Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Invitation to stay

I was invited by my organization to extend my service this week. The overseer of Compassion who is also the church leader and my neighbor came over to my house and asked why I couldn’t stay… for another 2 years. When the Compassion board met they discussed that it would be best if I stayed to continue the work that I was doing. I admit that I let out a few chuckles under my breath. I couldn’t help it. I tried to explain that in 6 months my 2 years would be up and that it would be time to go home. I like it here. I’ve enjoyed my PC experience and I’ve enjoyed immensely working with Compassion International, but at the same time I’m ready to go back to my homeland. I’ve considered doing the Peace Corps again, possibly in another continent, but right now I’m just ready to come home.

Right and Wrong

If there are 3 things I despise, it’s lying, cheating and stealing. They’re all the same in my book and I hate them equally. So when I found out recently that my organization was lying about conducting their home visits to the children I was irate! Each project is graded by Compassion. They pull out the children’s folders and look to see if the information in the folder is up to date. In each child’s folder are copies of their school reports from each term, medical records and doctors visits, photographs, family history, as well as records of when they were visited by our staff. Projects get graded on a number of things at each project and the children’s files are among them. So, when grading was approaching in April (when I was in the US for vacation) they forged a number of the home visit forms to appear that the children have been visited. This would NOT have happened if I had been here. It’s deceptive and it cheats the children first and foremost while my organization protects themselves instead of taking one on the chin for NOT visiting the children. Now, granted, it’s time consuming and can be expensive to visit each child’s home. About half of our kids are supposed to be visited yearly and another half every 6 months. The 8 children who have HIV are supposed to be visited monthly. I would be glad to do the home visits myself but I can’t effectively communicate with the caregivers so I would be limited in what I could do. First of all I would have a difficult time finding the homes without being able to ask or understand directions. Secondly I wouldn’t be able to accurately assess the needs of the family without being able to communicate with them. Have there been any sicknesses lately? How far do you go to fetch water? Are there any immediate needs that you have? I could only look and observe, which is at least something. I was so upset that I had to leave the office for a time to cool down. Granted, also, they do visit the children unofficially. I know they do. But sometimes it’s not documented which leads to inaccurate information about who has and hasn’t been visited! Oh, Uganda!

Home Visits

On Thursday I did go to visit 4 homes with Japheth, the director. We’ve been advised to visit the children in pairs because of a recent incident that happened in another village. A pastor of a church was visiting some Compassion families when the mother of one of the children hit the man with a brick! She then claimed that he was trying to rape her. So, now we’re in pairs.

The reason it’s so important to visit the kids’ homes is for this reason. We visited Sarah’s home. Sarah is a sweet girl. She’s in P4 or P5. She always comes to Compassion looking smart and clean, however, upon arriving at her home you see another side entirely. Her home has been visited before by the staff, but never by me. Some of our children have never been visited in the 5 years of the project. Sarah lives with her grandmother and grandfather. A very elderly couple. She also stays there in a small house with an older sister (maybe 12) and a younger brother. This family really has nothing. The old man can barely walk. They have so little that they can scarcely go into town to get things because of the distance (about 5 miles). Once we have visited, we can monitor the family more closely. We will know the situation better and will better be able to care for them.

As a volunteer, many times, my hands are tied as to what I can do. For many reasons. Because of language. Because I’m an outsider. Because I just “don’t know” the African way of life.

Ah well. Re group. Re organize. Remember why I’m here and reform the angle at which to attack the problem. “The squeaky wheel gets the oil” as they say.

12 Days of Christmas. How to save money by living like a Ugandan

#6 Bike everywhere you go with your wife and infant child riding side saddle on the bike rack. No need to worry about rising fuel costs. Everyone here has the same ‘Hero’ bikes, so there’s no complaining from the wife about getting the newest model. When biking, the fresh air and scenery are better than when driving. Plus, if you have a hefty wife, think of the great workout it’ll be…


At 27 November, 2007, Blogger NanettePC said...

still a wonderful sense of humor;) it's good to know you are doing great. last 6 months...it's gonna fly.


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