Saturday, October 22, 2016

Handover in the Nakawa District

On Tuesday, Elder Phelps and I were able to attend two different handovers with the Elder and Sister Howard (the humanitarian missionary couple that will be leaving in just a couple of weeks).  A handover is like a ribbon cutting ceremony celebrating the completion of a project and turning it over to the community.  Rick got to try his hand at driving outside of Kampala and out into the bush.   He really enjoyed it!  We got lost going to pick the Howard's up at their apt. and had to hire a boat bota to show us exactly where to go.  We were close, we had just missed one turn.  Anyway, we picked up the Howard's and headed off into the bush.  First we had to finagle our way out of the city but Brother and Sister Howard knew right where we were going.  They have been here for 18 months and really know their way around!  

Our first stop was 2 hours away in a town in the Nakawa District.  The Church helped to build a new latrine and a water collection tank for the community.  It is very nice and will be one that can be used for many years because it can be emptied via pump.  

Here's a picture of the inside.  It was not what I was expecting the inside to look like and really not that easy to use (yes, I tried it out 'cause after a two hour drive....what are you gonna do??)  but it will be an upgrade for what the villages have been using.

We met with the leaders involved in the project and then got to meet with the religious leaders in the community and explain what the Church (and it's members) have done to help.  We had the Catholics Muslim, and Church of Uganda churches represented....and Mormons, of course!

After the ceremony which wasn't really a ceremony at all just a meeting in the District Five area's office.  We all toured the latrine (kinda funny, huh?) and then headed to Semuto about 30 minutes away to go to another handover.  As we were pulling up I heard Sister Howard say to her husband, "Oh no, Ralph,  they've got tents.  We're going to be here a while."  As we drove in we heard music playing from a DJ and I could see three different tents set up and about 60 children sitting at their desks under a huge tree.  
This handover was a project to get six schools chairs, desks, and tables for their schoolrooms.  Sister Howard said that when they first visited the area the children were sitting on the floors of their classrooms.  She and Brother Howard thought that desks and chairs would be a great project to work on.  
So they made it happen.  

They got with contractors (same with the latrines) and organized these projects.
As we got out of the truck it was a pleasure to look into the faces of the children aging in ranges of 5-12 and give them a big smile and waves of the hand.  They responded excitedly with waving.  These children are very special.  They have such a hard life compared to our standard of living that it is sometimes unfathomable to understand.  No running water, mud huts, living off the land, no shoes, cooking over a fire, and just plain filthiness.  It's hard to explain unless you have seen it.  The amazing thing is they seem to be happy.  They are in school, learning, and playing with friends.  This is the only kind of life they have ever known.  

During the handover, which included many speakers including The Howards, the children sang and danced two African songs for us.  It was our favorite part!

Here are some of the tables and chairs that were made by a local welder in town.

And the desks which were made by the same welder.  The amazing thing was that the welder made furniture for SIX different schools.  The Church has really helped these communities.

Just before the last speaker, who happened to be the District Five leader again they brought out individual snacks for the adults.  Samosas and salad.  I didn't know if it was safe to eat so I didn't.  We ended up giving it to some children before we left.  Anyway,  it was a good experience going out into the bush and associating with some good people.

I walked to the teacher's latrine before we left (this one was VERY primitive) and as I came back children were watching me and giggling saying Muzungo.  (white person) I smiled at them and then asked to take their picture.  They all ran over and gathered into a group for me.  They were so cute! I gave them all fives as I was leaving and they loved that!

One last picture.  This is not a picture taken that day but it shows girls getting their water from a borehole.  The Church has helped to dig many wells for the villagers to have a clean water source.  Many villagers have used just the streams and standing water from the rain to get their water supply.  This causes cholera and typhoid in the people so these boreholes are very important to them.  

The Church requires the communities to come up with 10% to help with the project.  The people need to have some ownership in these projects.  If people are just given things without working for them than they start to feel entitled.  That's not the Lord's way.  
We give what we can and then we receive blessings.  That's what it's all about!
Be sure to donate to the Church's Humanitarian Fund.  Your donations help people all over the world! 

1 comment:

  1. Thank goodness the Latrine had hand-holds to help a person UP after squatting over that little hole like that!! HARD TO USE, I'd say, but better than the alternative, I guess! :)
    One dark night in Japan, my friend RaNae used a little hole in the ground like that when she was newly married, she said, and she dropped her flashlight in the hole--right when she was squatting over it. The flashlight kept SHINING, and she was super embarrassed!! She's told me that incident several times and it really made an impression on her! :)
    Those desks that were built for six schools, were really nice. Sounds like those Howard's were very helpful while there!!