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.
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.
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.
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.
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,