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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

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?

Post Author: Shelly Casale

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)

 

 

Post Author: Kris Mbabazi

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