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  21/03/2016
   
 
 

WFO News

   
 

Family Care Uganda - February 2016

 
   
 

A NEW START TO THE YEAR!

This is our election year and many people (including the government) feared rioting and serious repercussions. They delayed the school starting time nation-wide to ensure young people would be safe. We are excited to finally get going! We have a strong team, and now 3 new teachers so the year promises to be our best yet—thanks very much to YOU, who care!

GRADUATES—BEGINNING AT SECONDARY SCHOOLS

We have been already supporting a number of our graduates in good schools in Gulu. There seems to be a phenomenon that when children are in elementary/primary school, relatives don’t take much notice. But we’re seeing that when they see the orphan in their family got such great results at the end of school and they’re ready for secondary school, it seems to trigger the attention of a number of uncles who step up and take the young people to their next step. As a result, we have a number of our graduates all over the country!

There are several though, who get excellent results but for whom there is no
magical uncle appearing. These are the ones we commit to helping sponsor. This
year our first 4 Ik graduates got such good results, they qualified to get into a
couple of the best secondary schools in the area! It wasn’t cheap, and was a big step of faith, but we have a friend who has been a missionary to the Ik for several years, and she is committing with a few of her friends to help pick up the tab for the costs for the Ik graduates—along with a Mennonite sponsorship team. So as we care for our own children – the 250 who are studying at our school, we can see God’s hand raising up other people to help take over the costs of these wonderful young people as they move forward! It feels like we’re on the grandstand watching God’s hand at work, in caring for these amazing kids step by step.

Restore Leadership High School was started by Bob Goff who wrote “Love Does”. This is our 4th year to have students for them and they are so impressed by the character and academic skills of our kids, they always ask how many we have for them each year! It’s very difficult to get in there—they only take about 25 top scorers each year and bring in students from Tanzania, Rwanda and several places, so the relationship we have developed with them means a great deal to us. Their fees are subsidized so we only have to pay half and they have tremendous training in character building, spiritual input and are among the top in academic results.

OUR IK STUDENTS

Because the 12 Ik students who schooled with us last year returned to their tribe so fit, healthy and having received such great exam results, the elders from the other communities of Ik people along the mountain range have been begging if we could take in more. We agreed and it was a big step of faith, as it means taking responsibility for them fully—housing, feeding, clothing them-- caring for their spiritual needs, plus their emotional, academic and all their medical needs. But after praying about it, we felt we were going to trust God, and that He was challenging us to take up this calling. And we know, that where He guides, He provides. I had a bus ordered to transport them back from their mountains to our school in Gulu, but the night before it hit a cow, (poor thing!)

but the Lord worked it out and the transport boss gave us 2 land cruisers for the same price as the bus which was actually better, since they are far more suited to the rough tracks, mountain climbing and environment.

5 students and their parents (pictured right) started walking from a very distant mountain you can see behind them on the Monday morning. They walked all day without resting until it was quite dark. Then again the next morning they started walking at the break of dawn, then up the mountain to reach the place we had just arrived that night. The touching thing is—they were so excited and cheerful but they didn’t eat a thing the whole journey and suffered threats from the neighbouring aggressive Karimojong tribe along the way. Despite all this, they were ecstatic that their young people were going to be given this opportunity that will probably change their lives forever. It was 140km round trip journey they walked with not a word of complaint—to the contrary, they were just overflowing with thanks!

As the Landcruisers rolled out back down the mountain the next morning, an impromptu group started dancing and singing and ululating ahead of us! They have dreams that if their young people can learn, they can get qualifications in nursing, medicine, teaching, agriculture and a wide range of subjects that they can then bring back to their communities to help pull them out of their endemic poverty. It’s rare for an Ik family to eat more than one meal a day. They are hunters and gatherers and when the boys first arrived, one of the first questions they asked was ‘where can we hunt??” ha! The Acholi do both agriculture and cattle keeping and hunting isn’t really a common option. They are so curious and follow Mike around asking all sorts of questions about how to grow peanuts, cassava, pumpkins and food they haven’t tried before. You see in the photo above how they live on the absolute ridge of the mountain—down to the left is Uganda and down to the right is Kenya. In the photo on the right, a few of the Ik students are getting settled in the school before the official studies start.


BUILDING

While the school academics are off to a solid start with teachers giving it their best, and new students getting their uniforms and all—we have a large construction team continuing the building of the third home for our children. On the left, the roofing team is preparing the frame, and the cement team on the right is busily

preparing the next batch for the walls. We actually really need 4 homes, and are making do a little in the meantime. The children are comfortable and safe, but we want to make their accommodations more spacious. We only have a few weeks left of the dry season, so we’re using every chance we can to make bricks, so that as funding comes in,
we can begin on the fourth and final house—or the all-purpose hall which we also need

to qualify for the Government registration number. Our District Inspector of Schools is wonderful and is cheering us on as we knock off each of the requirements and we should, by God’s grace, reach that by the end of this year. One the right one of the many older children and young people who come each year to help make bricks. It’s been the means for them to raise fees to be able to attend school in a local government school. Without this income opportunity, most of them simply wouldn’t be able to study.

THE ON-GOING AFTERMATH OF WAR

We can’t thank you enough for helping this project. As we see the young ones grow, and as we hear that 196 people (including children) died of malaria in the last couple months, we really see how much God is keeping us. Seeing the older ones mature to become very earnest, sincere students in secondary school, and now finding how we can get them into top schools after ours for their next level, we are confident that what we are contributing is indeed making major life-changes in these dear young people. We want to instill in them a “Pay It Forward” understanding, so that they look back and reflect how you have helped them, so they in turn will want to give to others.

Our Acholi students suffered so much during the 20 year Kony war. On the left you can see one of the Internally Displaced Person’s (IDP) refugee camps that were the only type of housing for all those years. Now the camps have spread out, and we live between 3 major ones. Just 3 weeks ago however, some top LRA rebels who had been captured and then recruited into the Ugandan Army, and then sent to fight in Sudan and most recently Somalia--just returned home and live just within a few kilometers of us. These men were abducted as child soldiers, their entire lives have been extreme violence, our government likes to send them to Somalia as they are absolutely ruthless and have no qualms—so now

... they are home! We are so happy that God brought us to such a needy part of the world, to bring a steady healing, to bring a tangible love-in-action in their midst. We are very grateful for your prayers for our protection in the meantime.

 
   
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