For Those Who May Wonder…
Posted by Mike O on May 24, 2010
Where I disappeared to politically. I haven’t; I’ve just let people who enjoy meeting and running organizations take over, now that the major election cycles are over. And it’s time I put some time into getting healthy again and into my other passion.
As many of you know, I have considerable interest in charity work in Africa . I have visited there twice now and am vastly overdue for another visit; the record of my last one is here (http://mzungumike.wordpress.com/projects and yes, sadly, I WAS that skinny then). I will be going back in October because Winnie, my daughter there (in all but blood; http://nazziwa.wordpress.com ), will roll across the stage in her wheelchair to get her college diploma on October 15th. As inconvenient as that is in the election cycle for my political friends, I simply have no choice; she only graduates once and getting to this point was more struggle than you or I can possibly imagine. And she wants Dad there.
While I’m there, I’ll be doing work for the charity- the Children of Uganda (http://www.childrenofuganda.org)- that made this all possible for Winnie and hundreds of others who would simply not survived to get there. And they are great kids, with more coming up the pipeline: I picked up Godfrey Mugisha last year; a brilliant 13-year-old- who is top of his class. More work to be done and this organization is one of the most efficient small groups I’ve seen in terms of translating donations to benefit. I have seen them in action, on the ground, and doing the right things. They now have a substantial agricultural program going (the orphanage sits on almost 100 acres) and are providing significant nutritional enhancement internally.
I dump a significant amount of money into such a trip; including transportation, food, lodging (I only live at the orphanage for half my time in), and significant ‘project money’, upwards toward $6,000. However, the more money and supplies I have available, the more gets applied directly to ‘doing good’.
If you wish to help out, there are three different ways possible; choose whatever you feel comfortable with. The first is standard: go to http://www.childrenofuganda.org, click the donate link and make a straight-forward monetary donation. Or you can give the donation to me directly and I will apply it directly to the orphanage on my trip; taking stills or video of the usage and will return with a receipt (I’ll also get a confirmation letter on COU stationary, as well). The last way is actual supplies: I try to take a boatload of over-the-counter medication and basic supplies; if you want to go this route, contact me for specifics, as the 2 bags, 50 pound limit keeps things tight (unless someone wants to donate enough to cover a 3rd bag- $150-$200).
It doesn’t take much to be a big help; I ended up playing emergency weekend nurse on the last trip once and used maybe $10 of supplies. But some of that was Benedryl, which stopped a serious peanut allergy reaction (actually in a volunteer). A kind donation from a family friend made that Benedryl available.