It is the eve of Christmas, a time when Christians celebrate the birth of a child. Perhaps the child was like this one…sweetly smiling with an aura of love. Merry Christmas everyone. ❧
There were so many children in Uganda. As I mentioned is a previous blog (A Tear for Uganda), half of the population was under the age of 15. Everywhere you turned there were young eyes focused on you. Most were desperate to have their picture taken and all seemed to know that pictures could be retrieved instantly on the digital camera’s LCD screen. But some, like this young girl, were more shy and introspective. Whatever was she thinking? ☙
One of the beautiful children we cared for during our medical mission. You can’t help but notice how many young people there are in Uganda. In 2008, 50% of the population was 15 years of age or younger. The nearly two decades of war took a terrible toll on the country, destroying the broad swarth of middle-age, middle-class citizens that a country depends upon for economic growth. What war didn’t take, HIV did. The virus claimed many lives before the government initiated an aggressive anti-HIV program that proved very successful, slashing infection rates from 15% to 6%. While these statistics have been challenged the infected Ugandans whom we saw were greatly compliant patients. Each had a small notebook with their complete medical history including current medications and opportunistic diseases. Sadly the HIV infection rate is again on the rise in Uganda. ☙
Often when I describe the people of Uganda whom we treated during our 2008 medical mission I will use the term “regal” and it this picture that personifies that description. This beautiful family is almost royal in their carriage and their confidence. The mother is proud, and rightly so. Her children are clean, polite, seemingly intelligent. All of them have a gentleness that seems surreal in a country so ravaged by war and disease.☙
Recently I saw an acquaintance whom I had not seen in more than a decade. He had heard about my medical missions from mutual friends and was particularly interested in my trip to Uganda. When I told him how much I loved Uganda he asked why and the answer was quick in coming. “The people. They are noble and good.” Ugandans have a regal bearing that is hard to explain but I feel that several of my pictures captured their spirit. So, for this week of Alice’s WanderLand blogs we will travel to Uganda. Our mission was in Gulu, which is the largest city in Northern Uganda. We saw mainly women and children, most of whom were HIV+ or had AIDS. In four days the fifteen member team would see close to 2,000 individuals. For most it was a routine visit to a medical clinic. Pills were provided to fight intestinal parasites, vitamins were given for the children. But for some this trip to see Western doctors was an opportunity for help. In some cases the result was successful…in others it was far too late. It was a experience I will never forget. ☙
We’re back! Bigger and better than ever… Computer woes are (hopefully) behind us. The new iMac is a joy and the transfer of data was a breeze. When you’ve matured along with the computer industry you can REALLY appreciate advancement. Twenty years ago it was a nightmare to transfer data from an old computer to a new one. This time the delays were the operator’s fault, not the operating system. And there is the pesky element of serial numbers and product keys. Software programs are unrelenting about wanting that kind of stuff. Having recently moved it was a bit time consuming tracking down some really old, original boxes and discs. Programs are not happy with update product numbers. They are insistent on the original product number. To all my friends and followers I can highly recommend 1Password. Not only does it track all those online passwords but it also has a folder specifically for software data. It made this process much easier.
So, back to an image a day. Frequent readers will recall this was supposed to be the iconic photography project – 365. 365 images in 365 days. I’ve already cheated since I don’t make it a picture I took THAT day. Sometimes it works out that way but mostly I viewed this as a chance to share some of my pictures, expound a bit on life in a new community or other matters, and keep in touch with friends. I’m sure there are some very disciplined photographers who have done the true 365. My hat is off to them but now it is back to my version.
This tall fellow, by the way, with his small traveler on the back of his neck, is a giraffe from the Paraa Preserve in Uganda, Africa. I was on a medical mission and we had a day of R&R at the Preserve. A special time … ☙