Party With A Purpose: Benefit For Our Nurse/Midwife Project

Hope Stevens Neikirk reports:

Many thanks to all who attended last night’s Party With a Purpose and to all who contribute to this important project. Your donations have a measurable impact on the lives of so many.

Maternal Health is not a “women’s issue”.” It is about the integrity of communities, societies and nations, and the well-being of all the men, women, boys and girls, whose own prospects in life depend upon healthy women and mothers.”

~~ World Health Organization International’

Before I share some content, enjoy photos of the event:

Our Presentation:

Of course there were many stories. Plus we provided this slideshow showing updates and progress being made with The Midwife Project.

The narrative to the slideshow is just below.


Our work started with replenishing supplies for Elizabeth. We spent the good part of a morning at a pharmacy filling many boxes with medications and other supplies to bring to Kagoma Gate.

Our inventory was spread out in an empty room at the clinic before being put away in the cabinet, also purchased with funds from the Midwife project.

People in the community of Kagoma Gate where up to 15 dialects can be heard. These are people who were used as virtual slaves by the sugar cane industry who came to Uganda from war torn countries like Somalia, Congo, Northern Uganda, in hopes of finding employment. When they could no longer cut cane, they were sent to a plot of land with no clean water, no sanitation, no medical and no education for the people there. Less than 10 years ago, Kagoma Gate was referred to as the village of forgotten people.

Kagoma Gate is now a village with 2 schools, buildings to house teachers, a medical clinic, a kitchen providing healthy meals, and a maintained well with clean water. Solar lighting can now be seen there and there is an incinerator to discard placentas and other medical waste.

People of the village lineup for hours to be seen by Elizabeth. There are no appointments, no complaining about a long wait, only hope. By nightfall, Elizabeth must leave. Those who were not seen by Elizabeth simply hope for better luck next time.

Elizabeth is the healthcare provider and educator. Births can now happen on beds in the clinic if the timing is right. Some births continue to take place on the dirt floors of the mud huts.

Our second clinic was in an outlying village in a brick home that belonged to one of the residents who kindly allowed us to use the space. Again, people lined up for hours, but at this location 2 very ill women were put at the head of the line. Mark and Moses took these women to the hospital right away, while we stayed at the clinic until after dark, working using flash lights from our cell phones.

One of he very ill women had a strangulated hernia and needed emergency surgery, which was done. She was sent home shortly after her surgery. The other woman, who looked septic, was diagnosed with maxillary sinus cancer. She had blood work and xrays and was admitted. Mark and Moses had to purchase a mattress for her to lie on and she had to have someone (friend or family) with her at all times in order to stay. She was given medicine for pain but died a month or so later.

Mark had to pay upfront for all treatment, including surgery. The total cost for the 2 women was $145 US dollars. On a door outside the ICU at the hospital was a sign with prices for different tests, also to be paid up front. Ball park prices: EKG $8.10. Ultrasound $5.40. Echo $13.50. Nonrefundable admission fee—about $65.

The woman with cancer was next to an orthopedic patient in traction—brick tied to a string to straighten out the broken leg.

We visited Koi Koi House, the orphanage so important to The Giving Circle. These are Mark and Kelly’s kids. The little girl running into Mark’s arms is Veronica who was severely burned as an infant when the kerosene lantern in her hut tipped over, leaving her with severe burns and causing the loss of her right forearm. This little girl is all smiles and love, especially when seeing Papa Mark.

The sign on the wall of the Koi Koi living room says, “Love is rewarded to everybody in this house, so please enjoy the place.” We were fed a delicious meal and we met Dennis, a new RN who is now assisting Elizabeth. Dennis went to nursing school so that he could take care of his younger brother Andrew, who died of Sickle cell disease before Mark and Kelly were able to get Andrew to the US for palliative care.

Our third clinic took place in a school house in another outlying village. Again, people lined up for hours. The woman pictured and her 4 children were dressed in their Sunday best to be seen. Interpreters were needed for the Americans. Sue was Elizabeth’s pharmacist. She devised a good system in dispensing meds that were quite unfamiliar to her.

Male circumcision is encouraged and offered at certain clinics for free as a public heath push to decrease the transmission of HIV and other diseases.

At the end of our trip, we were invited to the home of Moses Wambi and his wife Cecelia. We were treated to a feast while we said our good-byes. Moses and Elizabeth and Caren had a chance to review the 2-week visit and brainstorm future needs for Elizabeth to continue her very important work.

