Thursday, September 19, 2013

one heart... two places....

so there is so much to update that i can't even begin to address that, but to sum it up, we were able to wrap up all of our projects. It was a bit of a whirlwind. We also went to kenya for a week which was really fun, it was nice to have a break from all the crazy country director stuff. I have loved all of the things that i learned from being a country director living in Uganda. I recently had my wrap up meeting with the HELP office and it made me reflect on a lot of things about my experience in Uganda.
I was in Uganda for over 6 months and it was one of the hardest experiences of my life. But like i have grown to know, the hardest experiences tend to be the ones you are most grateful for. Which is very much true in this case. And now becuase of the incredibly amazing expereince i have i now have no idea how to be ok with where i am at in life. there is a quote that HELP posted on facebook that says this.

Truer words were never written for my current situation. Life here isn't bad, but its NOT uganda, and my heart is not whole while i am here. So even though there are good things happening in my life here like, i got a job, i have a car, my family is doing great and i have THE CUTEST nieces and nephews in the world.... my heart is still not full. How do you overcome that? how do you find peace and happiness again? right now the only option i see is to fly back and be with my people again, but the man upstairs has a different path he wants to take me on. I have a feeling it will be just as hard, and tiring, and im trusting, and im hoping I will be just as grateful for it once i get to the other side.

 but that part of the story hasn't been written yet, so i will just have to wait and see...

Monday, July 22, 2013


Jacklyn one of the kids at the school next to the clinic
Went to the health clinic last week because we were having a meeting with the administrators and some people who may be helping to supply medications... don't know if they will follow through, but its worth talking about i have learned. So i was at the meeting and there was a woman there that works in setting up health clinics in Liberia and she was asking so many different question. As we were answering the question i had a "step back and see what is really happening here" moment and let me tell you, it was great!

Peter, one of the nurses at the clinic!
Tessla, one of the dedicated Administrators
I have been in Uganda for almost 10 months of the last year. When i first arrived in the Bunabuyoka village the people there said they needed a health clinic. So we said we would build them one. I have been in a lot of different Entrepreneurship classes and learned about how you should really care and help people and that you shouldn't give them a hand out because if you do then they wont see the value in it, they will only see what it is that you are giving them and they will eventually loose interest or ability to continue what it is that you started. And after the summer last year, it felt like that is exactly what the health clinic was going to be. Just another empty building. But as i sat in that meeting, looking at the faces that i had grown to call my friends. I realized that the people living in this village were never going to give up. We helped to build the building, but they were going to ensure that it stayed open. When buildings are left abandoned its because the community it was build for didn't see or understand the value of what was being created.
Checking in with the VHT

Mingling Porriage

The people in the Bunabuyoka village know EXACTLY how amazing it is to have health care in their county. To be able to only walk a half hour to a health care facility, instead of hours. The clinic sees over 100 patients a week, and it is only open 2 days a week. And the staff are working for the health clinic because their HEARTS want to give to the village. They want to see their children live long and happy lives.

The hearts of the people that are able to recieve the quality healthcare because of Zion Medical Community Clinic are what is going to keep this clinic alive. And i feel so incredibly blessed to be a part of it. I have learned so much as i have worked in helping the clinic continue to serve its people. I have seen so many selfless acts from each of the staff members.

On the Indiegogo site we have already raised almost $6000 dollars! Just being able to know that so many people are catching a glimpse at how incredible this is, melts my heart. I love these people. They have taught me many important lessons. Lessons i will NEVER be able to forget.

If you haven't yet, check out the Indiegogo site here. Its got a great video, and we only have 33 hours left. This is the last push to get the money needed to keep the clinic running. So many people have helped and I am incredibly thankful for that! please help us through the rest of this journey and reach out goal!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Sincere hearts

So the thing that is taking up my time/thoughts is the health clinic. We have launched our health clinic fundraiser. Its on Indiegogo and it is really important to me. Its only going to be up for 2 weeks so it’s a little crunch time to make sure that we get the money needed to get the health clinic through its crisis time. In case you didn’t hear, the funding we had for the health clinic fell through and so the health clinic is going into more and more debt each week that it operates. Sam and I have a long term sustainability plan, but it will not bring in money until January so we have to find a quick solution for the rest of the year. Which is all explained in the Indiegogo site so if you want to learn more about it click here.
Doesn't she have a contagious smile!
Today I was also at the clinic getting videos to post on the Indiegogo site asking the staff why they chose the medical profession and why they chose to work at Zion Medical Community Clinic. It was so awesome to hear their responses. I don’t think I ever really thought about asking them that question before. Their answers were so sweet! I remember Bilah one of the nurses in station 4 told me that she got into medicine because she wanted to be able to help people. She would see so much poverty and low quality healthcare that she wanted to be able to do something about it and that is why she decided she wanted to be a nurse. Being able to give the care needed was something that was so important to her. The crazy thing is it was like she was echoing my thoughts. I mean I have always known that I wanted to help people but it wasn’t until I was here in Uganda last year that the inability to provide actual treatment began to drive me nuts. So to fix this frustration I recently decided to go back to school and get my nursing degree. And the more I think about it I realized that it is for the exact same reasons! Which makes me so happy. I love these people. They have such genuine hearts! They have been working so hard since February and they have only been paid 2 times. That’s what I call dedication.
I am going to put together a video of the interviews with the staff on the Indiegogo site so check it out here.

