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  15/06/2016
   
 
 

WFO News

   
 

Family Care Uganda - February 2016

 
   
 

ENDING UP TERM 1 WITH A BANG!

At the end of each Term our District Inspector of Schools sends out exams for our top class
(Primary 7) who will be facing the National Exams at the end of the year. This is always a
challenge but we were so excited as out of our 28 in that class, 12 received an A grade and
the rest received a wonderful B! No-one scored below that and we are so proud of both our
students and teachers! Our heart-felt goal is to bring holistic training to the children in our
care—healing from extremely painful pasts, training in practical skills, and spiritually, so they
learn to “Pay it Forward” and care for others. The Curriculum in Africa in most countries is
extremely test-based, so we have the double challenge of meeting that requirement, plus
fully educating our children, who hardly speak even a few words of English when they join us.
To us it’s almost a miracle that they continually graduate with such great grades—a real credit to the children themselves and their attitudes and hunger to learn, and our wonderful teaching staff. – and each of you who makes it all possible!


OUR IK STUDENTS

“Run!!” shouted the dad to his son, Felix, pictured on the far left here, as the Karimojong warrior ran after him. The warrior grabbed his bag, containing all his clothes, personal items, all the notebooks he’d written for term one, and Felix was left bruised and bewildered! This is a glimpse into the very real challenges our wonderful Ik tribe students face on an on-going basis. So often in
their area, they are bullied and treated as if they are
stupid, simply because most of their parents are
hunters and gatherers and hardly ever see money.
Thankfully, as soon as Felix and the 4 students with

him joined the 2 land-cruisers we rented to bring them back to our school, he cheered up and knew we wouldn’t fail to replace the stolen items for him. His dear parents who had escorted the team of 4 from their isolated Mount Morongole returned, having a real peace that their son was now safe, and on his continuing adventure with us that is forever going to change his potential in life!

We now have 4 of our Ik students who graduated to secondary school. We pay their school fees, (with some help with a Mennonite group) and they travel with our own Ik students to go back to their mountains during Term holidays. They are doing very well, as are the students in our school from that forgotten tribe. Amber, a missionary who had been with the Ik for some years, asked if we

could consider bringing in more girls, since if you educate young women, they bring education, health improvement and many other aspects to the community. An educated young man would also benefit tremendously, but is more free to take his newly gained skills and career opportunities to other parts of the country. So we agreed to stretch a bit more and took them in. So we now have 20 Ik students at our school and 4 in secondary! We are very happy to help these wonderful young people and are continually impressed by their good manners and impressive learning curve—when simply given an opportunity! Left pictured 3 other students from the same extremely remote area.


FOOD SHORTAGE IN THE NORTH – AND SOLUTIONS!

Left is a photo I took just 3 minutes before the sky opened up and we had very heavy rains. This is just a short distance from our school and when it rains, it pours!

One thing across the North of Uganda we have faced these last few months and particularly in the next 2-3 months is a serious food shortage of proteins—beans, peas and other essentials for our diet. The rains last year came at an unusual time and wiped out the crops across the entire North of the country. In addition, this year the South Sudanese have come with all their US dollars and bought up any remaining beans and proteins from Gulu. This could have been a disaster, with 250+ students and staff in the bush, needing to eat 3 wholesome meals every day! Many families in our area are already eating starch-only meals.

One essential element in caring for this many needy children in the bush though is ... looking ahead! We learnt that there are markets in the other side of the country which weren’t hit by the drought, so instead of going ahead and finishing up building our third home for children, we weighed up our priorities and decided to use that money to rent a truck and Mike took a team to buy over 2 tons of beans, maize and peas, to enable us to have sufficient food for our meals for almost the whole second term! By that time local harvests, including our own will be ready.

While there is such a shortage of beans and staples—God is good because we have had mangoes in abundance! Every year we get Palm fruit (left) in such abundance there is no limit to how many each child can eat over the weeks they are around. They simply drop from the palm trees that surround our area. Then the mangoes are so extremely plentiful, we literally had wheel barrows full for our lunches for the 6-7 weeks they were around! All for free!!

One really big thing we have taken from this sudden food shortage, is that we have put a huge effort into our farm these last 2 months. We hired ploughing bull teams and now have several acres of cassava, maize, peas, cabbages, onions, beans and several other smaller crops growing. Some will be ready in 3-4 months, several will take about 9 months till they will be ready for our children to have as supplementary food, but it’s been good to get us to focus on our long-term self-sustainability once we get the boost to get the buildings built, and the functioning basics covered.


THE ON-GOING AFTERMATH OF WAR

We are constantly surrounded by the fall-out from the 20 year
Kony war. Our school is located between what were some of
the larger Internally Displaced Persons Refugee camps. Houses
are still built very close to each other and usually without
windows still, for the added safety. Old habits die slowly. A
very high percentage of our guardians and neighbours weren’t
from the IDP camps however, they were actually abducted as children and dragged off during the war to be child soldiers and wives. My colleague Michael (pictured above) has been working with a solid group of these women ‘returnees’ who were abducted, lived

with the LRA for many years, and who are now trying to rebuild their lives slowly. It’s an absolute pleasure to work with these women and we’ve been through a lot together with them. They initially had zero trust of any fellow
humans, but now for the last 3 years, we’ve been working with them closely, listening to their challenges,
providing employment, schooling their many children and they have become real friends. We would like to

build our all-purpose hall soon so we can begin proper classes for them to learn other income-generating skills and get some basic education. The UNHCR has documented that in our area, a formidable 82% of the population suffer PTSD because of the Kony war. We are so happy to be in this particular area, so that step by step, we can work alongside people, and help them too begin steps towards a brighter future.


AMAZING ADVENTUROUS FRIENDS OUT OF NOWHERE!

We had been considering how we were glad we had been wise and put the needs of the children’s food above the building, but at the same time reflecting on how very much we need those children’s homes when ... an e-mail from a good friend of many years, Sheila Craig told us that she had been counseling with a team of adventurers and had nominated our school as a possible Charity for them to give to in Uganda! They are currently on a never-before-attempted venture to cross Africa from the Kenyan coast in the East to the DRCongo coast in the West of the Continent. The 8,000km distance would be daunting enough, but in this case they’ll be going through extremely dangerous territory, they’ll be navigating roads where the mud is grooved down literally meters deep into the road, and for 300km they’ll actually be hacking and forging a road where there is none! We just read on their blog (below) that they just managed to cross 41

broken bridges! It may well open up the path for future transport between East and West in the country, which is currently almost non-existent. We are so indebted to the Nos Vies en Partage Foundation and the team of 7 brave riders!! Thank you so much!!

These brave pioneers are paying for their own entire trip, but are using the expedition to raise funds from donors for many genuine charities along the way. You’ll see on our photo- page accompanying this, that they generously gave us a cheque which will more than cover the cost of finishing our third home for children! We are in awe at this surprise and extremely grateful for their kind generosity!

You can follow their amazing blog on boyzonbikes.com

 

 

 

 

 

 
   
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