Saturday, February 5, 2011

Books, Band-Aids, Colored Pencils, Rain Boots

Gonna make this one short because I am trying to speak less.  LOL!  :)
  • Uganda trip is booked for March 9 -23.
  • BOREHOLE in progress.  Yes, fresh water for the village is in the works.  To be finished with in the next few days.  Unbelievable!  Rain in the village.  I am taking my rain boots!
  • "Books for Bugabo" drive begins Tuesday at Harbor Christian Academy.  Collections due February 18th.  I already have 30 books for the library.  I hope to have 150 and the money to transport them at the end of the book drive.
  • Seeking health-care professionals for basic health supplies.  Letters delivered waiting for hearts to be moved.  If you have health supplies like you would use at home, and you would like to donate, email me!  Bless you!
  • Walmart lovingly donated some school supplies, but I am also still collecting them.
  • The Thrift Store has been selling me great clothes for 25 cents an item for the kids, teachers, and community leadership.  Isn't it funny how those that have the least to give always give it without hesitation?
  • I am traveling with 4 bins so far: #1 personal stuff, #2 books, #3 school supplies, and #4 medical supplies.  We need another for sponsored children's items.  Don't we?
  • Sole Hope will be on the ground in Bugabo at the beginning of March!  Gonna be dancing in some new some in the village!  Go away Jiggers!
  • Ryan is still working on folktale interviews.  Looks like I am going to be doing a few when I am there, too.
  • Teachers and Tours Sojourners is doing great organizing my teaching at Makerere University.
  • SIFAT Two Week Workshop Scheduled for May!  So blessed to be learning from such an experienced organization.
  • Jewelry still held up in tariff tango.  Hoping the USPO gets its act together soon.  You will love what we have coming to raise funds for health education.
  • Soap for Hope is not Dead.  It is just resting for a while.  Story to be continued when Two Birds Soap is born and can fly!
Want to be a part of this trip?  There is so much need.  Mail me, and we can talk about what you might do to help.

PayPal donations to
Be blessed.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Let Your Light Shine!!!! Uganda Trip March 9-23

Hand-In-Hand will make its first trip to Uganda beginning March 9th.  I am very excited about the possibility of working with Teach and Tour Sojourners as a lecture at Makerere University.  But more importantly, I am looking forward to spending time in Bugabo getting to know the village.  Hopefully, I will be interviewing the teachers there and brainstorming ideas to make teaching and learning easier and more successful.  Six new teachers, 220 students.  I am just amazed at what has happened in Bugabo.

Mostly, I will just be listening, looking, and learning.  I will be taking tons of video and pictures.  I will be trying to learn as much as I can to help me be of better service in the future.

Although my trip was never funded by external sources, I thank everyone who donated.  I am making up the difference and my flight has been booked!  I could wait no longer.  I will be collection items to take with me for the village.  Christie Cotney will be narrowing down the things that they need personally, and we will be discussing the items needed for the school.

I will have two unused foot-lockers; however, those will fill quickly.  If you would like to make a donation toward shipping an additional foot-locker on the flight, the cost is $200 per container.  Cheaper than International Shipping, really, it is true.  And you know it is going to get there in 2 days, not 2 months!  Any amount would be so appreciated.

P.S.  If you want to send something with me to your sponsored child or to Christie, George, or the Village, email me!

Cool shirts are coming in from many people that support God's Light shining in Uganda.  Here is one of them from C.L.A.P Clothing:

Donated by C.L.A.P. Clothing


Thursday, January 20, 2011

Folk Tales Project Funded

Yipee!  The folk tales project is funded.  Because I have not raised the money for my travels, I have a kind friend who is doing his dissertation in Kampala.  He wanted to experience some of the local culture, "get back in the field," so to speak; so, he has committed to interviewing five tribal elders for me.  He will audio tape the interviews, paying each elder $25.  Remember, many Ugandans live off of $1 a day!  He also has a translator that is going to translate into English.  Our hope is to put the these tales together as a book as sale them to raise money for Humanitarian Projects in the Luweero District of Uganda.

I am so excited about the possibility of preserving Ugandan Culture AND making the money that I need for my first trip.  Thank you to all who have donated!

We still have the Soap Making Training Project and money for my travels, where I will be doing teacher training in Bugabo.  So, please donate.  Peace and Love!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Soap for Hope, PLEASE GIVE

Used Soap Bars from Hotels Are
Often Collected and Distributed to Villages
"In 2004, the World Health Organization found roughly 15 percent of deaths among Ugandan children under age 5 resulted from diarrheal diseases, many of which could be prevented through hand sanitation." -- CDC, MSNBC

Women in Bugabo often suffer the worst, especially if they are left without a means of support for their families: fathers die or leave or are injured for long periods, as in the case with the young man that was hung by his arm in Bugabo.

Soap for Hope is hoping to prevent death and provide economic growth in Uganda,  This is a training project involving an all-natural-from-ash-rainwater-and-animal-fat/oils process that HIH will be taking to Uganda.  We will train 10 women in this process.  Ten families, approximately 50 children will benefit.  This is one way that women like these can provide needed economic support for their families.

