The Story of Jiggers

After treatment
After treatment

We had heard, before we set out for Uganda, that the 60 children in the school had jiggers in their feet. Jiggers are tiny fleas that feed on blood. The male takes his feed and moves on, but the female bores into the skin and continues feeding while laying thousands of eggs, which drop back to the soil for further infestation. The infected foot (or other part in contact with the ground) can become very itchy or sore, and as it is an open wound can easily pick up serious infection.

Happy Feet!
Happy Feet!

We brought a doctor to the village, and washed, treated and disinfected the infected feet under the shade of a large tree. After each child was treated they went over to the classroom, where they were given new clothes, from donated items we had brought out with us, and shoes (crocks) that we had bought in Masaka town. They also got a jar of Vaseline, which can be spread on the foot to block the entry of the jigger. While the mothers were helping with washing and disinfecting the doctor was explaining to them the importance of regularly washing the children’s feet and removing any jiggers found.

"Children" checking their jiggers
“Children” checking their jiggers

But the story  doesn’t end there … On our last day in Bbaale, the women sang and danced for us, and then performed a little play that they’d put together. It was an enactment of the jiggers treatment, with two of the women hobbling around with sore feet, and another being the father, berating the mother for not looking after the children properly. After the operation, the “children” went over to the  classroom, and returned having changed their clothes and wearing shoes. Lesson emphasised!

 

Back from Uganda

The team got back from Uganda this morning, tired from an overnight trip and a hectic two days in Kampala, with visits to the three special-needs children in separate schools there and meetings with H.E. the Vice-President, the Irish embassy and Fields of Life/I-am-girl. More news will follow when we’ve had some sleep.

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The children played with the vent pipe while the school toilet was being built

 

It is time for our next trip to Bbaale. We are leaving on November 2nd, for a two-week visit, and want to try to get things moving on a permanent structure for the little school – which now gets 60 to 70 children a day – so there will be a few meetings to attend. But we also hope to get our hands dirty, with some helping in the school, fixing any problems with the toilet block, helping with the quarterly greasing of the pump, and maybe fixing a few roofs.

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Drying fish in the sun

We have space for another one or two volunteers to join us …

Walking in the Rain

28 adults, 1 baby in a buggy and 3 dogs started out on our Barrow Walk, the 17km from Carlow to Bagenalstown. By the time they had reached the first break point, at Cloydagh, they were really sodden, and weather conditions were getting worse, so after the coffee, sandwiches and buns – and plenty of towels – walking was abandoned and we shuttled them back to their cars. (Apart, that is, from the few hardy souls who decided to walk back).

Thanks to all who participated or supported.

Wet before we even started!
Wet before we even started!

Barrow Walk

Our Barrow Walk is on next Monday, June 1st. We start at the town hall car park at 11am, walk to Cloydagh where we break for coffee and buns, then on to Leighlinbridge where there’ll be sandwiches, then on to the finish in Bagenalstown where there’ll be more refreshments – if there are any left. The distance is about 17km, but we’ll arrange lifts back to Carlow from the intermediate point as well as the end.

Vegetables

We’ve mentioned before that we are paying a horticulturalist to teach the Baale people about vegetable  growing. They rented a plot of land about 10 minutes walk from the village, as their own soil is currently too poor. It will be better when we start enriching it with the composted waste from the eco-toilet. Anyway, they’ve sent us this picture of their cabbages which we thought we would share.

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Toilet Block, Bbaale

CIMG8973We had a collecting tank installed to harvest the rainwater from the roof – there were already gutters in place – to make washing hands after using the toilets easier. We also had solar panels fitted to provide lighting, and I think the lights had been left on.

They’re Back!

The two volunteers got back on Friday morning. Today, the photos have started coming through, so we’ll be posting a selection over the next few days.  A lot of the time in Bbaale was spent with the children and teachers in the new kindergarten school, so first up we have pictures from that.
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This is the schoolhouse, not very permanent but it keeps the weather out. However, the floor is just sandy clay, and it gets very mucky in wet weather, so we decided to put in a concrete slab. Already, the sand for it has arrived – that’s the grey pile in front.

CIMG9250They organised uniforms for the children, and they were made and delivered while the volunteers were there.

 

Autumn Visit to Uganda

Playtime - sponsored children from Baale walk 1.5 hours to this school
Playtime – sponsored children from Baale walk 1.5 hours to this school

As well as the two volunteers going over at the end of March, we are planning a bigger visit, for the last week in August and first week of September, so if you might be interested in participating then, please let us know.

The New School

The new school at Baale opened on Saturday. We hoped to have some photos, but there were technical difficulties. Anyway, we hear that the people are delighted with this addition to the village facilities.

In case you missed the background … the children that go to school have to walk for about one-and-a-half hours each way to get there. Of course, not all children can go, as most of the villagers can’t afford the school fees, but many are now going as a result of our sponsorship programme. Also, some are too young to walk that far, and so two kind donors came to the rescue of these little ones, with funds to build a temporary classroom and funds to pay a teacher’s salary for a year. The temporary classroom is now in operation.

At the end of March two volunteers are going to Baale to spend a week working with the teacher, assessing needs and bringing teaching aids and equipment. They will also liaise with officials to get a site for a permanent school and community centre.

(If things are working properly, this post on our blog should auto-copy to our facebook page)