Willie Salmond’s Africa Mission

Willie Salmond is a minister, ordained by the Church of Scotland in his home country. He’s owned a house in Westport for 30 years.

But he’s spent most of his life in Africa.

There were 10 years in Ghana. Seventeen in Uganda. Three more in Zimbabwe.

Willie Salmond

Salmond worked in international development with farmers. Then he trained Peace Corps volunteers.

His life changed when he was sent to San Francisco, to learn about AIDS. He went back to a camp in Kampala, to run Uganda’s first testing and counseling through a USAID-funded program.

Salmond is retired now. He’s back in Westport, where — during his stints here — he helped coach his 2 daughters’ soccer teams. Now he’s a member of the Y’s Men.

But for 10 days last month, he made a very meaningful return to Uganda.

He met a man and woman who at age 14 had lived in his first AIDS camp. Today they lead their own program.

Recently, Salmond spoke at the Saugatuck Congregational Church. Some parishioners were surprised to learn how grateful Ugandans are for the United States’ $18 million support for antiretroviral drugs.

Learning together at an AIDS program in Uganda.

The program was begun by President George W. Bush. It was reauthorized by President Obama. It continues under President Trump.

Salmond hopes it will keep going — though no one is sure. Stopping it, he says, would be “catastrophic. Many lives have been saved. Young people are assured a healthy future.”

There is a lot in the news these days about taxes, Salmond says. He believes firmly that this program is money well spent.

Very few Americans hear about programs like this. He would like at least his fellow Westporters to know about it.

4 responses to “Willie Salmond’s Africa Mission

  1. Robert Mitchell

    Thank God for people like Willie, especially in today’s climate.

  2. Willie is a treasured person at Saugatuck Church. He preaches on occasion. We are most fortunate for his presence and his message.

  3. Mr Salmond’s work is to be commended. Having spent seven months in Uganda last year as a solo traveller, and having lived and worked in Westport, I feel compelled to share an idea I hope to make real one day. Bear with me.

    Kids eat up books if they have access to them and the support of the family and community to adopt a regular reading habit. But they rarerly get the chance to even access basic picture books. At the same time, many books get discarded in the trash or, at best, are sold off for pennies at second-hand book sales in developed countries.

    I hope to change that.

    The following is a brief summary of what I am trying to do:

    GAANTARA’s initial goal is to get boxes of pre-read books on the back of trucks that go to rural communities in Uganda. Most beer, tobacco, and soft drinks companies manage to get their product all over Africa with their established logistics and distribution systems.

    Why not throw a box of pre-read books on the back of these trucks for the kids? It would not add much cost to anybody.

    If anybody is interested in getting involved, which simply requires establishing a collection box for pre-read books – no matter their condition, please let me know.


    Gordon Graham
    PS. I am not a charity or get paid by any AID agency, this is just an idea I hope to make real for the many appreciative kids and parents I met over there in Uganda.

    Thanks a lot for your patience in reading this somewhat long comment!

  4. Gordon Graham

    I’ll be back in Uganda soon, Willie. Hope to meet your previously engaged youth.