If you could share the link with your friends that would be very much appreciated too. We have worked so hard to make this health clinic serve the people of Bunabuyoka, any little bit helps!!!!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

oh that grin...

This is Hilda, she is growing to be one of my most favorite children. Her dad is John Peter and we work with him through HASNN. So I work with him A LOT! I frequent their house as well because their family is simply the best. They are always happy and they have such a good spirit in their home. I feel comfortable when I am there, even if they try to feed me and make sure I have a soda and try to pamper me I feel like it is a home away from home. And Hilda is one of the cutest people I have ever met! She has the best scowl and smile, which she only gives up on special occasions, or If I blow on her belly. That always seems to get a smile out of her.

But the reason for her mention is that she was one of the staple members during the HIV testing day that happened on Friday. Yep, it actually happened! Wahoo!!!! So excited about that. It was so great. We tested 270 people. 28 of them tested positive. Which is a little over 10% which is a really high number. But we are so grateful that we were able to test them because HASNN can now follow up with them and help them to live a happy positive life. I remember the first testing day that I did and how it literally sent me into my “deep thoughts and reflection cami time” it really made me think so differently. But now, I think I have come to be able to understand more fully what being HIV means, and really, if you catch it early and take your medication it is SO much better to know. It truly and honestly isn’t a death sentence. Only if you don’t take care of it does it progress to AIDS. But there are so many other diseases that can kill you and HIV shouldn’t be one of them. So I just wanted to let you all know that HIV testing happened and it went really well thanks for the project lead Alyssa. She worked so hard and it turned out amazing! 

This is most of the group that made it happen!!!!!
And some videos of me dancing with some of the kids in namatala... It was fun

Monday, June 24, 2013


We are having a testing day on Friday, so excited its happening. We tried to have it a few weeks ago but the organization that we partnered with who was in charge of bringing the strips called 12 hours before we were going to have the testing to inform us that they didn't have the strips. Yeah, we were a little bit upset, BUT, despite the challenges we are planning to have it on Friday, lets hope that it goes off. ill try and get you an update on Saturday or Sunday.

Charles got in a bad car accident but he was determined to make it to the HASNN  meeting, He is one dedicated man!
He kept telling me that God needed him to stay here, and the he was a mircale. Such FAITH!

Also, we are going to be launching a health clinic fundraiser because the health clinic is in desperate need of some emergency funding. Samantha, my amazing other half here in Uganda wrote a GREAT post about the health clinic, i cant even attempt to describe it as accurately as she does so i am going to post a link so you can all read it if you would like.

At one of our project sights PDI

Monday, June 17, 2013

lovin it here!

        Busy day at the health clinic

So i have come to my blog about 10 times in the last few weeks to try to write a blog and then i think that i don't have any idea where to start. i feel like my days have turned in to weeks and my weeks into days. We just brought in our second wave of volunteers and so that is both exciting and stressful. But they are great and eager to work. I was talking to Sam the other day talking about how nice it is to have people with the eager energy that comes from the new volunteers. I love seeing them process the life that happens here. We fed the street kids on sunday again and i loved watching the people that came for the first time to take in their surroundings, and the lives that many of the people live here. i forget that not everyone does this every week because it has become something that is a part of me now. 
The pic on the left is mine... i love the word HOPE, it says so much!

Jospeh took this picture.... he is getting better at aiming...
As I look back on the past weeks i just think about how much this place has become a home. I cant describe it. And i dont know why it is constantly hitting me that this place feels like home. but it is. I have had a few experiences that have made me think about why i really came out here. Why have i spent almost a year of my life living in a place where its always dirty, i ride on the back of motorcycles and sometimes get splashed by the car going by. I am constantly feeling overwhelmed with the poverty and hard lives that these incredible people have to live.

Some would say it was because i am getting too old and since i can't
These boys are always making fun pictures...
find a man i have decided to hide in Africa to play with African Children, (the kids are really cute...), some would say its because its a fun adventure to go on ( which i definately agree with), And some would say its a cool job. There are so many reasons as to why i could be out here. And recently i have felt like i needed to defend myself in why i came out here, and i don't' do it very eloquently. i stumble over my words and tell people it just feels right, like i am suppose to be here.  But as i have reflected on it more, i realize its because a part of my life has been leading up to these moments. The moments where i have a conversation with a child in the slums just by smiling at him. Or when i sit in a HASNN meeting and am overwhelmed with how much i admire and love the people i am working with. Or when the sunsets just right, and i am in a village and the kids are playing on the drums and dancing and that just feels normal. These experiences are showing me who my family is. not just my earthly family, but my eternal family. There are so many people in the world to learn from. And people i know we have known eachother before we came to this earth. And i needed to come out here to Uganda to find these people. They are a part of me, and i need them in my life to be able to do what i need to do while i am here. A lot of that is being a wife and mother, and part of that is bringing people that are not biologically mine under my care. And that is what helps to shape me. It is the incredible people that i have found here that help me to understand me.

