World Vision Australia Blog Ambassadors Eden Riley and Emma Lovell meet a group of women advocating for change in their community. Photo by Suzy Sainovski, World Vision
My name is Emma Lovell and I’m a passionate support for World Vision. I’ve been sponsoring children with World Vision for 10 years and I’ve been on a number of trips to see their work in the field. Most recently, I took part in the Blog Ambassador trip to Uganda and again, had the most incredible and life changing experience there seeing the amazing work of World Vision first-hand.
Uganda was a whole new level from my previous trips, as we were there as blog ambassadors. Eden Riley and I were the focus of the visit and were very hands on in all the activities and interactions. We had a great support team from World Vision Australia which allowed us to have the most exposure to the projects and more interaction with community members. I spent 3 days visiting projects, it was a lot to take in but so fantastic to see such a wide range of their work.
My favourite part was how welcoming the communities were. They were so happy for us to be there and to show us what they were doing with the support of World Vision. They literally say “You are Welcome” every time you arrive somewhere. They run over and shake your hand, introduce you to as many people as possible and more than likely sing a song for you. It was such a warm and wonderful vibe. They were proud of what they were doing in the communities. The development and change was having such a positive impact and they wanted to showcase that!
The most interesting thing I learnt about on the trip was biogas! I am not a science person and when we got to the farm with biogas I was a bit lost. So we’re gonna see how some gas makes a difference, okay! We got to a farm and met a lovely man and his children. He showed us to a site and how he was using manure to improve the growth of his vegetables and the system he had for filtering it and getting it to the crops. We then went into the house and saw a gas stove. He placed a kettle on it and it boiled, yep, that’s what they are supposed to do! Great to see it working efficiently. I’m still not wowed. Okay so the gas also fuels a lamp, he showed how a gas pipe went to the ceiling and there was a little globe that gave light to the room. I’m still a bit confused at this point so I ask everyone’s forgiveness as I have a blonde moment.
“Excuse me, this may be a stupid question, but let me work this out. So the manure out there is creating gas, which is coming in through the pipes and into the house to light the stove and the light?”
Our project hosts kindly smile and say “Yes”.
MIND BLOWN! This is the coolest thing ever! It’s saving him so much money on purchasing gas every week, it’s a thousand times better for the environment and so much safer than having fires inside and using fire as energy. This was so impressive. The biogas program would not be possible without the support of World Vision to this man and his family. He couldn’t take the smile off his face and enjoyed laughing at my amazement too. It was a joy to meet this man and his family and see how World Vision could change his life.
There were some tough experiences though. When we visited an outdoor immunisation outreach program on our third day, where hundreds of children and their parents were sitting to wait for their health checks and immunisations. I found it overwhelming looking around at all of them. It had been a bit of an emotional morning for me and looking at these tiny little people and the opportunity they now had to receive healthcare, it just became too much. It wasn’t what I was seeing that made me upset, it was the thought that without World Vision, without their support and work in these communities, how would they have access to health care? Basic things that we get in Australia as a right of birth, these families have to struggle to find or travel to receive.
One person who has stuck in my mind is a little boy at a health project. This little boy was born healthy. Within 3 months of his life, he had become malnourished. I had always wondered why and how this could happen. Is being a mother and knowing what is best for your child not innate? Nope. It’s not innate and we are surrounded in western communities by an amazing amount of knowledge, education and support when it comes to having children and raising them. This gorgeous little boy and his family were put through a PD Hearth project where he went received three weeks of intense nutrition and strict diet. His family was then given help to make a garden at their home, get access to a variety of foods and have a wide range of foods in his diet. The whole family was educated so that all of the family and any future children could be healthy. Now he is such a healthy and happy little boy and I loved sitting with him and making him smile. Education makes a difference and with wonderful organisations such as World Vision working with these communities, they can take a sustainable approach to health for future families. It was amazing and heart warming to see.
I cannot thank you enough World Vision for taking me as a blog ambassador to Uganda to see so much of your amazing work.