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November 1, 2004

I got this email from her yesterday!

Hi EJ,
Happy Halloween! What are you going to trick or treat as?? How about Kristine,
Emily, and Dane?I wanted to give you a little summary of Soft Power Health
for your website, and I was talking about with you earlier, write you
weekly updates from Uganda. En route to Uganda, I have visited the best
French play park called L’ile de la Serre with really good rapids and
great play features! Its on the Rhone River about 2 hours from Geneva
and it was great to see so many paddlers out enjoy the river. Anyway,
I wanted to give you just a short piece on Soft Power to follow. Soft
Power Health is a Malaria education, prevention, and treatment program
that I started in January of 2004 and was inspired by my first visit to
Uganda with EJ in January 2003. I had known that Malaria was a problem
in Africa from my previous medical experience in Kenya, but I had no idea
of the scope its reach until we discovered that every person near the
Nile that we spoke to had had Malaria multiple times. Not only that Malaria
infects 500,000,000 people annually, killing up to 3 million children
each year. It seemed incredible to me that no one slept under a mosquito
net. (After further research, I learned that the incidence of Malaria
can be reduced by< as much as 50% if people sleep under nets. The Mosquitos
that carry the
Malaria parasite predominantly bite at night!) After leaving Uganda in
2003, I kept in email contact with Hannah Small, the founder of Soft Power
Education, a Ugandan based non-profit that builds schools and orphanages,
and brain stormed about a plan to provide help in Malarial healthcare.
I talked to two good friends of mine, Anna Levesque and Kristen Reed,
about returning with me to help start a preventative health initiative.
They were totally psyched to help in any way possible and were very interested
to paddle the legendary whitewater as well. We also had the company and
fine filming of Alex Nicks as well as the wit of Greg Nicks and Ben Sarrazin.
We learned a ton on our January 2004 visit! We met and became friends
with a fantastic local woman, Jessica Mugerwa. She is very motivated to
help her fellow Ugandans live healthier lives. We also trained Jessica
to be our first Malaria educator and mosquito net distributor. She is
doing a fantastic job educating people and getting nets to families that
want them. Because of Jessica, we had unprecedented access to villagers'
lives and living conditions to assess what people knew about Malaria and
what we would be able to do to help out. After visiting nearly 50 huts,
we held educational sessions in the local school built by Soft Power Education
for all levels of the community from the ladies cooperative, to the elders,
to the men and finally the children. It was clear that most people did
not know much about Malaria including how to protect themselves against
it! When I returned to the States, I started a US based non-profit, Soft
Power Health, which is the official name for the Malaria education, prevention,
and treatment program. We have now raised enough money to build a rural
clinic that will serve as an education, prevention, and treatment center
for Malaria and other common diseases in the Chybirwa village. We aim
to create a sustainable education, prevention, and treatment program in
the Chybirwa village and surrounding villages, next to Bujagali Falls
on the Nile. I will be heading back to Uganda shortly to help construct
the clinic and to continue the educational programs. It should be great
and that kayaking should be pretty good too!

Hope you guys are well and enjoying FAll in Rock Island!
Take care,