Thursday, June 30, 2011

On Saturday night, Will, Nicholas (from EAC not T4T), and I went to The National Theater to see the Tabu Flo Dance troupe perform a show called The Myth of the Night Dancers. Night dancers are one of the oldest myths in Uganda. They are men and women who are normal during the day and then at night wake up possessed. They find dead bodies to eat and do all sorts of other crazy things. The great part about the show was that it was all told using modern and traditional dance. The cast was amazing at break dancing. It was extremely entertaining and at times hilarious. I am so happy that Agie suggested we go.


On Sunday, Will and I went to the EAC house to see the students perform. We are lucky that Jeremy's family is in town to warrant the organizing of such an event. As always, EAC's students delivered with great energy and passion. During one particular number, I could just tell that they were having a great time. It is always great to sense this from performers.


On the subject of the Spirit of Uganda, this week EAC released tour dates The show will be coming to Vanderbilt on February 25! I cannot wait for everybody to see the amazing hard work and talent of EAC's performers!


- Feldman

Monday, June 27, 2011


Today Nicholas and I went with Emmanuel to check out the incinerator at Mulago Hospital, the largest referral hospital in Uganda. Emmanuel is a grad. student at Makerere University who also works here at T4T, and he's being doing research on the Mulago incinerator for a while. We discovered that Mulago is having some serious incineration troubles. They recently spent billions of Ugandan Shillings on the purchase of two new incinerators. They really didn't think the decision through because the new incinerators are fuel assisted and each of them consumes around 80 liters of fuel per day. The hospital soon found that it couldn't afford to keep operating the new incinerators, so now they have reverted back to using the old one. The old one still uses fuel on it's start up, but the burners turn off as soon as the incinerator reaches required temperatures. They say that the incinerator achieves secondary combustion, as it has a secondary combustion chamber, but the black smoke that pours out of the chimney is evidence that secondary combustion is not really happening. While we were checking things out, we were suddenly told to leave by the site manager. I was pretty confused, so Nicholas and Emmanuel informed me that because of the huge mistake the hospital has made, wasting so much money on a poorly thought out decision, they work hard to keep their blunders under wraps. They got pretty defensive when they saw us walking around taking pictures of their facilities. It was a pretty interesting situation. Nicholas talked about how he spent a lot of time advising Mulago on proper incineration practices, but they never listened to him, and they refuse to admit their mistake. It was a pretty interesting situation. Very telling as to how things work around here.

Here you can see the smoke coming out of the chimney. Apparently this is less than normal. There is also smoke coming out of the base of the chimney that's hard to see. The point is that this is incinerator has it's fare share of problems. In the top left corner of the picture you can see a bit of the new incinerator's chimney. It is huge and completely unused.

These are pictures of the incinerator's combustion chambers. You can't really tell from the pictures, but the room that houses this machine is incredibly smokey and particles of ash are floating around everywhere. It was pretty shocking to see all this at what is supposed to be one of the best hospitals in Uganda.


Sports Day

I woke up early Saturday morning so that I could attend Sports Day at Taibah Junior School (where EAC primary school students attend) . On Sports Day, students at Taibah are divided into four teams - blue, red, yellow, and green - to compete in a series of events. The 1st place team receives a bull and the 2nd place team receives 2 goats, which are roasted for members to enjoy. 3rd and 4th place receive "nothing" - a line which received laughter from the parent crowd when said by the announcer.

It is hard to describe the excitement and fun of Sports Day. The students marched onto the field, sporting their colors, and cheering. After singing the Ugandan National Anthem and Taibah School song, the students marched to the opposite side of the field  as the band  played "When the Saints go Marching In." Then, the festivities began.  There were great games such as the Dictionary Race (a teacher whispered a word to the students, then the students rant to a dictionary, had to find it, show it to a judge then run to the finish line) and Dressing races (girls had to dress in suits and ties and boys in skirts/blouses then run to the finish line). I loved cheering for EAC's students. It was exciting that the blue team won because it contained more members from EAC then any other. One of the students, Daniel, dominated the track races. He was incredibly fast. 

Attending Sports Day was a terrific start to what turned out to be a great weekend. Stay tuned for more. 

