Many awesome things have been happening here in Uganda. It is truly amazing how the people on our team are lending their talents, skills, experience, finances and hearts to observe the operation we have been building for the past 12 years. This year our vision has been to focus on the health of our children thru nutrition provided by proteins and animal products, while Learning techniques for sustainability and less waste. Already we have children captivated by the process and our goal is to send them to a farming school to be trained further.
Our children have had the opportunity to speak freely in open forum classes that touch on social issues, health issues and wellness of mind, body and spirit.
Our Tender Mercies farm is producing very well, having cash crops and produce for daily living. The older boys work hard helping the TM family while home from school and there are many opportunities for villagers to assist in the maintenance and upkeep.
Already we have had a beautiful well dedication which can only be described as MOVING and EMOTIONAL. When you see hoards of children in a parade of song leading our bus in a procession of thanks. The joy is overwhelming when you see the affects on 1000’s of people.
The sickle cell clinic treated over 160 people, hundreds came with sick children in tow. I was unaware that AIDSpirit USA was the only non profit organization that has picked up the torch for sickle cell awareness and care all the while we are sitting in the Hotbed of the world for this disease.
Children used to not live past 18 and many are maintaining health due to our program. We have Sicklers now well into their 70’s of age.
There is so much more to report, but today we celebrate the success of of children graduating from university. This means so much to them, so much to us and THE WORLD to their family and communities!!!!
Check back soon for more details.
With love from Kayunga!
The travel team for this year's Uganda trip is absolutely ecstatic to see our children and get back to work, but we need your help! On Saturday April 27th we will be packing close to 30 over-sized totes with supplies for our family, friends, and community members in the Kayunga District. Check out the Facebook event details here!
We still need supplies! Consider collecting and donating the following essentials:
We're excited to announce our participation in a successful community event coming up on May 2nd! Here's a little bit more about this event:
#YVGives2019 by the Billings Community Foundation will start at
12PM on Thursday, May 2nd and end at 6PM on Friday, May 3rd, 2019. The Billings Community Foundation's Yellowstone Valley Gives initiative is a powerful 24+ hour online and on-site Live Celebration of Giving focused on connecting Community Members with area Nonprofit Organizations - reinforcing the value of Philanthropic Giving, Community Engagement, and Collaborative Impact for the benefit of the Greater Yellowstone Valley Region of Montana! The Billings Community Foundation’s Yellowstone Valley Giving Day is a powerful 24+ hour online and on-site live celebration of giving, focused on connecting community members with area nonprofits! We are reinforcing the value of philanthropic giving, encouraging community engagement, and strengthening collaborative impact for the benefit of the Greater Yellowstone Valley Region of Montana!
Consider making your contribution and visit our organization's page! CLICK HERE!
"It has been 3 years since I traveled overseas, for the first time in my life, to meet and fall in love with the people of Kayunga, Uganda. As I pack my bag of belongings, trying to remember only the essentials, and look back on the photos I have from my last adventure, I can't help but think, 'What do they look like now and how have they grown? do they all remember me? will I remember all of their names? how can I make this trip more impactful than the last? I hope I can take more pictures and capture more stories this time...'" -Morgan Ditto
The memories, stories, and experiences of the travel team members are so important to us. They help us share the love, the heart, and the compassion of this organization that engages new supporters and warms the hearts of all of our faithful donors and volunteers. This year we will be collecting more photos and more stories from each person who is traveling with us, and posting them for all of you to see!
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We hope to post daily (internet and electricity pending) starting May 6th! We can't wait to share with all of you!
Our Dollar for Dollar campaign, spurred on by a generous supporter of AIDSpirit USA, was a complete success! This was our organization's first time working together with various fundraising events working towards one common goal, GET TO $50k. There were garage sales, bake sales, wine tastings, peer-to-peer requests and outreach, and SO MUCH MORE! Together our AIDSpirit family of supporters raised over $51,000. The Jenken's family started this challenge by matching the first $50k and with everyone's fundraising efforts and overwhelming generosity, we raised over $100,000 thousand dollars!
Since this campaign has ended, we have been able to secure a farm vehicle, provide drip irrigation for 4 acres of farm property, secure an additional 2 acres of farm land, recognize and start restoration of 4 water wells and start construction on a new Tender Mercies Infant Home which will provide a more comfortable atmosphere for those abandoned and vulnerable children under the age of 3.
