Saturday, January 21, 2012


We were joined this past week by Omar from Syria and Salah from Egypt, who are here with local cameraman Kiefer to film their activities here at the orphanage.  There are similar teams at an orphanage in Jinja and an HIV/AIDS clinic in Kampala.  They are all here for the purpose of filming the 8th annual installment of an NBC (a worldwide Arab channel) TV show that airs every day during Ramadan.  This year they are pushing volunteerism for the Arab world.  I told them I was surprised to see Arab volunteers here since I have never seen them working for other NGOs.  Yes, I will be on Arab TV!  Assuming I am not edited out.  They also interviewed me about health care here at the orphanage.  The questions were in English and then the interviewer (Omar) translated what I said into Arabic.

Kiefer, the Ugandan videographer

The rest of us have been mostly sitting around playing with kids, since school is not in session yet.  There are always little ones that want to be picked up and kids who want to play.  The Arabs, on the other hand, have money for specific projects.  They hired a crew and built the brick walls for a new boys' dormitory.  I don't know who is going to pay for the roof, but the walls look good.  They also paid for the repair of an umbilical hernia for 3 year old Robert, who suffers from chronic abdominal pain and resulting malnutrition.  He went for surgery today, and hopefully is doing well.  They also bought uniform tops and shoes for two boys' soccer teams and televised a match.  They had the whole crew and other volunteers here today (about 20 people).  They also did a treasure hunt for the younger kids.  It is Arab TV to show Arab volunteerism,  so we non Arabs were supposed to stay out of the pictures.  I did get to talk to a lot of the Arabs and the local film crew members, which was pretty interesting.  The producer is a Saudi Arabian who lived in LA for 7 years.

Film crew at work
The local crew mixes the cement

Saleh and Omar supervise the building

Boys' dormitory in progress

Last night the Arabs on the film crew invited our group to a night club in Kampala.  Night life in Kampala apparently doesn't start till around 11 p.m. and goes all night, so I declined.  The others took a taxi to Kampala and had a great time dancing.  They took a taxi home, but apparently couldn't find motorcycles to get them down the dirt road to the orphanage (not surprising at 5 a.m.) and the taxi refused to go past Waikiso.  They walked in the pitch black night the rest of the way (no electric lights here) and a few of them fell down along the way, whether due to lingering alcohol or the pits in the dirt road, I am not sure.  I woke up when they got home and did some nursing of cuts and bruises before going back to bed.

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