Welcome to flashback Friday, as always featuring beautiful portraits of the cutest children. We truly enjoy the process of looking back through the years & seeing just how far we’ve made it! Some of those featured have encountered struggles, but that simply makes their smiles all the more divine.
Continue reading “The Amazing Kids of ROWAN: Raymond”
Stanbic Bank Uganda Limited is a large commercial bank headquartered in Kampala, licensed by the Bank of Uganda; the national banking regulator. Stanbic Bank is a strong advocate of education in the country and produces a National Schools Championship annually. Stanbic Bank recently financed a comprehensive research on primary education in Uganda. The findings were released on April 10, 2019. (stanbicbank.co.ug)
Only 7.5% of primary school going children finish primary. Of that 7.5%, only 24% finish o-level. Of those that complete o-level, only 5.4% finish A-level. Of those that reach the tertiary level, only about 11% finish successfully.
We are doing everything we can to infuse the amazing young people of ROWAN with hope for the future. Anything you can do to help, whether it is a one time donation or sponsoring someone directly is a gift that goes directly to those in need, prioritizing education.
As someone who loves to read and write, I love words. A perfectly-turned phrase can make my heart go zing. String those phrases and sentences together and we can read or listen to something that makes us laugh, cry, fume, gasp, and absorb.
In 2019, there are A LOT of words out there. Because they are available to us 24/7/365, they can overwhelm and cause us to turn away. Or cause us to only turn to memes about dog, cats, and Marvel movies.
We can get desensitized to what we read and hear and it’s understandable. This can cause us to take in diluted meaning and truth, or put a hand up to say, “Stop”. Sometimes a break is good. And sometimes forcing ourselves to slow down and ponder the truth of what we are reading is also good. We’ve known for a long time now what AIDS is, but have you read the definition lately? I looked at the meaning of each word in the name ROWAN and it stopped me short. Please read what each of the words in the ROWAN title means. From Webster’s Dictionary:
RURAL: of or relating to the country, country people or life, or agriculture
ORPHANS: a child deprived by death of one or usually both parents
WIDOWS: a woman who has lost her spouse or partner by death and usually has not remarried, or whose spouse or partner leaves her alone
AIDS: a disease of the human immune system that is characterized cytologically especially by reduction in the numbers of CD4-bearing helper T cells to 20 percent or less of normal thereby rendering the subject highly vulnerable to life-threatening conditions (such as Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia) and to some (such as Kaposi’s sarcoma) that become life-threatening and that is caused by infection with HIV commonly transmitted in infected blood especially during illicit intravenous drug use and in bodily secretions during sexual intercourse
NETWORK: a usually informally interconnected group or association of persons; a fabric or structure of cords or wires that cross at regular intervals and are knotted or secured at the crossings
Whether you are part of the ROWAN family or just learning about Eastern Uganda, to pause and understand what ROWAN is, what each word in the name means, is a good thing. It helps us remember in the 21st century glut of words that we can look clearly at the people in the village, at their pain and their hope, at their knotted and secure relationships with God and each other, and know the truth. The words of ROWAN allow us to learn and help and not turn away.
Would you like to join us?
I was sitting in church this Sunday listening to our pastor talk about how we are to love each other because we are loved by God. He challenged us as a church to make sure we get the “horizontal” right before we know that we have the “vertical” with God. What he meant by that was that if we can’t show love to the people around us, then we can’t truly be connected to God because God is love.
“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.”
1 John 4:7-8
This hit me hard. I started to question my actions, words and behaviours with the people around me. Am I a person who forgives those who have hurt me? Do I hold grudges? Am I welcoming? Is my first reaction to judge, rather than love? Do I reflect God’s love to others the way that I should?
Deep down I knew that the answers to those questions were not what God expected from me. I need to do more to show the love that God has for me and to spread that love to others. Sure, I care about others and do my best to be a good person. Yes, I do things to encourage my friends and make sure that they know I care about them and love them. But what about the people who have hurt me or the people that I care about? Do I show them love? What about the hurt and lonely around me? Have I showed them hospitality and love in my actions?
So now it’s time for me to make some changes and step out of my comfort zone. God paid the ultimate sacrifice to show his love for me, I need to be sure that I am sharing that love with others. And I challenge you to do the same.
We ended our service Sunday morning with a song that is becoming my prayer as I step out in faith to love others with all that I am. I want to leave you with the words to the chorus of that song. I pray it speaks to you the same way it has spoken to me.
“I’m wide awake, drawing close, stirred by grace and all my heart is yours. All fear removed, I breathe you in, I lean into your love, oh your love.”
Hillsong – Sinking Deep
Given it’s equatorial location & abundant fresh water, the sheer density of wildlife in Uganda can make your head spin. There are (way) over 1000 confirmed bird species found in the country alone. And what birds, some of them look like runway models! We have already looked at the Violet-backs, Red-wings & Wattled Starlings, so today lets meet another member of the starling family, the Superb Starling (or Lamprotornis superbus). Continue reading “Birds of Uganda – Superb Starling”
May 12th is Mothers Day in Uganda, a day for being thankful & showing appreciation to an important person in everyone’s life, their mother. We’d like to take this opportunity to say happy mothers day to all the mothers of Uganda (& beyond). Continue reading “Happy Mothers Day Uganda!”