- Feldman

Kabale Day 2

We had only planned on being in Kabale that Thursday, and we were hoping to take an over night bus back to Kampala Thursday night, but we ended up setting up a meeting with the District Health Officer the next day. We book a room at the Manhattan Hotel, and the next day we went with the DHO, Dr. S (I can't spell his last name) to look at an old incinerator, and we checked out a hospitals waste disposal practices. It was also really cool to drive around Kabale because it is a really beautiful area. It's very green with sharp hills all over the place. The temperature is a lot cooler than in Kampala, even chilly higher up in the hills. The outing proved to be very productive, and we got a lot of advice and positive feedback from Dr. S. That night at 8:30 pm we caught the bus back to Kampala. This time the ride was a little more pleasant although I still couldn't sleep. The bus blares its horn every minute or so which, combined with bouncing over potholes at terrifying speeds and weaving in and out of people/bodas/cattle on the roads, killed all sleep efforts. Thankfully we arrived in Kampala at about 4 am safe and sound.

This is at Kabale Regional Referral Hospital where we found a couple of piles of waste burning like this. We were disappointed to see open burning at one of the biggest referral hospitals in the area. This was pretty much the only disposal method they had going on.

This is an incinerator that was sold by T4T some five years ago. It's located at a small rural clinic up in the mountains a little ways outside the city. It is one of the earliest incinerators built by T4T, and you can see that they have come a long way since. This incinerator doesn't support secondary combustion and basically consists of four separate primary chambers. Dr. S (pictured on the right) wanted us to see if we thought it could be repaired, but we found it with all the inside chambers rusted out, and the chimney has fallen over. There isn't much hope for this incinerator.

These pictures can give you a little feel for the landscape in Kabale. It really is a beautiful area. In the bottom picture you can see one of the Crater Lakes. There are two of them, and they are two of the only lakes you can swim in in Uganda. They are also some of the deepest lakes in Uganda. I was told at the deepest point, one of the lakes is around 15oo m deep. Pretty incredible.

- Stokes

Kabale Day 1

At the end of last week, Nicholas and I made a journey down to Kabale, not to be confused with Kibale (western Uganda), in southwest Uganda near the border of Rwanda. We were headed down there to install a new Mak IV incinerator at a local composting site. After a cold, cramped, bumpy, sleepless bus ride tht lasted 7 hours, we arrived in Kabale at about 7 am Thursday morning. After breakfast Nicholas and I went with the movers to deliver the incinerator to Kirengyere Composting Site in the Kabale district. This site is sponsored, along with several other sites around Uganda, by the World Bank. A proposal for acquiring the T4T incinerator to be used for disposing of medical waste generated by the many provate clinics and hospitals in the district had been approved and funding was coming from NEMA (National Environment Management Association) in conjuction with the World Bank and from the Kabale Municipal Council. These people heard about T4T and its incinerator at an annual conference put on by Uganda's Ministry of Health on waste management.
We arrived at the composting site to piles and piles of municipal waste, somewhat sorted into paper, plastic, compostable, etc. I was surprised to hear Nicholas say that the incinerator could take care of all this waste in no more than a month, even though the incinerator was acquired primarily for the district's medical waste. Once we arrived on site, the next task was to get the incinerator off the truck and onto the concrete landing a ways away on the side of the hill. Typically this is accomplished by a crane, but because of overcharging by Kampala's local crane provider and the absence of one in Kabale, we had to resort to other means. It so happened that 14 strapping men mustered to the cause and surprisingly were able to move the incinerator to its cement throneon the hillside. Nicholas made an interesting comment that the people of Kabale's local tribe, even the women, had thereputation for being strong unlike the Bugandans (main tribe in Kampala). Once the incinerator was in place, we began filling it with sand for insulation, and soon the demonstration/training was underway. What we though was going to be a simple training session to educate the site's employees on how to operate the incinerator soon turned into demonstration for over 20 hospita administrators, doctors, and government officials who came to check out this new incinerator. The spectators seemed pretty skeptical at first as the incinerator, on it's maiden voyage and cold from its journey through the mountains, took over an hour to heat up. But once it was up to temperature, and the secondary combustion flame was humming, all were impressed with the lack of smoke in the air as load after load of medical waste was shoveled into the machine.
The demonstration was a huge success. Questions were being asked from all over the group, several people were takin notes, and at the end there were several requests for invoices. A woman who was some kind of local hospital administrator, thanked us profusely for the demonstration and for providing the community with such a great resource. I couldn't believe how well it all went.
As I was leaving, Peter, the site manager, pulled me aside in front of a group of workers from the site. They wanted to hear me talk, even though they spoke very little English, and they wanted me to take a picture of the them to remember them by Peter even decided to jump in the picture. It was a funny little encounter that topped off a great afternoon.

