What’s In a Name?

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?

God’s Creation – Sipi Falls

If you ever have the pleasure of going to Uganda and you have a day or two with no plans, I would suggest going a little farther east, past ROWAN to Kapchorwa. While there, you will have the opportunity to meet some very friendly people, maybe purchase some local coffee beans and hike to three absolutely breathtaking falls.  

I have had the pleasure of visiting Sipi Falls twice.  Once with a friend of mine just for the day and the second time, with my husband for our honeymoon.  Both times we were well taken care of with a guided tour to all three of the falls as well as the caves behind.  Both times it poured rain on us and we used banana leaves as umbrellas.  Both times were beautiful days and many chances to take some amazing photos of some stunning scenery.

My husband even braved getting as close as he could the the largest of the three falls.  He went down to the rock at the bottom of the falls where he was showered with the mist and came back to the path soaking wet.  He could even wring out his socks.  

The hike takes about three hours to visit all three falls and the path is rocky and steep in some areas but so worth it.  If you do make a trip to visit Sipi Falls and plan to stay the night, I would suggest taking some “warmer” clothes as it can really cool down there in the evenings.  

My husband and I stayed at Lacam Lodge and were treated like royalty.  Their bandas are located right at the top of a cliff and overlook the falls.  We woke up to amazing views and wonderful food.  I am sure there are other amazing resorts, lodges and camps as many people visit these falls.  

I remember being in awe of how beautiful everything was around me.  Everywhere I looked I could see how the hand of God was so powerful and how unbelievably wonderful his creation is. It makes it very clear to me that I worship an incredible God. I am amazed that a God, who created such a beautiful world for us to live in, also created me.  

 

“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.” Psalm 19:1 (NIV)

 

 

The Best Chicken in the World

I really didn’t believe my friend when she told me that the best chicken in the world can be bought on the side of the highway between Kampala and Jinja.  She claimed that it not only tasted the best, but it was a fun experience as well.  If you have ever travelled the highway I am talking about through Mabira Forest, you know exactly what I am talking about. 

All you need to do is pull your vehicle over to the side of the road and you will very quickly be surrounded by people dressed in blue aprons with numbers on them.  They will be carrying a variety of items from water, fanta, soda, ngonga (roasted banana wrapped in newspaper), meat on a stick, bananas and the famous chicken on a stick.

The best part about this experience is watching the vendors.  They will surround a matatu or vehicle but if they don’t make a sale in the first few minutes, they will leave.  But if another vehicle pulls up, they will dash to that one hoping to be at the window of a person hoping to buy their product.  The best is when a bus pulls up.  I don’t think I have ever seen people drop what they are doing to chase down customers on a bus as fast as “the blue apron” people.  They can barely reach the windows to sell their product, but they manage as best as they can.  

Now as I said, the chicken on a stick is the best in the world.  Why? you ask.  Well, it’s salty, perfectly roasted and a little crispy.  But eating it in the back of a matatu when you are sweaty and squished is the best part.  The windows are down, as you barrel down the highway, and every single bite makes the dangerous drive on this highway way more worth it.  For me, I know that if I end up in a head on collision with another vehicle because my taxi driver was passing a sugar cane truck and another matatu side by side, I will have had the best meal ever as my last.  

Why Build a Hall?

This week the world watched as the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, France, caught fire. Part of her centuries-old structure was destroyed, and her grand spire burned away. 

Notre Dame Cathedral

Historian Yvonne Seale writes at vox.com:

Notre Dame de Paris was never the preferred cathedral of kings. Notre Dame was instead the cathedral of ordinary Parisians. Since the Middle Ages, it’s been the backdrop against which the city’s inhabitants have lived their lives. The building, which stands on a small island in the Seine River, was a constant amid the upheaval of the French Revolution and the terrors of the Nazi occupation. As one 14th century scholar wrote, the cathedral was “like the sun among stars.”

There’s been a church on the site now occupied by Notre Dame since at least the sixth century. In 1163, Bishop Maurice de Sully launched an ambitious project to build a new cathedral for the city’s growing population.  For centuries, the cathedral has been a tourist draw, a meeting spot, a place of refuge in times of crisis. It fostered both the beginnings of the University of Paris and, quite literally, the city’s abandoned children in the orphan home it ran.

“It’s just a building,” some say. “It can be rebuilt.” This is true. However, people bond with places. And the longer a building exists, the more memories are housed there and in the people who make it part of their lives.  The cathedral has stood for centuries as a symbol of beauty, help, and refuge.  Sometimes a building matters.

ROWAN is building a Hall of Hope.  Why build a hall?  Ten years ago ROWAN began under the Ugandan trees.  Most organizations start up and fairly quickly look for a building.  Widows and orphans began gathering with ROWAN staff under the trees, in harsh weather, rain or shine, with no thoughts of a building.  But God began to bring more women and children to ROWAN and ten years later the family is overflowing!  The Hall of Hope will have two large classrooms for tutoring, literacy, Bible studies, tailoring, jewelry-making, and much more. There will be additional office space; most of us know the value of a desk or table to work from.  What might be most exciting though is that the Hall holds 600 people and will be able to house the entire ROWAN family, at once. The ROWAN family has never had a place where they can all gather together.  In the past, it was difficult to even get people to come on the property, as the word AIDS is in our name. The shame and stigma are high.  But God lovingly brought dignity to those who came, and more came, and it became clear it was time to give them a place, a beautiful building, their “sun among stars”.  They can look at their Hall of Hope now and think, “WOW, that is for me.” People will pass by and see who this beauty is for.

