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AFRICA NEWS

AFRICA NEWS, AFRICA TRIPS, FROM THE FIELD, I NEED AFRICA, PERSPECTIVES

Welcome to Adjumani Refugee Camp

 

REFUGEE: A person who has been forced to leave their country in order to escape war, persecution or natural disaster.

This definition has been my understanding of a refugee for years and the images we see on US television paint a grim reality that thousands endure each year as they are impacted by the trauma forcing them from their homes.

In February, I was able to go and visit Mocha Club’s Country Director and staff who are working in northern Uganda with refugees fleeing the war in South Sudan. As we began our drive into the camps, my heart was ready for what my head was sure I was about to encounter.

Our journey led us to Adjumani, Uganda where I first met Anthony, an older man with a kind smile who looked to be in his late sixties. He was standing in front of the tarped structure he now calls home. Last September, when the fighting got close to his village in South Sudan, he sent his mother, his wife, and his five young children to safety in Uganda. He stayed behind, separated from his loved ones, salvaging what he could of their farm until army rebels took over three months later, forcing him to flee.

As Anthony shared his story, I could see the fear and heartbreak he had lived through on his face. He was not sure what he would find as he crossed the Nile and made his way to the processing tent at Adjumani where all new refugees must go to get registered and ask about their relatives. Did his mother survive the trek three months ago? Were all of his children still alive? Would his wife be there? It’s a reality I truly can’t fathom.

Anthony’s story lined up with what I have seen on TV or witnessed in other camps before. I had expected Adjumani to be unfathomable: hundreds of thousands of South Sudanese refugees; makeshift communities dotted with tarped roofs; tons of stories just like Anthony’s.

I’ve been in many places like this before – places where poverty, war and trauma are overwhelming and it looks like – it feels like – all hope is lost. In these camps, there is a tension that exists and becomes normal. Refugee vs. Peacekeeper. Refugee vs. Refugee. Refugee vs. Local. This tension is often even tangibly represented by a huge fence around the camp – not to keep refugees safe, but to keep them in. In this reality, a refugee is fighting to survive – they never even dream about thriving.

Adjumani is different.

As Tito, our South Sudan Country Director, showed me around, I began to see things I had not expected. I saw smiles, I saw community, I saw – HOPE. Tito pointed out opportunity, vision, dreams, and plans for a future here. He was breathing hope to life.

I struggled to reconcile what I had expected with what was right in front of me, then it hit me… these people’s lives had been entirely wrecked, forever altered. But they were finally at a place where they could stop running.

Hundreds of thousands of people like Anthony had fought to make it here. But when they arrived, they found kindness and were offered land next to their Ugandan neighbors. I was able to ask several Ugandans, “Why are you so willing to share your land, your schools, your economy with so many South Sudanese refugees?” Their response? “Because ten years ago, they did that for us.”

For decades, this region has lived with civil war, with night commutes and child soldiers. Where we see a line separating South Sudan and Uganda, they don’t see anything. They lived here long before that line was drawn; they’ve been neighbors for centuries; they’ve hosted each other in times of crisis. And they continue to do so — because when all else fails, community remains.

Mochas Matter.

I now had a new understanding and appreciation for refugees. While what I saw was different than my expectations, it did not diminish the very real needs, which are still present. Remember those tarp roofs? Tito shared with us that they only last three months and an immediate need in the refugee community is to find a solution for them. Thanks to you and the Mocha Club community we have been able to provide zinc roofs for many of the refugee families.

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Oh, and Anthony? His family is one that will benefit from the zinc roofs – the roofs that are a result of your mochas. That’s me, Anthony, and his wife Betty in front of their current home, tarp and all. Soon that tarp will be replaced by the zinc sheets he has received. And for the next ten years, those zinc sheets – your mochas – will be the solid roof over his family in this community that has become their home.

Next?