Here you can get a little feel for how much waste is at this place. All under that roofing is pile after pile of waste. It's going to be no small feat to get all that under control.

Almost made it to the cement landing. You can see the truck in the background where it came from. This process took almost 2 hours.

Here you can see the landing built for the incinerator. It has an ash pit dug underneath it, and the cement hut is for storing the medical waste so no one gets to it that isn't supposed to.

Group picture of the site employees.

- Stokes

Friday, June 24, 2011

This week has been productive. I have spent each day in the office outlining and drafting my curriculum. I hope to have a full draft complete by next Wednesday. Today, instead of indulging you in an entry about my service, I thought I would share a short list of some my favorite parts about being in Kampala.
  • I love that I never know when I am going to encounter livestock. The other day I was walking up the hill to get home, around 20 beautiful cows delayed my journey by temporarily blocking the road.
  • I love both the freshness and the prices of fruits and vegetables. Last week, I bought about 10-15 tomatoes, 6 avocado, 6 eggplants, 14 mangoes, 2 pineapples, 2 clusters of bananas, 3 green peppers, and 5 onions for 20,000 Ugandan schillings, which is less than $10.
  • I love that you never know what you are going to see on the back of a boda boda (motorcycle taxis). I have seen everything from a goat, dozens of chickens, and giant fish hanging from the back of Bodas. The one thing that I do not like to see on bodas are children. This is very common to see. Sometimes, a child will be sitting in front of the driver so it looks like he is navigating. For a moment, this always seems adorable but then I start thinking about safety.
  • Finally, I love how laid back people are in Kampala. It is such a change of pace from the US
Hope that gives you some insight into why I enjoy Kampala.

- Feldman

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Cook Stove Water Heater

Today Nicholas and I took a break from incinerators, and he took me around Kampala to show me one of his other projects. He has developed a cook stove that also boils water to make it safe for drinking and warm for bathing. In Kampala/developing Africa, most cooking is done on either wood burning or charcoal stoves. Electricity is very expensive, and there is not very much to go around. Since the water is not safe to drink from the tap, a lot of people resort to electric water heaters to clean their water for consumption and bathing. This is a huge drain on electricity and is not only expensive but also takes valuable electricity from other parts of the city where it might be needed for more important applications. To combat this issue, and to utilize power from cooking that would typically just go to waste, this water heating system was developed. The cook stoves traditionally consist of a clay "bowl" filled with charcoal with a grate on top. Instead of this clay bowl, Nicholas created a stove that had hollow walls that water could enter to be heated. The system is basically a closed loop driven by the steam generated in the cook stove. Cool water from the bottom of the water tank enters the cook stove where it is heated. Because of the rise in temperature in the cook stove, the increased pressure drives the heated water out of the stove and into the top of the water tank that used to be only cool water. Because of the temperature difference, the cool water and the hot water don't really mix because of the temperature difference, but soon because of non return valves that stop back flow, the whole tank of cool water is replaced with clean, hot water. Pretty cool stuff. This system greatly reduces electricity use, and because of the insulation in the tank, the water can be kept hot for several days. The different stoves varied in size, and one of the stoves Nicholas installed, is designed so that it delivers hot water all over the house.

Here is a picture of the whole system. This is a pretty small version. On the left you can see the cook stove. The two tanks are on the right. Water is loaded from the tap into the tank on the top (most versions do not require you to pour in the water by hand). This tank feeds cool water into the bottom of the tank on the bottom. Because of gravity, new cool water from this tank can only enter the bottom tank when water is let out of the bottom tank from the tap (seen right next to Nicholas's hand). You can see pipes that come out from the bottom of the tank, into the stove, then back to the top of the tank. This is the "closed loop" I was talking about. For this system, one batch of charcoal in the stove can heat up an entire tank of water (about 35 L). Pretty impressive.

Here is another version that uses two different stoves to heat the water. In this version, the feeder tank (blue tank in the above picture) is located on top of the house. Again due to gravity, this allows the hot water to be delivered all over the house.

Here is a close up of the stove. That bowl around the charcoal is hollow. You can see where the pipe carrying cool water enters on the left of the stove, and then the boiled water leaves the stove on the right and returns to the top of the tank.

