Rakai was the first place to be affected by HIV/AIDS in 1986, this was because it boarders countries like Tanzania, Rwanda and having a river that is shared by these countries. It was easy for the disease to spread from other countries to Uganda. Many youths died on Kasensero fishing ground and it kept spreading from fisher men to other people. A family could lose all the members due to AIDS. The worst part of ti was, that due to the belief by the local people long time ago, they related the disease to witchcraft. It kept killing people and that’s when a few people started confessing that they had the disease. In Uganda the first person to confess was a famous musician called Philly Bongole Lutaya. That was the moment that people stared knowing there is a disease called AIDS. By the time the government started sensitizing the local people and finding a solution to it, it however had already killed many local people. Medication was not affordable by the poor people until that point in time that free medication was provided by the government. Now at least the sick find a way to medication that can help them live longer. Though in many places people don’t have access to medication since government hospitals are not yet spread in different areas. For the sick they are too far to go to get some tablets leaving it still to be a major problem to the poor people.
Rakai was very much affected by the disease and this made many areas deep in Rakai like Kasensero, Kanabulemu be left behind in development. Until now the area has not recovered, the people in this area have failed to get rid of the trauma. They keep drinking from morning till late. To get out of this situation they need a helping hand but there are few or no organizations active in this area. This is the reason we thought it would be best to have an organization present which could help the elderly in this area.
Many organizations have gone to the place hoping to work with the people living there. They weren’t successful leaving the elderly behind without help. It’s the more reason why Elderly Foundation Uganda was put there in that area. We had a chance to meet several old people and finding out their need. During the visit we came to the conclusion that that the whole village needs help, from the youngest children to the old people.
During our conversations we found out what needs they have and in what conditions they live. Many of them have poor housing and those that have a real building to live in don’t have solid roofs. People have severe complications due to old age and there is a lack of basic needs.
Not only the elderly people but also the youths are living in a bad state. Since the youths are the engine to the development of the village it is very important that they are involved in the revival process of the village. Good enough they were able to trust us with how they feel and admitted that they need a helping hand. The youths decided to do piggery and others cultivation and that makes it two groups.
With the children, we were able to visit schools around the area and the biggest challenge for them is to get scholastic materials, HIV/AIDS awareness and also sensitization so that they don’t face problems of early pregnancy.
Once we finally achieve all these, we shall be able to get started on our long term project: building a home for the elderly. This home will enable the old people in Uganda who are living by themselves and those in critical conditions to live in a place with proper medical supervision.
Apart from Kanabulemu being faced by all those problems related to HIV/AIDS, Kanabulemu/Rakai is blessed with good vegetation. Maramagambo forest, shared by Uganda and Tanzania, is a great natural habitat for various wild life with over 100 bird species
There is a highland that provides great scenery over the forest; this facilitates bird watching, combined with the good climate partly influenced by the thick green forest.
The forest is a natural one with over 500 years of existence, also blessed with different tree species, huge rocks are also interesting to watch as you head to a landing site called Kasensero which are also very attractive too.
The equator passes through as you head to Rakai which makes an interesting site to learn, having fun to see and take pictures numerous souvenirs on sale, and learning more about the southern and northern hemisphere and a lot more.
Rakai is has the banks of the mysterious River Kagera whose flow directly originates from Rwanda (arguably the origin of the great River Nile), and seeing how River Kagera crosses through Lake Victoria is such a great experience plus many more stories that go along with it.