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What is the job you were given to do?

Logos for members of Uganda Unite

Last Thursday, August 19th, the 2021 Uganda Unite Summit was hosted via Zoom by Kelsey Hargadine and ROWAN.  We had representatives from 12 different organizations and over 40 participants in attendance.  It was an incredible summit filled with inspiration, messages of hope, and information sharing between organizations.  

We were fortunate to have Bob Goff as our keynote speaker for this year’s summit.  Bob’s words of hope and encouragement were so inspiring!

Some of the messages that stuck out to those in attendance were:

“Don’t let setbacks stop you from doing something.  Do what you can.”

“Don’t engage in every fight.  Be picky about issues you want to take on.  You don’t have to swing at every pitch.”

“We have to decide when something burns down in our life –  when something goes wrong – not to let it distract us. Don’t give up.  Remember why you’re doing what you’re doing.  Finish your work.  Never give up.”  

“Know what you want.  Why you want it. And what you’re going to do about it.  Figure these out, and you’ll run your race.”

And my favorite:

“God just wants to surprise us.  The story is not where we are the victim or that we are the hero. It’s that we are a participant.  Show up – fallible as you are and bring everything you’ve got because this is something worth doing.”  

So many nuggets of wisdom!  It was such a wonderful and uplifting way to start this summit.  

Following Bob’s remarks, two breakout sessions gave the participants a chance to share their organization’s work in Uganda and talk about the different challenges they are facing.  So many insightful ideas were shared during these breakout sessions!  

To close the summit, Kelsey Hargadine, Co-founder of ROWAN, discussed the impact the COVID-19 Pandemic has had on the people of Uganda.  During this discussion, Kelsey shared that Pastor Paul, Rowan’s Co-founder, and his wife had been in the United States when the COVID-19 Pandemic began to impact the U.S. in mid-march of 2020.  Their planned stay of a few weeks became a stay of nearly five months due to the travel bans that were put in place.  These five months turned out to be a really special time.  Pastor Paul and his wife were able to truly rest for the first time in their lives.  Through that rest, creativity began to flow, and Pastor Paul and Kelsey were able to come up with new, creative solutions for ROWAN, its programs, and the people we serve.  

When Pastor Paul and his wife finally returned home, they carried with them a new sense of calm.  Recently, Pastor Paul was speaking with Kelsey and sharing with her some of the hardships, roadblocks, and issues that ROWAN and its members are facing during this second wave of the COVID-19 Pandemic and the subsequent lockdown when he paused and said, “But Kelsey, I have joy.  I have never had this much time at home with my family.  I am getting to know each of my children, and I love getting to know them.  Yes, there is a lot going on around us, and there are so many hard things, but this family time has been so wonderful.”

Pastor Paul then asked Kelsey to share the following message at the Uganda Unite Summit:

“Tell them that COVID is a checkpoint for us.  That this is an opportunity to take inventory of what you have and value the relationships and families that you have.  COVID will come and go.  But how will we look back at this time?  Take it as an opportunity.  An opportunity to spread hope.”

I love that. 

 “An opportunity to spread hope.” Or, as Bob Goff said it, “Faith expressed in love.”

 

Post Author: Kirsten Formea

Facing the food crisis together

Group of people in Uganda standing behind bags of food

Conflict, climate catastrophes, and the COVID-19 pandemic have pushed people in East Africa to a crisis-level food shortage.  According to a report by World Vision, over 7.8 million people in the region are facing starvation, and an additional 26 million people in the region are living on the brink.  The United Nations reports that over 12.8 million children in East Africa are severely malnourished.  

Large-scale flooding and an inundation of desert locusts in late 2019 through 2020 caused crop devastation and led to a sharp economic downturn.  When the COVID-19 pandemic hit in 2021, it only exasperated the continuing food crisis with its lockdowns.  Farmers could not tend to or harvest crops, and people living in urban areas in eastern Africa became stranded with limited food access.  

According to an article written by Godfrey Olukya for AA News, members of the Uganda parliament have begun urging the government to move some of those living in urban areas back to their rural villages where they would have better access to food supplies.  When questioned by AA News about the food crisis, Thomas Kapo Kigozi, a local leader in Uganda, said, “Many of us are either starving or on the verge of starvation.  Police have blocked all roads to the city center.  We are asking the government to provide us free transport to take us to our villages.” 

