Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Then Alison's Turn...

2 days after Bella's birthday, it was Alison's turn to wear the birthday cake hat of shame! We travelled back from Jinja on the morning of Alison's birthday. Our friend Jan then offered to look after the girls whilst Alan and Alison went for a massage, before returning home to find a house full of friends and a birthday tea with cakes, sandwiches and other delights.

We even had room for dinner at a posh Italian restaurant in town. We weren't too sure where the restaurant was located in town in order to direct our taxi driver. He pulled over whilst we got directions on the phone, but one of Kampala's ubiquitous policemen didn't like where he had stopped, so got in the car and insisted on taking our taxi driver to the police station to charge him. Bad news for our driver, but turns out it was good news for us as the policeman knew the way to our restaurant and so could direct our driver on the way to the police station!

Fantastic rissotto too!

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Bella's Bouncing Birthday

Proving that you can get hold of just about anything here for a price, we hired a bouncy castle for Bella's birthday and erected it in the garden as a surprise. Initially, she was somewhat overcome and didn't want to get on with the other children. However, once she had warmed up, we couldn't get her off it and she went on to have a whale of a time with all her friends (and ours!).

We then went off to Jinja, the source of the Nile, to stay at a holiday resort for a couple of days. It was very relaxing and great fun with plenty of swimming, including a little pool for Bella to try out her new ring.

Well I'll be jiggered!!

Alison recently turned her hand to some minor surgery on our balcony when our friend Sabrina, who was visiting Kampala, discovered that an unwanted guest had burrowed into her toe. She had picked up a jigger, which is a type of flea that lives on the ground and hops onto people's feet, making a home under the skin from where it ejects hundreds of eggs...nice!? Initially, Alison tried to duck out of the extraction on the grounds of no local anaesthetic, but after some training via Youtube videos of jiggers being extracted with safety pins and leaves, it was decided that the procedure could be safely carried out at home with a needle, some disinfectant and a piece of wood to bite down on! Ably assisted by Alan and Natalie, the operation took somewhat longer than expected as the blighter was well dug in. In fact, by the end of the operation there was a question mark over whether it was in fact a jigger and not part of Sabrina's toe!

The patient seemed none the worse for her ordeal and hobbled off without too much discomfort, and has since reported a complete recovery - thank God!

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Working with the Parents at Royal Pride

On Sunday we organised a health education day with the parents of the Royal Pride Academy. Alison came armed with various homemade visual aids (including the 'Tippy Tap' featured below) and she talked to them about relevant issues such as safe water, HIV, malaria and family planning with a focus on prevention. There was a really good turn-out (over 100 kids and 100 parents) and plenty of audience participation including some very detailed questions along sexual themes!

The schoolchildren performed some songs and dances around the various themes of the day- some of them quite emotional as there were several orphaned by HIV and other diseases.

Alison and Natalie set up an impromptu deworming clinic and there was a clamour for the tablets

We also handed out the last of our supply of reading books so each child had a book to take home. We wanted to encourage more of a reading culture and get the parents involved at home. Even though some of the parents themselves are illiterate, we feel it is important they give the children time to improve their reading skills.

The day was a great success and much appreciated by the parents and teachers. Next on the timetable is to return with some much-needed supplies such as mosquito nets and condoms through an outreach day with a local clinic, where HIV testing will also be on offer.

The Humble Tippy Tap

One of the things we took along to the Royal Pride School was a Heath Robinson device called a Tippy Tap. This is a basic handwashing tool for use where there is no running water. It consists of a jerry can of water threaded along a horizontal stick across two supporting sticks. A piece of string is attached to the lid of the can, which is tipped up with a foot pedal made from another stick at the end of the string. The water comes out of a small hole in the jerry can when tipped up.
They are especially useful in schools since the children do not need an adult to help to lift the heavy water carriers and there is very little water wasted. It is also very cheap to make from local materials (about 30p).
At the Royal Pride school there is no water source nearby so it has to be carried from the nearest tap in the community. Therefore handwashing and basic sanitation is a major issue and an area to focus on in the prevention of the spread of disease.

Zoe, with our friends Geoff and Sabrina, demonstrating the Tippy Tap. Geoff and Sabrina have been introducing this technology in schools in Western Uganda

Monday, 9 August 2010

More Birthday Frolics by the Lake

Last weekend we returned to the scene of Amy's birthday celebrations, Lake Nabugabo. This time it was to mark our friend Jan's birthday. When we arrived at the lakeside 'resort' there were several hundred students having a rave with a massive sound system and much dancing. To our surprise and relief they wound this up by 6pm (imagine that?!) and we were able to take over with a BBQ spread including fresh fish from the lake and the obilgatory marshmallows for toasting. We camped out next to the water's edge.

Bella got some practice in for her birthday this weekend...

Monday, 2 August 2010

When Did You Last Get Serviced?

Alan's artwork was put to use again (below). This time to invite staff to a health screening day that Alison had helped to organise at IHK. It seemed to work, as instead of the 50 or so staff that were expected, the numbers approached 300 (including 60 cervical screens, amongst other things!)before the doors had to be closed, for that day anyway! Another health screening day has been timetabled for next week for those that could not be accommodated, and one enthusiastic participant even asked if they could be held quarterly!
The health day gave Alison a great opportunity to test drive the sexual and reproductive health screening package which she has been developing and is in the process of incorporating into the community project at IHK. The plan is to also offer the package to corporate staff from other organisations within Kampala and use any profits to subsidise and maintain the community project, in which there is the greatest unmet need.
Despite this potential revenue, the community project is still lacking in funds and so any additional financial support would always be much appreciated, and can be channelled through the Suubi Trust website earmarked for the STI programme. A huge thank you again to those who have already contributed to the running of this programme.