Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Jonathan Sanders African Experiences Exhibition for WaterAid

Bend in the River 20 x 24" Acrylic

Heading Home 31 x 31" Acrylic

Seeking Shade 20 x 24" Acrylic
I can't believe it's over 3 months since I got back from Uganda!  I have been busy fundraising and increasing awareness of WaterAid's work with talks, photography exhibitions and supporting fundraising events.

I am delighted to announce that my husband Jonathan Sanders is holding an exhibition of his work at Wessex Water HQ in Bath on Thursday 30th April 6:30 - 8:30 to help raise funds for WaterAid!  This will include a sealed bid Auction for his new painting "At the Waterpump", more details to follow!  Tickets are £5 each with proceeds to WaterAid, please call me on 07557302400 to purchase a ticket.

We will be selling Paintings, Prints, Cards and Sculpture so please come along have a glass of wine, browse and maybe buy, Its all in a good cause and the artwork is beautiful, see for yourself above and below!  Tickets in advance only, sculpture may be ordered in advance.  Please keep checking for updates.

Mother and Calf, Cold Cast Bronze Resin, Pattina finish £265.00

Mother and Calf, Cold Cast Bronze Resin, weathered finish £265.00

Jonathan Sanders adding the finishing touches

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Water, water everywhere...

..but not a clean drop to drink. It has been raining in Kampala all week whilst we have been in Amuria District.

It normally never rains in November; the locals explain this is due to climate change.

The slums are situated in the low part of Kampala where the run off from the seven hills surrounding the city converge to swill the rubbish,mud and sewage into the family homes made of board, corrugated iron and old wood.

Drainage channels have been built in some areas to carry the dirty water to the main river which offer benefits in normal weather. But with no electric lights and few crossing points it is hard to see these channels in times of flood.  Just whilst we were there we witnessed a body search for two women and a child all carried away by the water and assumed dead.

Upstream from the contaminated water tap
There are few latrines in the slums and some water taps. We watch a line of children queue up to fill their jerry cans with contaminated water; the dirty flood waters  which have percolated into the high water table beneath their feet.

Contaminated Water

Children play at building a dam in the water spilled from the tap, mixing with mud and sewage. I think of my own kids  having fun doing the same thing on beach holidays without the fear of cholera.

There is clean water but it costs 500 schillings for 20 litres. 100 litres would use up half the average daily income of $1.3 a day. In the UK daily water demand is around 140 litres per day per person. The clean water is sold by vendors from a private piped connection.

The Ugandan National Water and Sewerage company (NWSC) are seeking to address the sanitation and water issues in the slums with community leaders and other partners including  WaterAid.

There are some success stories, we saw a public water pre paid meter which looked a little like a petrol pump. Users are given a token which they top up with an agent locally. They can draw clean, safe water from the pump any time day or night at 25 schillings for 20 litres a massive saving from 500 schillings. Its not only the pocket which benefits but health and economy in areas where these pumps are available.  NWSC with help from WaterAid and other donors plan to install more.

So I am writing this on the last day of the supporters trip. If you want to find out more about WaterAids work or make a donation please visit

Please continue to look at my blog as I will be posting photos and reflections upon return to the UK. Thank you.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Hardest part to come......

Long drive back to Kampala today. Life passes the car window like a documentary of Ugandan life. There are always people carrying large yellow jerry cans for water, loads of children walking to school and vehicles filled to the gunnels with people or livestock or produce and sometimes all three.

We passed hundreds of small lock up shops, many manufacturing and selling. Iron and welding inside, bunkbeds outside.

Last full day here tomorrow, it has been a truly inspiring experience to see first hand the difference safe water and toilets makes to a community. I am looking forward to returning to the UK to tell you all about it, there is so much more! If you wish me to talk about my trip at any schools or groups please contact me.

We are visiting the Kampalan slums tomorrow, two areas pre and post WaterAid intervention. It will be interesting to see the differences but I sure very upsetting and challenging.
Please drop by tomorrow to find out how we got on.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The day we met the Prime Minister

Happy World Toilet Day 2014! An early visit to the Amuria District Chairman to thank him for the district's hospitality. With WaterAid's and partner's help Amuria is recognised as the most improved sub county in Uganda for sanitation.

This good news was not reflected in the health centre which we visited across the road from the council offices. For all intents and purposes the Health Centre is a hospital serving 55,000 people covering everything. Unbelievably they only have one doctor, for a population greater than the City of Bath.

