6/25/22 – Northern Uganda Trip Continued written by Jason Studt:
We started out yesterday at a very remote village on top of a mountain. To get to it you take a heavily-rutted dirt road on a 10% slope. We were there to celebrate the ribbon-cutting of a village’s new water source. Prior to this, the tribe had to walk 3/4 of a mile down that steep road everyday, carrying 5 gallon jugs of water, sourced out of a natural spring. Because they are in the mountains, there wasn’t an option for them to drill a well to feed their water needs.

However, Pipeline stepped-up to the village’s request for help and designed / built them a solar-powered pump system to that source, piped it 3/4 of a mile up the mountain, and into a tank feeding their fill station. They and their partners were able to provide a village with clean water, on a mountain, for $60k. They asked the village to dig the trench for the pipe and trained the village to service the pump.

They greeted us in a similar fashion to the village that we delivered the ambulance to the other day. The villagers were such gracious hosts. After a traditional dance party, they gave thanks, and we discussed some other infrastructure improvements. Then, we gave each child in the village a new pair of clothes.

Next we toured a job training center where we met the carpenter / mason apprentice boys and hair-dressing / tailoring apprentice girls. Pipeline Worldwide supports these trade schools because learning a trade is the only way these people will even survive. There’s many parents that can’t afford school at all. Also, I learned today that a carpenter makes $3/day US here. These kids are no different than our kids. They are smart, funny, and have all been really nice. Our team gave them all shirts and tape measures donated by JE Dunn.

Then we toured a bamboo carpentry shop. Learned about pressure-treating bamboo and the different species / application. These guys can do some cool stuff with it. Pipeline is looking at alternatives for these people to build with.
Our next stop was to the Moyo Babies Home which is an orphanage for abandoned kids ages NB-5. We brought them kitchen staples like rice & beans. And we got a chance to hand out some of the toys that you guys donated. Thanks again by the way! Really heartbreaking to see, but they are in good hands with the Sacred Heart Sisters.

Today was a rough trip, we got up at 5am & headed-off on a long 5 hour bus ride on an incredible terrible dirt “highway” South towards Gulu. However, it started off with a ferry trip across the Nile River. That scenery is incredible.
Along our way we stopped at a refugee camp for people fleeing rebel wars in South Sudan & the Congo. It has approximately 20,000 people in this particular settlement; however, there’s several hundred thousand refugees living in Uganda. As their host country, they transport from the border to these large swaths of farmland. Where they get a starter kit with a tent and they will then build their own house from mud brick fired in their kilns. It’s extreme poverty maybe even more so than what I’d seen the day before. Again, pretty tough to look at but it’s real.

Pipeline was there to verify the continued operation of a really cool project that they partnered with ASU and others on. It’s a portable clinic inside of a shipping container, with an internal multi-phased UV water filtration system, all solar powered. It’s a fantastic solution for providing instant sustainable water & heath care in remote outpost scenario. Congrats to the team that worked on this project! The staff says your system is much more reliable than their well.
After leaving the refugee settlement, we traveled to Gulu to tour the local hospital and visit a group similar to Ronald Macdonald House. We met with an Orthopedic surgeon who so generously gave us his time for a tour of their facilities. They’re one of the largest hospitals in Uganda with 550+ beds and has been ranked as its best.
I noticed a significant difference between the current state of Moyo vs. Gulu. There appears to be more development, paved roads, and the hospital is in much better shape compared to Moyo. During our tour, we checked out the C-Arm that Pipeline and it’s partners were able to donate to the Orthopedic Dept.

I’ve seen the impact that extreme poverty has in regards to quality of healthcare. These hospitals see a lot of orthopedic injuries because of the dirtbikes+terrain+a lot of pedestrians. If you break your leg and you don’t have $600 you go into traction where your leg heals for 8 weeks while you lay there in pain with a milk jug or a rock tied to it to. These never heal right & often the person is permanently disabled. That person is less able to provide for their family forever, further perpetuating their poverty.

For example, let’s go back to a typical carpenter in Northern Uganda making $3/day…so that’s $0.50 / hour x 2080 = $1,080 / year. Because he doesn’t have more than 1/2 a years salary saved when he’s barely able to feed his kids already, he has to live the rest of his life not able to walk correctly. That’s just morally wrong and Pipeline is doing something about that.
They and their partners we’re able to secure the equipment & an implant replacement program for Gulu hospital that allowed them to perform bone fracture implants (drilled rod or plates) that greatly improved the outcomes for patients and reduced their typical hospital stays from 2 months down to 3 days. The organization that they’re partnering with will provide the hospital with free replacement implants for each one they use. Allowing patients to get back to work sooner with normal use of their legs so that they can feed their own kids. To date, they’ve been able to perform over 80 of these surgeries with much better outcomes.

At the end of our trip to the hospital, we spent some time with pediatric cancer patients who can live with their families at the hospital similar to a Ronald Macdonald House while they receive treatment. It was amazing to see the joy on these kids faces. Some of them had large obvious tumors, but for a little bit they were just regular kids laughing and having fun playing with us.

During dinner, we learned about the story one of our Ugandan guides who works full time for Pipeline Worldwide. We learned how he was abandoned as a baby in a ditch in SW Uganda. He’s never known his parents and grew up in a series of orphanages. He got real with how traumatizing growing up as an orphan in Uganda is. Luckily, he was extremely driven and got really good grades in school and earned a degree. I’ve spent a week with him, and he’s as capable, funny, & smart as any American in their 20’s. This was a real tear-jerker night, but amazing at the same time.