Back with a New Back

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Hello friends!

I have just returned from India where I had major but needed spine surgery. It was a bit scary going alone but I thank God for the wonderful doctors as well as the hospital. It all started early in August when I went to Kampala to get an MRI because of my severe back pains. The MRI showed drastic conditions and Dr. Moses Magezi felt that I should go to India as soon as possible. He connected me with a sending agency called HBG and they were wonderful and within 10 days I was off to India. I thank God for the amazing doctors who worked on my back as well as the modern and organized hospital.

I was so well treated by everyone although the daily care was a bit hard because of the language barrier. I learned “Shukriya”, which means thank you and “Namaste” which is a greeting. The surgery was major—5 hours—but successful with complete recovery expected. After the 8 days of recovery in the hospital I was released to a hotel where I had a great street view and sweet caregiver. The people noticed me and when I was finally able to walk a bit I went to a small shop across the street and I was greeted with “welcome, lady in the red chair.” I saw many things and made some close friends in the short time I was there. I am now home and still needing time to continue healing. I think that I will heal much faster being home in my apartment and surrounded with people I love. I am praising God for all He has done for me with this venture to India and bringing me home safely.

While I was away my staff did a fantastic job and the kids have been well cared for and the program has been handled. My hostel also was in good hands with Abwooli Florence as well as my dog and cat who both were all over me when I got back.

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I’d like you to meet Tim.  He is going to be helping me here at YES soon and I look forward to his help. Here are a few words from him:

“Hi everyone, my name is Tim Kammerer, I’m 57 years young and living in Denver, CO where I have worked for a high-tech satellite imaging company for the past 19 years. I am an elder at my church and have enjoyed teaching kids at church for 35+ years!  I have degrees in Elementary Ed, Biblical Education, Geography and an extensive science background. I LOVE kids!!

I have been longing to make a bigger impact for the Kingdom, and want the rest of my life to matter for eternity. After a brief visit this summer to Fort Portal, God has clearly and lovingly told me that I belong in Uganda ministering to kids. Meeting Carol at YES was clearly God’s hand to move me in the right direction. I will be supporting YES wherever I am needed with my combination of skills, education and experience to best support the mission of helping orphans and at-risk kids empower themselves to become all that God desires for them. Pray for clarity in how I will be most useful, for continued leading of the Holy Spirit, and for physical and financial resources that He would speed my return to YES soon!”

I again thank all of the people who support us here and I wish everyone a beautiful autumn.

Carol

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From Across the Globe…

Hello to all my friends, family and well wishers all over the world!

This past summer we had many visitors from all over the globe.  I enjoyed hosting Rob Wallace in my home for 10 days while he checked on HEAL projects and some of the HEAL students. He is from Canada and a professional photographer. Arif Alibhai from HEAL was here and I always love seeing him during his visits. I am so grateful for the whole HEAL organization and the huge support they have given us for many years now. There are many successful young people now working in various areas having been supported by them.

I also had visitors from California, Hawaii and several other places. It is great seeing so many old friends.

With all these visitors we also were very busy with our hostel with many guests. Income from the hostel really helps with the ongoing running of our Rescue home.

I had a four legged visitor who came in scared, starved and pathetic. I never planned on having a dog again but there was no way that I could turn this little dog away. I have named her Cleo after the dog I left behind when I came to Uganda 22 years ago. She is now very healthy and active. The vet thinks she is about 7 month old.

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We recently helped a child headed family of 3 boys and a girl who had been living on land that was owned by the Queen Mother of Kabarole. She is wanting to develop the area and they had no where to go as they had no extended family left. David and I went to talk it over with her and she was extremely generous and gave us enough money to help them reestablish themselves in another area. We have found good land for them and they are now building a house on it with the help of David.

We also became involved with 5 kids whose parents abandoned them. The child protection of the police worked with us and we found their parents but the father then committed suicide. Their mother is now back with them. She had run because she feared for her life when her husband drank too much. We are helping her get some beds and bedding as well as getting established with her 6 kids (she had a baby with her when she left). If anyone wants to sponsor one of these kids the family is in huge need.  Just email us or go here.

