March 29, 2020
Children of Kagoma Gate
During March 2020, Ellie Von Wellshiem visited Keenan’s Kids in Uganda. Initially, she met with Moses Wambi, leader of our mission effort in the Kagoma Gate community. He explained that Keenan’s Kids continues to provide a mid-morning snack and lunch (often the only food of the day) for nearly 385 students in grades 1st– 5th. Lunch is typically a serving of corn-based porridge and beans (photo above, center), here being enjoyed by a group of girls in the Kagoma Gate village. They all keep their hair short to help maintain hygiene, as washing and bathing opportunities are very limited.
Similar to other Keenan’s Kids programs in other parts of the world, there is also a Fruit on Fridays initiative, where the goal is that each child receives a piece of fruit, usually on Friday. We expected that in Africa fruit would be abundant. But it’s not. Due to the scarcity of fresh fruit, and the long distance that has to be traveled to obtain it, we can only provide fruit once a month. During her visit, Ellie (photo above, left) was able to hand out bananas to the children, and it became a very special day!
As to clean water, things have improved significantly since Keenan’s Kids installed two filtration systems for drinking water in the community. Significantly, there are less intestinal disorders and dehydration occurrences among the children.
During Ellie’s visit, we learned that the kitchen stove was producing a significant amount of smoke, dangerous to all working there, as well as the young children that often accompany their mothers to work. The problem is caused by the burning of wet wood. The kitchen stove and walls are nearly covered in soot (photo above, right). Again, it would seem like an easy fix – just get the wood out of the rain. Well, there is no place to store it indoors. So, Keenan’s Kids will be building a small shed for the primary purpose of storing wood. We are hopeful we can accomplish this quickly.
Finally, as everyone is aware, the Coronavirus (Covid-19) Pandemic is ravaging the world. As of this writing (March 29, 2020), there have been no reported cases of the virus in Kagoma Gate. The Ugandan Government has reported 30 confirmed cases in the country. Like most rural third world communities, Kagoma Gate does not have emergency medical assistance immediately available. We are hopeful that the community will follow the guidance being provided by the Ugandan Ministry of Health in order to reduce the potential impact of the virus.
The photos above are from Ellie’s visit, and we thank her for all the love and attention she has brought to the children of Kagoma Gate. Thanks Ellie – Keenan is smiling!!!