Upper Canada Village’s annual Fall Fair was held Saturday, September 17 and Sunday, September 18. It included traditional agricultural exhibits from fresh produce and livestock to homemade preserves and crafts. Five local guilds were represented in the annual Guild Quilt Show. The weekend-long event also featured the Upper Canada District (Ontario) Canadian Horse Breeders Futurity and Show, the Upper Canada Beard Competition, musical entertainment from the village’s brass band, games and races, and Steve Baker, a magician, medicine man and illusionist.
Wait times at the Winchester District Memorial Hospital’s emergency department have dropped by about an hour over last year.
Cholly Borland, CEO of WDMH spoke about the improvement April 25th.
Wait times refer to the time a person enters registration to the time they are seen, treated and leave.
“Last year, our average was about 4.5 hours,” said Borland. “We have dropped that by an hour, and are now under the provincial target for lesser complicated procedures.”
In other hospital news, Borland reported that the hospital has a full compliment of physicians, but they are planning to add one or two general internal medicine specialists to the staff.
Accreditation and strategic planning processes are ongoing.
“Chris was a volunteer right from his earliest years,” said his mother, Karen Marshall. “After he came back from his 2005-6 tour in Afghanistan with the Canadian Armed Forces, and joined the Edmonton Police Department, he remained determined to find ways to help others, to make the world a better place.”
Chris and his partner Shayna Campbell, a pharmacist, agreed to take a year away from their respective jobs in Canada and pay their way to Africa: ultimately, they decided to volunteer at St. Francis Health Care Services, established in 1998, in a congested Ugandan slum area near Mbiko.
Shayna and Chris have seen children playing happily with a soccer ball made out of plastic bags. They have become friends with kids like Hakim, a proud member of the Shadow Idols Club, run by St. Francis, one way for boys to avoid roving, violent youth gangs. They have fallen “in love with the omoanas, Lugandan for children, who are everywhere since Uganda’s population pyramid looks like an upside down T.” They have jogged with boys who have no shoes, but dream of “running for Uganda in the Olympics.”
On Christmas Day they joined the St. Francis staff for African food and dancing: Chris reported his lack of rhythm and Shayna won Ms Saint Francis!
“There are a million reasons to stay in Uganda,” Shayna Campbell said. “The people are polite, welcoming, warm-hearted and sincere. ”
A deep desire to help their adopted African community over the long term has led Chris and Shayna to try and turn the ‘empty shell’ of a maternity ward at St. Francis Health Care Services into a finished hospital able to save mothers and children.
St. Francis Health Care Services is (Chris and Shayna emphasize this) a grass roots organization, built and run “by Ugandans for Ugandans,” with little government funding, in the heart of Njeru.
It also lies at the heart of the highest HIV prevalence rates in all of Uganda.
Right now, under the leadership of Faustine Ngarambe, the centre serves 20,000 Ugandans, some treated with HIV medications, some orphaned by the AIDs pandemic, some hoping for education, some simply needing care in their last days.
“At St. Francis, they have realized that fighting HIV means more than medically treating the disease. The staff has initiated income generating groups, youth groups and other projects to reach out to the community.”
Keeping St. Francis a vital force in this poor community is a daunting task for its Ugandan founders. The needed maternity hospital was only partially completed before money ran out in 2010. Yet this hospital is the one project the director and his dedicated St. Francis staff most want to see completed: it will take at least $33,500 to do it.
Finishing the St. Francis maternity hospital has become Chris and Shayna’s goal.
“Women’s health, especially their reproductive health, is a major concern,” Shayna Campbell explained. “(Chris and I) are passionate about the subject since it is not just maternal health we are talking about. It is the livelihood of a people.”
To their great delight the young couple has recently received the news that, following their direct, personal appeal, the Stephen Lewis Foundation has agreed to be the physical sponsor of their efforts to finish the St. Francis maternity hospital. The Stephen Lewis Foundation is world renowned for its dedicated work in Africa, especially in the fight against AIDS.
