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Sunday, November 6, 2011


Hi All,  

As many of you already know I have decided to go to Uganda again in Jan 2012.   I will be part of a mission trip supported by Crossroads Church in Woodbury Mn and the African Christian Fellowship Mn.    Our team will be serving in Kampala Uganda for two weeks Jan 12 to the 28th.  Uganda is located in East Africa and lies on the Equator.   This country has a tragic past with turmoil and strife.   Today Uganda is a safe country but still suffers greatly from the tragedy of the AIDS epidemic.

While we are there the Dentists and Assistants will be providing free dental treatment to orphaned children, many whom are infected with the HIV/AIDS virus.   We will be at the Mildmay Health Center near Kampala, Uganda.   The Dentists and Assistants do amazing work with the kids, many of whom may not have had previous dental care.  Along with the 'professionals',  we need a strong support staff to  keep kids busy, help hold kids in the clinic, run the electrical and dental equipment etc.     I will be going as support staff helping to register the kids as they arrive (sometimes 25 or more kids in one small van),  keep the kids busy before and after clinic,  The other support workers and I will be pouring out love for the kids, sharing messages of hope through games and crafts and reading them stories.   I was as times last year overcome with emotion and overwhelmed to be with the children.   Their are often many children with a single caregiver.   I truly feel so fortunate to be able to go again and help.   This year my daughter Kim will be joining the group.    I know she will bring so much care and love to these children.

I am writing this post today to ask you to consider joining our team through your support either monetary or supplies.  

Along with Dental supplies we are able to ship a limited amount of some things ahead.         For example one of the volunteers runs a shoe drive and sent  500 pairs of shoes last year.  Almost all of the kids that came through the clinic received one pair of shoes.    The kids also received a toothbrush and most received also a toy or stuffed animal.   The kids are so grateful for the little things we are able to provide.

I am already collecting some things to bring in my extra suitcase.   Things I can use are Matchbox Cars, Beanie Babies and children's socks and underwear.  

Another way would be to consider becoming one of my sponsors for this outreach. This trip is paid entirely through sponsorship and personal funding, with an estimated total cost of $2800.00 (including airfare, travel clinic, anti malarial meds, food and supplies) per person.

If you feel led to join our efforts through a tax deductible gift, you may send me a check.  Please make your check payable to African Christian Fellowship-MN and write “Uganda Dental Mission”.  Please do not write my name anywhere on the check.  A donation in any amount (large or small) would be greatly appreciated!  Anything that I collect will go partially toward Kim's travel and partially toward the groups overall needs.  

You can mail to me at 

Colleen Gauron
11608 Sunset Trail
Plymouth, Mn 55441

If you have any questions at all please email me at colleengauron@gmail.com


One more thing I ask,   If you haven't read my blog before please check out some of my older posts,  including a post from last January titled  'Are you from America,  Do you know Mr and Mrs Kelley

Thank you so much for your consideration.  ~C~



Thursday, April 28, 2011

Two Things

Hi,  if you have landed here today,   two things.

  1. You can check out the links to the right- there is a new link to a great video Terry made out a selection from the 3700 photos he had gathered up from the 29 or so of us who went to Africa in Jan- thank you Terry!! and thanks Justin for Posting it to You Tube- the link is over on the right and also here for you: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ozPs5CcWi5o
  2. Probably even more importantly I got an email from our good friend Gladys Kobusingye in Kampala  and she is suffering from Malaria,  so send her prayers and healing thoughts if you would.  Gladys is on the left in the picture with Deb Lamb

Monday, January 31, 2011

If you feel so inspired


Hi, 

If you have been reading this blog and are feeling inspired to donate,   a good option would be to donate to Crossroads church  at www.crossroadschurch.cc/onlinegiving  ,  they are a crucial part of the support of the group.   Many in the group raise their own donations or self fund, but the church has provided great support for big things like shipping supplies and donations, like shoes for the kids, dental & equipment ahead of the trip. 


