5/5/21 From the Heart of Uganda: Business & Personal Thoughts with VP, Charlie Hedges.
5/5/21 Wed 3:00 AM (can’t sleep for a while)
I’ve missed Uganda, my deep hours long conversations with Adrian on our way to rural communities, 2-6 hour drives each day; my time with the Uganda people (in hotels and in the fields), always so kind, appreciative, and helpful. I miss our team and Pascal. I miss Grace at the orphanage my family helps out. I think I miss all… except the horrendous traffic in downtown—hours for 10-15 miles.
Having arrived in Uganda yesterday morning at 5:00 AM after more than 22 hours in the air and another 12 hours in airports, I spent most of the day resting and preparing for events to come in the next three weeks.
We begin tomorrow morning for 2 days in Mityana where I will attend the WASH training exercise in preparation for our new Healthy Village Program. After that, I visit with the governors of Mityana and Kasanda to built relationships and reviews of wells and wash planning strategy for the next 3 years. Both Districts have new leadership after the elections so relationship building is essential.
Mityana is the primary location for our 2021 30 projected WASH programs and 100 Operation reprobation. Mityana is certainly our most improved district we have ever conducted business, by 2023. Maybe the highest. By the end of 2023 we will have and repaired more than 250 wells (over 400 in total) and completed new WASH programs in 90 villages and schools.
5/5/21 Wed 11:30 AM Mityana WASH Training Session
I am with The WASH Team, Health Officers, District Officials and WASH experts to train “30 District Extension Workers” on the needs and remedies of the WASH program. After 8 full days of training they will be ready to “get started” in the field under the leadership of Wells of Life WASH Officers. One thing struck me as vital in my time here during the required 8-day training of Extension Workers.
Of these 8 days, 3 days are devoted to the needs and mitigations of WASH. Then 5 days of tools.
I feel this is where I fail in the USA. I do not push the need of WASH as much as I do the deliverables. The need for WASH is shocking: deaths at all ages, infant mortality, serious illness, stunted growth, missed school and work, undernourished because of diarrhea. The lecturer spoke of people “eating their own “shit”” (his words not mine). Defecating openly and contaminating all food and health, our friends live in poverty, ill-health, and death.
We provide one thing: DIGNITY!!! To people that have nothing and are valued by nobody. We offer the opportunity to receive one vital human distinction: Dignity in the image of God.
Let us not forget that word: DIGNITY is what we do!
At the end of this training the Extension Workers will receive tools to “change mindsets” that create devastating health conditions. Communities will be taught effective mitigations and habits that change life, leaving all with… Dignity.
Adrian, Pascal, and I met with the governors and water officers of the districts of Kassanda and Mityana. We were supposed to meet separately. But a scheduling mix up put us all together, and such a delightful time.
Both governors are most impressed with Wells of Life and told me that we are the most dependable of all NGO’s in their District. Both want Wells of Life to continue serving their communities and developing new techniques of dispensing clean water called a Production Well.
Although Production Wells are more expensive they are also much more effective. Thoughts for our future works with God.
Charlie Hedges, VP Ugandan Operations, Wells of Life