At the end of the day Nicholas and I stopped by the metal shop to check on an incinerator that has been in the construction process since I've been here, but today it's finally finished. Either tomorrow or Thursday, Nicholas and I are going to head over to Kibale which is on the western side of Uganda some 400 km away. We are going to spend a couple of days there installing the incinerator and training the workers on operation procedures. Hopefully we can convince the hospital administrators on the importance of monitoring it's operation and the sorting of their waste. Hopefully it'll be a successful trip. I'm looking forward to seeing a new part of Uganda.

- Stokes

Murchison Falls

Will did such a terrific job of illustrating our weekend with his wonderful pictures that I do not have much to say. It was a great break from Kampala. After about 5 hours on the road, we arrived at Murchison Falls. We took a short hike up so that we could see the falls. it was magnificent. The sound of the strong water was extremely peaceful and reminded me that nature is wondrous. Will almost gave me a heart attack when he climbed to the top of post of a bridge that fell down. Luckily, he made it down.

That night, they had one of the forest guides come tell stories by the campfire at the place where we were staying. He was an older man named George. His ridiculous stories involved how he survived attacks from various animals. I am not sure how true any of them were; however, he scored on entertainment value. He survived a lion attack because "lions speak English." In addition, he did a rousing imitation of an Indian family facing an elephant.

On Saturday, we woke up early for a game drive. My favorite animals that we saw were the giraffes. I never realized how cool it is to watch them run. It looks like slow motion. One of the best parts about the game drive was that Will and I ended up climbing to the top of the van. It was amazing to drive through the park in the open air. After the game drive, we returned to the campsite for lunch and a break. During this time, I finished Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows! Now that I have finished the series, I feel more in touch with my generation. it was amazing. I can't wait for the final movie. In the afternoon, we took a boat ride to the falls. It was terrific to see elephants and hippos. The ride was extremely relaxing. That night, there was a thunder/lightning storm. While the animals were great, i think this may have been my favorite part of the day. It was incredible to see the storm in the open skies around the campsite. It was a natural light show.

On Sunday, we went to the Rhino sanctuary. Rhinos are fascinating animals. We were lucky (at least that is what the guide said) that the rhinos stood up for us at that time in the day. I had never seen cactus like the cactus in this park before. They were like tall cactus trees. I have some pictures that i will try to post. Seeing the rhino and the cactus made for an amazing end to a very fun weekend.

- Feldman

Monday, June 20, 2011

Last but not least...

The hippos, warthogs, and baboons shared our camp with us. Pretty wild to have these things around your tents at night. Interesting fact.. hippos cause more deaths than any of the other animals. They are aggressive at night because they come out of the water and feel extra vulnerable and protective. They have been know to grab fisherman on the river every now and then. Even though they are so huge, they can run like 25 mph. Point is.. beware of the hippo. We also heard a lot of stories about baboons stealing visitors' belongings. Common strategy apparently is that one baboon will pose for a picture, and while you're taking it, another baboon will sneak up and steal your bag or any food you might have. Pretty sneaky. Now you know what to look out for on your next safari.


Had to give a shout out to the big bald eagle... These were all over the place. Pretty cool. The little bird is the speckled kingfisher.


Giraffe and Buffalo



Meet Bella and Augusto, and notice there is no fence anywhere in the picture. We went rhino tracking Sunday morning, on a big reserve that is the only place in Uganda where there are wild rhino. There is also a rhino they named Obama, but to Michael's utter disappointment we didn't get to see him.

Murchison Falls

So this past weekend Michael and I went on a safari to Murchison Falls. It was an awesome weekend; we met some neat people from all over the world, and we got to see some really cool things. Here are some pictures from the trip.

