The Buyambi Love Aid Project Inc. - Uganda, Africa

One man s Voluntary Aid project in Africa providing direct no cost assistance in Health and Education to Uganda's poorest.

Pictures tell  a thousand words, and we/re proud to show you some of our major achievements below. Schools, major medical, rescues, and day to day experiences follow.      

And / or for our full financial details see  ' Where the money goes. '

2015: Land purchase and rebuild of Luswa Primary School (Uganda / Congo border)                Orphans and children with HIV: Student increase from 49 to 150.

  Before:                     After:

 

 

2013/14:  Rebuild of Good Hope Primary School (Central Western Uganda)                                   Student increase from 120 to 250.

   Before                          

 

   After 

  

    

 

2010/11: - Buyambi Secondary School: 4 classrooms added, 2 toilet blocks,                                 1 girls bathroom, 10,000 liter water tanks(3). Student increase of 180 yearly.

Before                                            After !                                

                  - Buyambi Community Clinic: Maternity building, and microscope added.                                                                      Dignity restored to mums, and lives saved.   

 

2012/16: 3 facial reconstructive surgeries and 2 contracture release surgeries                             at elbows for burns victim Isa Walugembe. Dignity and function restored.                     With Project supplied tools Isa is now a self-supporting carpenter. 

                               Before                                                                   After     !

                      Burns victim and single father of 2 Joffrey also received contracture release surgery on his neck, elbow, and under arm.     Happier guys.                               Heroes !     

         

 2010: Rescue and guardianship of orphaned burns victim Racheal Namutebi.

Below at 15 > 5 weeks hospital> 3 surgeries over 3 years> 6 yrs school>                    to Nursing at 21.  Racheal is a great source of inspiration, joy and pride to all.  

               Full details on Racheal's Story in the book excerpt further down this page.


2013: 2 year old Adriana was burnt when she pulled a pot of hot cooking oil from the fire and the resultant keloid scarring caused a constant distressing dribble. A Buyambi Love sponsored surgery fixed that and Adriana now enjoys life as any other. Often, particularly with children, keloid scarring regrows when removed and sometimes worse than the previous. This occurred in Adriana though her dribble has not returned. It is hoped that this genetic predisposition will pass in    her teens when further reconstructive surgery can be considered. 

 

Adriana and her mum Jackie both comforted by our assistance.   

 

 

2014: Surgery, home, income in Tanzania for 4 orphaned and injured siblings.

Both Elias parents and 3 other siblings die in a house fire in 2012. Land has been purchased by the Project solely in remaining 4 children's names and a small house is to be constructed to provide medium term support to their carer family through rental income and longer term security to the siblings as their asset. The Project also provided new mattresses, mozzie nets, and clothes all round to this courageous bunch!

 Below, Charlie 4 days after fire 2012. Revisited 2013, ears and left hand gone, right hand      frozen.                           Project surgery in 2013 improved finger and wrist movement.

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The surviving children are Charles, Nyasero, Sara and little Joffrey (left). Their loss will never be replaced, but we can fill the gap a little. 

 

Lovely Sara and Joffrey.(note ornate burn scars on arms).

 

 

 

 2011:  Rescue, on-going guardianship and sponsorship of Jacinta. 

  From this in 2011        To this

      

Obituary:

Also rescued to Kampala at this time was Jacinta's disabled and very ill 26 yr old sister Heddrid who sadly died the following day from malnutrition and severe malaria complications (renal failure). Unable to move, Heddrid had been in this room for much of her 26 years; a clean cloth was put over her for this photo.

Alive here and excited to be moving away, but very sadly too late.

 

 

 2016: Every so often I'm stopped in my tracks, more deeply touched than normal by the daily witnessing of abject poverty, and find myself spontaneously reacting. Such was the case on seeing the elderly Lokii Morefu ('the tall one') sitting, blind, lame and emaciated outside his hut scratching with a stick at some scraps of maize in a filthy bucket. Lokii slept on a 3 inch raised earth 'bed' under a piece of plastic. A new mattress, mosquito net, blanket, clothes, food supply, and an unusual visitor cheered him up a lot. The woman in green is Jo the local policewoman who I had accompany me in order that Lokii not be robbed of his new possessions. These days she keeps an eye on him.

