This year was our third “invitation” to join a community clean up by the local government. They do it by zone, so this year’s event was in a neighboring one. Our team spent from 8am to 2pm doing what Sarah is doing above – raking out muck from ditches (you REALLY don’t want to know what’s in there!), hauling and dumping wheelbarrows full of filth and trash, and trying not to breathe.
The first year, when we were newbies to this endeavor, the LC asked us to chip in shillings the buy the equipment and supplies, then show up to help. It was obvious that the amount of money given was… under represented in the amount of stuff bought. This is called “facilitation” (otherwise known as a bribe).
We got wise after that, and now buy our own supplies and equipment — which we are “asked” to “donate” to the “community” after the event. In short, we pay 350,000 shillings a year, spend a day in filth, and add the bonus points to our “making people in government happy” tally.
TIA. (This Is Africa.)
In spite of the various levels of government and bureaucracy, Touch the Slum continues to thrive. As I reported a month or so ago, we are the #1 Youth Led Organization in the city of Kampala. Because Ronald and the team are from the slum community, they know how to play the game(s) and make friends that matter and — most importantly — make a difference.
Because that’s what Touching the Slum means… making a difference, within the system that exists for both us and for the vulnerable teens girls in our program. We can not like the system (we don’t) while still being able to work within to create personal and cultural change.
I’m so grateful for Ronald and the team, and their willingness to ALWAYS go the extra mile. Touching the slum means touching the lives of those within it, and I couldn’t ask for a more dedicated group to carry out that mission.
PS We currently have 5 projects that are between 20-50% funded, including the new water tank for Mikisa Farm, a food budget gap project for Hopeland Primary school, 14 year old Neema’s project for food and household supplies, art supplies for the Literacy class, and the August sanitary pad project. Even $10 makes a big impact – to choose one today, just click the button!