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Travel Diary - December 1, 2023

Written by Dr. Jeff Smith

When the itinerary says “Full Day in Moyo” it means a *VERY* FULL DAY in MOYO!!

After breakfast at the hotel, we visited Pipeline’s Lonyi Village construction site. It is very exciting to see construction of the guardhouse, gate, and fence already underway! We walked the site and discussed the project with the architect and contractors. Plans are underway to hire as many as 50 local workers to provide them with jobs and to teach them the construction trades. This will benefit the community far beyond the construction of the project itself.

The next stop was the bustling local market to buy large bags of rice, beans, fruits, and vegetables for the children at the Moyo Babies’ Home. We also purchased equipment for village women to make soap, including buckets, jerry cans, and gum boots.

We then met with the District Forest Officer to discuss the prospect of opening a sawmill in Moyo. The Officer was very knowledgeable and thoroughly educated us on the benefits of such a project to the community. In addition to providing needed construction materials, a sawmill would provide jobs for many people both upstream and downstream including tree growers, mill workers, and even cooks to feed the workers. In addition, the sawmill benefits the environment. Sawmills are much more efficient and produce less waste than power saws for cutting trees. A sawmill creates an incentive for landowners to plant more trees. The waste products from sawmills can be converted into briquettes for cooking, which is less polluting than burning the biomass directly. There are currently no sawmills in the West Nile region. The Officer was very supportive of Pipeline and there appears to be a great opportunity for partnership in the future.

Next was quick stop at St. Thomas Aquinas College. Pipeline has done many projects at this secondary school, including building a borehole, staff quarters, a water tank, and providing furniture and equipment for the campus. Ashleigh (the nurse executive on our team) and Jamie provided washable feminine hygiene pads to young women on campus and received feedback regarding the products provided previously.

A highlight of the day was the visit to Moyo General Hospital. We met with Dr. Neil Browning, a physician from the United Kingdom practicing in Moyo, and learned about equipment needed for his hospital patients. Pipeline sponsored Dr. Browning’s training in orthopedic fracture repair, a much-needed service in rural Uganda. We delivered additional sterilization equipment and were excited to hear that Dr. Browning will be able to provide this service soon.

We were happy to visit the babies in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Moyo General. With training and equipment provided by Pipeline, the mortality rate in the NICU has substantially improved. They are now able to care for babies weighing as little as 900mg and recently received national recognition for their outcomes. We saw two sets of twins housed in Pipeline provided incubators. They were very happy to hear that more incubators, baby warmers, monitors, and other equipment are on the way in the next Pipeline shipping container!

Kelly spent time with the facilities team at Moyo General, focusing on their back-up power supply. The electricity supplied by the grid often fails and the current generator and solar systems are inadequate to meet the growing electrical equipment at the hospital. As a result, laboratory testing is often unavailable and blood for transfusions and vaccines requiring refrigeration are at risk. Options are being explored.

The visit to Moyo General Hospital was concluded with a visit to the Larry Nollette Memorial Workshop. The Hospital Workshop Committee provided a full report. They are working hard to assure proper maintenance and operability of the equipment as well as improved financial accountability. The woodworking shop is producing a wide variety of items including coffins for purchase by families and furniture for hospital staff and patients. They will begin producing crutches and other supplies for orthopedic patients soon.

The team loved the visit to the Moyo Babies Home! Dedicated staff provide care for children ages 0-5, most of whom have lost their mothers. We provided the staff with food purchased at the market. Balls, suckers, shoes and sandals were a big hit with the kids! The team played with the infants and toddlers. Some (including me) were very tempted to smuggle a child or two home in our luggage. . .

The local boys’ and girls’ youth soccer teams in Moyo have been very successful. The girls recently won the district championship and are preparing to move on to regionals! They were happy to receive uniforms donated by the Boys Town in Omaha and delivered by Pipeline.

Our bellies are full after dinner with architects, contractors, and local officials. We will rest well tonight and prepare for another FULL day tomorrow!

Thank you for your generous support. It is truly a privilege to represent Pipeline Worldwide to patients, caregivers, and community members in Uganda.


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