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Sponsoring Cyrus

When our son, Jake, was at Dartmouth College, he spent part of a summer working with ROWAN in Uganda. Read more about that here!  As a result, we began our first sponsor relationship with a young man named Mugabi Cyrus. Jake met Cyrus in the village and said Cyrus was a strong and eager participant in the leadership training sessions. As we prayed about someone to sponsor, God spoke swiftly and clearly that is should be Cyrus.

 

Mugabi Cyrus

And here’s the thing—while we felt good about helping Cyrus, we had no idea that he would give us far more than we could ever give him.  He loves us without reservation and calls us family. As we pray for him he prays for us. He worked hard in school and got an art degree—he is very talented.  He calls our sons, Jake and Jonah, his brothers, and my husband and I, mom and dad. He is our “son” that we’ve never met.  He has taught us uniquely more about the love of God. His faith in the most difficult circumstances has been a light to our family.

Mugabi Cyrus, the artist, in Uganda!

Cyrus graduated out of the sponsorship program but he is still our son, friend, and prayer partner. When co-founder Kelsey Hargadine visited Uganda in May, Cyrus gave her a backpack he made for us—made fully by his hand.  She mailed it to us in Washington state and I cried and smiled at the beautiful stitching, the hand embroidered message, the thoughtfulness of a young man who works hard as an entrepreneur and who is now a volunteer for ROWAN.  We are humbled and proud to know Cyrus and excited to see how God loves and leads him in the days ahead.  

Jonah Casale, in the USA, holds the backpack handmade by his brother-in-Christ, Mugabi Cyrus!

I invite you to consider sponsoring an orphan or widow today. More than one life will be changed!

Post Author: Shelly Casale

Breaking News: NGO’s in Uganda

ROWAN would like to share with you some breaking news from Uganda.  The Ugandan government is tightening up their demands and requirements on NGO’s (non-governmental organizations that are nonprofit). There have been too many briefcase NGO’s (fraudulent nonprofit organizations set up only to obtain money from donors but having no programs on the ground) in the country, so the government is making every NGO, including ours, go through complex hoops to re-register and confirm our legitimacy.

 

 

The good news is, ROWAN has favor in the government and goes above and beyond with financial integrity and with our our local work in our districts. The only difficulties we face are that this process takes time and money; local leadership must travel to Kampala and spend time gathering data and filling out all the paperwork to meet deadlines.

 

 

ROWAN used to  be a community-based organization (based upon our size), but since we have grown across four Districts, we are now an official NGO. ROWAN has been registered locally since we started in 2008.  We value the importance of local authorities and laws regulating our work. We pray this intensive process will only further validate the work and ministry happening at ROWAN!  Please join us in prayer for a smooth process and positive outcome as we continue to serve our many members. Thank you!

Kelsey Hargadine honors local ROWAN leaders. May, 2019.

Post Author: Shelly Casale

What are people saying about ROWAN?

If you’re anything like me, you occasionally or more than occasionally like to research things based on online reviews. I’ve made a lot of decisions based on said reviews: what books to read, what movies to watch, which restaurants to try and which vacuum to purchase! Practically every public figure and organization receives reviews. At ROWAN, we learn a lot about ourselves by listening to those who interact and spend time with us; they have good insight into who we are.

 

It is exciting to share with you that the reviews are in, and ROWAN is a top-rated non-profit organization!

Listen to what this ROWAN donor has to say:

“ROWAN has truly impacted our hearts and minds through sponsorship and Christmas giving. To be able to correspond with our sponsor children online and through mail is such a blessing. I truly feel like I am part of their journey. I can rest easy knowing the funds we donate are used for exactly what is intended. The clear communication between ROWAN and their supporters allows us to not only completely trust their vision but to be proud of what is being done.”

 

Brandon, an Ivy-League graduate, shares this powerful story about ROWAN:

 

“This is an utterly amazing organization that builds up leaders in the communities it operates within. I have never come across a group that more fluidly engages local leaders, donors, and teams from around the world in a partnership that values and maximizes the skills that each individual brings to the table. I volunteered with ROWAN in the summer of 2014 and met a group of Ugandan men and women who care very passionately about their community, especially widows and those suffering from HIV/Aids. They made it a priority to not only coordinate the administration of necessary medication, but also bring impactful change into the lives of individuals in the village by teaching them skills that they could use to build a business and thrive. Treating every person with respect and a implementing a tangible, long-term plan for success are hallmarks of this organization and things that really set ROWAN apart from other organizations I have worked with in the past. I would recommend ROWAN to anyone if they are seeking to donate or volunteer for a group with an impeccable track record who is changing the lives of hundreds of people and growing at an impressive rate. From the top down, I want to stress the character and integrity of the men and women who are a part of ROWAN and the life-changing work they are doing.”

 

Sometimes those who work inside an organization have the most to complain about.  This is not the case at ROWAN. Listen to what Lauren has to share:

“I have been working with ROWAN for five years now, and have visited the village three times. Each time my understanding of cultures, nonprofits, and foreign aid has increased exponentially, and each visit has changed my life in a different way. The people and experiences impacted by ROWAN have greatly influenced my career path and the motivations behind it. The people in Mawanga, Uganda have even greater stories to tell, however! It has been a great joy to see the growth over the years, and to see and hear the success stories in both the children and the adults! It’s a rare nonprofit that can focus on empowering every aspect of a person’s life (again, child and adult), and ROWAN does it so well in so many pioneering ways! Pastor Paul Nyende and Kelsey Hargadine are two of the most humble and committed people I know, and their teamwork has created an incredible organization!”

 

I encourage you to read more reviews at greatnonprofits.org. 

