FRIENDS OF RUWENZORI 2009 TRIP
Friends of Ruwenzori's visits to Kitojo are focused on building relationships that foster mutual understanding between Uganda and the US. Visitors are often given the opportunity to volunteer by providing assistance with KIDA's many humanitarian tasks.
A seven member team returned from Kitojo in late February with a new appreciation for KIDA and Rev. Ezra and Marjorie Musobozi. We also spent some time with Carol Adams, who runs YES (Youth Encouragement Services, an NGO in Fort Portal). Team members for this second Friends of Ruwenzori trip were: Delia O'Hara, nurse practitioner from Oakland, CA, Lisa Gentilcore of San Francisco, Nancy Swig and Steve Gensler of Larkspur, CA, Ewa Zaborowski of San Rafael, CA, TR (Terry) Shively, a dentist from Spencer, Iowa and Karen Gleason, founder of Friends of Ruweenzori from Orinda, CA.
Karen, Terry, Steve, Nancy, Delia, Ewa and Lisa in Kampala ready to travel "upcountry"
This mission had a dental component. Karen recruited Dr. Shively after Carol Adams requested a dentist willing to work on kids with AIDS, many of whom had severe mouth infections that could eventually be fatal. After treating 35 children at Manna Children's Home, Terry, Delia and Ewa (our amazing dental team) returned to KIDA and treated over 200 rural villagers who had never seen a dentist before! Terry mentored a KIDA volunteer named Richard who had previously studied dentistry.
Dr. Terry Shively examines KIDA client as Ewa assists and Richard translates and observes.
Terry asked Delia, a licensed nurse practitioner, to pre-evaluate each patient in order to discover underlying illnesses that might complicate possible dental surgery. Delia found it quite ironic that she was asked to do the same job in Uganda that she does at Kaiser Hospital in Oakland; pre-op physical examinations!
Delia does physical assessment on a KIDA community member
In addition to assisting Terry with dental treatment, Ewa, a licenced physical therapist, followed a long-time dream: treating people in Africa. After Rev. Ezra announced to the KIDA community that Ewa could treat their back and leg problems, many people lined up to see her. She advised each on posture and prescribed specific exercise programs to alleviate pain.
As Ewa advises George (right), Lisa and KIDA staff members Robinah and Fedress look on.
Lisa Gentilcore spent a lot of time in KIDA's clinic assisting the nurse Stephen, the clinical officer Martin with AIDS clients and Delia with pre-op physicals. She also taught the tailoring class how to knit, helped build a house with mud and fell in love with a little boy named David.
Lisa gets her hands dirty with a smile!
Steve Gensler and Nancy Swig spent a lot of time talking with Ezra about KIDA's long range plans to build a hospital for people who live in the underserved community around the KIDA center. It would be the only hospital in the Kabarole District accessible to poor rural people. The also interviewed Mugisa Deogratius, KIDA's microfinance manager and learned about the SACCO loan process. Steve, an inventor and engineer, troubleshooted KIDA's solar power system.
Nancy presents a newly trained home care volunteer with a first-aid kit
Steve dances Uganda style along with Marjorie and Ezra
We all enjoyed the dancing and joined in (with some encouragement from our Ugandan friends!) We went on home visits, school visits home farm visits, participated in community outreach in house building, attended a drama show, a positive living workshop and an OVC (orphans and vulnerable children) conference. We enjoyed the catering class cooking and ate very well. Our accommodations were superb at the Kitojo Tourist Home. We will never forget this experience and have grown to love the people in Kitojo.