Saturday, December 10, 2011

A Love Letter to Pearl

Dearest Pearl,

I miss you so much.  It has been 5 months since I last saw the sun shine on your face and cast shadows on your hills and valleys.  The image of your beauty, however, is etched on my mind’s eye like it was yesterday.  I can’t wait to visit you again and enjoy your natural beauty.  I know that you live half the world away, but no distance can keep me from coming to see you again.  I plan to stay several months and taste your sweet fruit!
  Pearl, don’t worry, I love your many children too.  They have the sweetest smiles and a wonderful contentment.  They have welcomed me with open arms and taught me many things about you.  As my knowledge of you has deepened, it has made me love you even more!

Anonymous Gregston Male

Uganda, nicknamed the “Pearl of Africa,” is a country of 30 million people.  50% of these people are children under the age of 15.  30% of these 15 million children can afford school.   1 in 3 Ugandans have access to clean safe water.    In Uganda there are over 2 million orphans.  This small country has the highest percentage of AIDS orphans in the world.  20% of children will die before their 5th birthday.    It is the place of Africa’s longest running war during which more than 20,000 children between the ages of 4 & 15 have been abducted and forced to serve as child soldiers.  It is located directly on the equator.  It has an elevation of 3600 feet, so it does not get as hot as many places in Africa.  It is located almost entirely on the Nile Basin, which makes the soil very fertile.  We believe it produces the best pineapples in the world!  Uganda is an especially poor country.  51% of the population, in Uganda, lives on less than $1 per day.  If you are in the other 49% you are above the poverty level.    The average life expectancy is 53 years.  In Uganda, 79% of the population uses a kerosene lantern for lighting.  41% in urban areas use electricity.  10% of the population uses the bush as a toilet facility.  86% of Uganda uses pit latrines, and 1% use flushing toilets.  There are an estimated 8 physicians for every 100,000 people.

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