Final photos—the beautiful children of Kagoma Gate, Elizabeth holding twins she delivered and sunset on the Nile River



Welcome to Our Two Newest Koi Koi Sons

Please meet our two newest Koi Koi sons. These kids are proof of

1)  why we must finish the Koi Koi house soon and

2)  why Uganda’s closing of orphanages is so horrendous.

Remember, when the new Koi Koi house is complete it will be designated as a boarding house because it in on our Busoga School’s land. As a result, “Robin’s Nest” will not be subject to the new policy that demands that orphanages be closed.

Lars and Moses found these two frightened boys on the street because their orphanage was closed, tossing the children out onto the streets. Obviously, we can’t take care of all the displaced children. But we can take care of Kabuye Shaban and Joshua Kennedy by making them our Koi Koi House sons.

There are many dangers for kids living on the street, not the least of which are hunger and the loss of access to clean water. Far worse is that human traffickers will be scooping up children like Kabuye and Joshua. But now Kabuye and Joshua are safe, because they will be living as our Koi Koi sons with their new brothers and sisters.

Both these children can be found on the sponsorship page. If you would like to sponsor Kabuye or Joshua, just let Kelly Mommakoikoi or me know.


A Local Family Needs Our Help

 Hi, all. As you know The Giving Circle provides service locally, nationally, and internationally. Where ever there is suffering is where we try to be. Of late, we’ve been telling you a lot about the work in Uganda and even in our own Gulf states. But recently we’ve encountered some folks in the Saratoga area who could really use some help.

We’ve been introduced to a local family who are very close friends with a member of TGC outreach team. The family includes two sons, both suffering from Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy.

The Bertrand family may not know this family so well. But, as many of you may be aware, we are too well acquainted with this disease. We helped care for a young boy who’d basically been abandoned by his family to the ministrations of a local hospital. For eight years we would visit out boy Matt every Saturday. We’d feed Matt and then Azurah would take over, playing video games and just talking. Matt’s medical providers told us he had maybe six months to live. But, with Azurah as his best friend, he lasted eight years.

Of the two brothers with Duchenne, one is at home. But the other, Phil, is in the hospital. As you can imagine, the medical bills are huge. There are plenty of additional expenses to be met. With the rising price of gas, even the costs of visiting are nearly unmanageable. The family eagerly spends enormous amounts of time with Philly, as he’s better known. Still, they must be exhausted. And the financial implications are certainly devastating. All of this is above and beyond handling the pain of having two sons with a terrible disease.

Here is our chance to help a local family. Let’s do what our circle does. If you can, donate what you can to the gofundme site established for them. This will provide them needed financial relief and proof that they have loving friends (many of whom they may not know) who are with them is spirit.


About this website

Click here to support Helping Family be Together organized by Noah Mcfarland

Our Busoga and Kagoma Gate Students Ace the National Exam

Meanwhile in Uganda, we’ve seen some more GREAT work by Moses. He brought together our P7 students from both Busoga and Kagoma Gate at our Busoga school to prepare for the national exams. They worked hard together in pretest prep. And 100% of our kids at both schools passed!

School is now out for students in all levels up to P7. A long summer vacation has started. The children from P1-P6 children are gone. With the addition of the KG kids for prep, there is not enough room in the boarding rooms. But soon, with the completion of the Robin’s Nest at our Koi Koi house, there will be plenty of clean healthy bunks. We’ll have eliminated any need for sleeping in the classrooms on the floor.

Oh a different topic, let’s celebrate the return of Lars P. Anholm to Uganda for six months. He’s working hard to get our hydroponics project up and running. We will be raising fish (Tilapia). And vegetables will be grown in the greenhouse. Great idea and work by Lars. We had to include here the fourth picture which shows us all that.



More Progress on Robin’s Nest

Mark says:

Meanwhile, in Uganda, the burnt brick foundation is going up well on Robin’s Nest. We are still short of some of the money to finish. But it’s getting really very close.

Sorry if my posts are getting repetitive, but I have the flu. And the flu symptoms on top of the side effects of all my other meds are making my eyesight and balance even worse.

On a different note, we are SO proud of our son, Kalimu Bin Bashir. Thanks to Kim Klopstock, he’s become a surgical assistant.


Oct 21 The Inn at Saratoga Great Celebration and Fund Raiser

Meanwhile this is the 175th Birthday of The Inn at Saratoga. For the low, low price of $35 you’ll get to enjoy LOTS of music, nummy light fare, and a cash bar. Best of all, ALL proceeds go The Giving Circle!!!!  This is a huge help to us and great fun for everyone who attends.

