OUT OF AFRICA Stars for others

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OUT OF AFRICA Stars for others  Empty OUT OF AFRICA Stars for others

Post by vhelski on Fri 11 Feb 2011, 8:14 am

Stars for others
By Bayani San Diego Jr.
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 20:45:00 02/10/2011

OUT OF AFRICA Stars for others  Pic-02110200490533

Filed Under: Celebrities, Charity, Middle East Africa - Africa, Entertainment (general), Diplomacy
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IT hit her, as she put on a bullet-proof vest and helmet before going on a two-hour road trip.

In the middle of her week-long trip to Uganda, KC Concepcion, singer-actress and national ambassador against hunger for the United Nations’ World Food Program (WFP), realized that she’s not immune to emotions like fear and doubt.

“I never had to experience anything like that before,” she said.

On another occasion, she heard gunshots at night. “It was because someone tried to steal livestock.”

Still, she didn’t exactly venture into this unfamiliar terrain blindly.

“Before leaving for Africa, I had to take malaria pills and yellow fever vaccine,” she related. “I also watched DVDs on the country’s culture and security issues.”

Best and worst

After the 22-hour plane trip to Uganda, she discovered “the worst and the best” of situations in a “beautiful land.”

Casually, she related how she lived with a family who told her they’d be eating fruits picked by a sister who was shot while gathering them.

In Karamoja, she prepared a meal with a nearly-blind grandmother. “She thought I was one of her grandchildren because her eyesight was so poor. She kept telling me to cook the fruit peelings.”

In another mission, she met women and children who are suffering from HIV and malnutrition. “Even though they were hungry, their bodies were rejecting the food; their skin was sagging, hanging limply from their bones.”

Knowing that such experiences could be traumatic for the unprepared, her WFP colleagues gave KC “debriefing” sessions after each mission.

“I thought we were just having small talk,” she said. “The talks helped a lot.”

It was also uplifting that her family and friends were genuinely interested in her journey to the heart of Africa, she said.

“They were not asking just for the sake of asking; they really wanted to get involved,” she said. “It reminded me that I’m not alone. That there are other sincere people who want to help.”
No ‘pasalubong’

No, she didn’t bring home a pasalubong from Uganda for special friend Piolo Pascual, but he’s supportive of her endeavors.

Throughout the trip, she kept a journal and took lots of photos.

“I plan to share my essays and pictures someday. Friends are requesting for the photos I took kasi,” she said. “There was a story in the way the trip unfolded.”

She saw the dire conditions, but also how communities are working together to improve their lot.

“In Karimojong, a tribe was taught how to make fuel-efficient clay stoves, which helped make their firewood last not just a day but a week and a half,” she said.

She is awed by the people she met in Uganda’s Karamoja and Kapchorwa regions.

Curiously, she met Filipinos in Uganda as well.

“On my first night, we had dinner in a Japanese restaurant owned by a Filipino couple,” she said.


Posts : 245
Join date : 2011-01-22
Age : 40

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