Hearing loss has always struck me as an incredibly difficult disability. I know it will happen to many of us as we age, but it makes in-person interactions complicated. You miss cues, and people think you're rude (when nothing can be further from the truth!)
All this is fine if you're in the US with the easy availability of hearing aids (even if they're not perfect), but what if you live in Uganda? Quality medical care is rare enough there for anything, let alone something non-fatal like being hard of hearing.
Anyway, all this is to introduce a fascinating series of posts over at USAToday.com from my friend Alison Brower, who spent time earlier this year traveling to Uganda with the Starkey Hearing Foundation. Starkey makes hearing aids, and runs trips to Uganda to fit children with the devices. SHF and Brower were joined by several players from the NFL who provided the entertainment for the kids (and a few pick-up football games). You can read this introductory post, Heading to Gulu, and then some follow-up ones, including Helping By The Light Of a Cell Phone in Gulu and NFL Players Give — And Get Much In Return.
As I've written in earlier posts, you can certainly travel when you have kids, either with them or without them. I've been very fortunate in having been able to visit such varied countries as Peru, India, Nicaragua and Morocco over the past four years. But one thing I'm definitely looking forward to when my kids are teenagers is hopefully taking these kinds of volunteer trips with them. Probably I will need to learn some useful skills (such as how to fit a hearing aid) first, though!