Have you ever been so proud of something that you couldn’t WAIT to show it to off? Well, as Sherlee and I arrived on the scene of Mawanga, Uganda on August 19, Pastor Paul hurried us to the garden where ROWAN widows were picking their first harvest of pineapples. And these weren’t just any pineapples. These sweet fruits became the foundation of discipline and unity between ROWAN members.
Since 2007, these men and women have been labouring for the fruits we saw before us. Who knew pineapples took 2 years to grow? Every other day the widows and caretakers would trek from their homes to till the garden. Our trusty volunteers John and Christopher would take attendance of each woman who would turn up and joke with those who came late! Talk about accountability.
Sherlee and I danced with laughter between the rows and rows of ripe fruit. The smiles of these victim warriors, although currently suffering from HIV/AIDS, drought, malaria and the difficulties that life brings, will forever be etched in my mind. Our joy had little to do with the actual pineapples harvested that day, although it brought in income for their immediate needs. But it had everything to do with building community and hope. These women are empowered. They have each other. They love the Lord.
This is just the beginning.
What does ROWAN do, you ask? ROWAN is in the hope business.