I asked Tito what was next – for the refugees and for how Mocha Club could support them beyond a solid roof under which their families could lay their heads. He said he dreams of a place where they can rest their hearts as well. So he is beginning to teach these refugees how to walk through their stories of trauma and loss and begin to heal.

Emily Blackledge, Mocha Club President

 

AFRICA NEWS, Clean Water, FROM THE FIELD, I NEED AFRICA, INSPIRATION, Uncategorized

Your mochas can become clean water.

Mocha Club’s community leader writes… Mvera is home to 300 villages in central Malawi. It is pretty difficult to get water in this area — because it is a hilly area full of rocks, the water springs dry out during the dry season and boreholes are hard to drill. There are two wells: one that functions and one that doesn’t and has been broken for years. So the 300 villages in Mvera all rely on this one functioning well — including those who live 3+ miles away from it. 

Mvera is also home to one of Mocha Club’s local community development classes. As the class spent time out in the community, listening to friends, neighbors, and local stakeholders, the gravity of the water situation became very clear — Lack of clean water is something that affects everything and everyone in the community.

Women and girls are often the ones forced to spend their days going back and forth to the one working well; women even keep mats at the well so they can rest while they wait in the long lines and the young girls miss school classes in order to help their families retrieve water.

The students in the community development class found that the local hospital was having a hard time keeping up with the rate of water-borne illnesses. It has even had to push expectant mothers out of the hospital because there is no water. In addition, new businesses don’t want to set up shop in a town without water either.

So the class went to work. They talked to local engineers, parts suppliers, professional builders and plumbers to get suggestions, cost estimates, and timelines. Fixing the old well — which they found out was dug in 1922, originally to 36 meters deep — was time consuming and expensive as it had gotten so full of sand and mud over the past 95 years that it now went only 7 meters deep. So they went back to work, consulting more members of the community and water experts. Turns out they had local resources to complete a piping project that would take water from the functioning well to a new purification tank further out and then, once treated, from the tank through smaller pipes to a distribution area easily accessible by 5,000 people.

They put together a proposal which included a plan for strategically piping water and purifying it for those communities in need. The proposal includes how they would utilize local resources and also the opportunity for funding to make this project become a reality and sent the proposal to Mocha Club’s local Country Director. It went through a few rounds of vetting — ensuring the project was feasible, practical, locally sustainable — now it is time to act.

Here’s where you come in — your mochas can become 5dffe47c3570533b449d773d_372x560Mvera’s clean water. Your everyday generosity, together with the rest of the Mocha Club community, will be the reason 5,000 have safe drinking water, a functioning hospital, fuller schools, and new economic opportunities. And it will be the reason the next community, and the next community, and the next community after Mvera get clean water.

Mocha Club Members, THANK YOU!

 

Not a member yet? Want to help provide clean water to Mvera and other communities? Will you give up a few extra mochas this World Water Day?

Join today and we’ll send you a Mocha Club water bottle as a thank you!


 

AFRICA NEWS, Education, FROM THE FIELD

Hannington’s Story

I was born on 11th November in Githogoro, Kenya, as the third child in a family of five. My parents were both laborers in the coffee estates that surrounded the region.

When I was eight, my mom died from an unknown disease. Due to the family’s economic status, it was not possible to get appropriate medical attention; hence, the diagnosis of the illness that took her life remained unknown. I was class one (grade one), my two elder brothers, Nicholas and Phanuel were in classes three and four, respectively, while the two younger siblings, Freedom and Philip, were in baby class (pre-school) at the time. It was apparent that my parents valued education and took initiative to ensure all of us attended school.

Following mom’s burial, things took a negative twist. Dad bore thehannington sole responsibility of fending for all five of us, which was hardly sufficient to place a single meal on the table. Our family was living on rented premises which made things far more difficult. Basic items such as clothing became a luxury alongside anything else. A day with one meal was considered an extremely good one.

Because of the intensified hardships, my eldest brother, Nicholas, dropped out of school to assist Dad in hustling. The combined effort did not yield sufficient income, so eventually the remaining four of us dropped out of school as well, each turning to the endless search for a meal. There were disappointing times when he came back home empty handed. This got us even more desperate.

