Many at Southtowne knew Kathie & Frank Mayhew; they had been long time supporters and board members of Project Amigo. They visited Southtowne to tell us about their idea for a new project in Uganda. Before they left, Dick Briggs had dubbed the project Adopt-a-Village and agreed to help find funds for a matching grant.
The idea was to help a particular village in more than one way and to establish a somewhat longer relationship with the village than if you were going to deliver some individual needed item such as water filters. Dick persuaded Mary Ann Rhodes, then the president of Springfield Rotary, to take the lead in the matching grant. Mary Ann got her husband, Larry Rhodes, involved and then Larry became very involved.
The initial grant supported cleaning up a fresh water spring to make it sanitary. The water from the spring was directed to a fishpond, which provides a protein diet source. In addition, mosquito netting was provided to reduce the incidence of malaria.
This holistic idea has caught on and over twenty villages in Uganda have had this kind of project. Kathie Mayhew started the Anthill Foundation to help develop medical clinics in these same areas and bring visiting doctors for training and treatment.
Adopt-a-Village projects are more challenging than delivering needed supplies on a one-time basis. Some form of community organization needs to be set up to insure that the projects will be able to continue under community management. One of the reasons that these projects seem more difficult is because the longer-term relationship with the project makes problems more clear. Larry Rhodes spends months each year in Uganda making Adopt-a-Village projects work.