Another Option would be African Christian Fellowship, PO Box 14494  Mpls, Mn  55414  or www.acfmn.org  

Please indicate that you are donating to the Uganda Dental Mission

Thanks for considering.. ~~  C

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Mildmay Clinic Children's Choir

Yes Please and Well Done

I am jet lagged, sleep deprived, happy to be home, but so happy to have gone on this trip.  " A journey is best measured not in miles, but in the friends we make".  I think anyone from our group would say the same thing I am going to say here, that we met and made such good friends in Uganda, that we worked as hard as we ever have, but also that we were rewarded each day with such warmth and appreciation from the locals in Kampala, the staff at Uganda, the patients and everyone we met, that we would like to do more.   Passing by Mildmay staff during the day I often would receive a "Well Done".  Even some of us walking to the local gas station in our scrubs at the end of the day to pick up "refreshments",  we would get more  "Well Done"s.   It was so nice and so unexpected.   It was indeed hard to say good bye to such good friends we made in Uganda.  

So I say here,  "Yes  Please",  "Well Done",  "You're Welcome"  and "Happy New Year".   And I add some more pictures.    












~  All for Now ~~ C

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Are you from America? Do you know Mr and Mrs Kelly?

About 79 patients came through the clinic today. Some were patients from Mildmay, I am not even sure where the other children were from, but they arrive in vans with twenty five or more to a van. Maybe one or two caregivers, the rest are children. We get wide eyed wary looks from most of the kids, but some warm up to us quickly. first they go through a bit of a registration process, then they get their pictures taken for the photo we send home with them. Jess one of the teens takes most of the pictures and is good and getting a little smile. Jess also writes the name on a backpack of goodies. Then comes a very long wait to see the dentist. In the background as they wait, is crying and screaming from the clinic. So we try to keep the kids busy with puzzles and chalk, stories, face painting and more.

The kids tend to be very soft spoken and so polite. If they speak English I ask them about if they go to school, and can they read, and do they like to read etc. Then we talk about how important school is. One group of three thirteen year olds sang a beautiful song for me after we talked.

We also had a highlight today, when the Mildmay Childrens choir came and sang a lovely song outside the clinic. The lyrics were some thing like We are strong, we are brave, we are warriors and we have a life long battle to fight. They were singing about living with HIV, but with such joy!!

About mid afternoon I was sitting for a few minutes with a little girl of maybe three, she had been here all day and was so tired, I laid her down on a bench and she was immediately asleep. Her dress was so worn and and I could see it was wet on the back, so l lifted it up and underneath were just tatters for undies. It's not like you can find something for her to fix it, because after her are all the others just as needy.

Some of the kids have sponsors in the US, that help them. the title of this post comes from the little girl who asked me in her soft spoken, most sincere voice if I was from America and did I know Mr and Mrs Kelly. After talking to her for a bit I finally figured out, while she has a sponsor the way it works is she does not actually know their address.

Finally at the end of the day, the kids eventually go back in their vans with a backpack, some small goodies in the backpack, maybe a pair of shoes(we are starting to run of the right sizes) and a beanie baby stuffed animal or a small toy.



I really have not been writing much about the dentists and the amazing assistants, but that is where the real stuff is happening. They are doing a wonderful thing for these kids, and all they talk about is how to do more.








The kids are all coloring on a long scroll with doodles from someone at Crossroads church.





these two just loved getting their pictures taken.








Same little girl as above, this time happy to be sitting with Deb, an RN from Crossroads volunteering here with the team.






At the very end of the day this little guy needed some comfort, and after holding him through som extractions Amanda provides just what he needed to calm him.





This is just starting to load up a van all thumbs up and waves

All for now ~~C

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Safari



It's Sunday night and after a morning game drive tomorrow, we head back to Kampala. There were sixteen from the group on this trip to Queen Elizabeth National Park, staying at Mweya Lodge. I will post some pics here that will speak for themselves.



A little mandatory stop at the Equator.




Julie, me and our new best friend Deb.




right away we saw baboons.




The vans we traveled in.




Seeing the African savannah was amazing








Explorers on the savannah.




We also saw lions, a leopard, water buffalo, Hippos, elephants and even cute little mongoose.

All for now ~~ Colleen

Friday, January 21, 2011

Friday, and 80 children

Today was the last clinic day for the first week. I think it gets harder to write as the magnitude of the need here sinks in. The patients today were from a nearby orphanage, I believe called Cherish. In total eighty kids came through today, most from Cherish. Little ones. We were told the kids would have fairly good dental hygiene. Even so, I know there were some tough cases. The kids were so polite and good. We take a picture of each child, print, put in a little frame and give them out to each child before they leave. They light up over the smallest kindnesses. Sometimes I get a little curtsy after maybe giving a sticker, and always a "thank you". I have been doing printing after the pics are done. After that, I try to be useful, but have found a favorite activity of painting many little fingernails with polish. During lunch the little girl here in the red dress wandered back into the clinic, she had been seen earlier and was indicating something was wrong. We got an interpreter to help. She was trying to tell that she was 'paining'. It turned out that she needed some follow up care. Later on I was going to read a book to her, she took the book from me and said in perfect English "I can read it". And she proceeded to read the book to me with great expression in English !! We were reading that damn book by Dr Suess 'Are you my Mother?'. I really cannot explain the emotions I felt as she read to me the book of a child searching for her Mother.










