As we continue to live in Uganda, we are trying to maintain the example that we must demonstrate among the local people. As we do so, we are learning how important it is to demonstrate the image of our God to our neighbors. Let us take this opportunity to catch you up on what has been taking place there in the last few weeks.
Francis & Annette Lubega's Kitchen
Francis's kitchen is almost complete! We only need to finish the stove and the cloor. The stove design is finished and we are excited. Annette is very excited about the stove being at waist level so she will be able to stand while cooking. Francis and Annette noted how they haven't seen anything like this before, so they know people will wonder how she can cook standing up. Most families cook from a fire that is on the ground. Spending hours bent over a fire every day leads to an array of physical health issues. So we simply brought the ground up to her waist and made a concrete slab so that she doesn't have to constantly bend over in order to prepare food. On average, Annette spends about four to seven hours a day preparing food. If we can make it a more comfortable and healthy environment for her back, then Annette's overall health will be better for it.
Medical Needs Surround Us...
Medical needs abound here. One morning, we had three different people come to our home asking to be checked. Sometimes our mornings come with surprise visits of people with different needs. Celesta and Anne, one of our cooperatives from Kenya, have been helping many people with malaria around our area. One of our neighbors had falciprum malaria but when she went to the clinic, the doctor misdiagnosed her, failing to give her the proper treatment. Soon after this, we noticed that her health was further declining. After identifying her symptoms, we gave her a malaria test and she tested positive. We were then able to provide the medicine and educate her on the medicine and what is happening to her body. Gratefully, she is now recovering.
God's word teaches us that education of his people is paramount to their development. Because of this, we make sure that every person we provide with medical care is also receiving additional time to understand the illness and the medicine they are taking. If children come to us, then we go to the parents to inform the parents of why their child has become sick and how to prevent this from happening in the future. Medical needs have by far been one of the greatest needs presented to us on a daily basis. While we are few in number here, we are trying our best to make efforts to prevent further unneccessary illnesses.
Agriculture: A Step Towards Greater Health
Poor nutrition is systemic in Uganda. As an answer to the chronic weakness and frequent illness that so many children suffer, we have helped to start a garden at a local primary school. The kids only receive porridge for lunch, which provides very few nutrients for their growing bodies. Since education and empowerment is part of our mission, we began a project that will not only provide vegetables for the children, but also educate the teachers and student body of a farming method that will yield more nutrients.
The double digging method, if done correctly, can produce four times more than traditional rows, a more common method of gardening. Our first class had 30 kids and they have been split up into 6 teams. Each team will get their own double dug bed. The competition will help the kids maintain interest in the learning process. It also provides some fun and positive activities for the kids. Other children are already asking to be part of this project as they see each team put up their team signs and start digging together. We pray that this project will continue. Because of the possible long-term effects, we are willing to give this project our full attention to make sure these gardens succeed. Our hope for this project is not only the immediate improvement of nutritional meals, but also that these kids will inform their parents of this efficient farming technique. If the kids show enthusiasm and success then perhaps their parents will as well. Beyond this, we are very willing to work alongside the local farmers who need better use of their fields to produce a higher yield of food for their families.
Responding to Immediate Needs
We recently helped a mom and her two daughters find proper medical care at the nearest hospital. Because of their situation, they were in need of both medical care and legal advocacy. However, because they lacked the money to pay for services, they were unable to find assistance. When the mother came to us and explained her story, we knew she needed someone she could trust. In response, we helped this family find a local non-government organization called 'Hope After Rape,' where they found assistance and proper care for their situation. We've kept up consistent contact with the mother and her daughters to check on their mental and physical health. Sadly, we've been the only people who have tried to help them during this difficult time.
Enhancing the Community Through Sports
After weeks of preparation, our local Kids' Futbol League has begun! It was a bit challenging as one of the schools didn't attend and another school only brought half of their teams. However, we still played and the games went great despite not having full participation. The game commissioners of each school are very excited about the league and were greatly appreciative for this opporunity for their kids. At each game we have focused on loving each other and having a good time. It was a great experience watching the kids celebrate with one another after each goal. They try their best to look just like the English Premier Leauge players and that only adds to the fun! Otherwise, with an eight week season at hand, we are excited to participate with the local children in this way.
By Derek Bargatze