The Falls

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Nsambya Hospital

Today Nicholas and I finally got to run a test a Nsambya Hospital. There has been a lot of miscommunication with the hospital the past few days about organizing the test. Yesterday we had scheduled to do our test, but the hospital went ahead and burned all their waste for the day, and the necessary hole in the chimney for the probe wasn't drilled like it was supposed to, but today we got it all sorted out for the most part. The only issue today was that when we showed up at the hospital a little before noon, the guy who normally runs the incinerator had kindly started the heating up process for us. The only problem was that he was heating the incinerator with medical waste, and yellowish smoke was pouring out of the incinerator because temperatures were not nearly high enough. This caused us to look into how the hospital was normally running the incinerator, and we found, not surprisingly, that almost none of the typical operating procedures were being followed, most importantly that the waste being burnt was unsorted and harmless waste like scraps of wood and cardboard wasn't being usedto heat the incinerator. Fortunately after a little effort, we were able to get things back on track and run our test. Considering the conditions, our results turned out a lot better than expected. Carbon monoxide levels were a little high, but the fact they were still reasonably low was pretty impressive given how the machine had been operated. This incinerator is also the largest version, and thus is a little more difficult to manage.
Up until now, all our tests have been completely under our control using incinerators owned by T4T strictly for experimental purposes. All those tests went very smoothly, with few variables and under our specified conditions. Today at Nsambya, we got a snapshot of what field conditions really are in the environments that these incinerators will be operating. The machine's efficiency depends heavily on how it is operated, and this will give us a good opportunity to figure out how to best run this incinerator in practical environment and how to keep the procedures simple. We'll be continuing to run tests on the Nsambya incinerator for the next week. Hopefully we'll get some good results.

Here you can get a feel for the size of the incinerator, and you can see all the smoke that's coming out due to temperatures being too low. When the temperatures are too low like this, there is no secondary combustion in the incinerator that is needed to destroy the gaseous waste, e.g. smoke.

Here you can see the piles of unsorted waste. This causes huge problems. There is no way to control the incineration process if the waste is all mixed up like this. Liquids like blood and IV fluid can really affect the temperatures, so waste like that needs to be monitor. Blood clearly would burn differently from plastic syringes which burns much differently that things like surgical drapes.

Friday to Monday

Last Friday, I visited with two new organizations. Nicholas who I have written about in previous posts joined me, which made the day much more fun as I had someone to talk to in between meeting. First, I met with Educate!, an organization that goes to schools to teach about social enterprise. The purpose of the meeting was to learn more about how they teach rather than find volunteer opportunities. After this meeting, we went to meet with someone from the organization - In Movement. In Movement teaches arts classes to children after school and on the weekends. There are classes in circus arts, drama, visual arts, and others. I am going to attend the classes one day this week or next, which I am excited for.

After this, Nicholas and I went back to the EAC home for lunch and a break before our next appointment. I fell asleep as I had woken up at 4 am for the Mavericks game. When I woke up, a delicious plate of beans, rice, avocado, and tomato were waiting for me. Aunt Sarah who works with EAC is an amazing chef. After lunch, we went to the nutrition clinic at Mulago where we were going to participate in the weekly dance breakout with the children; however, due to overcrowding, the dance party was canceled. the space was being usesd for hospital beds.

On Saturday, as Will wrote about, we visited the "beach," which is really just a small piece of land on the lake. We ate whole fish and watched storks - the ugliest creatures I have ever seen. When they ate, their throats expanded and almost looked like frozen slime. They had feathers that looked like small grey hairs. it was really appalling. We through the remainder of our whole fishes, including the heads, at them to eat. The ceased the moment. I felt bad for one of them because it could not beat the other to the fish. The area around the beach was very cool. It was lined with shops, rolex (chipatti, which are like tortillas, with tomato and onion omelettes inside) stands, and places to get fresh fish.

Sunday was relaxing and fun. I took Will to the EAC house where they were training for the Spirit of Uganda tour. It was great to see the children dancing again. Their spirit really is infectious. I am really excited for the tour in the spring and to see some more of the training.

Yesterday, I went to the The AIDS Support Organization (TASO) to learn about their educational drama troupe. It was an amazing and powerful experience. All the members are HIV positive. When they introduced themselves to me, they told me this as well as saying the year that they were diagnosed, and how they are being treated. We then had an hour conversation about what EAC does and what they do. I wanted to meet with them because I am interested in skill-based volunteering. This means using talents to serve. The had some terrific insight. After our discussion, the members of the group sang a few songs for me. They were all written by the group's instructor using the stories of the participants. The songs messages included the participants struggles with the stigmas of being HIV positive and the need to educate chidlren to prevent the spread of the disease. Next week, i am going to go to one of the group's community performances.

