Water to Thrive Executive Director Susanne Wilson is spending two weeks before our Climb for a Cause visiting partners and projects in Uganda. Despite intermittent Internet access, she is sending reports back whenever she can. This report is from her first full day in Uganda. A gallery of photos from the day follows the post.
We met with our partner, Mityana Uganda Charity, at their offices in Mityana. After a quick tour and introductions, we learned they are currently working with 309 sponsored children who receive food, school supplies, uniforms, and medical attention for a sponsorship of $180 per year.
Their school program is offered to families who qualify. We were informed that while education is supported by the government, many times the classrooms are extremely overcrowded with more than 100 students, and teachers aren’t always paid or aren’t qualified. Private education offers a better chance for children, especially those who are marginalized.
Our day in the field was highlighted by a visit to one project site called Butebe, which was funded by Elanore Decker and her family. Elanore is with us on this trip and was moved to tears as she met the people who now have water as a result of her gift. The well she funded serves 447 people and was just completed in May.
Mityana Uganda Charity has developed a series of training materials that use visuals to teach about hygiene, dish washing, latrine building, and the connection to germs and diseases. We found that posters promoting hygiene are posted in the villages and at the water points, enforcing the training delivered to each village.
Each water committee is comprised of 10 people – five women and five men. The women serve as the treasurers, as their community culture has proven that they are better financial managers. In addition, the women are the ones who carry the water and suffer with the hardest burdens and therefore will be more conscientious of safekeeping the user fees collected from each household to maintain the wells as repairs are needed.
At one of the water points, we were welcomed by drumming, dancing, and singing. The dancers wore unique color belts of fabric and animal hair, and used their hips to shake the belts which is similar to a colorful male bird who ruffles his feathers in order to gain the attention of the female bird.
Our day ended with a conversation around US politics and then the history of Uganda politics and the corruption of elections and the good and bad of past and current leaders. The discussion was held over a delicious dinner of tilapia as we watched the beautiful Ugandan sunset.