Check the announcement and see all the great music on the program.  Check off Oct 21st on the calendar and be there for the start at 5pm.  In fact, be there or be square.

Thank you so much Elizabeth Israel and Israel family.

Musaharaf Mwanje needs a sponsor!

Hi Giving Circle Friends,

Musaharaf Mwanje needs a sponsor, his current sponsor is unable to continue unfortunately.  He is currently in school and we’d love to keep it that way.

Musharraf is under the care of a grandmother following his two parents abandoning him because he is deaf. By looking at his radiating smile, no one can believe that Musharraf has never seen his parents since he was two years. Hamidah, the grand mother has made her grandson feel like everything is ok.

The only source of livelihood to this farming is peasantry farming. Please pass along to anyone you think may be interested!

Musaharaf is deaf so his sponsorship includes travel in addition to school fees, supplies and uniforms at $50/month or $600/year.


Chicks With Sticks Bring Our Thursday Night Outreach Dinner

Who doesn’t love breakfast for dinner?! That’s what was on tonight’s menu for The Giving Circle Street Outreach gathering. Our meal was completely prepped, cooked and served by Saratoga’s JV field hockey team!!! For sure a feast…. egg strata, pancakes, potatoes, sausage, muffins, yogurt, apple crisp, all so so yummy! We love when friends come and help but we especially love when our younger generation come to help. LOTS and LOTS of laughs. We’re not sure who had more fun: our street friends or the girls. Thanks to all their moms for bringing them to help tonight and especially huge thanks to Frieda for organizing!! Hope all the girls enjoying getting involved and giving back. ❤️❤️❤️ #chickswithsticks #givingback


The 7th and Final Announcement of TGC Compassion Awards: Ed & Lisa Mitzen!

At long last, we’re making the seventh and final announcement of our most wonderful award winners. We are so happy to honor Ed and Lisa Mitzen, recipients of the 2018 Giving Circle Compassion Founders Award for person(s) whose lifetime of action is the embodiment of Compassion. It is terrific to add their names to the list of recipients, which included Sister Charla Commins, Kim Klopstock, and last year’s winner, Jim Towne who’s agreed to serve as one of this year’s co-chairpersons.

Congratulations to Ed and Lisa! Everyone certainly agrees that you and your Fingerprint Marketing are truly exemplars of kindness, compassion and generosity. The Mitzens’ compassion has no boarders and no limit. And it’s always extended in a quiet way, never seeking the spotlight.

Come join us this Nov 29th to honor Ed and Lisa and to meet all 2018 winners of Compassion Awards. You’ll enjoy the company of great people, be presented with wonderful food by Kim Klopstock’s Lily and the rose, and listen to the excellent jazz of Patricia and the Jazz Colleagues…/2018-compassion-awards/

We hope you join us and all the winners on November 29th to give each winner a huge congratulations.




The 6th Announcement of TGC Compassion Award: Alikoba Elizabeth (SHHHH)

Today we announce the sixth name on our list of the 2018 Giving Circle Compassion awards: The Uganda-based Team Member Whose Actions Internationally Display the Embodiment of Compassion ( shhh Congratulations to shhhh Alikiba Elizabeth shhhhh)

BUT shhhhh this is a SECRET, DON’T tell Elizabeth. At this year’s event we will have seven Ugandan’s as special guests. Most will be here, in preparation for establishing our Koi Koi Teachers College, for a teachers conference with elite teachers.

Elizabeth is our lead midwife/ nurse who has change the lives of the people of Kagoma Gate Village, ending deaths from malaria, dysentery, and diarrhea. Villagers no longer die from wounds and infections. She’s also virtually eliminated deaths of mothers and babies during birth.

For six of the seven Ugandan’s coming, this will be their very first visit to the USA and even their first time on a plane. Elizabeth will NEVER suspect that, in addition to that, she will be honored with an award. It will be beautiful to see her face and excitement when her name is called. So, remember shhhh it’s a surprise shhhhh.

Come join us this Nov 29th when we’ll honor Alikoba Elizabeth. You’ll meet her, the other six Ugandans, and all the winners of this year’s Compassion awards.…/2018-compassion-awards/

Then Tuesday we will announce the Winner of The Founders Award for a Life Time of Acts of Compassion. We hope you’ll join us on November 29th to give each winner huge congratulations. And you’ll enjoy great food, terrific music, and the company of some of the kindest people ever.