Finally, on a lighter note, I want to address my Kampala Maverick's watching experience. It almost did not happen. When I arrived at the place to watch the game at 3 am on Monday, the security guard told me they would not permit me to enter. This was not the thing I was hoping to hear. I had gone earlier that night to ask and they said I could come in. After about 20 minutes of persistence, I was finally let it. There was something so strange about watching it by myself. I wanted my brothers to be there with me. When they won it was so exciting, but I couldn't yell or cheer because there were people sleeping upstairs. I look forward to talking about it with everybody when I get home and listening to archives of Sports Radio 1310 The Ticket.

- Feldman

Monday, June 13, 2011


We had a pretty solid weekend, and I just thought I'd give ya'll a little overview of what we were up to. On Saturday we sampled the Ugandan resort life as we hit up the KK Beach Resort on Gaaba Beach. The KK Beach Resort, really isn't much more than a walled area consisting of a stage, a small restaurant, a patch of sand on the water about the size of half a football field, and a little pier that went out about 20yards into the murky waters of Lake Victoria. Not at all the typical beach experience, although it turned out to be a pretty cool meeting. I had my first Kampala taxi experience on the way there. Taxis in Uganda are sort of like small buses that run specific routes through the city and are the cheapest way to travel. We loaded up in the taxi at the bottom of Makindye Hill (where our hostel is located), and squeezed in the little caravan with about 15 other locals and headed off toward Gaaba beach. About every 100 feet or so the taxi abruptly stops a another passenger would climb in. Although it may not be the most comfortable or the fastest way to travel, we made it to Gaaba and back for a mere 2000 UGX, the equivalent of about 90 cents in the US. We unloaded at Gaaba beach, and stepped out onto a street that ran along the water that was lined with little markets selling fish, chapati, and little homemade trinkets. It was a pretty cool area. It took some exploring, but we finally found KK Beach Resort, and stopped in to sit by the water and eat some fish which people always say is a must when near Lake Victoria. I think the fish was tilapia, I could be wrong, but the whole fish was served on the plate lightly fried. We enjoyed our fish to some pretty sweet music that sounded like something from an 80s opera and we successfully avoided being ambushed the storks that were trying to take all the leftover fish heads. Even though we picked the one cloudy day of our time here togo to the beach, it turned out to be a pretty great outing.

Sunday Michael and I went to the EAC house in the afternoon. It was a real treat to have Michael introduce me to the kids at the house, and it was great to actually meet all these kids in whom he has invested so much. The kids were very polite and interested in meeting me. They asked about what I was doing in Kampala, and what I thought of their country. I really enjoyed meeting all of them and was very impressed by them as a group. We even had the added bonus of watching them rehearse for their Spirit of Uganda tour that is coming up. The kids are incredibly talented, and it was a really cool cultural display as they performed Ugandan dances. Michael took the opportunity to explain a little more about what the EAC is all about, and I enjoyed the opportunity of seeing it in action. I particularly liked how Michael explain how EAC gave these kids, who come from pretty tough home lives, a voice not only by providing for a good education but by also providing a stage for these kids to showcase their incredible talents and their culture. I think that's a really cool idea. The tour will be coming to Vanderbilt in February which is going to be so cool.

Anyways, that is our weekend in a nutshell. I'm going to try to come back and add some pictures, so stay tuned for that.

- Stokes

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Last Couple of Days

First, someone commented on my last post that they wanted to know what I answered to the question, "What does it take to succeed in America?" To tell you the truth, I don't really know. I was caught a bit off guard by the question . I think I said something about working hard, networking, and becoming educated . . . 

On Tuesday, I went to the headquarters of TASO, The AIDS Support Organization, which  is located at Mulago Hospital. I was struck by the number of people waiting seek medical attention. It appeared as if the waiting room extended outside of the several story building. Later, I learned that the clinic was downstairs and the headquarters for the organization, which has 11 clinics in Uganda, upstairs. I met with a lovely lady. Unfortunately, it seems that rely more on older volunteers so it is going to be more difficult to find volunteer placements within their structure for EAC children; however, I am excited to report that she connected me with the head of the clinic who is allowing me to go to the rehearsal of a drama troupe that TASO uses to educate about HIV/AIDS. This group consists of people who have the disease. I hope to attend their rehearsal on Monday. Through this, I might be able to find ways for EAC children to volunteer. 

I returned to the hospital Wednesday to visit the clinic that treats malnourished children. This was a long awaited visit as I was not permitted to enter when my original appointment was scheduled because the Ugandan president was coming the same day. Like many children's hospitals in the US, this clinic was painted to appeal to children. There were animals painted all over the walls. I think the artist was inspired by the Jungle Book because he animals reminded me of several characters. Edith, the EAC social worker that I went with, was amazed at the decor. She explained to me how few hospitals in Uganda, even those for children,  look like that. 

