We set off to Guatemala planning to begin similar relationship building and development work that we continue to progress with the schools and other projects we support in Uganda. We were both excited and nervous as this trip was breaking new ground for Charlene’s Project and we were cautious not to transfer our Ugandan experiences on to a completely different situation and culture in Guatemala. As always we value our partners and both World Help and Hope of Life were a joy to work with and what was achieved could not have been achieved without their help and guidance.
Our immediate impression was of incredible beauty as we flew in over mountains, volcanoes and lush tropical forest. After an overnight in Guatemala city we travelled the four hours south east into the mountains to our base at Hope of Life our Guatemalan partners compound in Zacapa district.
While our main purpose was to meet the communities in the two remote mountain villages Charlene’s Project had funded water projects in we could not help but be amazed at all the work of Hope of Life. Apart from the work they do in rescuing ill and severely malnourished children from remote villages high in the mountains they have projects that care residentially for elderly, children with severe disability and abandoned children. Truly inspirational. We also had the privilege of helping in their feeding programme in one of the local community dumps where people are struggling to make a living out of anything they can salvage from the waste that is brought to the landfill. Heartbreaking.
We made the journey in 4X4’s high into the mountains to both Las Escaleras and Vado Ancho. No rollercoaster could have prepared us for the ride which took us through some of the most un imaginable views as we clung on for dear life as we bounced along, the vehicles throwing up the most amazing sparkly dust as we got closer to the villages.
What a beautiful people we met. So excited to have clean water provision through Charlene’s Project and so appreciative of the gifts of clothes, toys and sweets so many of our friends from home had provided. We were able to distribute packs of food to each family in both villages through Hope of Life – the wet season has been dry and the maize has failed. There are hard days ahead through the months of dry season and the families in these little mountainous communities have so much need. We presented children’s programmes in both villages and shared in the church service in one of the villages where the only protection from the 90-100 F heat was a corrugated tin roof straddling between trees. Their inadequate school buildings are dilapidated and in major need of repair.
We came away humbled by their thanks and appreciation of the little we had provided. Thank you to everyone who has supported us and who has paid a part in bringing clean water to these two communities. As we left we have just begun a process that we hope to be able to continue with your help. What is ongoing in Uganda and what has begun in Guatemala through Charlene’s Project is only possible because of your support. Thank you from the many who can only thank us for what you are doing. God bless
At Kahara when women go to the clinic in labour (for women from Kahara the Diika Clinic is 13 km away - so getting there in labour itself isn't easy) they have to provide their own "Mama Pack" composed of cotton wool, sterile gloves, cord clamp and other disposable requirements for a sterile delivery. With high HIV rates and mother and baby infection risk - this is so important to reduce maternal and neonatal infection and death. Often sadly the women cannot afford the small cost of providing this Mama Pack themselves.
We feel it is so important that women have Mama Packs so Charlene's Project have purchased again this year Mama Packs for the pregnant women in Kahara.
Victoria, who is a community leader in Kahara and was previously a midwife in Kampala gives these packs to the pregnant women when they attend for antenatal care. When linked with antenatal care like this there is an encouragement to attend appointments thus improving pregnancy outcomes. We are so pleased to be able to make this small contribution of Mama Packs from Charlene's Project to the wonderful women of the Kahara community.
George from our partner Build Africa presenting Mama Packs to Kahara community.