What will you do there? Why should I contribute to this work?

I answer several questions in this post, listed below.  Scroll through the post to get to the question/answer you are interested in, or read all the way through.  Your choice!

“What will you be doing in Uganda on this trip Lizza”?

What will you be doing then? Why are we supporting this work? Why are you even going?

Lizza – what are you roles this time?

Why is important? Why should I get involved and support you?

Why should you help me and my trip?

Here we go:

“What will you be doing in Uganda on this trip Liz/za”? So glad you asked!  Being that I am going to be going to Uganda for only 2 weeks, here is a list of things I won’t be doing and a list of things I will be doing.

– I won’t be installing a water tank. The UWP has trained local Ugandan staff who install the tanks. Not only is the UWP hiring folks who can do the work year-round, they are investing in the local economy, AND they are investing in specific folks because they work with the UWP full time and build a relationship together.

– I won’t be doing the primary tank evaluations. UWP sends teams twice a year and they need the initial tank evals much sooner than that. They have staff who are at all of the installations who take photos of the installed tanks, many of the students/teachers/community members who will use the tanks so that sponsors (like my school) can see their tank and those folks within a month or two of sending in the money.

– I won’t be seeing needs of local Ugandans and hand out hand outs. Anytime a team goes over, we often see many needs, like at schools for doors, windows, concrete floors, food, uniforms. As a team, we even have money built into the trip cost to help in these areas. But we 1) don’t make decisions alone and 2) don’t like to give hand outs, especially as the “rich white people coming to help. (Not every team member is white, but the skin color thing has a deep history in Africa and whites are often seen as “saviors”.) When we see needs, we keep track of them per site and then as a team, we decide which ones we can help with the resources we have (from all of you!) and then we funnel those resources through our local Ugandan staff to the leadership of the community to empower the leadership, empower the Ugandans, and hopefully use the resources to “teach them to fish” and not “give them a fish”.

What will you be doing then? Why are we supporting this work? Why are you even going? Great questions!

– Every team member is assigned a role or two for the two weeks, based on their strengths (same idea as Asset Based development.) Some jobs are practical for the day to day running of the team (medical, organizational/packing, sharing online so loved ones at home can track our travels around Uganda and see what we are doing etc). Most are very specific to the work the UWP does with getting details about the communities, the tank, and the tanks impact on the community.

– Our job is to do the work that we don’t have local Ugandan staff to do.

The roles include:

.photographer (to take detailed photos of the sites and installed tanks and to capture images that tell a story of the site and its people)

.child-wrangler (to connect with the tons of kids at each site by playing games with them and meeting them at their level)

.monitoring/evaluation (to do an in depth assessment of the tank and get a bunch of detailed data to input into the UWPs tank monitoring system mWater)

.journalist (to help capture some of the stories of the folks in that community to share with the donors of that tank and for the UWP to have a record of the impact of their work to double check and also to use to share with US sponsors)

.correspondent (to help communicate via social media about the daily work of the team

.purser (to track all of the teams expenses as we go from village to village and need to eat meals, buy gas/water/supplies, and to help the leader with the day to day financial things)

.medic (all things first aid and we are in a foreign country so we need a go-to person for anything that might come up)

.quartermaster (the person planning all of the supplies and donations for each site – sets out the items to be packed on the van)

.pack mule (the person responsible for packing the van every night with the correct # of water filters to pass out at sites, child-wrangling supplies, enough water for us, etc.)

.musician (Ugandans LOVE music, so we have learned some songs in Lugandan and sing it at sites with them, for them, its’ a great way to connect with a community)

.teacher (this person does water filter demonstrations, teaching the community leaders how to use the Sawyer PointOne Water filters we are handing out at each site and pre-site)

.and more

Lizza – what are you roles this time?

Primarily I will be the assistant leader, which means that I will help the leader with anything she needs and I need to know all of the jobs so I can support each person on the team as they do their job. It’s a lot to know and do, but this is my 4th trip, so I have a pretty good handle on these jobs.

Why is important? Why should I get involved and support you?

– This is development work. I am going over to support the development work of the full time staff for the UWP in Uganda. Development work takes a long time, the progress and sustainable change occurs in terms of years and not weeks, it usually takes place once real lasting relationships have been established, and I am only going to be there for two weeks. I am not going over as the rich white American sharing out of my bounty to the poor needy Ugandans. I am going over because I know that I have many resources (and therefore responsibility as a global citizen) to support those who are in need as they build up their community.

– This is important work to be done, gathering detailed data of the tanks, gathering stories of the impact, the people, their lives. The global water crisis is a big deal. People are really dying because of disease-infected water. This is life or death. We need to support the work but also get their stories and get the word out. I am helping with both.

– I am a Christian and for me, this is actively living out my beliefs and my faith. Jesus says “when I was thirsty, you gave me something to drink.” I believe that God cares about each person in the world and wants them to live a full life, pursing their dreams, following his plan for their life, and not just surviving. I believe that for Baltimoreians, for Ugandans, for Agahanis, Syrians, for everyone. I can’t get deeply involved in all of the aid work that is needed in all of the places. I support folks who do in lots of places, but I can only do my part. And my part is in Baltimore and (I’ve picked) in Uganda with the UWP. This is how I am sharing God’s love with people. This is how I am being “the hands and feet of Christ.” It says in the Lord’s prayer, “thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” That is one of my favorite verses/prayers and I want to live it out. I get to bring God’s kingdom to earth, just like it is in heaven, and I believe that in heaven, everyone gets to live and not die of water-bourne diseases.

Why should you help me and my trip?

– Maybe you can’t go over to Uganda right now on a trip but want to be a part of this work. You can support a tank, but the tank installations need all of this other work too and I am one of the folks doing this other work this July.

– Give to support the development work that goes along with each and every tank that is installed. Give to support the work that impacts the lives of each person in the community because they got a water tank. Give to support the full time staff of the UWP in Uganda because that is what we will be doing each day we are there. Give because you care about other people in the world who are hurting and suffering. Give because you love God and want to share his love with other people. Give because you are a global citizen too and you have resources you can offer. You can give a lot or a little, but whatever you do, you are a part of this work. You are a silent member of the team. You are included, you are important, you are making a difference.

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