Francis Lubega and Cameron Kagay wake early to make the most use out of the equatorial sun in Uganda. Lubega rides his bike to meet Cameron at the hardware store before they go to their project site: a seven-acre plot a few hours north of Kampala, where they are finishing a triplex project that will serve as transitional housing for development workers from G.O.D. International. The East Africa team at G.O.D. International came together to send Cameron to assist in the finishing of the structure where the Nyago, Kurtz, Ownby, and Aaseby families will reside over the next six months. Francis Lubega is an East African cooperative of G.O.D. International and a skilled mason. He, along with a work crew, and several participants from the East Africa team, have constructed a three-unit housing complex out of Compressed Earth Block—an innovative building method that utilizes Ugandan soil, but cures the bricks without smoking (saving the air quality and the number of trees in the area). The triplex will include several alternatives to the typical Ugandan building (that has numerous detrimental health effects). We will implement indoor plumbing, solar electricity, eco-toilets, concrete countertops and sinks, screened windows, landscaping, solar heated showers, and a water catchment tank before it is finished. We hope to serve as a model that gives onlookers viable alternatives that can be duplicated by their local resources.
Though the building itself is impressive, what we are more proud of are the inhabitants of this new building: our international representatives. We believe that more important than any resource (or building) we offer to people in the third world is the resource we have to give in and of ourselves. This initial team that we are sending out is nothing short of remarkable in regards to their skill set as well as the character they possess to give of themselves for the benefit of others. Collectively, the team has goals to make relationships with their neighbors, with the local primary school, and with medical clinics, as well as to progress our relationships with our core families and a growing youth group. Our cooperative base in East Africa is strong, so gaining unity in the vision of our organization is of utmost concern. This will be achieved through bible studies, worship, meetings, gatherings, educational seminars, and projects carried out together as one team--American, Ugandan, and Kenyan (as our Kenyan brothers will be joining us this July for a few weeks).
Josh and Alyssa Kurtz, along with their three children, returned to Uganda for a six-month stay. Josh’s activity will center around the development of our triplex and surrounding land. Some goals include perfecting the plumbing and water catchment of our facility, as Josh is our water specialist. Alyssa will help coordinate service project opportunities for the Summer Internship team that will make a three-week stop in Uganda in July. She will also coordinate and facilitate womens bible study with our cooperative wives as well as regular visits to encourage the women at a local prison.
Jen and John Nyago, with their two children, are returning to the area where John grew up. Though John has been living in the States for the last five years, no one has forgotten him, and many individuals are anticipating his arrival. He will help guide our cooperatives in their distance learning class on the book of Genesis, offered by the Institute for G.O.D International. He will also facilitate the youth group with weekly bible studies focused on relevant topics, and do ethics talks at local high schools. John will meet regularly with a group of pastors (of which his father is one), teaching them the bible. Jen, as a counselor, will be concerned with the relational development and dynamic of our team. She will be participating in the women’s bible studies, spearheading the prison outreaches, and helping with the Summer Interns.
Stephen and Kim Ownby, and their children Shae and Stevie, will be joining the Kurtz and Nyago families for 10 weeks (in May through the end of July). Kim will utilize her massage therapy skills to help some of our friends who have painful and debilitating injuries. Her incredible hospitality will be a great fit for relationship building. Stephen wants to assist the local schools by enhancing their sports programs, as well as motivating the youth group and Summer Interns through his passionate worship and preaching.
Geoff and Kendice Hartnell will also spend seven weeks in Uganda, Kendice returning for her second trip, and Geoff being on his first. Since it is Geoff’s first time, the Hartnells will be staying in host homes and experiencing the Ugandan hospitality we have all appreciated over the years. He will help guide the Summer Internship team. Also, he will begin to plant crops on our land—including food, herbs, and landscaping that will ward off mosquitoes! Kendice plans to volunteer with one of the local midwives. Her healthcare knowledge will be of great benefit to the team.
Rylan and Grace Aaseby, and their three daughters (Ezrah, Zuri, and Judah) will switch off with the Ownbys and stay in Uganda until November. Rylan will focus on education. He is planning on teaching at a secondary school. He will also offer his skills to the development of our land and the cooperatives’ biblical education. Grace will offer children’s education to all of the children on our team, as well as visit the local schools. She also wants to expand her knowledge in herbal remedies by surveying both the clinics, pharmacies, and surveying mothers in regards to the health needs in their homes.
Please stay tuned to our updates from now until November. Because of our cooperative base in East Africa, there are development projects happening all the time. We encourage you to pray for our team as we further our objective of transplanting a community of families from our base in Tennessee to this base in East Africa.