Along the side of the road, a young man sparked up his welder, carefully creating a set of decorative and functional window bars for a customer in Kikiri. Measuring twice before beginning a weld, he focused on getting it right as trucks and matatus trundled by carrying goods and people through the countryside in clouds of dust and smog.
|Coaching ladies on caring for their banana trees.|
|Earning a living, making clothes on main street.|
Nearby, a tailor focuses on threading the sewing machine for a color change while creating a new shirt for a client in a tiny shop littered with completed projects, custom clothing for clients. She deftly changes from one thread-color to another making precise stitching while driving the Singer Sewing machine using the footplate and her own human power. Their skills came courtesy of Bega Kwa Bega, or Shoulder to Shoulder, a grass-roots organization founded by a Ugandan lady who now lives in the US, where she and a team raise funds so that their hard-working and well-trusted crew can focus on making lives better on the ground.
Whether it be coaching farmers in raising a healthy variety of food-stuffs, attending to health needs of the sick in remote villages where people rarely see doctors, or the income-generating playground where city kids can have a blast while the center assists in keeping the other programs operating without interruption, BKB appears to be a success story that usually is told in the same breath with the more famous alphabet soup of international development organizations. They drill wells and set up springs for cleaner water supplies, keep orphans and vulnerable children in school, coach villagers on improved agriculture techniques and the nutritional concerns that will affect their growing choices in this very fertile part of the world.
I spent my week in Uganda (six days of it) delivering that same level of professional work that major NGOs have requested to this little engine that could in part because they are a friend of a friend and in part because I was intrigued by their work and the breadth of their services. It seems to me that they are truly making a difference especially in these rural areas where guidance can be absent.
|Children receiving anti-worm treatment at mobile clinic.|
|Word find Kakiri|
|Gogolo Play Place|
|Fresh water from the BKB-constructed spring at Mpigi|
|waiting for care at the mobile clinic.|
|Gift of a cow creates income through milk and manure for a village lady.|
|Getting the hang of techniques, spreading fertilizer while preparing for planting.|
|Preparing the garden.|