Not long after, Dad came home with some news of a high school that was being started in the neighboring Huruma village. Many who had been out of school for years and could not afford the secondary education were interested when it was confirmed that the school was offering free education. This was music to our ears! The only requirement was for students to bring to school a bundle of firewood for cooking of our lunch. I was in high school at New Dawn Educational Centre with no fees required, no school uniform necessary and as if that was not enough, there was free porridge (uji) and the popular beans/corn meal (githeri) provided for lunch. Who would ever resist that? A miracle of miracles!

Hannington

My experience at New Dawn transformed me totally. I came in hopeless, but I was filled with hope. We found a mom in Mama Irene Tongoi, the school director. She was so assuring that a lot of good would come out of our lives. Mama Irene ensured that we received a holistic education; intellectually as per the curriculum, socially by meaningful and impactful interaction amongst ourselves and the community around, as well as spiritually through the word of God.  We had regular devotions and sessions of what was known as ‘vision conferences’. These spiritual forums provided opportunity to be affirmed and assured of God’s love and purpose for our lives. Our confidence was boosted and the sense of hopelessness gradually faded away. Where else would students be treated to good meals and even offered food to carry home for the next meal for the family? We were loved.

To my greatest amazement, upon completion of high school, I topped my class with a grade “B-” and qualified to join public university. And Mama Irene contacted me with grand news: a donor had showed up and was willing to pay the university fees for anyone qualified to join university from our class! God again provided the resources in my time of need.I was enrolled in a five-year degree course at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology. I graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Geomatic Engineering and Geospatial Information Systems (GIS). All this was accomplished with the help of the scholarship.

I appreciate God’s work through the ministry of New Dawn and all the well-wishers who contributed towards the transformed life that has become mine. You did it not only for me but for the many others that have walked along the same path.

“Give me bread today and tomorrow I will ever be at your door knocking, but give me education, the key to life, and you will have transformed the world.”

AFRICA NEWS, MOCHATERNS

Mochatern Monday 10.17.16 : Happy in the Midst of Horrible

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2016 has been a year of discouragement in so many ways. Between the refugee crisis, the primacy of terrorism in world affairs, and, here in America, a presidential race that is perhaps the most hate-filled and controversial that this country has ever seen, the news cycle is often filled with fear and confusion. News from Africa, especially, is often dominated by images of war, devastation, even hopelessness.

So today when I opened my computer and found some happy news, I immediately wanted to share it. The image above was painted by Leslie Lumeh, a Liberian artist. When the Ebola crisis hit West Africa two years ago, Lumeh was one of the artists called upon to help formulate posters to educate the public on how to protect themselves and prevent the spread of the disease. His posters went to multiple countries in West Africa, saving countless lives in the process. In addition, even after the crisis subsided, he continued to document life in Liberia, with colorful, winsome paintings like the one above.

Though Ebola-stricken Liberia was in many ways a fear-filled place, Lumeh’s art doesn’t just show that horror—it is also filled with hope. “I paint scenes and subjects that people can relate to,” he says. “You see it, you understand it, you know it, you feel it.”

Click here to read on, and to see more of Lumeh’s work: http://www.cnn.com/2016/09/20/africa/african-artist-who-helped-in-fight-against-ebola/index.html

AFRICA NEWS

Drones Could Become the Next Big Thing In Africa

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Rwanda’s president, Paul Kagame, has determined that Rwanda is becoming a technology hub for Africa. And the focus is drones. The technology startup, Zipline, will begin test delivering drones, and if approved, the drones will be delivering blood transfusions in small boxes to areas of need. They will be delivered to twenty-one different hospitals and health centers within a 40 mile radius. Drones could cut back 3.5 hour car trips to 45 minutes.

