Monday, May 20, 2013

Two flat tires can’t stop UVP

My name is Leslie Stroud-Romero, and I’m the new Executive Director of Uganda Village Project (UVP). I’m fortunate to live in Uganda and so during my first week on the job I went to Iganga to visit our staff. Wednesday was my first day to visit projects in the field, and the sky was dark with the promise of rain up until the time to leave for family planning outreach with Maureen and Patrick. The day before, Maureen had left for family planning on a motorcycle and it poured rain shortly after, but luckily the clouds continued on their way and I stayed dry during my first outing. Another challenge arose, though, when Patrick discovered a small puncture in the car tire and had to get that fixed before we could leave. Halfway to our destination—just before we had to cross a washed-out bridge—we heard a hissing sound from the tire. Another puncture. It was a slow leak, so we made our way to the next town where we got a wheel spanner and changed the spare tire. Coincidentally, it was one of our sponsored students who helped us find the spanner and fix the tire in the rural town where we stopped. As we were there, the women in our destination village called Maureen, asking where we were. “We had more trouble with the tire,” she said, “but we’re on our way.”

We eventually pulled up to a Village Health Team member’s home where women had gathered to receive family planning services. I helped Nurse Peter with the record keeping in the house while Maureen met with the Village Health Team members under a tree outside. One by one, women came up to receive their family planning methods. I met one woman who was 43 with 12 children, including a baby she was nursing during the visit. The work UVP is doing is needed. And based by the women’s relief at our arrival, it’s wanted. I was glad to be invited to share the afternoon with our staff as they brought crucial health services to rural areas. It was fulfilling to see the work, and encouraging that even two flat tires can’t stop UVP from serving our beneficiaries.

Leslie joined Uganda Village Project in 2013. She has a Master’s Degree in Public Administration and a Certificate in Nonprofit Management from the University of Washington. Leslie is originally from the Seattle area but currently living in Uganda. Before moving to Uganda she was employed at PATH, a global health nonprofit. At PATH she worked with individual and institutional fundraising as well as supporting the donor travel program. She is a returned Peace Corps Volunteer from Malawi and Uganda, where she built the capacity of community-based organizations and implemented several economic development and health projects for orphans and people living with HIV/AIDS.

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