Archive for February, 2010


out and about in lira

Here are some general photos taken out and about in the streets of Lira…
(mouse over photos for descriptions)


kavule parents’ school for the deaf

Sam Kateu is the founder of the Kavule Parents’ School for the Deaf located outside Mbale in Eastern Uganda. This boarding school, currently home to about 65 deaf and hearing impaired children, aims “to reduce illiteracy in deaf children and empower them economically”.  While the school already has an existing hand-dug well, it is not well-protected and often dries up to a measly 2-5 jerry cans a day in the dry season. Each day the students take 1-2 hours out of their classroom time to collect water from the spring in the nearest village where they often face bullying from the local children. The school also has two functioning rainwater harvesting systems which are used primarily for hand washing, cleaning and laundry and to supply water for the chickens they raise to sell their eggs locally.

Through a connection with World of Children – Ryan was the 2003 Founder’s Award recipient and Sam was the 2009 Humanitarian Award recipient – the Ryan’s Well Foundation had committed to fund the drilling of a borehole and the creation of specialised hygiene education material. Project Consultant, Tom Omach, and Eddie Odur from Rural Development Foundation (RDF) also recommend upgrading the current latrines and building a new latrine for the girls.  With RDF advising on the technical aspects of locating and drilling the well, the project should be on its way in the next couple of months.


rural development foundation, day 2

Today we visited a number of sites in the Aboke sub-county with RDF. Despite the unseasonable rain in the morning, the children of the Wigua Primary School and members of the Orono community came out to greet us and celebrate their access to clean water…

I even got to dance with the women of the Agwet community (thanks for snapping that one, Julie!).

While in Agwet we met a boy who is not only a member of the local water committee, but was also wearing a Sturgeon Falls t-shirt – the hometown of Flat Patrick!

We made a surprise visit to Angolo, the site of Ryan’s first well. The teachers brought out the photos from Ryan’s visit several years ago.

Our final stop was at Ader Primary School located on top of a hill in the Otwal sub-county. This school holds a special place in the hearts of many associated with the Ryan’s Well Foundation. In previous years, the school grounds were home to an IDP (internally displaced persons) camp for villagers escaping the brutality of the LRA rebels.  The school was short on supplies and classrooms were in need of repairs. On this visit we were very happy to see a new roof and through several special donations, we were able to distribute pens and exercise books to the students. 


rural development foundation

Julie, Flat Patrick and I spent the day in the Alito sub-county with Eddie Odur and his team from Rural Development Foundation (RDF), another local NGO working in water and sanitation in the Lira District.

Here is Julie sitting in RDF’s new Ryan’s Well truck, a necessity for visiting project sites and transporting supplies and equipment.

We visited a number of sites today, but here are the highlights:

  • New latrines at Onyut Primary School built by RDF and funded by Ryan’s Well

  • Head teacher of Onyut Primary School

  • Celebration at the Onyut community shallow well


  • Celebration at the Obutu shallow well

Today was an especially wonderful day. It was so moving to see the people of these communities come together to celebrate and thank the Ryan’s Well Foundation and their partners for bringing clean water to their communities. It’s amazing to think how much most of us take the availability of clean water for granted and how bringing a clean water source to a community can have such a profound impact on their lives.


divine waters uganda

Today was the first of two days spent with Deleo Moses Ocen and his team at Divine Waters Uganda, one of the local partner NGOs in Lira that focuses on improving access to water, sanitation and hygiene in Aromo and Adekokwok sub-counties.

After paying a visit to the Chairperson and Chief of the Adekokwok sub-county, we visited the headmaster at the Canon Lawrence Demonstration school…

…and were introduced to some of the student members on the Water and Sanitation Committee.

We then visited the Abonyo community well.



kampala to lira

We left Kampala yesterday heading north to Lira.  We had originally planned to visit a school in Mbale, northeast of Kampala, along the way, but unexpected car troubles left us without enough time to get to Lira before dark, so we had to drive to Lira directly.

The drive was beautiful.  The vegetation around Kampala in the south was quite lush with tall grasses and many leafy trees.  As we headed north, the landscape transitioned from hilly shades of greens to flat plains of browns and reds. 

We passed through many towns, villages and market intersections.  We stopped at one road-side market with many stalls selling various fruits and vegetables.  Before we even stopped the Land Rover, we were swarmed by people, mostly women, wanting to sell us their fruit; pineapples and the sweetest tasting bananas I’ve ever had.

Today was a day for us to rest and get settled into Lira.  Tom Omach, project consultant and long-time friend of the Ryan’s Well Foundation, Julie and I looked into buying some footballs and school exercise books that we’ll take with us when we visit some of the project sites, many of which are located at or near schools.

We also met briefly with the local partners and introduced them to Flat Patrick.


Julie and Flat Patrick

I’m really excited to be sharing my travelling adventures with two great travelling companions; Julie Truelove from the Ryan’s Well Foundation and Flat Patrick from Sturgeon Falls.  Julie is on her annual project monitoring trip where she meets with their local partners and visits a number of the project sites.  Flat Patrick is the Patrick version of “Flat Stanley”, based on the book by Jeff Brown; he is 10 years old and is in a grade 5/6 class in Sturgeon Falls.  Flat Patrick has come with us to share in our adventures, which I’m sure he will enjoy, seeing as he likes to read adventure books.  Sorry, Flat Patrick, no hockey in Uganda, but maybe you’ll get to watch a soccer…er…football match while you’re travelling with us.  He does snore a bit though, but luckily he’s staying in Julie’s room!  :)


in uganda!

After a very uneventful, pleasant even, flight from Toronto to London to Entebbe, I’m happy to finally be in Kampala, Uganda.  I’ve been anticipating this trip for a very long time – longer than any other trip I’ve been on and I’m so excited to finally be here. The only times I haven’t had a smile on my face have been when I’ve been yawning.  :)  Better get to bed.  I’m going to dream of the beautiful pink-orange glow of the setting sun on the sands of the Sahara desert I saw through the window of the plane…


Baby Brennan

I had the pleasure of photographing a new little being this past weekend. Brennan is the son of my sister-in-law’s brother. I don’t know what kind of relation that makes me — if at all! — but it was a joy to meet him and spend some time with him and his proud parents. Congratuations Kellie and Bryan!

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