                             

                                    How did the Project start?                                            In 2010 Project Founder Vinny arrived in Uganda in search of greater purpose thinking to teach English and travel for a year. It quickly became obvious that Uganda was in need more of school infrastructure than teachers, and following near death from terrorist bombings he committed to voluntarily raising funds for improvements to a struggling secondary school in the remote village of Buyambi ('boo-yum-bee' or 'Help' in English) in the central West of the country. 

                          " It's not difficult to start such an endeavor. Just start." 

Within a further 9 weeks he had put their plight on a free website, emailed it to his 108 email contacts to spread the word, and through the generous assistance of private donations raised $30,000 towards urgently needed construction. Buyambi was overwhelmed to receive 4 new brick classrooms, 2 toilet blocks, a boarding school girls bathroom, 3 water tanks, a new maternity building on the communities Health Center, and a new electronic microscope for quick and accurate diagnosis of common illnesses here such as Malaria, HIV, Typhoid, Cholera, Brucella, and Cholera. The impact has been profound and all for less than the cost of a car garage in any developed country. Here Vinny had found an endeavor of great purpose and fulfillment which extended beyond himself, to the 'unlucky', and donors alike.

It was this initial event that inspired Founder Vinny to formalise Buyambi Love and through the generosity of donors it's vital work continues to assist Uganda's most impoverished communities and individuals. (In 2012 Vinny awoke in Intensive Care from a 3 day coma with cerebral malaria and during a 6 month recovery in Australia raised a further $27,000. He returned to Uganda later that year and continues to run Buyambi Love to 'Help' Love.

                   (Excerpt from a book underway on Vinny's 7 year experience in Uganda)             

Racheal's Story:

" Here in Buyambi in 2010 I am privileged to have as my close friend and 'brother', 48 year old community leader Fr. Chris, affectionately known to all in Buyambi as 'Daddy'.  I have spent the last week with him attending two funerals in remote village locations within the region where services were held in the forest under the trees in sunshine, wild rain storms, and accompanied by the cries of human grief and forest birds singing in a united chorus of life's raw experience. The burial of Chris's distant cousin Annette and the following story of her now orphaned 14 year old daughter Racheal is most telling.
 
Racheal's mother Annette was herself orphaned at 3, grew up a strong African woman in very hard and abused circumstances, worked as a prostitute, was HIV positive and an alcoholic. She was a very good woman, a caring unsupported single Mum who despite her life challenges did her best for her daughter. A month ago Annette went out at night and as is the safety habit here, locked the door behind her securing Racheal safely within the room where they lived. A candle was left burning, and tragically the room caught fire. Racheal became unconscious and was severally burned with third degree burns covering much of her back , both hands, left arm, face, ears and scalp. An Aunt, herself a single parent of two, spent the last of her money on Racheal's hospitalisation.

A month later the traumatised and physically worn Annette became seriously ill with pneumonia and 3 days ago as Chris and I sat together at Buyambi he received a call from the Aunt  telling us that Annette had died. Now penniless, the Aunt had called 'Daddy' for assistance. As a full-time priest taking care of his community and on the boards of some 47 regional schools including Buyambi Chris receives just A$40.00 per month salary (80,000 Ugandan shillings) and as he gives all of it away to his even more destitute village folk, at the time of receiving the call he was also cashless. Chris is known to many as 'Daddy'.

 So I funded the treatment of Annette's body at the hospital mortuary and having wrapped her body in the traditional bark burial cloth placed her in the back of Chris's beaten up car for the five hour drive to his traditional family home outside of Mobende where local villagers and relatives had gathered.
As we drove Chris received a call telling him that now that Annette had died, Racheal's biological father and indeed her paternal grandmother also, had now officially disowned Racheal. Their perception was that Racheal was not their 'problem' and of course neither of them attended the funeral or have offered the child any form of support.

Annette's body was laid in the shack's front room, and on the grass outside a fire warmed mourners as they came and went  throughout the entire night. In the morning a very simple coffin was delivered by an old friend. From the front porch of their shack Chris conducted the burial service, and Annette was buried in the backyard beside Chris's grandfather, father, brother, grandmother, and two children who had died too young.    

Despite her obvious physical pain and emotional trauma 14 year old orphan Racheal stood stoically and respectfully throughout  the entire ceremony with a simple light cotton shawl draped over her pained body. Life passes unexpectedly very often here in Africa, yet on this day many hearts old and young were deeply moved. The heart-rending cries of Racheal's step-sister Carol, and the Aunt ( Katcyo) filled the forest where perhaps 50, Christians and Muslims as one, had gathered in mourning.  Racheal remained in dignity and it was during this time that I decided that to the very best of my ability I'd become her guardian both financially, and together with  Aunty Katcyo and Father Chris, emotionally.

