Friday, December 23, 2011

Reflecting and Looking Forward

The end of the year is days away and I find myself reflecting on the past year. The American Foundation for Children with AIDS, with the help of many generous people like you, has helped thousands of children in 2011. Here are just a few of the things we’ve accomplished in 2011.

Over five million doses of antibiotics were provisioned to PIDC, our partner in Uganda that serves children with HIV/AIDS through its network of a hospital and 75 clinics. 
Fifty-two beautiful girls with HIV/AIDS are receiving love and medical care from a caring staff at St. Therese’s orphanage in Kenya and AFCA has provided nutritional support to them during a year of drought. 
Nutrition by Prescription was provided for St. Mary’s Mission Hospitals in Elementita and Nairobi, Kenya.  This allows patients who are weakened by malnourishment to quickly gain weight in order to be able to take the medicine they need in order to recuperate.
Two 40’ container of medical supplies and equipment were shipped to our partners in Kilembe Mines, Uganda, greatly improving their resources and enabling them to increase the quality and quantity of their service to children with HIV/AIDS in their communities.
One container of medical supplies and hospital beds, along with school supplies for 800 children was sent to our partner in Papoli, Uganda.  The children were overjoyed when they were given their own school bags full of supplies and the clinic was excited to exchange bad beds for good ones, and to have new sutures, needles, gloves, nursery kits, and a myriad of other supplies at their disposal. 
Nutritional support was sent in the form of an oat-based, highly nutritious porridge to both the Mombasa and the Voi projects in Kenya.   During this year of famine, these containers of food have proven to be life-saving for over 6000 children and guardians.
Many families (numerous with children as head-of-household) in Zimbabwe received nutritional support this year. In addition, our partner, ZOE, is working with select families to resource them with chickens and goats so that they can produce their own food and eventually help other families in their communities do the same.  AFCA has provided funds for the livestock given to the orphan families.
We visited Tandala Hospital and sixteen associated clinics in the Democratic Republic of Congo to further assess their needs and research options for getting a shipping container of medical supplies to them in 2012, as well as solar panels and all the components needed to provide electricity to each clinic and the hospital. In the meantime, we resourced them with antibiotics and look forward to doing much more in 2012.
We visited every one of our programs, ensuring that the children who are in our care are indeed, receiving what was promised them.  In every case, we walked away happy to see how well the children are faring and knowing that the programs are working as they should.

As I think about 2012, it promises to be a challenging year. International support for HIV/AIDS programs in Africa dropped significantly over the past couple years. As a result, many of our partners experienced the loss of aid and their budgets are stretched thin and some must decrease their support and care for children with HIV/AIDS. 

So far, AFCA has been able to maintain our level of support to our partners, but we are also experiencing a decrease in financial support, which if not reversed, will mean a loss of services to children with HIV/AIDS within our programs. This will lead to higher levels of illness and ultimately, to death.

Please consider making a generous donation to the American Foundation for Children with AIDS, or become a monthly donor so that the children in our programs continue to receive care. Thank you!

Click here to make a donation.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Hi everyone! It’s Hannah, the summer intern.

As some of you may know, I am currently in Ghana doing a semester study abroad at the University of Ghana. I just wanted to share some of my experiences in Africa so far. I’ve been here for about 2 months now but it feels like so much longer (in a good way!).

Everything starts early and ends early. The sun rises around 6am and sets by 6pm. I constantly talk about my “Ghana bedtime”. In college in United States, it would not be acceptable to go to bed by 10pm every night but here, it’s normal. And you’ve “slept in” if you manage to stay asleep until 8 or 9am!

I’ve been lucky enough to be able to travel quite a bit in these first two months. This is a picture of Wli Falls which is the highest waterfall in West Africa. It was about a 45 minute hike to get to the lower part of the falls and if you want to go to the upper part, it’s an hour and a half. My group only hiked to the lower part but we’re considering going back to hike to the top part. I just recently returned from a two-day trip to Lome, Togo, where I got to tour the Voodoo Fetish Market. Right when I got back, Yahoo! posted an article about the creepiest places in the world (click here) and the market was on the list!

The food here is probably the biggest thing I’ve had to adjust to. I normally don’t eat spicy food but there are only two options here—spicy and spicier. Fufu with groundnut stew is my new favorite food. Rather than chewing you simply dunk the fufu (which is pounded yams or plantains) into the stew and then swallow it whole. I found a recipe for groundnut stew and I highly suggest anyone and everyone try to make it (click here).

Ghana is fantastic and such an interesting cultural experience. One thing I have noticed is that they take HIV/AIDS very seriously. There are signs everywhere advocating for safe sex and HIV prevention which is fantastic. Provided the internet cooperates, I will try to continue to blog a little more about my experiences here.