Tuesday, July 10, 2012

This is Katie… I wanted to share with everyone an unhappier side of Africa that the team experienced a few days ago. Uganda is a great place but certainly not free of struggle and hardships. Most of us are naturally positive people and don’t want to burden others with the sad stories we acquire, but we owe it to the people of Africa to share them; they need not only our help, but yours as well.
The other day we went back to Kagoma Gate to see the sign made by Emma and to say goodbye to all the villagers. As Toni, Deirdre, Fletch, and I were walking through the village from the soccer field to the school, we came across a woman in distress. She was showing us her neighbor’s child who had a gash in his cheek behind his ear. The wound was so deep that his gland was exposed. In addition, his cheek was so swollen that it looked like he was sucking on an apple.
We informed Mark and shortly after our encounter, we saw the boy again being examined by Mark and Fred, surrounded by many other onlookers. Mark sat down to clean the boy’s wound. The boy became very unresponsive and layed limp across Mark’s body. At this sight, I felt like someone had punched me in the chest, it was so unbelievable. Mark looked angelic; a mzungu amongst a sea of natives, a light in a dark situation. Thankfully, the boy was taken to a clinic in Jinja to receive medical attention. He will continue attending this clinic for the next 5 days.
What would have happened had we not come back to say goodbye?! The boy would have been dead in a matter of days. What strikes me the strongest is the fact that this is happening in villages across Uganda and across Africa every day. What you don’t know can’t hurt you but that doesn’t mean it can’t hurt somebody else.  This blog post is meant to raise awareness. Sure many Americans have seen documentaries or sad commercials of the poverty in Africa but how effective are those? Not very…
Experiencing first hand, the poverty, the starvation, and the struggle that Ugandans face every single day of their lives has most certainly changed mine.  Our team must use these first hand experiences and share them with the rest of the world, to raise awareness; we must be the messengers. With more help, simple donations, or small sums of money, the lives of these villagers could be saved. Think of how many lives could be saved if more people knew about these poor villages and if more people were able to catch these fatalities like we did, before it was too late. The struggles here may be really hard to look at, but it is even worse to look away.

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