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A Double Whammy: COVID-19 and Record Floods

As of today, May 14th, 2020 at 8 pm EST, 160 Ugandans have tested positive for the coronavirus, of which none has died and 63 have recovered. 

Although the virus infects a mere fraction of Uganda’s 43M citizens, the pandemic’s impact on the economy and government resonates nationally. Measures to slow the spread often clash against the normalcy of daily life and the vitality of essential trade. As information about the virus emerges daily, Ugandan policymakers must propose national recommendations that adaptively balance the physical and economic well-being of their people. 

Second-hand clothing markets annually reap $200M for the Ugandan economy.

Illustrating this volatility, bans that were placed on the second-hand clothing market were reversed on May 8th – just 24 hours after their institution. Although they may remain open, clothing sellers must abide by heightened hygiene mandates such as fumigation before they can make any sales. While the government did not release any comments concerning this policy reversal, its desire to maintain the $200M industry and to prevent backlash from the U.S. – the main source of imported clothing – may have motivated the decision.

Ugandan truck drivers have been mandated to carry digital tracking devices.

On May 12th, Ugandan officials ordered all truck drivers to carry digital tracking devices. This strategy came in response to a disproportionate rate of infection that was reported among these workers last month. Although preventing the spread of the disease remains paramount, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni emphasizes, “We need the cargo. We need the goods.” … And they certainly do. Stifling the dispersion of COVID-19 has necessitated significant economic sacrifices. Already, the International Monetary Fund, a multinational organization working towards global financial security, has loaned $491M in relief to Uganda’s COVID-19-related economic downturn. 

President Museveni’s final campaign rally from 2015.

Beyond the economic strain, the country expects a postponement of polling for its 2020 general elections. Should the pandemic remain out of control through July, President Museveni predicts a delay of the elections until early 2021. 

The Nalubaale Hydroelectric Power Station, where the blackout-causing blockage occurred.

It gets worse. As if COVID-19 did not pose great enough hardships, the Ugandan people now face extreme flooding – the likes of which they have not seen since 1976. This month alone, the floods have killed 4 people, trapped 200 patients inside of a hospital, and displaced 5,000 others for the sake of emergency relocation. Recently, the record 44-ft rise in Lake Victoria dislodged an island of vegetation – measuring 2 acres –from a riverbank. Ultimately, this floating island clogged one of Uganda’s four main hydroelectric power stations, which precipitated a brief, yet nationwide power outage. 

 

Post Author: Chanel Varney

Locusts Invade Uganda

Swarms of locusts have entered Uganda  by way of Kenya. This very serious desert locust invasion threatens East Africa, the United Nations has warned. Locusts threaten the food security of millions of people.  Swarms of this magnitude have not been seen in decades. In Kenya and Somalia, many crops have already been devastated.

The Eagle Online Uganda news source stated today, March 10, 2020:

 

The desert locusts have since been sighted in 24 districts in Teso, Lango, Acholi, Sebei and Bugisu sub- regions of Uganda.  Since the outbreak, government through its agencies has step up control measures which include rapid spraying in all affected areas with both manual and motorized pumps and sensitization of people. 

 

The Minister of Agriculture, Vincent Ssempijja, said:  “The existing swarms have not caused significant damage to the vegetation cover, however, there is an eminent threat to food security when the eggs hatch into hoppers in the next few weeks as has been the case with our neighbour, Kenya.”  He said the swarms however continue to spread to other districts and possibly laying of eggs is expected to continue while our efforts to control the adult locusts continue.

 

The Observer Uganda online stated on February 12, 2020:

 

“A typical desert locust swarm can contain up to 150 million locusts per square kilometre. UN reports indicate that locusts can reproduce rapidly and, if left unchecked, current numbers could grow 500 times by June. A swarm can destroy as much food crops in a day as is sufficient to feed 2,500.”

 

Forecast (March-June 2020) on the desert locust upsurge in the Greater Horn of Africa. Photo: observer.ug

Please pray for ROWAN villages and all of East Africa that resources will be allocated quickly to treat this invasion effectively and that crops and lives would be saved. It’s hard for many of us to imagine experiencing this type of natural disaster. Please join us as we prayerfully imagine ourselves in the place of our brothers and sisters in East Africa.

 

Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way

you will fulfill the law of Christ.

