Monday, March 30, 2009

Interlocking Soil Stablized Blocks (ISSB) Technology

Development is the ultimate goal for our organization. What people may not know, is that in our construction projects and our work, we do our best to be mindful of the Earth as this is most essential to long term and sustainable development.

One of the ways we do this is by the use of ISSB technology. This technology (in full: Interlocking Soil Stabilized Blocks) has existed for hundreds of years and is just making headway in Sub-Saharan Africa. Makerere University in Kampala along with support from organizations like Good Earth Trust are doing much to develop and promote its use. The interlocking feature to the Soil Stabilized blocks was in fact developed at Makerere!

During construction, we had 2 machines on site producing up to 500 bricks a day. The soil excavated from the holes dug for the water tank and the latrines were used to make the bricks in a mixture of cement and water. This method is both more efficient and environmentally friendly as the uniform bricks require less mortar and they steer away from the more common practice of fire burned bricks (which consume large amounts of firewood).

On top of that they look nice too!

To learn more about the bricks and groups out there promoting their use, visit:

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Earlier this month, I returned from Uganda for the third time in the past 2 ½ years. I’m always slightly surprised when I think of how much time I have spent in another country, especially one so far away, and well, especially one that is in Africa. My surprise isn’t derived from my sudden realization that I’ve been spending most of my time in Africa but rather from the fact that this seems as normal to me as going to Starbucks.

When I really try to think about it all, what I find most humbling is that every time I return to Blue Point, I feel as though I never left and that I do truly belong here. The strange part of it all, and really probably the reason this all works, is that I also feel that way about Uganda. The moment I arrive in the village, I return to those bumpy roads with chickens, goats, cattle, bicycles, motorcycles, and children causing us to take the most unreasonable routes; I see women carrying babies on their backs with bundles of goods in their arms while balancing a large jerry can of water on their heads; and I look left to the local butcher and try to stomach the fact that there is half of cow hanging in the hot sweltering sun for what was probably days; and in this moment, I feel at home.

I suppose this sense of belonging in both places explains why I can live in Uganda for months and months at a time and then return home to Blue Point, live in an entirely different world (a world with soy lattes!) and in both worlds, feel at home and at peace.

Friday, March 20, 2009

BULA was in the BBP St. Patrick's Day parade!

We handed out 1000 pencils that nearly ran out after the first 100 feet.

I would just like to thank Diana Flynn for being awesome and putting this whole thing together and all the great friends that marched with us!

Friday, March 13, 2009

I'm the worst blogger ever. Seriously... 3 months? what is that??? I apologize to anyone who checked more than once. I will try to do a better job.

In fairness, I spent the last 2+ months in Uganda with minimal access to the internet and limited communication with the States while fighting a long battle against a crazy man. The battle is ongoing with Andie and a team of unbelievably strong and committed individuals in Uganda fighting on our side. I, on the other hand, am back in the good old U S of A to tell you all what happened!

So...we now run a children's home in Uganda. We don't just support one, we actually run it. This is what happens when you show up in a village to determine whether or not the Director of a Children's home, who has been misusing all funds directed to the children, is ready to cooperate and work for the kids he claims to be helping and you find that you cannot even make that inquiry. You instead find that these children are sneaking out of the home to see you. This is what happens when the children tell you (and you see) how little they've been eating and how the director, their so-called "uncle", is abusing them both physically and psychologically. Heartbreaking, ridiculous and unacceptable. So we did something about it.

For those organizations and individuals out there who formerly supported Kinship House and Director, Ben Ssenoga, (and for those who perhaps still do) and haven't yet heard the news: Kinship House no longer exists!!! The children are now in a new home in the care of our organization and of Kinship's other directors: Stephen, John, and Dan. For more details, refer to our website: where our newsletters are posted and where we will soon disclose more details about their new living situation.

Thank you to all who have supported us during this rocky transition.

One of the children told me during the height of the chaos and fear, "Sister, my motto is to never give up!" Let me tell you...we never will and neither will these kids.