In my last post titled “Uganda the Sequel,” I wrote a little about Loving One by One (LOBO), and my two-week trip with them this coming July. I went on a trip with LOBO to Uganda in July of 2011, and I’m planning to return this year.
LOBO does a lot of great work in Uganda. However, in an effort to bring focus and clarity to my project with them, I want to write a few blog posts specifically about what happens on a LOBO two-week mission team. I guess in this context, “focus” and “clarity” mean pretty much the same thing. So what I want to do is bring focus and/or clarity to my LOBO project. You can decide whether you want focus or clarity.
A LOBO team consists of 20-25 people or so, who have come together in Uganda to help LOBO conduct medical clinics in slums and villages in and around the City of Kampala. That’s our main reason for being there. LOBO does other work in Uganda year around; however, for those 20-25 people, we’re there for the medical clinics. For tens of thousands of people in this area, medical care is nonexistent. Malaria and HIV are rampant. Clean water is hard to come by, which has resulted in various digestive diseases and parasite infestations – especially in young children.
Other more “normal” medical problems such as colds and flu quickly develop into more serious life-threatening problems, simply because for most of the people living in these areas, medical care isn’t available. Again, young children are the most affected.
So the first part of of What Happens On A LOBO Team? For two weeks, every couple of days, we load a bunch of boxes of medical supplies and medications onto a bus, and then load ourselves onto that bus, and a crazy guy named Henry drives us into slums or outlying villages. We pull up in front of a church or other community building (prearranged of course; we don’t just randomly show up), and then we unload everything and turn that building into a medical clinic for the entire day. With a few Ugandan doctors helping us out, our volunteers can see and help up to a thousand people in a day.
That’s up to a thousand people in a single day getting help with colds, flu, intestinal parasites, malaria, HIV, or other illnesses. Free.
Then, at the end of a long and exhausting day, we load the leftover supplies back onto the bus, along with ourselves and our Ugandan doctors, and Henry drives us back to the house where we’re staying. Exhausted, we clean up, eat dinner and fall asleep – and then we do it all again in a day or so in a different neighborhood.
When I wrote the word “free” one paragraph above, I should have written “free to the people who live in the slums and villages. Actually, the help isn’t free. It’s made possible by the donations of people all over the U.S. and around the world, who have heard about this little organization called Loving One by One, and have contributed to provide medicines and other supplies – and have contributed to send volunteers on these life-saving missions.
That’s why I’m going back to Uganda. How many other opportunities are there for a musician to pretend to be a medical professional for two weeks – and actually save real lives in the process? As great as my initial Ugandan experience was in 2011, the work still goes on, and I can’t imagine not being part of it again.
If you’d like to help me go there this summer, contact me for further information at firstname.lastname@example.org. And, if you live in the Southern California area, join me at the “Uganda: the Sequel” Fundraising Concert on February 24. You can find out about that by emailing me as well.
In my next post, I’ll write about the emergency hospitalizations LOBO provides.