A study was done by UNICEF in which they used drones to transport HIV samples from newborn babies. The study was successful but the downside is the cost of drones is more expensive than motorcycles. Once drones start to become cheaper, countries will begin to use them for reasons other than just medically – including agriculture, forestry, and conservation.

Read the full story : http://www.economist.com/news/middle-east-and-africa/21701488-new-way-round-old-problem-help-above?zid=304&ah=e5690753dc78ce91909083042ad12e30

Source : The Economist

AFRICA NEWS

Share the Good News!

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I think we all realize that, for the most part, when it comes to news stories about Africa, they are all pretty negative, and do not display Africa as a play that seems like it could in anyway be improved. However, in the shadow of the more prominent, often depressing news stories about Africa are events, people, and knowledge that can be shared as good news for Africa!

 

We wanted to take a moment to point you in the direction of this great article by Ian Bremmer for 2W2B9043Time magazine entitled “These 5 Facts Explain the Good News About Africa.” In his article, Bremmer shares five facts that shed a lot of positive light on Africa for the reader. He includes facts like demographics (the fact that Africans will make up half the world’s population by 2050), and the increasingly, strong civil society growing in Africa, along with the introduction and moderate, yet growing, use of technology in everyday lives. Furthermore, Bremmer notes that events like issues with politics and civil wars, that are usually huge problems for African countries are dwindling. This proves that Africa is moving out of its negative state and into a more positive era! We think that the article is worth your while to read, and will lift your spirits about the state of Africa.

While they still need a great deal of our help, it is important to communicate that their situation is not hopeless. It is just different from hours, and we want to do all that we can to make it better!

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Source: http://time.com/4246821/these-5-facts-explain-the-good-news-about-africa/

AFRICA NEWS

A Stylish DJ & The Master of Cool

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DJ Zinhle has risen to the top in Johannesburg, South Africa, and has been one of the only females to reach that level of stardom as a DJ in Africa. Growing up in a rural area of Africa without running water or electricity, Zinhle was determined from a young age to make a difference for herself and others in the world. She began her career as a DJ in 2004 after graduating from the University of Johannesburg, and discovered that she had a true talent, one that she enjoyed and was moved by. Zinhle now mentors to other aspiring DJs, particularly young girls, who view her success as inspiring and one of a kind. On top of her success as a DJ, Zinhle has created her own brand of watches called “Era by DJ Zinhle.” Everytime a girl or woman orders a watch, she sends a note to them telling they to take advantage of the time that they have to follow their dreams and take charge of their lives. In response to her success and her powerful message, and what she plans to do next, DJ Zinhle responds, “We’ll see where the world takes me.”
Source: http://www.cnn.com/videos/tv/2016/02/26/music-with-attitude-african-voices-spc-b.cnn


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Atang Tshikare is an artist who specializes in adding his own unique touches to other people’s creations and talents. He defines himself as a “visual creative,” someone who transcends the boundaries of art, and tries to create things that are unique and thought-provoking.  For instance, he hand-painted his bike – taking something that has already been created,and giving it a slightly different edge. One of his favorite things to add uniqueness to are shoes. Check it out!

Source: http://www.cnn.com/videos/tv/2016/01/29/atang-tshikare-african-voices-c-spc.cnn

AFRICA NEWS, FROM THE FIELD, HIV/AIDS + Healthcare

End the stigma now!

It is not just the physical deterioration of the HIV/Aids epidemic that makes it so painful but a HEKO3more emotional and spiritual attack that takes place that most people don’t know about.  To be affected with HIV is to be outcast.  Teenagers and young adults who are affected either from hereditary reasons – their parents passed on the infection at birth – or they were involved in at-risk behavior that led to the spread are dealing with a heavy stigma & discrimination that they must deal with alongside their physical health.

“As a result of delayed treatment and the overbearing stigma and discrimination associated with being HIV positive, about 29 percent of all new infections are among adolescents and young people according to a survey released by the Ministry of Health on World Aids Day this year on 1st December 2015.