ROWAN continues to work to help the people in our Uganda villages as they face this food crisis.  Recently, Kelsey Hargadine, a founding member of ROWAN, held a birthday drive that raised close to $4000 for additional food supplies for our Ugandan members.  And last week, Kremmling Community Church gave ROWAN a $5000 donation for much-need food supplies for our widows and orphans in Uganda.  We are currently serving close to 400 families in our Ugandan villages, and these donations will allow us to give each family around $25 for the month.  While $25 may not seem like a lot to some of us, it means a great deal to those who receive it.  

Two women sitting near a bag of food 

We are so grateful for each of you who have donated to our food campaigns.  In addition to helping provide much-needed food supplies for our Ugandan families, your donations are letting each of them know they matter and are loved.   

All photos courtesy of Bob Ditty.

Post Author: Kirsten Formea

Food is Life!

 

While the pandemic has brought hardship and struggle to the world, some of us have fared better than others. Many of us have been able to shop online for food and other things, with front door deliveries. We have made use of curbside pickup and Instacart shoppers. And most of us have been able to shop inside grocery and other stores as needed. I am grateful to God for the relative ease of feeding my family during such a hard time.

 

Our friends in Uganda are facing something wholly different. Due to rising cases of Covid-19 in country, Uganda began a 42 day lockdown on June 19. People may not leave their homes unless for medical emergencies. This has put people in the ROWAN villages in a dangerous situation as they have no way to get food to sustain themselves for this long period. ROWAN asked for your help and you came through! Last week, Paster Paul and our ROWAN team (under the watchful eye of Security officers) were able to distribute food to our widows and orphans. 

Maize and beans made ready for distribution outside at Mwanga Hall of Hope.
Pastor Paul and Isaac Malinga, ROWAN Board Chair, witness the food distribution process along with police officers.

Without the generosity of donors this would not have been possible. And we’re not done yet! To sustain each person through the lockdown we need to purchase and deliver more food. Please consider giving, anything you can, to our Food to Families campaign, and help us be the hands and feet of Jesus Christ to our faithful widows and orphans in the villages who need to eat. All of the money raised from this campaign is going toward the purchase of food supplies during the COVID-19 lockdown.

 

Their faces! Happy beneficiaries of food send thanks and God’s blessing to donors and sponsors.

Pastor Paul just sent this message:

 

“Good evening to you all,

Thank you for your prayers, we made it.  Everyone was excited with the food given to them—God Bless you all abundantly.

 

You may wonder why we didn’t use the Bus.  The first point was that the Kilos were too many for the Bus, secondly the roads are too bad for the Bus when packed with food, thirdly the police we had didn’t allow us because when you carry people in a Bus it can easily spread the virus, so that is why we had to use the truck.

 

But the most important thing we thank God is that we were allowed to buy food and we were able to distribute it to them.

 

Thank you so much for your help.

Talk to you soon.”

 

Pastor Paul Nyende

 

Being hungry and not being fed takes a toll on the mind, body, and spirit. Thank you for continuing to help us alleviate this most basic need for our Ugandan brothers and sisters in Christ. He is the bread of life and we give Him thanks! 

Post Author: Shelly Casale

An update on COVID-19 in Uganda

COVID-19 virus drawing

With COVID-19 vaccines still in short supply and treatment options limited, the Ugandan Drug Authority recently approved the use of the drug Covidex for COVID-19 patient care.  According to an article written by Halima Athumani for VOA news, Covidex is an herbal treatment made from traditional herbal plants that have been used in the past to help ease symptoms of other diseases.  Covidex is not considered a cure for the COVID-19 virus, rather it is to be used as a supportive treatment for the management of symptoms.  Dr. David Nahamya, the Executive Director of the Ugandan Health Authority, said that Covidex was approved for use after a 2-week scientific evaluation of its safety and usefulness in helping to manage symptoms of the COVID-19 virus.  Dr. Nahamya said, “To further the efficacy of the drug for other uses, Uganda’s National Drug Authority has advised the manufacturer to conduct random controlled clinical trials, which are the highest level of evidence to ascertain any claims of treatment.”

The World Health Organization (WHO) however, says it has not received any information on Covidex and so they are unable to approve its use for the treatment of COVID-19 symptoms.  Dr. Solome Okware of the WHO’s Uganda office said that while the WHO is currently working with researchers from African countries to find traditional medicines that could be used in the treatment of COVID-19, Covidex has not been among the traditional medicines that have been evaluated.