We know that Notre Dame began as a place for ordinary Parisians to worship God.  “If anyone is worth a beautiful building, let it be the widows and orphans. ROWAN is their family and the Hall is our family room.”— Co-founder Kelsey Hargadine

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.  I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”—Psalm 91:1-2

The Hall of Hope will be dedicated on May 26, 2019.

 

Help Furnish the Hall

Do Good?

People are often motivated by good intentions. Christians can be doubly-motivated by good intentions and a nudge or call from God. Wonderful things can happen when intentions are good.

 

“There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all.”—Peter Drucker, world-renowned author, educator and management consult who was driven by a desire to build effective and responsible institutions

 

Whoa.  Read again, what Peter Drucker said:

 

“There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all.”

 

What happens when we rush to do good and the result is not so great? ROWAN co-founder Kelsey Hargadine tells a story about something that happened in Haiti and has happened in many mission settings. Kelsey shared that, when westerners travel to areas of need, we step out of the van into the village and immediately see the torn clothes, no shoes, poor housing, etc. We quickly want to bring tons of clothes, shoes, and material things that can help that tangible image of poverty. That is exactly what we shouldn’t do. One time a group of people brought hundreds and hundreds of shoes to Haiti. They gave all the shoes out and felt so good for doing that. What they didn’t think about was the shoe seller in the village trying to make a living, and just putting him out of a job. They didn’t think about how a small child having a new pair of shoes puts them at risk of theft and abuse. We don’t like thinking about those things, but they are what we need to remember above all.

This is why the ministry of ROWAN works, because they don’t rush in.  Rushing in with good intentions is perfectly understandable, but it may not be the best way to make lasting change. This doesn’t mean we don’t do anything, and sometimes needs are immediate. But in all those situations, ROWAN works because ROWAN IS:

~Widows and orphans as leaders in their own communities, creating and sustaining their lives with support from the village leaders

~Pastor Paul and ROWAN leaders discussing, listening, and deciding what to do. They are the drivers.

 

While we as supporters may be bursting with ideas and heartfelt emotion, it is our job to work alongside and empower those whose home is the village.  It is our job to trust God and seek His patient, faithful guidance in partnership on their behalf. Peter Drucker says:

 

“Follow effective action with quiet reflection. From the quiet reflection will come even more effective action.”

Co-founders Pastor Paul and Kelsey

ROWAN does this so well. They aren’t perfect at it and they make mistakes, but there is grace and forgiveness and learning during those times.  And for the most part there is effective action when Pastor Paul and Kelsey and you and I trust God together and commit to see people’s lives changed for good. And in the village there is so much happening that is good.

“Let them praise the name of God— it’s the only Name worth praising. His radiance exceeds anything in earth and sky; he’s built a monument—his very own people!” Psalm 148:13

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Peter Drucker was an Austrian-born American author and educator who Business Week called, “the man who invented management”, right before his death at 95 years old in 2005.  Drucker, motivated by 

 

Follow effective action with quiet reflection. From the quiet reflection will come even more effective action. Peter Drucker

 

Description

Peter Ferdinand Drucker was an Austrian-born American management consultant, educator, and author, whose writings contributed to the philosophical and practical foundations of the modern business corporation.

 

Shortly before he died in 2005, Peter Drucker was celebrated by BusinessWeek magazine as “the man who invented management.” Naturally, when most people hear that description, they think of corporate management. And Drucker did, in fact, advise a host of giant companies (along with nonprofits and government agencies). But he came to his life’s work not because he was interested in business per se. What drove him was trying to create what he termed “a functioning society.”

Drucker had, after all, seen firsthand what happens when society stops functioning. This was the central theme of the first of the 39 major books that he would publish over the course of his extraordinarily long and productive career. The End of Economic Man traced the rise of the Nazis in the aftermath of the Great War and Depression.

“These catastrophes broke through the everyday routine which makes men accept existing forms, institutions and tenets as unalterable laws,” Drucker wrote. “They suddenly exposed the vacuum behind the façade of society.” Looking for a miracle, he added, the masses turned toward the “abracadabra of fascism.”

 

Drucker was determined never to let things break down like that again. And the only way to do that was to build effective and responsible institutions, including those that by the 1940s were emerging to be the most powerful in the world: big American corporations. Management, practiced well, was Drucker’s bulwark against evil.

What is a Village?

ROWAN partners with over 30 villages in Uganda, with their main office at the village in Mawanga. Everyone knows the word “village”. We’ve all heard, “It takes a village to raise a child…”. Many a town in England boast a village green; a pleasant, common green space in the town center. There’s the East Village in New York City, a hip, happening neighborhood—the Village People probably started there!

Continue reading “What is a Village?”