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On the 4th of July I met a young family that I want to introduce. They are Greg and Jo and their young son is Israel. Greg is an African American and Jo is Ugandan. Greg has been in Uganda since 2008 with the Calvary Chapel and he now is volunteering 2 days a week in my office. It is my prayer that they might become an active part of YES.

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Personally I have been facing quite severe back pain for some time that has increased and nothing is helping. I traveled to Kampala and had an MRI that showed drastic deterioration on several disks and the doctor felt like I needed surgery as soon as possible. I am now in New Delhi, India having my surgery!  My amazing staff are all prepared to continue making sure all the kids are doing OK and the program is running smoothly.  Please have patience with me in returning your emails as I’m not sure how long the recovery process will take.  I’ll try to post some updates on my Facebook page.

As always I thank God for so much and all of you for your continued support. I do request your prayers for this rather scary surgery in India but I know God is in control.

Carol

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Kindness & Love

Hello to all my friends, family and supporters,

We just had a break between first and second term and as always term breaks are busy times. We require all students—239— to bring in the reports for first term to us to review.  When there are challenges with certain subjects or personal issues we ask whoever is the caregiver of that student to come in and we work together to find the best solution for each student.  It a great opportunity for us to reconnect with the students and help them where needed.

Also during the school break the Manna Rescue Home kids were given a week long Bible Camp by a missionary family visiting, that included music, sports, art and crafts and many fun things. I am very grateful to Gwen Dear Hansley and her three fantastic kids who worked with the kids.

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Here in Uganda there are so many kids from extreme conditions that face great challenges, but the courage shown by these young people and also the kindness and love of complete strangers is quite heartwarming.

The young student in the blue sweater is Racheal.  She was being cared for by her sister who recently died giving birth. This kind lady is just a neighbor who has taken her in as a daughter. Her own children are grown and she lives in a nice home where she said there was enough room and more than enough love for the little girl.

This 14 year old girl, named Margaret, had a care giver with a drinking problem as well as severe health problems. She was grumbling that Margaret was old enough to be a wife and she could possibly get a cow or two for a bride price for her. Thankfully this woman stepped in that is not related to Margaret and started taking care of her, not wanting to see her married off so young.

 

I want to tell you a story about one of our students named Kabahuma Josephine, who is a young lady who I am so proud of. She has been with us since 2008 and sponsored by a lovely couple from Maui Hawaii all these years. She lived with her grandmother who had 21 orphan grandchildren she was raising. Life was never easy in such a household yet Josephine had a great attitude and smile from the very start. In all our years with her she always worked so hard to make good grades in school and was also a well behaved girl who never complained. She finished her primary school very well and her sponsors allowed her to go into a boarding school for all 6 years of secondary school. She continued striving for the best possible results and has now finished her senior 6 government exam with a grade in the top 5% of the whole country. She is now hoping to get a partial scholarship to a university and is in the city of Kampala applying for this.

There are so many challenges and yet so many rewards working here in Uganda. My area around Fort Portal is high in the Rwenzori Mountain foothills and filled with beauty. Here’s a picture of one of our beautiful crater lake areas. I would love to have any of you come for a visit, just drop me an email.☺

As always I thank all of you who continue to change lives of so many kids giving them a hope and a future.

Carol

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Schooling in Uganda

Your generosity changes lives!

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Nyangoma Juliet is a successful, 25 year old nurse who started in our program when she was only 8 years old and was living with her very sick mom, an aunt and several cousins. Life was very hard for them and shortly after we started helping, her mom died. She continued working hard at school often having nothing to eat and she slept on the floor with her other cousins. She finished P7 with high marks and we sent her to a girl’s boarding school where she could have enough to eat and a place to sleep. On holidays she left her aunt’s house to stay with her very sick dad and helped him however she could. After finishing Senior 4, she wanted to become a nurse and do her part with the huge medical needs, after seeing so much death and sickness.
She is now married to a doctor who is working at a refugee camp, aiding people who are escaping genocide from Southern Sudan. I am sure that she will make a big difference in many lives along with her doctor husband. I am grateful to her sponsor who continued to help her through all these years.