Tomorrow at six am some of us leave for Western Uganda, and a Safari. Part of the group will be going Gorilla trekking.

All for now~~ C

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The thing I don't like about Africa

It's three am and we awoke to some very very loud music that I think I would appreciate and enjoy during the day, but it is making it impossible to sleep. I will post a few pics here of the lay of the land, to give you and idea if how loud the music is. We are located in an urban setting for sure, but high on a hill. The music is far down the hill,but clear and well loud!!!





Part of the Mildmay Clinic grounds
The kids filling five hundred backpacks with some items for the kids.


Two of the volunteers Kara and Pam are in one of the rooms we using sorting through toys, games and clothes for the kids.



~~all for now C

A little more from day two of the clinic


A few more pics from today. There are long waits as the kids wait to see a dentist. The seasoned volunteer vets here, have good experience with what the kids might like. Somebody brought a balloon pump and the teen volunteers, Kinsey, Miles, Jess and Amanda(all from MN) have become great at making things with the balloons, which brings a lot of smiles from the kids. Se


Many patients to see .... waiting here.


The balloons were a hit.

Many of the kids need one or more teeth pulled, but there was one little one today who needed twenty pulled...that was all her teeth. So as that it going on, with lots of noise and crying, it's good to keep the waiting kids busy and sort of distracted.


~~ all for now C

Clinic day two

Today over 70 patients came through the clinic, I don't know how the dentists and assistants do it!! The kids were from rural areas and came in only two or three vans, with twenty plus kids in each van. There were very few adults with the kids, and only a few of the kids have a parent If you can imagine a two year old with no adult, it was very hard for me to keep composed at times. I will add a picture of my great niece Amanda from yesterday, she has great intuition and goes exactly where she is needed each minute. her specialty seems to be as a holder, holding the kids as they scream and squirm. I don't know how to describe what its like with seven dentists working on seven kids and sometimes four or more screaming at the top of their lungs. The kids pretty much all have HIV, some with malaria and some with TB.

I am tired, but continually inspired. The weather here has been nice, I was expecting tropical heat, but it's not at all. We are staying in the equivalent of a dorm and its very comfortable. I am rooming with my niece Julie.

The little girl with in the picture with Amanda came in yesterday, she was looking specifically for Amanda and was wearing shorts that Amanda gave her last year and was very proud to show them to her.

Al for now~~c






The clinic starts




One of the volunteers, Dan a retired middle school teacher from Iowa,brings an easel and watercolors with him to Mildmay. He sets up shop in the area where the patients are ~patiently~ waiting to be seen. The kids gravitate toward him slowly out of curiosity and help him to paint scenes from Uganda. This little guy and others spent many hours helping out.

Friday, January 7, 2011

A little background....


Hi Everyone,
It's less than 4 days until I go to Uganda with a group of Dentists and Assistants. We will be going to Mildmay Clinic in Kampala, Uganda. The group that I am going with will be seeing children who need dental checkups and work. Many of the kids do have HIV. For some of the kids this may be the only time they ever see a dentist in their lives. In past years they have seen 500 to 600 kids during the trip. That's an amazing number for seven dentists and assistants. My job will be to help register kids and help before and after clinic as well.

Uganda is in East Africa- you can see Kampala on the map here.

Pretty much everyone who knows me, by now knows of this trip I am going on. In fact my I have been managing to drop into just about every conversation with almost anyone lately the fact that I am going on this trip. The people at the gas station, the grocery store, Target- you name it, if they as much as ask me if I found everything OK, I am liable to say, "why yes I did, I am picking up this and that to bring over to Africa with me".
I have been bordering on excitement and panic for weeks now. This journey for me started a number of years ago when my niece Julie went on her first trip with this group to Uganda. Julie will be going on her fourth trip with this group, and I finally get to join her. Please check back here often as I hope to post pictures and comments throughout my trip. Thanks for your support and interest!!