Aspen Ambassador Blogs – Day Four – Diary of a Mzungu

Since 2007, The ISIS Foundation has had the great privilege of partnering with Aspen. It has been an amazing partnership, which has shown us all the exponential power of linking the business sector with those in need in the developing world. Together, we have been able to provide the hospital with a new and expanded neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) and a brand new maternity ward. In addition, Aspen helps people living with HIV to stay happy and healthy through various programmes. Most recently, Aspen has committed to supporting the ISIS Safe Motherhood projects as part of the larger community based health care programme.

Each year, eight Aspen staff members from offices across the globe come to Kiwoko Hospital in Uganda to see firsthand the impact of this partnership. Every year, they leave inspired. For the next week, the ambassadors will be writing a blog each day about their experience at Kiwoko. This is Day Four.

By Dee Storey – Aspen Ambassador – Bermuda Office

Since arriving off the flight into the Ugandan sunshine, the beauty of this country is everywhere. Red earth, painted signs, dense green foliage from banana to mango leaves line the dusty roads. Even though I have not been here before I sensed a homecoming – the smiles we gathered were humbling.

With swirling thoughts, unprocessed, untyped, what a joy it has been to hear the same thing repeated throughout our visit – the gratitude, the thankfulness, the commitment – hardship has been turned into hope.

We are on day 4 of our visit to Kiwoko Hospital and the volume of relationship and interaction is sometimes draining, but I am so glad to be here. The level of care available in this hospital is a testimony to the vision and contributions of many caring people providing a future and restoring hope to so many families.

Home made hand bagsToday we visited the local community and were invited into three homes that benefit from the Community Based Health Care Projects provided by the Kiwoko Family. I have had a front row seat witnessing the Kiwoko children having been given an opportunity to be healthy, happy, educated and loved. There is so much to share, and I hope that my photography can do them and their stories justice. We also visited the 16 craft ladies from the HIV program who create vivid jewellery from recycled paper, baskets and other crafts. It is more than just a business, each bead maker has her own story and this enables them to provide for their families. Through the support, friendship and medicine that Kiwoko provides, it has added years to their lives.

As we prepare to tuck under a mosquito net with our final day in Kiwoko approaching my heart is full. Although I miss home fiercely, saying goodbye to this place will be heartbreaking.

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