Dr. Samuel Opio, secretary of the Pharmaceutical Society of Uganda, meanwhile, believes that while there are concerns about the use of Covidex, its approval is a positive step. According to Dr. Opio, the drugs that have been approved for emergency use in the United States are not available in Uganda.  “So the issue of lack of a treatment, the issue of inaccessibility to even what is approved for emergency use, means that we need to also look for local solutions to the global challenges, and herbal treatment is one area.” Dr. Opio said.  

ROWAN is committed to supporting our widows and orphans in every way we can as they face this crisis and we continue to keep them, and all of the people of Uganda, in our prayers.  

Image from Reuters

Post Author: Kirsten Formea

Tightened lockdown and miracles

A man happily driving a bus in Uganda

On Friday, June 18th, President Yoweri Museveni announced that Uganda would be going into a new 42-day full lockdown.  During this new lockdown, vehicular travel of any kind is prohibited.  Only essential workers or those in need of medical care are exempted from this travel ban.  In addition to all the closures announced in the earlier lockdown, President Museveni set a new 7:00 p.m. curfew for all Ugandans and mandated that all shops must now close. 

These new restrictions coupled with rising COVID-19 infections only add to the increasing hardships the people in Uganda are currently facing.  ROWAN is committed to doing all we can to ensure that our widows and orphans have the food they need during this lockdown.  Our Ugandan team is currently working to procure the needed food supplies and distribute them to our ROWAN communities.  This has been no easy task however as police have been stationed on every corner of the villages to prevent people from leaving their homes.  

Pastor Paul refused to be deterred though.  He said, “I will not give up, tomorrow I will try another person.  Pray with me.  I cannot sit back and watch my people suffer.”  ROWAN posted Pastor Paul’s plea for prayer on our social media accounts and we know that many of you joined us in prayer for our Ugandan family.  How do we know this?  We know because we had a miracle occur.  Yesterday afternoon we received this message from Pastor Paul, ” This is so, so, so good.  Our God is so exciting.  He is so good.  He answers our prayers.  Do you know what? The man I talked to, he has been able to order the district officials who are in charge of the lockdown operations to allow me to buy the food and distribute it to the people.”   What a tremendous blessing!  Thank you for the prayers you sent for softened hearts and help for Pastor Paul.  

Please keep praying for our ROWAN family and for all Ugandans.  If you can, please consider making a donation to our Food to Families campaign.  All proceeds from this campaign go directly toward the purchase of much-need food supplies for our widows and orphans.  We are so grateful for each of you who stands with ROWAN in prayer, support, and love.  

Post Author: Kirsten Formea

Planning for the Future

Board and staff learning together


While Uganda fights Covid-19 with a second lockdown, God’s people don’t stop caring for one another.  Just two months ago in April, 2021, the ROWAN board and staff gathered for a two-day leadership workshop in Iganga Town.  Pastor Paul and others led the team in activities based on the theme, “Fulfilling our Role and Calling”.  Pastor encouraged the close-to-20 team members there to see their work as a divine calling which should be honored and observed.

 

“As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace.”  1 Peter 4:10 

 

The board and staff created and took ownership of the following FIVE goals:

 

  1. To work in love harmony and unity with colleagues.
  2. To ensure ethical conduct while at place of work
  3. To ensure workplan development and integrity while at work
  4. To ensure timely report development and submission
  5. To ensure team work and time management in work processes

Pastor Paul welcomed four new board members and four new staff members. Their names and roles are as follows:

 

NEW BOARD MEMBERS:

 

Malinga Isaac…Board Chair & in charge of Health Affairs

Sam Davis Kuloba…Organizing Secretary & in charge of Sponsor Affairs

Tom Musira…..Secretary &in charge of Human Resource Affairs Edith Edith Nyende…………Board member & in charge of Entrepreneurship & Farm Management

 

NEW STAFF MEMBERS:

 

Onyango Valiriano…..Farm Manager

Nkonoka Scovia………Sponsor relation staff-1

Rachael Babirye………Sponsor Relation staff-2)

Joy Namuganza………Project Officer

 

Pastor Paul with three new board members who will use their experiences, talents, and skills for transforming the ROWAN organization in even better ways.

 

New ROWAN staff: From left, Onyango Valiriano (Farm Manager), Nkonoka Scovia (Sponsor relation staff-1), Rachael Babirye (Sponsor Relation staff-2), and Joy Namuganza (Project Officer)

All those who participate in ROWAN programs appreciate and are blessed by the hard working board and staff. May God give strength to each of the 20 team members who follow HIM and work together as a team to care for so many widows and orphans.

 

Post Author: Shelly Casale

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