Mpumudde district in Uganda is situated 87 km NE of the capital city of Kampala and 4.8 km NW of Jinja on Lake Victoria.
What I have observed here are “babies taking care of babies”. HIV/AIDS has devastated the adult parent population, and with the senior male population (over 45 years old) being at just 7%, the critical role of raising children is left to widows and grandmothers. Often struggling with their own debilitating physical ailments, these women are raising orphaned children, up to 15 per mud hut. Adding to the seriousness of this, 65% of pregnant women are HIV positive, producing another generation with the same. Many people are infected with fungal diseases, ringworm and jiggers to name a few. Easy access to good medical care is unheard of in this rural area. To see a doctor, the locals must walk for miles and because there is one doctor and four nurses per 100,000 people, the visits can be as long as 6-8 hours.
The poverty level is high in Mpumudde with the majority living in mud huts with little or no income. Most people have a garden for survival. The temperatures average at 30Celsius so the crops do well. Sweet potatoes, maize, beans, green peppers and eggplant are the most common and the fruit trees are mostly jackfruit, avocado and banana. Transportation is either by foot, bicycle or by boda (rented motorcycle taxi service).
With socio-economic conditions so dire, it is not surprising that violence is prevalent. Uprisings do occur occasionally, as this is the only way the people can voice their desperation. Sadly, as is often the case, the most vulnerable (the children) are the ones who suffer.