“Ring..Ring,” goes the phone as I received a call from one of the recruiting officers of the Global Health Corps. “Are you Ariong Moses?,” to which I answered in the affirmative. He was informing me that I was wanted for an interview in the next day by 2:00 PM, as I had passed preliminary screening to become a Global Health Corps. I was excited and overjoyed by this news yet puzzled by the fact that I had to do seemingly “tough” interviews before this dream came true. The thought of “Storming” New York City for 2 weeks and interacting with various professionals, and later on serving underprivileged communities as a fellow, drove me to get more confidence and to prepare for this interview.
Currently, I am a Global Health Corps Food Security Fellow attached to Mpoma Community HIV/AIDS Initiative – and this means that I passed the interviews and got to be in NY for the Fellow Training program.
My roles are quite clear and that includes producing food that is eaten by school going pupils who are affected and or infected by HIV/AIDS at Nkosi Primary School in Mukono District, central Uganda. What better call is there than to save the lives of HIV positive children and to support orphans to live healthy lives through improving their nutritional status?
This however comes with the need to persevere and to stick to the goals and objectives that I set out to achieve while leaving my previous job (Program Officer), to work as a Volunteer (Fellow) with GHC. My usual day starts with working in the Vegetable garden for at least 2 hours before I join my colleagues in office. As a program officer for Agriculture (the New Title bestowed upon me by the Partner organization), I have to mobilize community members to provide labor in the farm as part of their community contributions. This has been done several times before but no significant results have been achieved. Barbara Nakandi, the farm manger, angrily expresses her disappointment at the failure of the community members to play their part in this project. “They come to work in very few numbers and do very little work,” she laments. Their lack of participation means that the staff have to provide the labor needs of the farm, which is really exhausting!
The saying, however, that “Little by Little makes a bundle,” has proved to be true as shown by the results in the vegetable garden. The time that we have committed to this project, however small it is, has paid a lot and the pupils are enjoying the vegetables daily.
Provision of vegetables to the children while at school and training of their parents on recommended nutritional practices, such that they can take care of the nutritional needs of children while at home during holidays, is anticipated to boost the immunity of these children and enhance their living conditions while still in this earth.
As much as they say that “water is life”, we believe that having healthy food is a recipe to healthy living and therefore prolonged life. Our struggle for now has just started and with GHC on our side, the sky will not be the limit.