As a result, HIV-AIDS related complications are the leading course of deaths among the adolescents and young people with 9,720 adolescents and young people dying of such in 2014 alone.”

HEKO2Our partners at HEKO – Heritage Kenya Organization – work with HIV+ members of the community. Peter, founder of HEKO, shares his insights from his many years of work in the field. The stigma and rejection from their community and peers “makes it challenging to attract and sustain their focus on maintaining their health, particularly for those with chronic illnesses and this explains why those infected with HIV would rather stop taking ARVs than keep answering questions on why they are on pills.”

Sarah*, a 17 year old high school student was invited to speak during World Aids Day. Born with the HIV virus, she has been on ARVs (antiretroviral medication) since her childhood. When her time came to address the gathering, her message was very simple, “end the stigma and discrimination”. She did not ask for a great deal but instead something every human being could afford.

“we the young people are the most vulnerable group. We are one of the segments most at risk of HIV”. “We need prevention strategies tailored and testing campaigns-focused especially on adolescents”. “Many of us are dying young because we do not know our status or because we are of the stigma and discrimination associated with the HIV virus!” Sometimes our parents think we are too young to know our status or to know about the sex and or HIV. Nobody wants to discuss these things with us! They mistakenly think they are protecting us by not disclosing it to us on how it is spread! Yet some of us were born with it and yet still HIV and sex amongst the youth and teenagers is a reality. The earlier you know your HIV status the better because then you are put on medication and you will protect yourself and others”.

Our friends at HEKO are dedicated to not only bringing nutrition education & health care HIV+ women but also to inform the community, friends, and family that the discrimination needs to stop. Your support of this health care program through Mocha Club allows for this important message to be shared and for eradication to come quickly.

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Before working as part of the staff at the Mocha Club, I joined as a member back in 2007 supporting the health care projects and HEKO. And this summer after 9 years of support, I will get the chance to go visit Peter and Monica at HEKO and see this life-changing work first-hand. Will you join me? For some of you, traveling to Africa may not be the call for you. But maybe joining me to support these women for $9 a month is – we can’t do this work without your help!

End the stigma now!

Written by: Fallon Klug

*Out of respect & safety of our partners, names have been changed.

AFRICA NEWS

African artists hope to bring peace with their music

Photo source: Ne-Yo’s Facebook page

Photo source: Ne-Yo’s Facebook page

American Grammy Award-winning artist and R&B singer, Ne-Yo, is collaborating with artists in Africa and recently visited Kenya. He will be performing in Uganda live this coming fall.

He recently Tweeted “In Kenya recording a mashup with 5 artists from Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique, Nigeria & Uganda… #CokeStudioAfrica”

Some artists that Ne-Yo is working with include Ice Prince, Alikiba, Wangechi, and Dama do Bling. Many of these artists, including Wangechi and Dama do Bling, are working on promoting peace in Africa. They have a single coming out in honor of Peace Day at a festival in Rwanda this September and hope that it will bring the youth in the region to promote harmony within their communities.

Sources:

http://allafrica.com/stories/201508241318.html

http://allafrica.com/stories/201508250097.html

 

 

AFRICA NEWS

Sierra Leone is celebrating little victories!

Sierra Leone has released their last Ebola patient from the hospital. The country is beginning the 42-day count down to see if the disease is officially terminated. The World Health Organization cannot declare the country Ebola-free until 42 days has passed without a new case.

Adamah Sankoh is the last patient to be fully cured and she is seen in this video dancing her way out of the hospital with the staff celebrating beside her. While the disease has taken many lives, including Sankoh’s son, there is still hope that there will be no new cases. There is joy on her face as she puts her handprint on the wall of survivors outside of the Ebola care center.

Officials from the National Ebola Response Centre are still being cautious and are adamant about hand-washing and screening because cases are still being found in bordering countries.

Source: http://townhall.com/tipsheet/cortneyobrien/2015/08/27/sierra-leones-last-ebola-patient-dances-her-way-out-of-the-hospital-n2044309