This is Sister Barton, i absolutely adore her!!!!!
I have been in the Slum a lot the last few weeks and without fail whenever i go there is always a few kids, or adults that shout CAM as i am going by on a boda, or as i am walking to my next destination. I love it! i am a mzungu to a lot of the people here, but to a group of people, i am Cam, their friend. and i LOVE that!
I love being able to feel at home in place where my parents, and siblings are not and still be happy.

So the reason i am here is because it is a part of my life, its suppose to be a path that i walk in preparation for what lies ahead in my life, and to meet the people who will shape me to be the person that God needs me to be. I don't know how long i will be here, but it will be for as long as God needs me to be here. I think that is going to be my answer for now, in case you asked...

i really love this pic for some reason. Enoch is the one holding josephs legs. He lives in a home where his dad is a drunk and often doesn't come home, or feed the family. Living has gotten so bad that enoch deicded to go and live in a cave on the side of the mountain.... it made so much sense to him... we finally got him to go back home... he is only 12...

Thursday, May 30, 2013

When you need a friend....

Sometimes when you get a call from someone they manage to say just the right words to send you into a mini panic. Today that happened. There is a woman here that I work with often. She has one of the most sincere and determined spirits ever! She has recently returned to school to finish high school after having 3 kids. Because of this decision she has had a rough road in the home life department. Her "husband" was less than thrilled about her going to school and in the past 3 months has been very vocal about it. He has told her on multiple occasions that she shouldn't go to school and that  she is too old and stupid to be able to finish school and that he will kick her out of the house if she doesn't quit. however, despite these threats her thirst for knowledge is too strong because she want to make a better life for her kids so she can't stop.

So today the call came that i guess i had been waiting for since learning about her home life. She called to inform me that her husband had officially kicked her out of the house and she has no where to sleep and she doesn't know what to do. Basically she has hit rock bottom and doesn't know how to climb back out. 

I have worked with a lot of people to help them in really crummy circumstances, but sitting on the bench with her as she crumbles under the thought of possibly loosing her kids because she wants to be educated so that she can provide for a better life for her kids was something that is hard to process. Because the laws here in Uganda give no rights to the mother over her kids. So even though she carried each of them in her belly for 9 months and has been working hard to scrape together enough money to provide for them food and school fees so that they can be educated, the man still has all the rights to do whatever he wants with the children. which means if he is angry enough at her to kick her out, he has all the "rights" to keep her from her kids as well arg, i could talk about how messed up that is, but it would just make me even more infuriated. so ill get back to the story.

I went and met her at the slums to talk with her about what was happening and see what i could do to help, So as i was sitting there trying to figure out how to help her i finally began to see her as a person. let me explain that. Being here in Uganda it is often hard not to look at a problem and see all the ways that money could fix it. and i think having been here for 3 months already my first thought is how much it would cost to fix such and such problem. So at first that was my initial thought. I was thinking, well, i wonder how much rent costs. I think i have 50,000 shillings in my wallet i wonder if that would cover a months rent and then we can figure out what to do. And then i would need to give her some food money so that she can feed herself and then her kids probably need food money too... and as i am thinking all of these things through i catch myself and think. Wait cami, if you were in America and one of your friends came to you with her problems what would your first thought be to do? it most certainly wouldn't be, well how much money do i need to give her to get her stable. It would be to LISTEN. listen to her problems, don't try to automatically fix them yourself. grieve with her as she opens her heart out to you about her concerns and worries and fears, and then help her to find her own solution. Listen and ask questions, but don't solve the problems for her, because she is the only one that can truly get herself out of the situation she is in. 

So i realized i was just a friend with a shoulder to cry on. She didnt' call me because she wanted me to throw money at her trials. She needed someone to talk to that would help her figure out what options she has. And so that is what we did. We talked and she was able to identify someone that might be willing to let her spend the night. And she was able to solve the immediate problem of where to sleep. Her heavy trials and burdens didn't automatically and magically get fixed because i talked to her. but she was standing a little bit taller when we walked out of the church we met it. And she seemed a little more confident in her ability to handle her situations. 
So, who knows what exactly will be her solution, but its nice to know that sometimes the thing that is most needed in a time of crisis, trials, and hardship, is a shoulder to cry on and  a listening ear. Not that i wouldn't mind giving that husband a piece of my mind and being the one that comes in and saves the day for a friend, I was able to help her see a little bit more of the incredible person she is and the amazing strength she has. 

I hope she continues to remember that. 

two cuties from church

i love the intensity in his eyes. 

This is Bella Megan, She was born just a few weeks ago and was given the name  by a former volunteer. Shes so cute!