Uganda’s society is quite religious. No one would call themselves an atheist. Most are either Christians, Muslims, or follow Tribal Religions. There are prominent Pastors, “prophets” and “healers” all over the place. When they say something, people take their word for it. For better or for worse.
While this leads to much trouble and superstition, there are also good churches in the country. I was lucky to visit one of them. The service made me cry because it was so inspiring. And the music was top notch. People in Uganda may have many issues, but they sure know how to sing and dance!
A Crooked Box:
Our women had their plates stolen from the sewing workshop a few weeks ago. So, we made them a storage box to keep their things safe. It was made with the tools and materials that were available. Not a single bit of it has a straight line. But the box is heavy and sturdy. It can double as a bench and will do its job well. Given the conditions, I am proud of our work!
Part of our project is located at a farm outside of Kampala. Here, the husband of the head coordinator just got 12 new goats to start his goat business. The goat house and animals look great. And they already have their first baby goats. Part of the income will support his family, part will support the ministry.
Kampala is full of people. And it lacks proper roads. And people drive like they are in bumper cars at the fair. So, traffic is a mess. Many roads have potholes. The side streets are bumpy dirt paths. And there are open sewage ditches on either side. Motorcycles everywhere. People carrying stuff on their heads and vehicles. Taxis driving on the wrong side of the road. Crazy! But we had people to help us navigate the chaos. And we could take the traffic with some humor: We’d play music, tell stories, or just watch the roads while we waited.
Right by the farm, we built a new well. So now, about 300 people have clean water like they didn’t before. To celebrate, we had a dedication party, complete with a concrete dedication stone. Unfortunately, it rained very hard while we were making it, so we had some challenges with the design. But it ended up fine: Simple, but good. Definitely an original!
Schools and Pads:
Our focus is on teenage mothers. But we also want to impact more people. One way we do this is school outreaches: Our women make soap and washable sanitary pads, and we give them to girls in remote schools: Girls drop out of school because they can’t afford pads. They end up missing too much school or getting bullied for a soiled dress. So, reusable pads give them 3-4 years of protection, and possibly the chance for a better education and life. I and my dad got to go to three schools. The girls were very happy. And to make it fair for the boys, we didn’t only hand out pads but also pencils and sports equipment. Unfortunately, we didn’t have enough pads for all the girls. But we recorded their names and will send them more. The needs are overwhelming, but the hope is real.
Our goal is for our women to earn their own living. However, even with middle-class incomes, the women will most likely not be able to pay the school fees for their children. So, we set up a small sponsorship program for the kids. We took good pictures of the kids and wrote down some basic info about them. And so far, we have 12 sponsors. The more you get to know these families, the more you realize: the opportunity to go to school means the world to them. In time, we hope to find permanent sponsors for all of the kids. But until then, we are grateful for the support we have.
These are only some glimpses. I got on the plane towards Uganda, knowing that it would be a special time. When I got back on the plane towards Germany, this confirmed itself: It was amazing. It was humbling. It was inspiring. Stressful, hopeful, sad, joyful, rewarding. All at once. That’s Uganda. A country full of trouble, but also full of hope. My next post will feature the story of one of the women in our program. I moved it to an extra post because it deserves a highlight of its own.