August 25. 2010
I interviewed a certain Dr. Dapo before leaving Uganda. He spearheaded the organization Operation Heal Africa, and there is a medical mission in Bombo this week running under his direction. Dapo and I talked about a lot of things that I'll try and use for an article I pitched to the Daily Breeze in Torrance. But he made a comment, half way through my tinsel tasting water bottle, that stuck with me.
He said, "You've heard Hillary Clinton say that, ‘it takes a village to raise a child.’ Well, for me, I say it will take a global community to take care of the underpriveledged in Africa."
I liked what Dapo said because I'd been living it - and, it only took a half hour interview for me to see that so had he. Align Ministries introduced a certain pastor to their work in Uganda, who in turn shared the idea of a medical clinic with Dapo, who, in turn, began to gather surgeons, dentists and pediatric physicians to begin an annual clinic in Uganda. Three years later, Dapo and I sat in the middle of Kampala discussing his work, because Elaine Herr, from Align, had mentioned it to me before I left. In turn, an editor from Washington DC that I worked with had suggested that I find freelance ideas while I was in Uganda to pitch when I came home.
Dapo's point extends to the business side of working with the impoverished, as well. I brought home an oversized suitcase full of beads from women suffering from AIDS. In customs, the officer checked my form twice - "Jewelry?"
"I'm selling necklaces for women in Uganda, it's part of some work with an NGO."
"And they're made out of...?"
"Aight, welcome to the United States."
My mom was already brainstorming about them by the time we reached San Francisco's city limits. I wouldn't put it past her to have networked with every small business owner in Auburn by the end of the year about selling necklaces for women with AIDS in Africa. Yesterday, it was my hairdresser, who got big tears in her eyes when her supervisor agreed to put our beads in the front of the shop. I'm working on a short story for them to display with the jewelry my mom's taking in this week. On Monday, it was a close friend, who told us she'd host a party. My grandma had texted before that to let me know that her friends keep asking about them. A friend in New York emailed me more than a week ago to let me know that she'd like to use them as wedding shower gifts. My twitter account had a mention from a marketing expert in Long Beach, letting me know that I should try locally owned coffee shops.
This morning, I couldn't sleep and checked my email on my phone before 6 am. Morris had written me the story of Vincent Matovu, a patient who impacted him this week.
I'll rewrite his story and have it up by tomorrow.
August 25. 2010