We walked through the maternity ward where the beds and floor were full of expectant mothers but with patients with other ailments also. Outside patients families cooked and washed in the open air, there are no laundry or kitchen facilities. Medical waste burned in piles nearby. Latrines near to the wards were nearly full. WaterAid hope to improve sanitation and encourage other partners to assist in areas beyond WaterAid's expertise. I hope this hospital receives help. Just thinking about maternity alone the risk of infection for new mothers must be so high and giving birth with no pain relief is hard enough.

A short walk into the light and celebration at Amuria school for World Toilet Day! My highlight of the school tour was speaking to Juliet whilst she drew a picture of washing hands after visiting the latrines. She was interested in our toilets and plumbing in the UK and believes we do not suffer from any diseases.

Me and Juliet

The festivities for World Toilet Day suddenly began next to the school in an outdoor arena with shade provided for over 1000 guests under trees and marquees. The Ugandans love their speeches and introductions! The speeches were interdispersed with dancing,singing, poetry and acting. All highlighted the need and desire for effective sanitation and hygiene.
Another great poster

I seem to have taken on the role as unofficial dance leader for the group, although I don't believe Ugandans have seen a white woman 'Maasi' jump before! The conga I joined did get tied up with the guards ceremony of retrieving the Ugandan flag but I think they enjoyed it!

Dancing to celebrate World Toilet Day

And the Prime Minister? He couldn't make it but he sent along his Ministers for Health, Water and the Environment and Refugees and Immigration.
A successful World Toilet Day with recognition for WaterAid's intervention and sustainability. Back to Kampala tomorrow, please join me there!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Good to Meet you!

A truly inspiring day! An early start and an easier drive to Bobol village. WaterAid with their partners had helped the villagers dig their own borehole and construct their own latrines.

WaterAid Borehole Bobol
The impact on the village has been miraculous. David the head of our host family told us that previous to the borehole the villagers had to walk a round trip of approx. 30 km to a filthy spring to collect water. This trip took 5 hours and had to be undertaken twice a day. That is an arduous full time task for one family member to serve their family and with water that would regularly make them ill.

The borehole has meant they can live not purely survive like the villagers in Ojolai yesterday. We saw smarter houses, happier children and a greater variety of crops and animals.

David and Samuel installing a Tip Tap
Our host family were proud of their latrines, tip tap ( a heath Robinson affair, cleaning hands from a bottle of water without touching the bottle) and bath house. The family were evangelical about hygiene; each of our group were invited in turn to take a shower which involved scoping water over oneself from a large red bowl behind a lowish brick wall!

WaterAid through WASH provide a sustainable solution for the village. One of the exciting initiatives I learnt about today involved the monthly standing charge paid by the villagers for the upkeep and maintenance of the borehole. Once a surplus of funds is achieved this is lent to the villagers for business enterprise. It really is about Water-Life-Sustainability-Betterment.

Roger milking a cow

For my betterment today I washed up Bobol style, milked a cow, shelled peanuts and tried to cook bread!

All this achieved in the morning as in the afternoon we were guests at Wera primary school. With a very big thank you thank you from the 800 pupils and staff to Wateraid supporters for helping them to build latrines and a borehole. The school was brighter and the children less shy than the school yesterday.

They sang and danced a good to meet you and thank you WaterAid song which was beautiful until I joined in.

Welcome Visitors from Wera School

Big push for World Toilet Day tomorrow when we are honored to be accompanied by the Ugandan prime minister as we join in activities for the big day!  Wera primary school and some of our team may be on BBC Newsround tomorrow, check it out!

You are welcome

What a truly amazing day. We travelled along tarmac road, red dust road and finally bush track to reach Ojolai village.

Watering Hole Ojolai
The villages main water supply needs to be collected by the 100 or so families from a watering hole shared with animals. The water is still, milky brown and likely to dry up completely between December and March. I collected 2 x 10 litres for my host family in the heat and was exhausted. To undertake the task 2 - 3 times a day, every day for unsafe water is unimaginable.

Borehole water is in the next village a 6km round trip and is expensive for the people of Ojolai. The WaterAid Ugandan staff tell us a borehole solution for Ojolai is complex. This I do not doubt, with their resourcefulness if they could have found a way themselves they would.

Killing germs by smoke, school latrines

I learnt they returned to their village from refugee camps after fleeing from the Lords Resistance Army. Since that time they have reclaimed their village from the bush, planted many crops and built a school. We visited the primary school, woefully lacking in facilities but built by the proud patents to educate their children. The children sang You are Welcome, and certainly we were welcomed by these amazing people.

Our interpreters grandmother who struggles to collect water by herself
During our time with our host family we gave them lots of laughter as they watched our attempts to plough, hoe and sweep. I hope we can also give them the gift of clean water and an easier and healthier life.

Tomorrow we visit a village and a school which have exactly that, can't wait to visit and meet more of the wonderful Ugandan people.