I talked with Chris and gathered Racheal, 15 year old step-sister Carol, Aunty Katcyo and Chris's long term friends Godfrey and Lillian together and explained my feelings and, that if Racheal was in agreement, my wishes. That those present would now be her 'family' and love and care for her. It was then agreed by all present that with my financial support and our love, Racheal would be cared for by Godfrey and Lillian until her care arrangements could be arranged by me.. ( At that time we thought perhaps 2 weeks).

In her deep grief, for the first time Racheal's face showed some glimpse of light. 

Despite their own impoverished existence and two young babies, without hesitation Godfrey and Lillian agreed to care for Racheal in their home until she was well enough to travel. I left her with them on the Saturday and after a sleepless and worrying night, returned on Thursday from Kampala. Early that morning before leaving I spontaneously called a lab technician about some microscope specifications for the new one the Project is supplying the Buyambi Health Centre. I mentioned what I was up to and the woman told me about a program of assistance for the destitute called The Hope Ward at International Hospital Kampala, Uganda's best. I knew the owners name, an Irishman, and immediately went there seeking his help.

On arrival the Reception desk was deep in people and in my worried hurry I puffed myself up a bit and with glasses perched on my nose coughed loudly and mumbled "Excuse me, excuse me" as I made my way through the crowd. A way through opened up as several said "Yes Doctor, yes come through."  The two Reception staff had they're backs turned and glancing over the counter I saw a book, "Staff Contacts". Grabbing it in one hand the book flopped open amidst pages of names and I was amazed to see my thumb had landed exactly on Ian Clarke's name and phone number. I immediately punched it into my phone and dropping the book, made the call. His first words were "How did you get my number?" to which I immediately faked a coughing fit and explained Racheal's circumstance. He was quick and told me to tell the Hope Ward Department Head that he has given permission for her to be admitted in 3 days time. Phew!. I then got the bus back to Mobende.

As arranged at Mobende with Godfrey and Lillian they'd taken Racheal twice daily to a Mobende doctor for treatment. In a word and with no discredit to either of these wonderful souls, the 'treatment' was pathetic. Out back of the 'doctors', a boy stood beside Racheal with a pair of rusty tongs picking off pieces of Racheal's rotting scalp and flicking them into a drain. Not 30 feet away, (ffs), young kids played in the filthy water. On again seeing and now smelling her injuries I rang the IHK and told them we would be there the next morning. On returning 5 hours by bus to Kampala Racheal was admitted on Friday afternoon and was extremely well cared for and treated over the weekend. Tomorrow specialists will assess her more thoroughly and devise a program of her requirements, inclusive of skin grafts to her head, and arm which is contracting under her armpit as the scaring ensues. There's a long road ahead. Racheal's fifteen year old cousin Carol has rung twice today to thank and bless me. I feel strange. It is a most humbling experience. "  ( excerpt from Vinny's book )

This was the beginning of 5 weeks hospitalization for Racheal, multiple skin graft and contracted scar release surgeries, and management of a chronic, and at times life threatening asthmatic condition exacerbated by the fire. Now nearly 6 years later, we experience a close daughter/father relationship. 

 "I Racheal Namutebi wish to take this opportunity to give my thanks to you for all that you have done to bring my life back to earth."

.....a most courageous young woman who having survived such tragic circumstances shows a great appreciation to life.

Due to nearly 3 decades of brutal violence, high HIV (Aids) and illness, Racheal is one of nearly 2.4 million orphans in Uganda in a country where 49% of the 35 million population are under 15.

These are daughters and sons of ours, orphaned children of our planet, and in acknowledging that Love is a verb, they can only be our responsibility.

 

 


 

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Testimonials:

"Your website is inspiring and a great read! It's a priviledge to contribute. Hopefully many more donations will come to help you fulfill this great project. With your 'get up and go' and integrity I'm sure it'll be running in no time.

We look forward to keeping in touch!"

Eileen and Jeff Perkins and family, Australia (2010)

"Great website Vincenzo - and even greater action. We will put a regular investment toward the Buyambi community development fund....."

Terry and Claire Kennedy, Melb. Australia.