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Helping families like Juliet’s is a huge part of the work we are doing here at YES.  It gets overwhelming at times how many families struggle to put their children through school and how many we have to turn away.  I’m not sure how European schools run but I do know the school system here in Uganda is quite different from the U.S. school system. The quality of schools here in Uganda also vary from deep village schools to more modern schools closer to town. Here’s some info for you about how the system works and the costs that are involved.

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Primary school (duration: seven years)

In areas of Kabarole District, in Fort Portal-Uganda, most children never attend nursery school; they start their education at the age of five or six at the nearest Primary school. In Uganda, there are seven Primary school years (P1 – P7). Many students drop out part way through their Primary years but they return later, so it is not unusual to find teenagers sitting in Primary exams. A school year consists of three terms (starting in February and ending early December) and the fees are paid by term. At the end of P7, students sit their first major National Exams – the Primary Leaving Examinations (PLE). The results of this exam determine the next direction for their education.

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Secondary school (duration: six years)

Pupils who pass their PLE can progress to Secondary School. This has two stages; O-level and A-level.  The first four years, Senior 1 (S1) to Senior 4 (S4), constitute the O-level period. At the end of S4, students sit the second major National Exams known as the Uganda Certificate of Education (UCE) or simply O-level examinations.

Students who pass their O-level exams may progress to A-levels or the Higher School Certificate (HSC). This lasts two years, S5 and S6.  At the end of these two years students sit for the Uganda Advanced Certificate of Education (UACE) examinations, also known simply as A-levels.

If a student is weak with O level results, we then suggest they pursue a vocation that will enable them to support themselves. There are many vocational options, such as welding, carpentry, sewing, hairdressing, and mechanics.

Students who have had success in O level can go into nursing, lab assistant, teaching and other professions that require students to show proficiency in particular subjects.

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It’s a common misconception that there are free public schools here in Uganda. There is no such thing as free schooling.

Primary 1-4 approximately costs $30 a year, or $130 with lunches.

Primary 5-7 costs $60, or $160 with lunches.

Primary 7 runs $85 a year.

With Secondary Schools there are several options. The least costly are the government schools that run about $145, with private schools being about $170. Again if they are to get lunches that is an additional $100 per student per year.

If a student shows promise or has horrible home living conditions we try to send them on to boarding schools. This kind of school gives the student the best chance for success because the students get electricity to study, as well as 3 meals a day and their own bed.  These schools run about $700 a year with some additional costs for S4 and S6.

This year we have 56 students in Secondary boarding and 1 child in Primary boarding school. This gives you an idea of what schooling costs. With many adults in this community earning $2 a day or less, many children are never able to attend school.

In addition to tuition costs, students are required to have uniforms, sweaters, shoes and scholastic materials. Secondary schools also require reams of paper and even such things as bus fees, cement, paint and whatever else they may want for the school.

Not only do all of these schools require a great deal of financial support, they also require a large time commitment from YES staff. Coordinating student enrollment, school fees, required supplies, keeping track of student achievement and helping counsel students on career paths all require a great deal of dedication and many long hours. Our goal is to see young people have success in whatever job their school path leads them and it is such a joy to be able to provide these opportunities to the children in our program!

I hope that all of you living in cold climates will soon be seeing a beautiful spring and I thank all of you for your ongoing prayers and support.

Carol

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A busy time in Uganda

Hello to all of my Friends, Family and Donors as we head forward into 2017!

We’re off to a busy beginning to a new year and I am grateful and thank God that I am able to be involved in His work in this beautiful country.

We are currently busy preparing to send kids to the first school term of the year. Uganda has 3 terms a year starting in February. Students who have finished Primary 7 and Senior 4 all come to us with the results of their national exams. How they do determines their next steps in education. We have over 40 students in the two categories and each one needs advice and often the caregiver has to be included.

The costs of many things here in Uganda has unfortunately increased drastically, including lunches, shoes, supplies and school fees. It has been heartbreaking sending literally hundreds of kids away who want to go to school so badly. They gather at the gate and are told by the gate man that we can not take new students while others manage to get past and come into the office.

