A Reflection of My Life after living in Uganda as a U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Why I Got Sick: Possibility 1 of Infinity Reasons

I have two quick stories to share. The first happened last week. I was sitting in front of the school entertaining baby Maggie while her mom was busy. Mildred, Maggie's sister, came and sat next to me and together we played with Maggie. Maggie was not wearing a nappy (diaper) at this moment and she soon had to relieve herself. Mildred took her little wet shorts off and put them on the table next to us. Pretty soon after this Maggie's nose started to run. Without missing a beat Mildred grabbed the urine soaked shorts and used a "dry" part to wipe Maggie's face.

My next story happened this weekend. I went to the latrine and when I came out I found a little girl squatting on the walk-way into our row of latrines where she had finished urinating and was about to defecate. I sternly told her in Luganda to get into the latrine. She looked a little ashamed and quickly moved into an empty latrine.

I see these unhygienic moments happen and say to myself, "And they wonder why I got sick!"

1 comment:

  1. Amanda:

    I am COO of Water Charity, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that does water, sanitation, and public health projects worldwide. In July, 2009, we started our Appropriate Projects initiative to fund small water and sanitation projects very quickly. Applicants are limited to Peace Corps Volunteers, Returned Peace Corps Volunteers, and Peace Corps Response Volunteers.

    I am a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer (Bolivia ’66-’68), and am well aware of the difficulties Volunteers face in the field. Appropriate Projects is an addition to our regular Water Charity model that is allowing us to provide project resources to PCVs in the field immediately.

    Often there is that little project that must be done now (before the rains start, before school begins, or in response to a critical need), but there are no funds available. Traditional funding sources are cumbersome, and there are long forms, detailed requirements, limited resources, and long delays.

    PCVs working in water and sanitation usually have potential projects lined up. For those working in other program areas, there may be water components to their projects, or improvements needed where they work or teach.

    Sample projects may be: rainwater or spring catchments, handwashing stations, water systems, piping, tanks, pumps, latrines, wells, etc.

    We like to do the water and sanitation parts of projects for schools, clinics, and community centers. So, if you can get funding for the building and other stuff, we can help with things like the water supply, filters, sinks, plumbing, and drainage.

    We like to finish projects that have been started, and fix things that have ceased to function.

    We encourage follow-up projects that expand upon the successful completion of the first small project.

    If you have a project in mind, please fill out the application form. We want this to be easy for you, so we have developed a simple form that you can fill out in one sitting.

    If you have any questions about the appropriateness of your project, or you need some time to get it together, just let us know.

    We pre-fund projects, so you don’t have to wait around for donations to roll in.

    If you do not have a project that qualifies, please pass this message on to your fellow Volunteers who may have an interest. Finally, if this initiative resonates with you, please let others know what we are doing through your social networks, websites, and blogs.

    I look forward to hearing from you.

    Averill Strasser

    Appropriate Projects

    Water Charity