 

Would you consider joining us and sponsor an orphan or widow today? Thank you!

Post Author: Shelly Casale

Meeting Face-to-Face in Uganda

Do you ever wonder if you’re making a tangible difference in the world? I know I do. Due to the nature of a 24/7 news cycle, social media, and a constant state of being “plugged in”, we are faced with information about a groaning world seeking help.  We are presented with daily multiple needs and requests.  It can get pretty overwhelming, even when we give money, labor, time, prayers, or other resources in answer to God’s call.  Sometimes we don’t even answer because of that overwhelmed feeling.  There is something that happens, though, when we obey God.  Matthew 22:34-40 says:

 

When the Pharisees heard that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, they met together in the same place. One of them, an expert in the Law, tested him by asking, “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”  Jesus told him, “”You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’  This is the greatest and most important commandment.  The second is exactly like it: “You must love your neighbor as yourself.’  All the Law and the Prophets depend on these two commandments.”

 

Amber Thurow is a ROWAN sponsor who recently returned from visiting Uganda with a team of people led by co-founder Kelsey Hargadine.  Amber sponsors a widow she has never met named Rachel.  Amber was looking forward to meeting Rachel in Uganda.

 

A little while ago, before the trip, Rachel became very ill with infected kidneys.  Her condition was serious, and Amber sent some extra money to help cover her medical fees.  Soon after the team’s arrival in Uganda, Amber and Kelsey were helping out in the village clinic. A woman came through the doorway and it was Rachel!  She was there for her check-up—Amber was stunned to see how well she was doing!  Both women were filled with joy.  Rachel couldn’t stop telling them how happy she was that she was feeling better…so she can take care of her children.

Amber found out what happens when we obey God.  We are first to love Him with everything we are and everything we have.  And we are to love our neighbor as ourself.  Amber does that and doesn’t have to worry if she is making a tangible difference.  God gives blessing, joy, and peace to those who love and obey Him.

 

Amber, Kelsey and the team visited Rachel in her home and spent time in fellowship and prayer.  Rachel shared her favorite verse, Luke 14:13:

“But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind…”

 

Would you like to join us?

Post Author: Shelly Casale

We Danced until the Sun Went Down

Sunday, May 26th was a day to celebrate…

…and if you know anything about the people of Mawanga, they know how to party.

For those of you who don’t know what a party in Mawanga looks like, here’s what you would have seen if you were there. There were 2000 community members, ROWAN members, spiritual leaders, government officials and an international team of 17.  The ROWAN women and children danced and put on skits. ROWAN honoured the 32 students who have worked hard and graduated the program.  These students were awarded certificates. But the celebrations didn’t stop there. 

Tom Dluzak and Troy Nibbelink, who were instrumental in the design of the Hall of Hope were able to make the trip to ROWAN and see the completed project. They were excited to see the work that had been done. With over 8,000 square feet of space, the Hall of Hope will be a pillar in the community and ROWAN will be able to host all their programs and events within these walls!

Help is still needed

The Hall of Hope still needs some work to be fully completed and ready to serve the people the way it was designed. If you are willing to help fill the need of a solar panel and a water pump, please click here and donate.

 

Post Author: Kris Mbabazi

Mandazi – It Tastes Like Home

My husband stays quite connected to his friends, family and people from Uganda.  He has lived in Canada now for almost 11 years, but Facebook, Whats app, Instagram and other social media has given him the chance to stay way more connected that he was able to in the past.  Not only are there more opportunities, but it is much cheaper for us not having to purchase phone cards to use to call his friends and family.  Youtube has also kept him connected with the music and news from Uganda, but the one thing that we have to work at to keep his culture in our home and in his life is the food.  

The food in Uganda is something that brings many memories and great moments back for both of us.  Whether it was the popcorn Mama used to make with our morning tea in Mawanga, the rolex that Julius would make me at Namuwongo market, the many Fanta oranges that I enjoyed under the shade of a tree or down at the market while teaching my husband to play the guitar, or the roasted maize I would snack on while walking home from town.  Food is something that I associate with many wonderful people and amazing memories from my time in Uganda.

Over the 12 years of being married to Busiisi and the many months that I have spent in Uganda, I was able to pick up on how to make a few of the dishes that are staples in Uganda.  With my husband’s help, we can make a mean chapatti, thanks to the lessons that Jane gave me and the recipe that Hakim wrote in my journal.  My husband has taught me how to make “soup” using beef, chicken, pork or beans for him to enjoy with his rice.  I have yet to learn how to mingle posho, but Busiisi does a great job of making that.  

One of Busiisi’s favourite snacks that he used to get down at Namuwongo market was Mandazi.  It’s similar to a plain donut here in Canada, but a little heavier.  I find that when he is busy with life and is missing home, a batch or two of mandazi will cheer him up.  My boys enjoy baking with me, so this past weekend, we surprised Busiisi with a double batch of mandazi. We probably made about 75 of them when all was cut and fried.  As I sit and write this, there is not one piece left.  He told me they tasted like home. 

I cannot tell you my mandazi is better than Mama’s is, but for a mzungu, I think it tastes pretty good! Feel free to give it a try!

-Kris

Mandazi 

1 egg          1/2 cup sugar          1/2 cup milk          2 tbsp butter, softened

2 cups and a bit of white flour          2 tsp baking powder

-mix all ingredients together

-the dough should be soft, but not sticky

-roll it out to about a 1/4 inch thick

-cut into triangles or squares (or hearts if you are my boys)

-fry it in hot oil and place it on a paper towel

adapted from http://allthingskenyan.com/food-mandazi.html

 

Post Author: Kris Mbabazi

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