In May our Team will travel to see the beautiful children at Tender Mercies Home. As we travel as a team we will see the fruits of your generosity and view the progress made for the sustainable farm project, share in the Celebration of these 4 wells, start with the construction of an outdoor covered patio at Tender Mercies and check on the progress of the infant home. So many wonderful things have been accomplished with this goodwill, STAY TUNED FOR OUR BLOG UPDATES WHILE WE TRAVEL IN MAY!!!!
We have so much to be grateful for and one thing is certain, THESE REMARKABLE PROJECTS ARE HAPPENING BECAUSE OF YOU!
Please keep an eye on progress by following our Blog and encouraging others to get involved. Enjoy the photos attached of some of the projects we mentioned above.
Sincerely, AIDSpirit USA Team
Paul and Sally Jenkins, lifelong friends of Sister Mary V. and longtime supporters of AIDSpirit, are no strangers to the inspiration found in knowing Sister. When they were watching a documentary of how, through Sisters guidance and inspiration, AIDSpirit USA is changing the lives of orphaned and abandoned children in the Kayunga District of Uganda Africa, they knew it was time for them to act.
Paul and Sally are challenging each and every one of us to raise our hands and say YES. For every dollar you donate from now, until October 31st, Paul and Sally will MATCH IT, dollar-for-dollar up to the first $50,000 contributed.
Your contribution today is DOUBLED!
Together, we can raise $100,000 and change the world!
To find out more about how you can help click here!
Hello AIDSpirit supporters! We've got our digital newsletter available here for you to review! Also, check out this great little infographic we put together, showcasing just how your dollars are used to impact Billings, Montana and our beloved children and their community in Kayunga, Uganda.
Download the newsletter, share and comment on this post, and contact us for more information about how you can get involved or donate!
Wednesday, 1/31/18 We are coming away from a HUGE clinic day yesterday and most of us are dragging just a bit. The respiratory monster that has taken hold of so many of us is finally fleeing the country! Every Z-pak and Cipro prescription has been used this go around. Our troubles all initiated by the pollution (burning plastic and debree) and red dust in the air. Our lungs were not quite ready for all this dryness. In spite of our dragging backsides, we plan our day each morning around the Dining table for breakfast.
We are winding down to depart Kayunga district on Friday, early a.m. Then we are off to Musindi. This process takes a lot of readiness, emotionally, physically and spiritually. I mention this because there are people, dozens and dozens, that we have shared life with. Hugs, smiles, morning and afternoon, evening greetings, sickness, riches and poverty all shared experiences of each and every day makes leaving on Friday very hard.
This is how our day was laid out: Tom and Charles take older boys to farm to complete the huge fencing project. Today the young doctors will take a trip to the farm with our men. Later in the day they report back to the rest of our team that they thoroughly enjoyed their experience. They are amazed at the hand-dug 70 ft well, the abundance of crops and all the fine fencing work completed. It was a scorcher today and the gang of Muzungues came back burnt and our Ugandan brothers were.
So, the Muzungoos came back burnt and our Ugandan brothers came back tired and HUNGRY! With the men off to the farm, that left us women with all the children. We had a Beauty day and the kids fixed me hair with 50 little pony tails. I looked like a cute little rag doll. Sue spent almost all day sewing on the old Singer manual sewing machine, everything from work sleeves for garden pineapple picking to alterations and repairs of SO MANY ARTICLES OF CLOTHING!!!
We have one young lady, hearing impaired, that helps sew. Her trade will take her far and nothing holds her back! Her name is Shameek. Sue took our young John under her wing all day, by the end of the day with our hyperactive son, she was willing to walk 1000 miles for a warm adult beverage to ease her frazzled nerves, LOL! Momma Gretchen and Momma Jean lead a parade of children and staff through our Library full of surplus shoes, clothes and extras. I don't know who was happier, the kids or our Mommas! Linda sat patiently telling stories, doing crafts and corralling as many attentive and interested children she could find.
They made bracelets, made drawings, read stories and learned many valuable lessons for their upcoming new semesters at school. Linda's husband, John, has been our resident mechanic, electrician, plumber and so much more. You guys can't imagine how important it is to have male mentors come on these trips. He and Tom have helped the children learn lessons that are priceless and completed projects that have been recurring each and every year we come back to Uganda.
