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    It all started with a message: “Hello Esther, my name is Mpoya Kiirya Eddy. Please join my Village Kisozi and advice me on my project for Orphans and Vulnerable Children.”

    At the end of the week, Esther will board the plane to Uganda: to visit Africa for the first time in her life AND to meet the Eddy who wrote her this short message. And she will not travel empty handed – bringing loads of good news and a very full program:

    There’s a donation for beds, mattresses and bed sheets for 6 kids, the first part of a donation for a safe and clean water campaign sponsored by GGNET, reading books for 4-12 year olds, 425 glasses that were donated by EyeClarify / Hans Anders (who will be sponsoring glasses for a year). Next to that she’s bringing the news that AfricaSport will invest in the Kisozi football club.

    Last but not least she’s bringing 140 euro that has been collected through their project on 1% Club (see the banner), which will give the goat & chicken project a good start.

    In Uganda they will meet Sander van Zanten of ICU, a representative of Cycling out of Poverty and pay a visit to Paul Bulenzi in Jinja.

    “We have to realize the school, and since we’re getting involved with bigger organizations I’m starting a foundation in the Netherlands as well. I try to learn as much from other projects and foundations as possible… yeah… things have gotten a bit out of hand”, Esther says.

    A short message goes a long way.

    Have a great trip, Esther!

    6 young men line up and start singing. “This is a song about HIV/AIDS”, Mpoya explains. “This group performs at schools, to make the kids aware of HIV/AIDS, education and other subjects.” And they’re good at it. One song later quite a crowd has gathered: students from the adjacent secondary school, to which the boys belong as well.

    The songs are followed by a play. A young girls’ father dies of AIDS, her mother can’t take care of her, so her aunt comes in to help. Things are not working out well, the girl drops out of school. Still auntie tries to keep up appearances: she is bossy, manipulative, rolls her eyes, clacks her tongue and shakes her hips to great amusement of the audience. When eventually small bricks are served for dinner, the crowd roars with laughter! Then mother comes in with a representative of Hope Alive Uganda, who sends the girl back to school. All’s well that ends well.

    And just in time: clouds have packed over our heads; the wind starts blowing and a thunderstorm breaks loose. Like a grande finale to a powerful play.

    Paul Bulenzi and Pelle Aardema visited Kisozi on 19 February 2009

    The same team that ran for Jinja in October 2007 did it again last Sunday!

    12 kilometers on the Formula-1 race track and the beach of Zandvoort, the Netherlands.(link in Dutch)

    So far we’ve collected 550 EURO, and some more funds are still coming in.

    There are a few projects that Paul wants to spend the money on:
    - shipment of tools for a carpentry workshop & training
    - repairing the monitors that have broken
    - building a temporary structure (school) in Kajjansi

    More updates on these projects soon!


    Read more about the Jinja project here!

    “Meet me at the mosque,” he says on the phone, while Paul (Bulenzi) and I drive through the lush environment of Jinja. Another beautiful morning in Uganda. Not long after we pass Paul’s house in the outskirts of Jinja, we reach the mosque. A young man comes walking towards us.

    “Hi, I’m Emma, welcome to Wakitaka.” [Wa-tchi-taka] He tells about the youth group that he and his friends started three years ago, seeing that most of the youth from the village remained without work, even after completing advanced studies. 17 youth joined right away, they are 60 now, working on different projects.

    The poultry farming hasn’t been too successful until now, although a two-story chicken house was rented from one of the parents and still a few hundred chickens are there. Diseases and problems with getting the right fodder keep causing headaches.

    The piggery is more successful. Started with 3 pigs, there are 17 now. And there’s good market. The big pigs are housed in a pen on the ground; the younger ones are in raised housing. “We want to build a raised pen for the biggest ones too. That is more hygienic and saves a lot of work cleaning. In case we want to expand we can use this land, which belongs to one of the parents. We could use some advice on building a good pig pen.”

    Another project the group has been discussing is goat rearing. “Some of the youth are Muslim, so they won’t get involved in the piggery. And as you can see there is access to borehole water, the surroundings are green.” Paul confirms that the village would be a good place to rear goats: “Everything they need is there.”

    Other members, led by Richard, have started a handicraft workshop. The room where the workshop is housed was provided by the same parents they rent the chicken house from. Woodcutting, tie & dye, necklaces and artwork using local materials such as banana fibers. Paper postcards with a crane bird (Uganda’s trademark) design made of banana fibers. “Those, we hardly sell at the local market. Ugandans only buy the computer prints we make of them. Would there be a market in Europe for the products we make?”

    “NABUUR neighbours are giving all kinds of advice on our projects, even though we just started. I think we would move even faster if we had a facilitator.”

    When we move on, Paul is very happy with the artwork displaying a disabled person. “This will get a nice place in our centre.”

    35 local community representatives (28 from NABUUR villages), 500 business cards, 1 entertainment group and a welcoming venue made up for a successful Meet2Connect event in Kampala, Uganda on 21 February 2009.

    “I now have people to turn to directly, when I am facing challenges”
    “Two heads know more than one”

    The purpose of the event was to connect local community representatives so that they get to know each other and their projects. And it worked!

    After a practical introduction to networking, which really boosted the energy level in the room, it was time to put the networking in practice: groups were formed based on location -”I finally got to know the people who are around me” – and on issue, successes were shared and a lot of ideas, contacts and addresses were exchanged: 500 blank business cards, to be personalized by the local representatives with their details, were gone by halfway into the afternoon.

    Just the beginning…More meetups to come!

    During the day a group of Local Reps spontaneously decided to form a meet-up group: they will be meeting on a regular basis to learn from each other’s projects & experiences. If you missed this during the day or were not able to attend the event, but want to join this group: you can still contact Paul Bulenzi at

    Preparation AND mental support made last Sunday’s run a success: 10 kilometers in 55 minutes, 20 seconds!!
    We made a short video of the event:


    In the meantime we’ve gathered nearly 1000 euro. That’s enough for the shipment… and training a few people. Time to discuss priorities with Paul and BEHOD board :lol:

    Pelle and Marijntje

    Find more updates about the Jinja Central project here.