The hospital is divided into several sections. The first building is for new patients that are in critical care. Dr. Anne, my tour guide and host, explained that the majority of the children are brought in by their guardians. I wish I had asked what is needed to keep guardians from waiting  until their children are in a life and death predicaments to seek aid. The person I met with about volunteer opportunities told me that many children are abandoned at the hospital by their guardians. Then, the hospital has to work to find them placements in orphanages. 

Once a child moves out of critical care, they are sent to another ward to recuperate. There is a playground and different toys for the children to play with. It is here where there may be opportunities for EAC children to volunteer to play with the children. Even more, on Fridays, there is a music and dance hour, which I can imagine EAC children participating in. I am going to go tomorrow with Nicholas to see it for myself. Being at this clinic made me think about how many amazing people there are in the world. The staff at the hospital was so dedicated to helping the children. I could see it in their faces, which gave off an air of intensity and happiness. 

Before I conclude, I want to tell you about my new Boda Boda driver, a hilarious character. He does not stop talking the whole ride! He has yet to realize that hear very little of what he says because of my helmet; however, I have caught several classic tidbits. To begin, he wants to be a singer and hopes to be in the recording studio at the end of the year. His inspiration is no other than Justin Bieber. He just thinks that he is the most talented and prolific artist. He sang me a bit of "baby baby oh" (I don't know the name of the song). Even more, he is convinced  that Will and I are brothers and talks non-stop about his dream of living in America. He pictures himself in New York City. I always struggle with what to say when someone tells me something like that because I know the chances of them actually coming to America is so low. The best thing about this driver is that he understands my desire to go slow and be safe when on a Boda. 

Finally, I realize that I keep referring to Empower African Children (EAC) and have not really explained what they do. Check out their website Tomorrow is going to be a busy day because I have 3 appointments. I look forward to reporting back to you about how they go. 

- Feldman 

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Incinerator Update

So this week for me has been for the most part a repeat of last week just at a different location. We've spent the past couple of days at Rubaga Hospital, testing a different version of the Mak incinerator. As you may be able to tell from the picture, this version is much bigger than the one tested at Makerere which makes testing a little more challenging. It takes a whole lot more effort to get the bigger incinerator up to the necessary temperatures, but once it gets there, it has a much greater capacity for waste disposal. The tests done at the hospital are carried out under much more realistic conditions as we are actually at a hospital burning their waste. This has caused some problems as well, since the hospital has not done a great job segregating their waste and we'll find things like half full fluid bags in the boxes that say used syringes, and lack of consistency like this makes it really hard to keep the temperature right where we want it. Nicholas says it's not uncommon to find an amputated limb in one of the waste disposal boxes. All things considered, the tests are going well, and we're getting some good results. We're getting better and better at knowing how to best run these incinerators to keep the safe and smokeless. In the picture below, you can see the incinerator, maybe furnace would be more appropriate, that Rubaga Hospital used before the T4T incinerator. Like Nsambya, they were also getting sued by people living nearby because the smoke was just out of control. The Mak incinerator has been an enormous improvement, and there have been no more complaints. I'll probably be at Rubaga for the rest of the week. Hopefully we'll keep having successful tests.

- Stokes

Monday, June 6, 2011

Last Friday, I visited an orphanage that Nick Hall and I developed a special place in our heart for last summer. Operated by an amazing lady named Penny, the orphanage is located just outside of Kampala. Friday was Martyrs Day, which you may recall from last year was the day when everybody walks to a shrine to honor those who were killed in the name of Christianity. This year, I chose to go to the orphanage rather than take the long journey to the shrine.

Last year, Nick and I formed a particularly strong friendship with one of the boys at the orphanage. At the time, he was really excelling and showing signs of maturity. He had struggled for a long time to let go of the temptations to join his friends in age inappropriate activities such as working and going to see violent films. It seemed that he was finally ready to be educated and plan for his future. One of the first things I asked Penny when she picked me up was about this boy. She was sad to tell me that she had to let him go. He had started to act up again and was becoming a threat to the other children. Penny did not want the other children to be brought down by his behavior. She has communicated with the boys grandmother that if he writes a note of apology and promises to fix his behavior, she would allow him to come back because he showed so much potential. Unfortunately, he has not taken advantage of this offer f. In the next few weeks, I hope to go speak with him at his grandmothers. I was so proud of all he was accomplishing last year, and I hate to think that he might return to selling scraps he finds on the street for extremely small profits.