With the Foundation’s support, every dollar raised in Canada will go directly to the maternity ward project. The Lewis Foundation will also issue charitable receipts in Canada.
Karen Marshall (543-4360), who is equally passionate about seeing the Ugandan hospital become a reality, is holding a special fund raiser/silent auction luncheon on Saturday, February 18, at noon, at St. James Anglican Church Hall in Morrisburg. Using a power point program and notes created by Chris and Shayna, she will talk about the project and discuss how people can help.
Shayna and Chris report that as of February 13, 2012, they have reached 47 percent of their $33,500 goal.
They invite people to log on to http://stephenlewisfoundation.akaraisin.com/fundraisingpages/maternityward to pledge and to see how the campaign is going.
“Uganda’s hopes and dreams are similar to the hopes and dreams of Canadians,” Shayna and Chris said. “It is important to invest in the mothers’ health to improve the lives of their children.”
Two minutes after she stepped on to the St. Lawrence Stage on Saturday, February 25, Lynn Miles made it crystal clear why she is the winner of numerous music awards, including a Juno, and one of Canada’s best regarded singer/song writers. The Morrisburg audience loved her voice, loved her music, loved her show.
Backed by the inimitable Keith Glass, singer and guitarist from the renowned group Prairie Oyster, the Lynn Miles concert ended much too soon. We could have listened to her rich voice all night.
Miles’ voice, described by Jeanne Ward of the St. Lawrence Stage, in her introduction, as “utterly beautiful,” can surprize as well as delight. Miles has an incredible vocal range. Sometimes she sings softly with a deep sense of melancholy, sometimes her vocals are upbeat and jazzy: and sometimes she simply belts out good old rock and roll.
She and Glass shared the stage with the ease of professionals who have worked together long enough to be completely comfortable with each other. The banter between them, at times, seemed as much a part of the concert performance as the music.
“It’s really lovely to be back here at the St. Lawrence Stage again.” Miles told the crowd (she performed here in 2009) with a grin, “but I have to tell you that we had to drive all the way up from Collingwood in that snow storm yesterday. When we left, I had black hair.”
“When we left, I had hair,” Glass shot back as the audience roared its approval.
Miles performed a wide range of music at Saturday’s concert. She definitely cannot be fitted into any one “category” or genre. The strong country sound of Three Chords and the Truth was followed by the soft, almost romantic approach of Everybody’s Given Up On Me.
In an earlier interview with The Leader, Miles said that she primarily sees herself as a song writer, one for whom words, and the feelings and images they create, mean a lot.
She said that while she often writes about difficult or challenging themes, she sees her role as an artist to take such issues and “turn them into a kind of beauty, and to touch people in the process.”
In Love is Red, she sang “I wish I could take it back/fix this broken side walk crack…You loved me, I loved you/We said things that were not true..”
Miles poignant reflection on domestic abuse touched the audience as she sang “Love doesn’t leave its mark on you/Love doesn’t leave you black and blue/Love doesn’t push you down in the dirt/Love isn’t mean and love doesn’t hurt.”
Earlier in the day, Miles gave a song-writing workshop for nearly 20 aspiring students.
“The workshop was fantastic,” said Francine Leclair, who came down for the workshop and concert from Ottawa. “It was great to hear her philosophy. I remember most that Lynn said ‘you have to live your life as an artist.’
She shares so much of herself with you when she works with you.”
Sandra Whitworth, on the board of the St. Lawrence Stage, also attended the workshop, and said she gained “such insight. You learn how an artist composes, how she handles challenges. Lynn’s advice really helps.”
“I’ve written about 680 songs,” Miles laughed. “Three are happy.” Then she proved her point with an unexpectedly sweet little piece “Never the grey sky/Never the gloom…Open the windows/ Put your joy on display/ It’s time for the sun to have its day…”
Throughout the entire concert, Miles was beautifully accompanied by Keith Glass both on vocals and on guitar.
Her musical insights, her sense of humour, her powerful voice made Lynn Miles’ performance at the St. Lawrence Stage an evening of pure joy for a very appreciative audience.