The last few weeks have been quite busy, so I have not been able to post as much I would have liked. Here is an update on what I doing and experiencing in the past 3 weeks.
Week #4 The food and income security program seeks to provide jajas and volunteers with the knowledge and skills necessary to generate income. I had the opportunity to participate in two days of farm/garden visits to observe the growth of crops and animals. ROTOM encourages the use of mulch (banana leaves and other compost material), manure as well as planting in rows (instead of mounds which has been the traditional means of farming but are very difficult for jajas to maintain). These methods significantly increase crop yields during the harvest.
Week#5 Oct.1st has been set aside by the UN to recognize older persons. The Mukono District observed the International Older Persons Day on Oct. 6th and several ROTOM staff and jajas were in attendance. Another USP student and I also attended the celebration. After being delayed several hours the event started late in the afternoon. ROTOM is the only organization working to care for, support and meet the needs of this population group. Sadly significant gaps continue to exist in providing funds, as well as the necessary services and resources needed by the jaja population. This was an eye opening afternoon for me and exposed the importance of advocating for human rights. Jajas are poor,vulnerable and neglected individuals in need of support, care and empowerment, which ROTOM is trying its best to accomplish. The needs of the Ugandan jaja population are increasing but policies and programs are significantly lacking to adequately address the needs of jajas. The other day spent at ROTOM involved editing sponsor letters.
Week #6 Both days this week I had the opportunity to participate in a medical outreach to a rural village in the Mukono district. I spent my time asking questions as well as helping pass out medications for minor medical conditions. It has been very interesting to observe and be involved in the various projects and programs of ROTOM, which is seeking to provide older persons with full and dignified lives.
Upcoming week: I am leaving for a 10 day rural homestay tomorrow morning. I will be experiencing Ugandan daily life in a rural setting. I will not be attending classes or my internship since I will be about 5 hours away from the UCU campus. I will be in the area of Kapchorwa and Sipi Falls. I am excited for this experience but a bit nervous as well. It will be nice to get away from campus and classes but comes with a bit of anxiety since I don't know really to expect. I am looking forward to experiencing daily life (possibility of milking cows, killing chickens, harvesting coffee beans) as well as being welcomed into another Ugandan family.
Please pray for journey mercies, flexibility, willingness to be present and to try new things, as well as for patience. Thanks for your prayer and continual support and interest.