Donate to this project, please.  Instead of relying on you to educate, clothe, and feed their children.  These women will be able to be self-sustaining.  One small step, one giant leap for woman-kind...especially in Bugabo.  Click the PayPal link on the Blog.

Following video is a bit long, from the U.S. Department of Centers for Disease Control.  Hygiene is so important in child survival:

REMEMBER "LIVE AID"? Well, think again...

"In Dead Aid, Dambisa Moyo describes the state of postwar development policy in Africa today and unflinchingly confronts one of the greatest myths of our time: that billions of dollars in aid sent from wealthy countries to developing African nations has helped to reduce poverty and increase growth. In fact, poverty levels continue to escalate and growth rates have steadily declined—and millions continue to suffer. Provocatively drawing a sharp contrast between African countries that have rejected the aid route and prospered and others that have become aid-dependent and seen poverty increase, Moyo illuminates the way in which over-reliance on aid has trapped developing nations in a vicious circle of aid dependency, corruption, market distortion, and further poverty, leaving them with nothing but the “need” for more aid."  -- Review of DEAD AID, by Dambisa Moyo

  • HIH seeks to help Uganda become self-sustainable.  
  • HIH seeks to see people free from AID. 
  • HIH seeks to develop communities with a economic and educational base that can self-sustain schools and community works.
  • HIH seeks to preserve the African culture and enhance the image of the African people.
  • HIH seeks ALL people to know a loving God through service to His people.

This year HIH's developmental focus is on three projects and the collaboration and preparation for a long-term fourth project.

First, we are working on a study of Buganda Folklore during the month of February.  This information will be published as a book to support the long-term project of a Maize Mill and to provide Library materials for the primary schools in Bugabo.

Second, we are learning how to streamline the back woods soap making process and will carry this trade to the women in Bugabo, as a viable means to support their families and to improve sanitary conditions.

Third, we are carrying educational support in the way of teacher training to 100 teachers in the Luweero and surrounding districts.  These instructional workshops will focus on teaching methods and curriculum development that will prepare teachers to produce students who have the primary skills needed for secondary education, apprenticeship, or trade school.

Fourth, we are preparing for construction and implementation of a Maize Mill in 2012 through conversations with community leaders and stakeholders.

HELP SUPPORT DEVELOPMENT BY DONATING TO HIH.  Your gift will continue to give, and continue to give.  Click the PayPal "Donate" link to your right.  Thank you for building a free world for our children.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Sustainability -- What does that look like?

Sustainability is simply, the capacity to endure. I talked about it in Hand-In-Hand's Mission Statement.  So, what do I mean in terms of the work that we are wanting to accomplish in Bugabo?  What does a population of people need in order to endure?  After all is said and done, missionaries have gone home, donors have found a new purpose or lost their financial ability to give, aid is no longer available?  What does it look like to create a village that does not need hand outs, but one that is self-sustaining, that can endure on it's own?  There is no simple solution, but we believe that making the community stake-holders in it's own development is vital.
  1. People need adequate food and water sources.   How is that achievable?  A staple crop such as maize needs to be grown and milled locally.  Meal is a primary source of carbohydrates that prevents starvation.  The village people need to be given a local place to mill the corn they grow and education on how to run that mill as a co-op.  A governing body needs to set aside part of the proceeds from the mill to support other developmental efforts in the village like school, housing, and sanitation.  By giving the people a vested interest in the workings of the mill, the community can profit and the individual can profit.  Women and young girls who usually have to travel over 10 kilometers to the nearest mill will no longer have to do this, and they should be given primary responsibility for the day-to-day operation and business management of the mill.  Girls are free to continue their education.  Women are free to become contributing members of society on a new level.  The community can profit, and this profit can be reintegrated into the school and public works projects, such as providing more rain catches or boreholes for clean water sources.  If an income source is provided, the standard of people's living will increase.  Initial assessment and budget for the maize mill has already been conducted.  Funding sources are being sought now.  Grant writing and submission to begin immediately.
  2. People need health-care.   At a community gathering, people voted to first address the issue of a maize mill, then health care.  It follows logically that food comes before health-care, but what a decision for any person to have to make.  The establishment of a clinic to provide basic health care needs and health related education is key to the village's survival.  Assessment of the feasibility and long-term facilitation of a clinic is proposed for the end of this year.  Data assessment and grant writing proposed for Mid 2011.
  3. People need education.  The "Lisa Adam Memorial School," a pre-primary and primary school, has lost its funding.  Although buildings are present for the children, the day to day running of the school is no longer being supported.  Community investment needs to be understood.  Teachers are reluctant to move to these impoverished areas after attaining an education because they are paid little.  One factor that can bring teachers to an area is to provide housing.  Also, a system of volunteer teachers from outside Uganda could be an important tool.  Making the school sustainable without outside influence is a long-term goal; however, until then this should be seen as a disaster needing aid so that the school can continue to function until lasting support structures can be determined.  Data assessment and grant writing to begin January 2011.
Evaluation of support mechanisms on-the-ground in Uganda is vital to the implementation of any project.  Communication with Project Resource Network Uganda and other unidentified NGO's is important before the grant writing process can begin.  Networks of people working together is the only way to make these events happen.  Without cooperation between existing organizations, missionaries, and the community, all the work in the world will not affect enduring change.  As the director of Hand In Hand, I know that these issues will take years to address, but I also know that your help at this crucial, formation stage is imperative.  Be a pioneer who is not afraid to give unconditionally.  Without that leap of faith, your questions will never be adequately answered.  Did I ask for a donation today?  Will you donate for the Assessment Mission that was scheduled for the beginning of November?  We need to be on the ground in Uganda for at least 10 days before any formal commitment can be made to any cooperative projects.  Just $25 can mean a lot at this critical point in our creation.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Q & A With A Donor: Skepticism and Giving