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The grandmother with her orphaned grand kids are just one example of the many people I have had to turn away. I have seen too many tears and some anger from these people but our first priority has to be the students already in the program. Out of 270 kids we have about 80 sponsors and the others are helped by individual donors who do not specify any child.  Money for the program is also generated from the 56 bed hostel that I run.

I am so very thankful for the West Family who arrived in mid December. Even though they are still needing to adjust and settle in they have been a huge help and encouragement to me. Daryn West is good at business management and his knowledge and involvement with our vocational school, Amaani Rwenzori, is so needed. Although the vocational school is fully funded by Welthungerhilfe, in August 2018 it becomes ours and until then we need to be ready to handle it. Daryn is enthusiastic and happy to step into that transitional role which was overwhelming to me. Brooke West is home schooling her 4 kids but is still quite involved with our kids at Manna Rescue Home. The kids there are helping them learn the local language and an older student is teaching Brooke how to make a local food called Chapati. Brooke is helping with an art project where we want to be able to connect with a school in Canada that specializes in art training.

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The health of the kids at Manna Rescue Home is quite good these days.  We have just bought new shoes for their first term of school and the older students have made most of the needed school sweaters on our knitting machines.  We still have about 10 kids that are being schooled at the home until they are ready for public school.

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Let me introduce another graduate of the program who is now making a difference in the world. He is Muchunguzi Bright and he has graduated as a clinical medical officer. He is employed in a refugee camp in the Hoima area. Uganda has one of the largest number of refugees in the world even though we are a small country. We did not meet Muchunguzi until he was in Senior 3. He had been cared for by an Anglican priest after his father died and his mother abandoned him. The priest was transferred to a distant area so our program began supporting him with funding from a Canadian organization called H.E.A.L. I know that Muchunguzi is now saving many lives and we are so proud of this courageous young man.

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Lastly, for a smile, I think most of you have heard that Church attendance and worship is very important to many Ugandans. I do not imagine many families come to church as the one in the above photo. The wife is usually also on the same bike but was home with malaria that day. This brings a whole new meaning to the saying “the family who prays together stays together”,

Anyone freezing in the snows are very welcome to come visit us here in this beautiful place and of course those also in warm areas.

Best wishes and huge gratitude to all of you,

Carol

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Thank You

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Hello to all my Friends, Family and Sponsors,
This year of 2016 has been very full with many visitors and events. It seems to have really gone by fast. On February fifth we started the construction of Amaani Rwenzori with a colorful bricklaying celebration. Now it is completed and the grand opening has been held last Friday, It was an amazing day and I am thanking God for what He continues to do for our program and the kids of the area. I will be sending more pictures of the center when it is active and students are being trained. The organizing and work of Theo of Welthungerhilfe and his staff have been huge and I feel that we have the most unique training facility in the area with the very first ceramics training in Western Uganda.

The Manna Rescue Home is doing well and the kids have been really enjoying their band instruments and they have been hired to play at many year end functions. This is a huge boost to their self esteem. They will all go to be with their extended families for Christmas and New Year. My social worker visits these families teaching them that AIDs is something that they have to live with but that they can be healthy and face a good future as long as they adhere to their medication and have proper nutrition.

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I am looking forward to 2017 with anticipation of many more visitors and many students finishing studies or training and moving forward with successful and fulfilling lives. It is always so rewarding to hear from graduates of the program and learn about what they are now doing. One of my first students from 1996 is now a surgeon with a master’s degree working at a large hospital in Kampala. He and his sweet wife Nadiia have two beautiful girls and now a baby boy has been added. I have so so many kids who I am proud of. Early in my life when I found that I would never have children the Lord showed me Isaiah 54:

“Sing, O barren one, who did not bear;
break forth into singing and cry aloud,
you who have not been in labor!
For the children of the desolate one will be more
than the children of her who is married,” says the Lord.”

That promise has been richly fulfilled.