Galatians 6:2

 

Post Author: Shelly Casale

ROWAN 2020 STAFF Retreat

From the fruit stand in the neighborhood market to the vast empire of Microsoft or Disney, we all interact with businesses large and small.  Peter Drucker, father of the practical foundations and philosophies of modern business, said this:

 

Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.”

 

The ROWAN staff, without possibly realizing it, teaches us this very truth.

 

ROWAN staff recently had their 2020 Staff Retreat in Iganga. The theme was: “Enhancing Teamwork for Effective Service Delivery”.  They spent time in sessions engaged with the following topics:

—Discussion of Expectations, Fears, and Objectives

—The role of Teamwork and Identifying One’s Role on the Team

—Strategies for Team Effectiveness and Performance 

—Issues and Challenges Affecting Teamwork 

—Alignment of Teamwork with Christian Values


ROWAN leaders spend time in preparation, prayer, and planning to do the right things. This group of flawed people, saved by Jesus Christ, takes the time to discern, pray, wait on God—through some very difficult and painful daily struggles—to do the right things for the widows and orphans in their care.

If you’d like to sponsor a widow or orphan through this growing organization of leaders that Peter Drucker would be proud of, please choose someone to sponsor in Uganda today You will become part of our AMAKA (family) doing the right things for widows and orphans and you will be changed for the better.  It happens to each of us who follow God’s tug at our hearts and it will happen to you.

 

Photos from the ROWAN 2020 STAFF Retreat—PICTURES THAT SPEAK A THOUSAND WORDS:

 

 

Post Author: Shelly Casale

Five Decades for WAFU!

His friends and family call him Wafu and he just turned 50 years old (young)!

David Wafula has been with ROWAN since the beginning. He is a full-time staff member and board member.  Here are his thoughts on turning 50:

“I can’t believe I am making 50 years of age… my evening is approaching. Making 50 years in Uganda [while] healthy, happy, and impacting others is a huge blessing.”

When asked about his goals, he said, “I have two words that keep sounding in my mind: STABILITY and PERFECTION. This year I have to stabilize and perfect most of the things that I put my hands on. Ministry-wise and family. This year, I want to inspire many and disciple many in the ministry of ROWAN. At 50, you can be trusted but also entrusted.”

Pastor Paul, Kelsey, and Wafu

“This year is a year of looking back and making evaluations. During this process, I am sure I will [recall] areas I have done well but also improve those areas I have not done well.”

ROWAN is so blessed by Wafu’s wisdom, perseverance, and his wonderful laugh. Join us in wishing him a very happy 50th birthday!

If you’ve met Wafu, please comment with any stories or memories you have with him!

Post Author: Shelly Casale

Sponsor Young Arafati Mukisa

At ROWAN we want to empower the women & children whose lives have been affected by HIV/ AIDS. Our main objective is keeping everyone fed, healthy & learning new things or skills. Your donations & sponsorships help us to see our vision, allowing us to focus on the essentials: hugging, loving & building a future for those who need it. Christmas may be over, but the new year is a great time to start bringing hope to a young boy! Young boy smiling at the camera

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Post Author: Kelsey

Honoring Tikabula’s Memory

We just received heartbreaking news that Tikabula Kafuko passed away yesterday at 86-and-a-half years old.     

She will be remembered as a world-changer who had twice as much spunk and life in her than most people have at 25. Tikabula dearly loved to dance, was known to speak boldly, and (as Pastor Paul says) you could always count on her to “make funs” (make jokes). She played an integral part of our pineapple and passion fruit gardens at ROWAN. She enjoyed tending to her small garden at her home, and the community will always remember how hard she worked. Here are some pictures of her gardening:

For the last few years of her long and beautiful life, her body struggled with arthritis and joint pain. Ultimately, she passed away of cancer in her intestines. We would like to thank Tikabula’s sponsors, Norma and Philip Tubbs, for helping make her final years her very best. She called ROWAN “family” and never missed an event. Life expectancy in Uganda is currently about 60 years old, and we are so thankful for so many years beyond that where we were able to learn from and laugh with Tikabula. We are missing her deeply but thankful to know she is resting in the Father’s arms.

If you ever had the privilege of meeting Tikabula, we would love to hear and share your stories and memories to honor her legacy.

Post Author: Micayla

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