Happy Memorial Day everyone!

Asinge'C' Information Center, one of the centers the 2010 GROW team worked with, is doing very well after last year's solar panel installation

Today the GROW team visited three information centers in the Tororo area. We were thrilled to find that the village Asinge C in which last year’s team installed solar is thriving. Each center seemed extremely well organized and the center managers were enthusiastic and eloquent about their purpose. In many of the villages that we visit, the information center serves as a main form, or the only form, of infrastructure. Their purpose is multi-faceted. Besides providing vital agricultural information like the price of crops or levels of rainfall, they serve as immunization record keepers, general stores, family and youth counseling centers, and even places where children can do their homework come nightfall. Additionally, the managers refer the villagers to health centers when they come for help. After visiting six information centers, we feel even more confident about the health benefits that will serve the community through the service of these centers. We have one more day of physical needs-assessment and are excited to formulate the best way to spend the money that we have spent the year fundraising. It’s going to require a lot of constructive conversation.

On a personal note, we again have running water! We are beyond thrilled to live in cottages with functioning toilets, showers and sinks and all expect to sleep well tonight.
On Sunday the team visited a Pentecostal church service. Unbeknownst to the group, the service was intended for “healing,” i.e. the majority of those in attendance were either suffering from AIDS, malaria, etc. or were probably attending on behalf of someone who was. After hearing this and reflecting on our time spent ignorantly listening and actively participating in the front row and remembering the priest’s reaction to our presence (“Well, I don’t know why you’re here, but…. Welcome!”) we all had a good long laugh.
Later in the day, the group hiked up Tororo Rock, a steep rock/mountain(?) ten minutes away from our compound, with two of John’s peers, William and Moses. Sam, Rachel, William, and Moses made it all the way to the top. As for the rest of us…no comment.
We’re currently munching on peanut butter sandwiches and thinking of watching a movie at Phoebe and Rachel’s hut. Ellen has become famous at the compound for her DVD collection. Today we woke to hear our next door neighbor Penny blasting Ellen’s copy of the Notebook on the other side of our wall. When we asked her if she cried while watching it, she scoffed and said “I’m hardcore.” Tonight she’s planning on watching Bringing Down the House. In other news, we’re a little afraid to make our way around in the dark with the compound’s stray cat on the loose. She likes to hang out by the pit latrine (outhouse) and Ellen aptly dubbed her “Latrina.” She is creepy.

Love from Tororo and Happy Memorial Day!
El, Phoeb, Sar, Rach (Sam’s 4 Wives…they practice polygamy here)