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By Jessie Stone

After a brief respite from the heat, the dry season is back here in Uganda. We had a nice few days break and the rain partially filled our water tank at the clinic and for our garden. This is really helpful as otherwise, we have to go the borehole to get water for our running water system and the garden, and that is always hard work. Last Friday evening, Emily left to go back home, and I was sad to see her go. I had a great time having her here. Before she left, we were able to go out again with Amina, one of the Ugandan women paddlers who has been making great progress. Emily let Amina try her boat and Amina’s already big smile became huge. She really loved the Star. It’s been fun to watch how quickly she is learning too.

Emily’s last week was quite busy too. She and Jessica and Wilfred, our malaria educators, finished up the new malaria-coloring book to be used at the Soft Power Education Center for their P6 class. This coloring book has had a long history. Almost 3 years ago, one of our volunteers, Anna Bruno, made the original malaria-coloring book, which is really cool. Unfortunately, the English is a little sophisticated for the primary schools here so we are trying to get it used in the secondary schools instead. Emily, Jessica, and Wilfred had the benefit of using her original to work from to create the new simplified version for the P6 students. This is a trial run and we hope it will be a big hit in the classroom. Since school starts this week, we’ll see how it goes.

Emily got to visit a baby’s home for HIV+ kids in Jinja where we had placed a child last year whose parents were unable to take care of it. Luckily, the boy is doing very well, no longer malnourished and on regular anti-retroviral therapy. She accompanied the child’s parents who wanted to see the child and it was a happy reunion for all. Emily also helped out with the repainting of our clinic, which had not been painted since it’s opening in January 2006. The clinic is really looking spiffy now inside and out. Both staff and patients seem to really appreciate the upgrade.

We are about to receive our next shipment of mosquito nets coming all the way from China. It is a true lesson in patience with bureaucracy to get these nets into the country and it’s also hard to believe that as of now we have sold 40,000 mosquito nets. Since we have had so much success selling the nets, we know just about every Ugandan can afford to buy the nets at a subsidized price. We are planning a big schedule for malaria education and net sales as soon as the nets get here. In April, the Ugandan government will begin free distribution of nets and I am not enthusiastic about this program, as I believe it will create more problems than it will help. It is not sustainable and instead of giving people tools to help themselves they are just giving them things in the short term with no education. I definitely wish I had a pipeline to Obama and his policy makers. In this case, I keep praying for African time to take over and the nets to be very, very late in their arrival! Being late has its benefits too!

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