Today, unfortunately, marked our last day with the wonderful people in Muko. We will certainly miss their warmth, graciousness, and especially, their enthusiasm for learning.
We began the day with a community dialogue in the village of Nyamiyaga. The leaders and villagers of this extremely high elevation location (8,200 feet!) met with ACT staff and the HEAL team (Health is Elemental for All Life) to identify key issues in the village. The dialogue began by separating the approximately 80 participants into three groups; women, men, and children. Each group was charged with brainstorming a list of issues facing the health of the community. The groups came together and reported on their work. The women identified issues such as alcoholism, a lack of potable water, the care of orphaned children, and spousal abuse. The men noted concerns about a lack of quality seeds, domestic violence, and fees for supporting children's education. The children reported their concerns about a lack of books, disruptive students, and the unaffordability of uniforms. The groups prioritized the issues in two categories; the lack of water, and affording school fees. The groups then developed strategies and actions plans for achieving these objectives.
Upon returning to the Muko center, Vanessa led a group of staff and 32 additional men and women in a training session about community wealth. She spoke to the universality of the desire for health. The key elements of health were discussed as were specific actions to improve outcomes. These included hygiene, vaccinations, exercise, and other important ways to improve health outcomes.
In addition to the group dialogue and training sessions, individual training, consulting and counseling sessions were undertaken by Diana with Guma regarding handcraft marketing, and Tim with Moses following-up on the HANDS (Helping Agricultural New Development and Sustainability) training and field work. Sue also met with Rauben regrading the pilot evaluation of the HEAL program and with Guma about the new administrative/secretarial hire.
Prior to leaving, the various handcraft articles produced at the center were packaged for return to and sale at the US ACT retail stores. Ginny's inventory request was fulfilled.
As it became time to leave, the heavens opened up as if grieving the end of our wonderful journey and we left in the rain. We are heading for Kampala tomorrow and then leaving back for home on Monday.