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“Gratitude is our foundation.”

A learning center in Uganda

Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not unto thine own understanding.  In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths.” – Proverbs 3: 5-6

A young child in Uganda

Recently pastor Paul said, “The world is in total confusion, but Uganda is confused more.”  Like so many places in the world right now, there is a lot of uncertainty in Uganda right now.  People are not sure where to turn or what to do.  Children long to be back in school and their caregivers don’t have any clear answers as to when that will happen.  The Ugandan government is saying that schools are reopening and is now demanding school fees be paid in order for children to return to in-person learning, but there is a general feeling of mistrust surrounding this.  Ugandans are worried that they will pay these fees and then schools will close once again.  For many these fees take up a large amount of their income, ROWAN would have to pay $6,000 (USD) in fees to have all of its children return to school right now. 

Pastor Paul is meeting with ROWAN staff to brainstorm ways in which the Learning Center can be used for help in continuing the education of ROWAN’s children.  You may remember that thanks to last year’s Christmas campaign, we were able to purchase an educational curriculum and now have a staff of 4 teachers in our Learning Center.  So, thanks to the generosity of so many of you, our ROWAN children will have access to education during this time of uncertainty.

A desk with chairs in a classroom in Uganda

As Pastor Paul says, “Gratitude is our foundation.  COVID has pushed ROWAN outside of its walls, outside of its programs.  What does ROWAN look like when we are outside our walls?  We rely on God’s daily bread for our direction, inspiration, and provision.  Our courage is expressed in surrender.”

A young boy smiling in Uganda

 

We at ROWAN have so much to be grateful for – even in these uncertain times.  We have not has a single member of the Ugandan ROWAN community test positive for COVID.  We have supporters whose generosity and kindness have allowed us to meet the needs of our members throughout this pandemic.  We have been on the receiving end of miracles and had so many answered prayers during this season of hardship.  And we have seen the power of love in action.  God is great.  Prayers are heard.  Hope is real.

A little girl smiling in Uganda

All photos by Bob Ditty

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

Uganda Unite

child in a wheel barrow

ROWAN has been operating in Uganda since 2007.  During that time, Kelsey Hargadine, the co-founder of ROWAN, has encountered many other organizations that work in Uganda but have a US base in Colorado.  In 2015, Kelsey came up with the idea of starting a collaborative organization called Uganda Unite.  The sole purpose of Uganda Unite is to help promote a sense of unity and togetherness across the Colorado organizations that work in Uganda.  There are currently over 20 organizations that participate in Uganda Unite.  While each of these organizations varies in terms of their work in Uganda, they are all united in their goal of trying to be of help to the Ugandan people.  

People laughing   

Uganda Unite holds yearly summits that allow members of these organizations to share the successes and challenges of their work.  In addition, these summits are a way to help encourage and inspire those who attend.  The 2021 Uganda Unite summit is coming up in a few weeks and, after the year the world has faced, the organizers of the summit have worked hard to create a summit filled with hope and encouragement.  The keynote speaker for this year is the always-inspiring, hope-building, best-selling author, Bob Goff. 

Bob Goff

Bob’s messages of love and hope are what we all need more of, and we can’t wait to hear the message he has prepared for the summit.

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a tremendous effect on the people of Uganda.  The organizations operating in Uganda have faced a year filled with setbacks and roadblocks as they try to help the people there, but they have not given up.  They continue to choose the path of hope and love.  They continue to show, through their actions, the power found in a collective sense of kindness and humanity.

We are looking forward to this year’s summit and the chance that it gives us to learn from and with our fellow Uganda Unite members!

people sitting around a table

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

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