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I am also seeing God answering my prayers for help in running this program. This year I have been helped with much office work by Jessica Dupree, and a family from the US, Daryn and Brooke West and their four children, just arrived to work alongside me and see how they can best fit and help with this active program!

Along with the new and exciting vocational training program, Amaani Rwenzori, our ongoing program of  (YES) Youth Encouragement Services is very demanding.  It is rewarding yet hard work keeping everything running smoothly. Even as I type this my friend and helper Jessica is at the Manna Rescue Home teaching the head matron how to enter her accounts on a computer instead of doing everything by hand. We also have close to 280 kids in over 65 schools around the area. They range from primary to secondary to different vocations. If anyone ever feels led to sponsor any child of any age the need is there and huge. I can not express enough gratitude towards so many of you who continue to remember these kids with prayers and financial help. Today I just received notice of a generous donation that has enabled us to buy food packages for many of our desperate families for Christmas as well as the ongoing needs of this program. I praise God for all of you!
My dream of a vocation school is coming true and my biggest wish beyond the ongoing program is a scholarship program for students who finish Secondary School well but have no possible way to go to University.
Let me wish all of you a blessed Christmas season or a happy holiday season as we head into 2017.

With much love and gratitude to all of you,

Carol

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What We Do

Hello again to all my friends and supporters,

I often have been asked such questions as, “what do you do on a daily basis?” and “How is all the money you receive spent?”

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The first question is hard to answer because there are so many different aspects and directions of our program. With close to 300 kids there will always be issues and challenges that come up. It also takes a fair amount of time just staying ahead of emails and correspondences as well as getting pictures of kids and scanning reports and letters and such. The kid’s who are not in the Rescue Home are scattered as far as 25 kilometers in any direction on roads that are often not in good condition. My country director, Tumwiine David does most of the traveling and I spend most of my time in the office overseeing the work and talking with kids with occasional meetings both at the home office as well as in the Manna Rescue Home.

The money is spent in many different ways. Of course, there are the salaries of my staff and running costs of the program but there are also ongoing medical costs of the kids at the rescue home.  Another expense is uniforms and school lunches. All schools require uniforms and closed toe black shoes and all our kids get a school lunch because otherwise they would eat only once a day in the late evening.

We are teaching kids at the Rescue Home basic skills in sewing and knitting so we invest in supplies and tools to help them learn.

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Most families in the program care for their own home needs but we do have some child headed homes or families with sick caregivers that are in desperate shape and we try to assist them.

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The Manna Rescue Home has 30 kids all born HIV+. That home is fairly costly to run as our staff are nurses and we need to be sure the kids get good nutritious food as well as daily medicine.

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And one of the largest expenses is school fees. We pay school fees three times a year and we have about 280 kids that we assist with their tuition. 62 children have individual sponsors and the other 218 are covered by all of the generous donations that come in.

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I also run a 56 bed hostel which generates income for the Rescue Home.

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Our student of the month is Basaija Steven. He is a very courageous young man who has continued to struggle through very hard times. He was born in 1993 in a village with several sisters and brothers. In 1998 his father committed suicide and his mother died 2 months later of AIDS. The kids were left with a grandmother who really tried hard to manage the kids. In 1999 she came to me for help and I started assisting the family through the program. By 2002 the grandmother could no longer manage and we searched for people to foster the kids. That was hard, especially with one of his sisters who suffered with convulsions.

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Steven continued school and finished his primary 7 with high results. From there we put him into boarding schools where he continued doing well in academics. Some visitors, Peter Rothe and Linda Carroll from Canada met him and decided to sponsor him. He finished secondary school well and continued to a good university to study law. He is now in his 5th year and continues being at the top of his class. The Canadian organization HEAL continues to sponsor him. Steven has proven that a strong attitude and faith as well as hard work can take someone from nowhere to someone with a chance at a good life here in Uganda.

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Steven and many others like him are what make this work so rewarding and worth all the struggles. Without all of you all over the world this would not have been possible. I continue to thank all of you and to thank God for these miracles in this small part of the world.

To my American friends I wish you good elections and to the rest a wonderful autumn season.

Carol

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