Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Some updates

Over the few weeks, traffic has increased dramatically on my blog due to a link to the site that Chris Schwarz embedded in his Popular Woodworking Magazine blog.
I have received many kind words from around the world and a few offers to send tools and books to the school. It also made me realize. Ok, it made me feel guilty that I have not added to the blog in the last year. So perhaps it is time for some updates.
1.              Update on Burundi
To highlight the unsettled nature of Burundi and a few weeks after Tim and I visited, a massacre occurred seven kilometres(just over four miles) from our hotel. Here is part of a BBC news report.
September 2011Burundi bar attack leaves many dead in Gatumba
 At least 36 people have been killed after unidentified gunmen opened fire at a crowded bar near the Burundi capital, Bujumbura, officials say. A local hospital is reportedly unable to cope with the wounded, while dead bodies have been left in a car park.

"I heard someone some distance away shout: 'Kill them all,' and they opened fire," one survivor told the BBC. Burundi's last rebel group officially laid down its arms in 2009 but sporadic attacks have continued. The BBC's Prime Ndikumagenge in Bujumbura says it is the most deadly attack since last year's disputed poll.
The government has blamed recent attacks on bandits but our correspondent says some fear a new rebel group has emerged. There are some reports that the attackers crossed into Gatumba from just across the border in Democratic Republic of Congo.

November 2011
Sadly, Ivica’s friend and fellow Croat, Lukrecija Mamic was been killed during a raid on Kiremba monastery in Burundi. Lukrecija, a nun, ran a 150-bed hospital ward which she had founded and she also managed a centre for AIDS patients and those suffering from malnutrition.  She was murdered by thieves who also beat up her colleague, a nun from Italy and forced the monastery's driver to take the thieves to safety. He was later found dead.
She will be missed as up to 1,600 children and pregnant women depended upon her programs.

2.      Update on Uganda
One of our friends, a humanitarian worker, was in the Mbarara hospital during the recent Ebola outbreak in Uganda with a patient a few rooms away was diagnosed with Ebola. Her hospitalization was for a relatively minor aliment, she had a full recovery, and no one else was infected.
According to the World Health Organization, the Ebola virus, which first appeared in 1976 in the Democratic Republic of Congo, has a fatality rate of up to 90%.
Ebola t is believed was introduced into the human population through handling or close contact with the blood, or other bodily fluids from infected animals. Ebola then spreads in the community through human-to-human transmission, resulting from contact usually with the blood of infected people and especially so with health-care workers treating Ebola patients.
Ebola is a virulent viral illness characterized by the sudden onset of fever, intense weakness, muscle pain, headache and sore throat. This is followed by vomiting, diarrhoea, rash, impaired kidney and liver function, and in some cases, both internal and external bleeding.
People are infectious as long as their blood and secretions contain the virus.
Link to World Health Organization:
Today I just read about a hapless thief who stole a cell phone from a patient at Kagadi Hospital a couple hours north of Mbarara, Uganda. Unfortunately the phone’s owner had the Ebola virus, which in return infected the thief.

The thief was caught by police detectives when he began using the phone. However, before he could be apprehended, he developed symptoms similar to those of Ebola and sought medication at the hospital. There he apparently confessed and handed the phone over to police. Hopefully the police took adequate precautions!

Sounds to me like a contender for this year’s Darwin Awards.

3.      Update from Rwanda
Jean Paul got married about two months ago. I had thought this matter was settled before I left last year but his first endeavour at finding a bride fell through. He found an even lovelier bride though. My son is currently working on raising funds to bring Jean Paul and Joseph, a tailoring instructor back to Canada for further studies.
The new school
Work on Kivumu’s first secondary school is progressing well. By the end of September it was hoped that the first phase of 11 classrooms (800 square metres or 9000 square feet) should be complete. But, inevitably, delays have set this back a month or so. Nonetheless, great progress has been made and especially so when you consider everything was done by hand and done by the students of the trade school.
Digging the foundations
Technical and Vocational Training and Education in Rwanda has gone through some dramatic curriculum changes in an attempt towards standardization and raising the profile of the trades. I am now getting pleas to come over and help but I have my work here and won’t be free until July and August next year.


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