to be able to listen to my music and not feel like i'm disturbing others is a necessity for me. Another plus, Ntungamo has power almost all the time!!! In Luweero it's on and off every other day, but I guess Uganda sells it's Hydro power to Rwanda THROUGH Ntungamo, so it has steady power!!! Bonus!!! Some fellow volunteers don't even have power in their villages!!! Ntungamo is in the West, which means it's HILLY!! My house sits on top of a hill and overlooks the town. I've already hiked up one hill which we (another PCV named Jacob is also stationed in Ntungamo) named 'Marcus' after a fellow PCV. We are planning on naming all of the mountains surrounding us, but only after people who come to visit us!! It's all part of our evil plan. And they'll come too because I brought the Laptop which means I have MOVIES!!! Apparently there are MANY pirated movies where people take video cameras into theaters and then sell the movies cheap... so movies are available here... The bad part is there is no Internet there. So i'll have to travel over an hour to make posts. I did inquire to getting internet through my laptop then my cell phone but it's about $200 for the modem and then they charge by the Kbps of data exchanged, so I don't think i'll go that route. First thing tomorrow morning we are leaving Luweero for Kampala. Then on Wednesday we will officially be sworn in as PCVs!! We are even having a pool party at the Ambassador's house!! well, i'd better wrap up. I get on the internet in this lady's house in a town about 15 minutes away in a crowded bus-taxi (by crowded I mean it seats 15 people and it's not uncommon to have 20+ in it... Nathan even had 26 in his, plus a matress and 3 bags of cabbage!!). She is a headmaster at a local secondary school (high school) and she lets people use the internet for about $1 per hour. There's a guy waiting here to use the internt. I'll try to post when I'm in Kampala, so stay tuned. If you have any quesitons at all, feel free to email them to me! I'd love to hear from you!!


At 14 May, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Compassion is an excellent organization. A very large percentage of the money donated makes it to the projects, rather than overhead. The cost is $32/month. The kids write you letters and you can write to them. I have a little boy in Tanzania and a girl in Honduras. You will be very blessed by working with them.

At 14 May, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Brian! I'm so happy you were able to post this week. I've been checking regularly and praying you were well. Sounds like a great assignment! Congrats and best of luck.

At 16 May, 2006, Blogger borderst said...

Best wishes in your endeavor to assist these children. The world will be a better place for them because of your efforts.

At 19 May, 2006, Blogger HIV+DaveyBoy said...

I started my own HIV/AIDS live chat support network (no AIDS org near me) on so I could meet more HIV positive or affected friends online, please stop in, we are not alone ;)


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