Is Hand in Hand just for funding the travel to the Bugabo village?

No. Hand In Hand is a 501c3 Not-For-Profit Organization dedicated to providing Education and Health Care to Ugandan villages. Relief is not the solution, we must provide development for the long term empowerment of Uganda. It is our mission to provide schools, teachers, clinics and health education to establish an infrastructure that is sustainable by the Ugandan people.

Of course flying to Uganda to establish relationships, evaluate need, project the distribution of funds, and monitor there progress on funded projects is greatly necessary. Funds for this trip will actually help me address some of your same concerns. I want to KNOW the people that I am working with and the political climate of the country before giving any money for development efforts.

What exactly is done to help the village & which NGO is doing it?

Initially, my involvement was to secure funds that are hard to raise by fund-raisers, funds of substantial amounts of money for a Health Care clinic, something like a doctor's office here. However, the school established in Bugabo has lost international funding through Uganda Project Resource Society in Canada. This organization's organizing members have became very old and have not been able to work (This is a lot of work!) to raise funds to keep the school running. This seems a pressing issue and will be evaluated when I go there.

Hand-In-Hand and Resource Network Uganda will be working together to secure funds, assess needs, and budget for development efforts. On this trip, we will create a budget of operation for the school and will explore resource options, not excluding those that are already established in the region. Typically schools are supported by outside entities, although Uganda's National Policy is that all children “should” go to school. I could write a book here about the extreme need for an over-haul of the school system, especially the Secondary School system where my heart lies, but I will stop here, and we can address those issues as they arise.

What steps are taken to make sure the aid money is spent on what it is intended for and not raided by corrupt government officials​?

According to my colleagues at Project Resource Network in Uganda and discussions that I have had with teachers, headmasters, and college professors, the government leaves schools along. They do not participate in funding them, but they also do not take the money given for their operation. Typically, villages build, staff, and run their own schools with outside donorship. This is part of the reason for my trip. I need to see what is going on first hand in order to be able to make good judgments about how, when, and why to distribute money. Note: Uganda is surrounded by countries like the Sudan and Republic of Congo, and we are all aware of the atrocities that have been committed there. Most refugees from those countries reside in the Northern part of Uganda. Bugabo is in the central region near Kampala; however, refugees and regional political instability is also of concern to us.

If this is part of a church mission, will it be sensitive to preserving the cultural heritage of the village's belief system or is the aim to replace it with Western Christian theology?

We, of course, will be working with religious people, mostly Christians in Uganda. The influx of aid from Western religions organizations has been the backbone of change for many Ugandans. Most call themselves Christians. However, Hand-In-Hand is not a religious organization, and our mission is not to carry the message of Christ to Ugandans. Replacement of indigenous beliefs with Christian ones has actually been going on for many years. I asked about the religion before Christianity early on in my relationship with some scholars, and the answers that I received were vague and full of negative connotations. All of this, I believe, has to do with the fear that help will not be received unless some profession of faith is involved. I am very interested, personally, to learn about past cultural heritage and how this has come to integrate with Christianity or any other religion in Uganda. You know we never leave anything totally behind, but integrate it with the new.

Is sex education and realistic family planning involving access to birth control on the agenda?

This is one of the first questions that I asked of a Health Professor at United Christian University in Uganda. The research that I have done through the World Health Organization states that AIDS reduction has been a result of the massive numbers of people that died with it in the 1990's and because polygamous family structures have been replaced with monogamy (because of Christian influence). However, the numbers are again on the rise. From what I can gather, officials at the university level that value secular ideas based in science, fully support the message of condom usage; however, some religious organizations do not. If you think about this it it not much different than in the US. However, they DO understand that sex can mean death, so in many cases all organizations are open to education about birth control involving condoms. Abstinence teaching has be the primary source of birth control in the country. In our schools, we are only able to legally teach abstinence in schools, but we get around that in many ways. Uganda is not different. One of my main health concerns is female health: the availability of birth control, condoms, and education on female medical issues.

Thank you all for your donations, emotional support, and thoughtful considerations of issues that are important to development in Uganda!