When we arrived at the orphanage, I was happy to see many familiar faces. Because it looked as if it was about to rain, we stood on the balcony. The children asked me many questions about America. They were often tough. For instance, one of the girls asked me what it takes to succeed in America. During the more than 30 minutes of questions (the majority of which came from the same two girls), I explained to the children the structure of the US government, the US school system, and what it takes to become an American citizen among other things. I asked that they explain to me how all these systems worked in Uganda as well.

After the Q&A session, I taught the children how to play Monopoly and Jenga. Someone had donated these games to the orphanage; however there were no directions so the children had just been making up games. I was glad to help them develop a better understand. After game time, I left with Penny to go back home. I hope to return to Bright Futures Orphanage a few more times while I am in Kampala.

- Feldman

Half-Time Entertainment

At the soccer game we had an unexpected performance at half time...

Uganda vs. Guinea-Bissau

On Saturday we went to a soccer game which was absolutely absurd. Uganda was playing Guinea Bissau and it was a qualifying game for the African Cup of Nations. I'm going to try to put some pictures of it up on the blog, but it was one of the more ridiculous sporting events I've witnessed. We had to leave several hours before the game because the traffic going to the game was standstill. All roads leading to the stadium were packed with cars and bodas and people walking. Everyone was screaming and blowing whistles and cheering. Once we finally got to the stadium the line to get in was probably half a mile long, so most people were just piling up at the front fighting to get through the gates. Once in the stadium every entrance into the stands was absolutely packed. I got separated from Michael and somehow managed to squeeze through the crowd and found a place to stand where I could see the field pretty well. The stadium was in constant uproar through the whole game, and the two times Uganda scored it was total mayhem. So many people were spraying water bottle everywhere, it looked like it was raining in the stadium. The stadium was probably supposed to seat about 40,000, but there were probably about 60,000 there squeezed in the stands. There was an article in the paper the next day about how many fake tickets were made and how overcrowded the game was. Anyways, it was really fun and quite an experience. Uganda ended up winning 2-0 which was exciting.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Day with Dr. Musaazi

I came into the office today expecting to run some more tests, but instead Dr. Musaazi walked in and asked me to come with him on his errands today. We first went to one of the sites where his MakaPads are made (explanation to come) and then went to see a water tank that he was building. This was my first chance to really get to spend time with him, one of the perks of being in Kampala that I was most looking forward to, and the day lived up to my high expectations.

Just to give a little background, Dr. Musaazie grew up in Uganda. His primary education took place in a little village some 100 km outside of Kampala. He moved into the city for high school, and stayed here for college where he got his degree in electrical engineering at Makerere University (where I spend most everyday at the T4T offices). He then went abroad to London for graduate school and eventually earned his PhD at Imperial College. After working for 2 years in London, Dr. Musaazi decided to move back to Kampala and took up a professor job at Makerere. Technology for Tomorrow began to develop here at Makerere as Dr. Musaazi began looking for a way to use all his education to help his community. He says,"One day I realized I was in the unique position to help people with my mind." And thus T4T was born. Since he has dedicated his talents to developing "appropriate technologies" to provide for needs expressed in his community. Stay tuned for more details about some of the different projects T4T has launched.

Anyways, I really enjoyed my time with him today, and I loved hearing a little bit about his story, and his passion for what he's doing was so apparent. As we drove around he would be constantly looking around sharing ideas or asking questions about how this or that could be improved. It was interesting to see how in touch he was with problems in Uganda, while at the same time showing how much he loved his home. He wanted to make sure that I would try all the local foods and explore the city. He was always sharing history about the city, and asking if I had ever read about any of these things before. All that to say, my time with him was such a gift, and I'm looking forward to more of it during my time here.

- Stokes
I just returned from Mulago hospital where I was going to meet with a doctor in the ward where children with nutrition issues, mostly malnutrition. Unfortunately, I was not permitted into the ward because the president of Uganda decided to cancel his visit to the ward yesterday. Instead, he was coming today. This meant, I wasn't permitted to go in. I will return on Monday and will make sure to blog about it. Thought i would share my unfortunate timing with you.

- Feldman