Thursday, January 9, 2014

Visitor From Oregon, USA


The below pictures were taken during a visit to OOCM in Uganda by friends of ours and a dear brother and sister in Christ Buck Eichler from Oregon, USA and his wife Sarah who is Ugandan. Buck and Sarah have been an encouragement to us over much of this last year as well as other friends in the West. This was a long awaited visit and there was a great deal of excitement and joy in the village over their 2 day visit to our village in Kamuli District. They gathered with and met many villagers, widows, two elected officials and an agricultural inspector and the 7 staff members at OOCM from Jan 7th through Jan 8th. The children were very excited because many of them had never seen a muzungu (white man). Buck and Sarah were dearly loved by all who met them.

The first day, they moved about from house to house meeting with the children and widows after being greeted by many who had assembled together along with the elected officials and an agricultural inspector (we have an ongoing agricultural improvement training sessions sponsored by OOCM). On the second day they moved about house to house giving out gifts to orphans, disadvantaged families and widows of salt, notebooks, soap, toilet paper, etc. Their visit brought about much hope among the people. 

May the Lord guide and continue to bless this brother and sister and all our friends in prayer and support to Uganda. Amen

Below are pictures from their visit. Captions are written from input by Buck Eichler.
Buck Eichler and Mukulu Jonathan surrounded by children. They were delightful. Some are wearing the only clothes they own. When I return I'll hope to be able to share some articles of clothing.

Some of the villagers gathered to meet our visitors. The woman seated on the right is an "LC", a local elected leader. There were an amazing number of people there to greet us.
Yes! It's a real icebreaker with the kids to take and show their pictures. Some of the children have never seen a Muzungu (white person) before, and it's really traumatic for some. This helps us focus together on something else!

When one sees the scope of the need here and in so many villages across the land it at first feels overwhelming. But as you get to know these people, you learn of their deep faith and sense of responsibility to care for one another. The economic conditions are fragile. It can be very difficult to get back on ones feet after a financial blow. Many of these households lost their only wage earner when their husbands died. Mukulu and his team are working to help widows learn crafts and/or for those with garden spaces to improve their crop yields to get them on track to achieve financial independence. If that is accomplished, those with disabilities or who are too young to fend for themselves will be cared for by the others, a value deeply ingrained in their faith as well as their tribal codes.

Meeting a widow and distributing some supplies. It should be noted that there is no electricity or running water in the Kamuli Villages. There are a few community wells scattered throughout a large area. People have to fill jerry cans with water and pack them to their homes.

This lady is widowed, has a severe disability and cannot walk or balance without that stick, and has three school age children. The little notebooks you see are required for students to have, then there were just small gifts of salt, bars of laundry soap, toilet paper, etc. It was very moving how such small gifts were received with great joy.

This sweet lady is widowed and caring for small children, and had some type of nodule growths all over her.
It is an age old custom for women and children to kneel as they greet a guest, but its not as common in the more urban areas now. Even though I
was advised this would happen, it was still pretty shocking to me. It should not be misinterpreted however. It is simply a sincere expression of respect and treating a guest with honor.

Two staff members with Mukulu and Buck. This is Nabbona Rose with the thing around her neck. She is a local schoolteacher, and they are paid very little. She also directs the school choir and the Oasis Children's Choir. She has several orphans and three very old women sharing her tiny place with her. She radiates kindness and joy, despite the hardships. The younger woman is Nangendo Jamila, who I believe is Rose's niece, and she helps with many things and serves as the Treasurer for the Oasis ministry.