There is no shortage of handyman work and these two men are great teachers and mentors in every department. It is so hard to explain in words what an average day in Africa consists of, as it is unlike anything you have experienced personally in the U.S. But know this, each and every day is received as a blessing and we certainly are not going to change a perfectly wonderful and optimistic philosophy! Goodnight from Uganda..... The Team
We had a special day today, we were fortunate to meet one of the most powerful women in the District of Kayunga. Her name is Momma Birungi (Woman who makes all beautiful). Her real name is Rose "What AIDSpirit is doing in Kayunga is REAL!" Momma Birungi says we are "most welcome" in her District and the bodyguards that protect her each moment also makes certain that our visit is safe in their District. I hope to write more about this visit, but tonight I must retire. Uganda is a complete sensory overload at times. Thanks for reading our blog. Stay tuned for more.
Oh life in Africa can be so challenging for This Muzungu! No wifi, temp. wifi, no electricity, computers freezing and kicking me off! This is not the way I planned to blog tonight. This is my second edition of today's entry and my 4th attempt at blogging a whole and complete thought without the system deleting my entry. Calgon take me away!!!! So, really and seriously, nothing can take away the joy of today. I will start by thanking all of the donors that contributed over the past year. Some how, some way we were fortunate enough to obtain the solar power for the offices and Dining room for TM.
This edition has allowed us to work through power outages and issues that would otherwise cripple us as a Team. Thank you, Morgan, who is in MT right now working to help us navigate some of our internet issues long distance and open up doors for software access!!!! Today was a special day, a day filled with hope and promise. AIDSpirit USA is a small NGO with great vision and endless possibilities. Who reading this today can imagine 300 people who have trekked across the Region on foot, on boda boda, in cabs filled with 20 people in a 6 person vehicle, being carried, on crutches....all to receive the gift of better health and wellness?
Today was a huge undertaking filled with Love and Hope. Sicklers, those that suffer from chronic and debilitating Sickle Cell disease made their way to TM. They receive a better life by being educated, informed and treated all in the same day. Doctors and volunteers plug through the masses attending patiently in the brutal sun, some under tents, others sitting in the dirt, some hanging out by the wall or gate, waiting to take their turn to see the Doctor. There is food for 400 prepared by a huge kitchen staff for the day, children from a school hours away drove to our clinic just to entertain and educate the crowd.
Through song and dance they sing of the Hope that Aidspirit has provided. The better life they pray for can be theirs, the audience, if they just trust in the Lord, treat the symptoms early and maintain their (often lack of) medication on a regular basis. Sicklers can live a near normal life if they maintain wellness through these clinics. Today I would like to thank the Sisters of the Catholic Church who donate funds to make this clinic happen.
A life of service, no matter the affiliation, is a Life Well Lived!!!! It takes every person making one small sacrifice to help so many in need. And with your help, you have made great things happen thru AIDSpirit. Those that come will be treated at the clinic. Sunset is no cut-off for care. Patience is a lesson learned today for some of us, but along with that was the lesson of love, joy and gratitude. We have been so fortunate to have met 3 of the most beautiful young, up and coming stars in our universe.
Three medical interns, representing Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands (??) are staying at our hotel. We were introduced and the rest is history! These very attentive, curious, intelligent young doctors-to-be are here interning at the Kayunga clinic and then they gave of themselves, sacrificially, by coming over to TM to meet and shadow the doctor and get to know us and the children. They saw and examined countless sicklers, a 7 month old baby with a defect of the heart (devastating), an abcess on a young boys face the size of a football, and a young girl with a probable.
So a child with a swollen spleen, all results of sickle cell. These young doctors fell in our lap like a gift, and so much was learned and appreciated by the patients and our AIDSpirit Team. Thanks go out to Timbo, Laura & Laura #2. Your enthusiasm and curiosity fuels our existence as volunteers! We wrapped up our day with great conversation about the day and smiles on our faces! The Team p.s. I promise to find a place to post pics on FB and Instagram so our social media friends can keep up too By the way, in March pick up the APRIL edition of Women's Day magazine and check out an article about the great things AIDSpirit experienced in Uganda last June. This will be such a great honor to be recognized in large nationwide mag. like Women's Day!!!!