Intro by Jenny Miller
Photos and Text by Debra Gilbert
I’ve been relatively useless in planning this event…if I knew people here like I knew people in DC, I’d’ve had connections for getting stuff and doing stuff; at the very least, I’d have people I could ask to come to the thing. As it is, my Mom (happy birthday), stepdad, their friends and my sisters have put in hundreds upon hundreds of hours for tomorrow’s benefit. I hope people show up.
Press: On the Radar: I Love Africa, Creative Loafing
I’m going to post a few pictures of the people who are already in business with my folks, with my mom’s little bios beneath. The AfricaTrAID program is her pet project (you can read about the others here if you like). These people and many others were already paid for the products they’ve made, which will be for sale at the event. We’re hoping to recoup a small percentage of that expense, and more importantly, recruit new monthly contributors to OCM.
Beautiful 60-year-old Louice Mukite has raised nine children. She did her best to put them all through school believing that an education would raise them out of the poverty she has known her entire life.
After her husband took on two co-wives, she and the children were abandoned and her life has been extremely difficult. You will never hear Louice complain, in fact, she will tell you how blessed she is that all of her nine children are healthy and alive. She has an extraordinarily bright outlook on life which is wonderfully contagious.
Making baskets and other handcrafts has allowed Louice to help with school fees for her grandchildren. She firmly believes that “we will change poverty in our village and I will see it.”
Thirty four year old Sarah Mukimba is a hard worker. After her husband deserted the family two years ago, she has been the sole provider for their 8 children. Their biggest need is food.
She has a small plot of land to grow food, but it is not enough to sustain the family. The children are not able to attend school and most of them are much smaller than they should be due to poor nutrition.
The project has been able to pay Sarah enough to feed her family one meal a day. The expense of cooking fuel (charcoal) takes the money she would be able to use for a second meal.
She used to have pigs, poultry and a cow, but all died from diseases. She hopes to be able to use money from the project to start a small farm again.
Irene Mukhaye is a single young lady, 32 years of age. Though she has never married or had children of her own, she is still charged with raising her brother’s four children after he and his wife both died of AIDS.
You can imagine her long list of needs for the children. She has wonderful tailoring skills but lacked a sewing machine of her own. Through the Africa trAID program, she now owns her own…and she’s doing amazing things with it!
Stephen Walakila’s rough life shows in his face and his stiff movements. Though he says he is only 32, he then readily admits that he doesn’t really know when he was born.
A widower, struggling to raise four children, he encourages all his friends to “work hard and learn good skills.” He is an excellent carpenter, despite his lack of even one effective tool. The work he has gained through One City allowed him to purchase new equipment, for not only furthering his craft, but also his marketability in Uganda.
Norah Sakwa Deo and her baby girl, Peace, both are infected with the HIV/AIDS virus. The young mother lost her husband to AIDS nine months ago.
When we first met her, she was just sitting and waiting for her and her baby to die. She was praying that her baby would die before her because she has no one to look after Peace.
With some proper nutrition and assistance with medication, both mom and baby are doing very well. She has been very active in the program weaving beautiful rugs with Peace always snuggled on her back.
Well, that oughta do it for today. You know, when some people hear about what my folks are doing in Africa, the response is, “Why can’t they stay and help people in their own backyard?” and worse. There’s so much wrong with the world, and so much need everywhere. You have to do what you’re passionate about. Jeez. Right? I mean, we can’t all Save the Whales, Find A Cure, Ally with Alley Cats, and Save America from the Commie Homo Death Panels. To each their own.