July 2022 - Itinerary

July 10    Bright Kids Uganda Children’s Home – currently cares for 97 children from infant to 18 years – informational meeting with founder and director.

Harriett (Advocates for Children with Disabilities parent group)

Nursing students conduct vision assessment for eye glass distribution. Vision assessment and eye glass distribution (mostly readers) to older adults – mostly women who rely on their vision for their work – predominantly sewing.

Distribution of donated wedding gowns to survivors of acid attack group and mothers of children with disabilities to support their home-based businesses.

July 11                 Noah’s Ark School for children with disabilities.

Points of contact: Angel (Noah’s Ark)

Nursing students conduct health assessments of identified children of concern & eye assessment and eye glass distribution.

Analysis of adaptive equipment usage and communication methods including communication books and boards in schools. Vocational education opportunity for building adaptive equipment including standers and communication boards.

July 12                 Travel to Jinja – source of the Nile

July 13                 White water rafting

July 14                 Travel to Mbale & Bukedea to the school

Point of contact – James and Rachel Okau, of Advocates for Vulnerable Children’s Rights (AVCR) an NGO operating in the Teso Region for about 8 years.

Nursing students conduct well-child assessments; deliver feminine hygiene products to girls and nutrition suggestions especially for folic acid. Education and nursing students will team up to provide lessons in hygiene and nutrition. Visual assessment of the need for worming medication and distribution of pills if needed. The head teacher can distribute every three months moving forward.

If time permits, visit Chodong where we drilled a well in 2017 to distribute worming medication. We observed children with distended bellies there in 2019. We can give the worming medication to James of AVCR for distribution if limited in time to travel there.  

July 15                 Maternal health conference with health care providers

8:00                      Depart Mabale Resort – 30 minute drive to Bukedea – Prime Tower School for meetings

12:00                    Lunch provided by local cooks – supported by Grace Ann Geibel funding

5:00                      Return to Mbale Resort for debriefing and adjusting plans for the community outreach

July 16                 Community outreach – visits to villages around Bukedea to discuss maternal health

9:00                      Depart for Bukedea – villages

                              Lunch at Rachel and James in between community outreach visits.

                              Return to Mbale Resort

July 17                 Sipi Falls

8:00                      Early departure. Drive to Sipi Falls is about 1 hour from Soroti. It’s a beautiful area in the Elgon Mountain. The community there is well established and economically self-sufficient. We have visited the community for several years now and know them well. There is a group of young men (when we first met them they were young boys) who will escort us on a hike up to several falls and provide us with a sunset tour and a coffee tour if desired. 

July 18                 Travel to Soroti

8:00 Early departure. A 2-hour drive to Soroti from Sipi Falls. Pick up lumber for 3 desks for the school. We will visit the School for the Blind Primary and Secondary Schools & St. Martha’s Academy in the morning to visit children who we support and to tour the schools.

Nursing students conduct assessments of identified children including those who may benefit from corrective lenses.

Point of contact – Sister Rose, Petua and Silver and Judith

Visit to Opucet, another remote village, to oversee the pouring of cement floor in third classroom of Silver Memorial Inclusive Learning and Education Center (SMILE) and to meet with teachers and children. Education students to meet with school administrator and review management practices.

Nursing students conduct assessments of all children and community members as requested. Tour of health clinic that is under construction and meeting with Judith Oonyu to learn about their progress.

Build 3 desks.  

Analysis of condition of the SMILE well and agricultural nursery.

July 19                 Visit to Oukut Village

A 90 minute drive to a very remote village which was directly affected by Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army but is now living in peace (since about 2008). https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Kony         

Point of Contact – Stephen Onyang and his wife Patricia

Students interact with some people who escaped from the LRA after being kidnapped and will meet with some of the children who were born out of those abductions. Many are symptomatic from PTSD.

Students provide health checkups and provide guidance. This will also inform our meeting with district administrators.

A parent group of mothers of children with disabilities was formed during our last visit in 2019. We will meet with this group and hope to advise them on healthy practices for their children with disabilities. An unusually high number of children with Ectrodactyly               (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2922631/) will be present. Also brittle bone disease (https://www.healthline.com/health/osteogenesis-imperfecta) has been noted in this village. We have also met with parents whose children have cerebral palsy and some who are hydrocephalic. Our goal is to bring the necessary materials for the village to establish a clinic. We received a list of items that was developed with the help of pediatrician from Soroti. The parents collect dues when they meet each week to begin to raise funds for a visiting nurse to come once a month. Nursing students will meet with the nurse and hopefully the pediatrician to establish some healthy routines and management for the clinic.

Nursing and education majors will educate children and parents on hygiene and nutrition. We will engage in a conversation with young mothers to discover ways that will allow infants and toddlers to move about freely for better physical development. These children are currently being carried on their mothers backs all day while they work in the fields. We notice that some children have bowed legs which negatively impact their bone and muscle development and wonder if alternative practices might be helpful.

It is not clear if the children attend school in the area but some of them may be sent to boarding schools if the families can afford it. This is difficult in this agricultural community in which bartering is more often used instead of cash.

Worming medication will be distributed  along with supplemental protein for pregnant women and vitamins for children.        

July 20                 Drive to Entebbe                                                          

The drive back to Entebbe can be six hours or it can be nine depending on the traffic around Kampala. Flights home can be arranged for this day if they leave after 8:00 pm

June 30, 2022

Preparations are almost complete for our July 2022 team visit. This year our focus is on healthcare - especially maternal health and the girl child. Yesterday our students met to organize donations of eye glasses, medicines, medical equipment and consumables, gowns (for rental business), and orthotics. We received so many donations that we need to store some items for the next time. We can check 2 bags for free but a 3rd bag would cost $200 so we need to limit our donations to one extra bag for each of us. 

We are hoping for smooth travel whcih may be a bit optimistic given current status of flight cancelations. However, we have an awesome team of 4 faculty and 6 students and a packed schedule that inlcudes:

1) maternal health conference,

2) community outreach for family planning & healthy deliveries to several rural villages,

3) drilling 2 wells (Prime Tower Primary and Ajessa village),

4) eyeglass distribution,

5) checks ups for children in 4 schools, assessments for orthotics and adaptive equipment

6) healthcare clinic and installation of solar panels for Oukot Pharmacy,

7) building desks, installing computers, and installation of floor in 3rd classroom at SMILE.

We'll try to update this blog along the way!                                                  Susan

Improving the lives of vulnerable children

 July 2022 TEAM

Meghan Canose                                    Dr. Deborah Mitchum

Kaitlin Cash                                           Dr. Susan O'Rourke

Jodi McVay                                            Dr. Kevin Spencer

Brittany Stone-Jenkins                           Dr. Aimee Zellers

Shannon White

Charlotte Wilson 

box of plastic orthotics

July 5, 2022

In this time of travel uncertainty, we are hoping for an uneventful travel experience. Passports, covid vaccination record, yellow fever card, and visas are required for entry into Uganda. Today we uploaded our documents and received approval for travel on Friday. Our team has started packing and re-packing and gathering everything that we might need - from medicines to tools to donations - there is a lot to think about. 

We are also excited to share our work at the Suds For Sanctuary - Redux event this Thursday. There is so much to share about the work that we completed in December and our plans for this trip. Thanks to Grist House Brewery for sponsoring this event and to Kip and Howard for providing the music.