Travel Diary – June 2022 – Day 5

6/23/22 by Jason Studt: I’ve been traveling in Uganda with Pipeline Worldwide for 3 days now. Pipeline’s team is really making a difference by providing sustainable aid to some of the most impoverished portions of Eastern Africa. I’ve been incredibly moved and inspired by these people; I hope that you’ll follow our trip at https://pipelineworldwide.org/blog/ and that our correspondence will hopefully motivate a few of you to get involved.

I’ll admit that this trip has left me with a range of emotions. It started with some Irritation from being stuck in Brussels for 2 days. Then there was some fear driving through Kampala at night on day #3.

We started day#4 off with a drive past the Kampala Slums and that’s when it really set in how rough life here is. We then took a prop plane over the Nile River and it was breathtaking. However, we finished the Day at Moyo Hospital at the northern boarder of South Sudan. As Wavery posted yesterday, this was really tough stuff to look at, but I think I needed to see it.

The hospital is in an open-air / no AC, unsterile, and water-damaged environment. They experience power blackouts (1-3 /wk) for sometimes 8 hours in duration. Their NICU is very busy and they lose babies every month because the life-saving equipment that they are hooked up to doesn’t work without power. Listening to the NICU manager speak, I could see the look of defeat in his eyes. I saw new mothers and pre-surgery patients packed into an open-ward nurse area while their family laid on the floor beside them.

The hospital currently only has 3 ambulances servicing 100k people and these villages are also on very difficult roads to navigate. Needless to say, they’ve had a high mortality rate during the 2 hour round trip to the hospital. They haven’t had a carpentry shop to make prosthetic limbs or crutches for several years. The normal everyday person who can’t pay to have these made and they have had to fend for themselves. Pipeline will continue to be a partner to Moyo hospital for its future projects. Pipeline has already completed a solar power infrastructure upgrade and staff living quarters renovation at the hospital. During our trip, they also donated (2) custom-made boda-boda ambulances (dirt bikes with trailers). The new ambulances will be given to the (2) villages who are furthest from the hospital and that would agree to a maintenance / payment / driver arrangement to make it a long-term solution. The goal for this program was to cut travel time down by an hour & hopefully save lives. This part of Uganda, Moyo District, was the location of past crimes against humanity & child soldiers. Most people here now live in mud brick huts, in unsterile conditions, with livestock, and dirt. They lost everything in past conflicts & have never had any opportunity. The only children that have a good chance at a different life are the ones that are sponsored at private schools. It’s also tough to find medical staff. For example, a management level rural position might pay $100 /week. But the everyday person has a lot of trouble finding work. There’s also a big problem with disease here, including AIDS. And the area has taken-in approximately 150k refugees running away from the war in South Sudan. These people have been through a level of difficulty in life that most of us can’t even begin to comprehend. And it’s not their fault. We’re not going to fix this problem, but we can improve the lives of those that we can touch. And Pipeline has certainly touched a lot of people. What I’ve become to understand is that people all over the world aren’t really that different. We all just want a chance to live a good life. I had preconceived notions of what the people would be like. We’ve been greeted with smiles, waves, and thank yous everywhere. So now for day #5. We started out by touring a private middle school / highschool that Pipeline has worked with to provide clean drinking water and other assistance. We were greated by the school children and got to hand out soccer balls and games. It was really cool to see them smile. We met with the local Councilor (mayor) to discuss Pipeline’s partnership with the local community & toured 3 potential locations for Pipelines future development in Moyo. The current plan is to provide a location for traveling doctors, aid workers, and Pipeline staff to call home and to provide a job skill training center. Soon afterward, we met back at the hospital and drove a caravan up to those 2 tribes to hand them the keys to their new ambulances. We were greeted by extreme kindness and a traditional dance party. It was amazing! (Check out the attached videos). It really touched me that these people were so grateful for this. Feels like medical care when you’re dying should just be standard. Anyway, Pipeline and it’s partners did a really good thing today.

Tonight we met up and had some grilled goat & rice / beans. Turns out that I really like goat. Tomorrow we’re headed to the Moyo Babies Orphange and the Polytechnic Institute where kids learn job skills to review current status of completed projects & discuss future ones. Stay tuned……


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