Monday, October 23, 2017

Water is Life Saving. Thanks to Generous donors and supporters. Praying for Santa Rosa

And then this happened!! A deep water well was drilled in Mboira village thanks to our world water day walk for water and especially the generosity of Dan Rieland and Heather Rieland and matching funds from Medtronics!   Mboira village VHT Emma reminded me they waited 5 years for this life saving water to reach them!  Hallelujah! Thank you! Heather and Dan have been supporters of Hope 2 One Life, volunteers for world water day, spaghetti dinner (and much more) and prayer warriors for many, (including my Kenny when he was in the hospital with sickle cell crisises multiple times 14 years ago!). They have been present! They have been here in Uganda too!  Their daughter Mariel Rieland interned with me prior to her summer abroad in Uganda through SPU and has been the creator of the VHT Manuel. She has been instrumental in taking the VHT trainings to the next level with knowledge assessments and further the northern uganda VHT trainings in Gulu and Kikumba. Mariel has worked for the Akola Project in Uganda for the past 2.5 years teaching women life skills and many other leadership and business trainings. We visited her women's project in Pajule for the first time and Hope 2 One Life is honored to partner with her in relating the Akola Academy solar well pump and community tap stands near Pajule. Thank you Rieland's!  You make a huge huge difference!!  I am so so grateful for all of you! Love love you!!  Mariel we wish you the very best as you depart Uganda soon and move on to graduate school in the US!  It is a joy to watch your life unfold!  Why an amazing beautiful young women you are!   Thank you from all of my heart!!  ❤️️❤️️❤️️
- As with all water projects we meet with the village water boards and discuss their roles and responsibilities of taking care and maintaining the borehole. The water committees receives world water day T Shirts.  In the villages they always ask me to speak to the community gathered for the health trainings surrounding putting a borehole in. We focus on hygiene handwashing and sanitation through proper latrine building. They enjoy news from home as well and I always remind there are many many people at home who have contributed to make these things possible.  As I viewed the massive gusts of water coming up from the drilling site, I was moved to the memories of the recent fires in Montana and most recently in Santa Rosa Calif where many hometown friends live, many lives lost and homes and lands destroyed. Oh how this force of water would have been so welcomed!  They understand fire and its devastation. They again listened attentively. Then to my amazement when a leader spoke after me, everyone including the littlest children prayed for those affected by the Santa Rosa fires!! Carrie Taylor Lynne Charlton and others, our hearts go out to you and all of those affected half a world away!  May God heal and bless you all!

- Nadine

Clothing and backpacks bless Palabek village! Praying for Julia

There has been much rain up north - an answer to prayer as the first crop season of this year was entirely ruined by "too much sunshine" and army worms affecting the maize. Palabek was no exception. However they persevered and have Cotten and sunflower and pigeon peas growing in the fields now. This rain has made internet connectivity very hit and miss so this is a post from last week. The day started with our community foundation for development partners Terence, Bosco and Denis, Maggie and myself headed off to visit the Sudanese refugee camps not far from our partner village in Palabek. Due to the LRA war much of the land in this even more remote part of palabek was idle so many many acres were leased from the landowners. UNHCR and the Uganda Office of Prime Minister have set up a mini city of temporary structures, people processing units, clinics and food distribution centers. Many boreholes have been drilled and people have been dispersed to the surrounding land to build huts and some sense of community displaced from the atrocities of Sudan where all resources have been virtually cut off due to the war and people were starving. In 6 months 36,000 people have come to this refugee camp. Buses go to the border daily and carry back approx 100 more persons each day.  It looked very well organized, however felt a lot like cattle processing I have seen. I am no stranger to refugees camps and the UNHCR after helping locate a Congolese family (those that were not killed) reunite with their brother in Wyoming. It took 5 long years. So many memories returned as I shared "sidebars" of prior experiences with Maggie. She being the sponge she is, took it all in passionately. Our partner village in palabek as you may recall was a killing fields for the LRA war. I had met opobo the patriarch of this village years ago and he told the story of his 5 sons killed by the LRA war. We have since visited many times  and drilled two boreholes and started mentorship of their community and farming group.
Terence is so instrumental in fostering unity in groups. They too have 2 VHT's we have trained and continue to develop, two farmers trained in farming gods way that have taught others, a 1/4 acre irrigation vegetable garden and an income generation project. Brenda Gilmore introduced this bracelet making project in January and so far we have sold 60 bracelets. Thanks to Julie Lusk who sold 20 in one day!! and others! This income is shared also with the community group and will help them with a start up business trading center. We encourage them to make local items. They have been given two sewing machines in Jan and have trained 6 women now. Their  brick making for their building is in process. I bought 81 more bracelets if anyone would lkke any let me know (suggested donation $10).
We were greeted with much joy and Singing from the primary school students! Their songs revolved around their prayer for education and a better life. Amazingly we had 40 backpacks left lovingly made by Marilyn Magelitz and her friends!  Exactly the number we needed! These were the first backpacks or bags these children had ever ever recieved. Never before had they had anything to carry their school supplies in - and we were thrilled to also give them with school supplies needed.
Pens pencils erasers pencil sharpeners and excercise books.  The nursery school kids were also well organized and so so precious, singing so sweetly! I met their teacher, Betty who spoke very good English and was very smart!  They have so many nursery school age children and it is not safe to have them walk the great distance to the nearest school. Remember they don't have cars or even bicycles or time to walk miles to bring these littles to school. As part of the our community development PRESM model educational resources is one of the key components or rise out of poverty will not happen, even if they have clean water and farming.  I am so so happy as now this village is ready to have this piece implemented. We have had amazing success in nursery school teacher training in the recent past. I can't wait to share this with Ranae Parker and explore another teacher training opportunity with Joshua School in Tanzania.
- As we also clothed them with the beautiful clothes from Marilyn and friends I shared the story of Marilyn and Larry, how they helped raise and coach me in sports in Pacifica. I baby sat their kids. Now their granddaughter is having a serious brain and ear surgery. Their eyes were glued to me as I shared this story. Together we prayed for Julia, half a world away. Dear God please heal Julia and preserve her hearing!  Music to my soul.  #lovethyneighborasthyself


A big Hallelujah! She did it!!

Everytime I come, I am forewarned this project in particular has fallen down. This year was no exception, but once again I got a welcome surprise and Hallelujah!  Last year I wrote the following:
"Last but not least". "A big Hallelujah!  She did it. She hooked up the drip lines and the pump is connected and working!  She really did it!! Hallelujah!" Thank you God!  It is so common to end up with failed projects in Africa. And any of us who travel and do work there frequently are often seeing and commenting on the "not another shell of a failed project - left to rot away".  Hope 2 One Life is very cognizant of the purpose the sustainability and researches potential projects and areas - sometimes for years as funding budgeting planning and God's call comes into fruition.  This rain water collection system was actually our attempt to salvage a peace corps project that failed the in ground cement water collection system to pump water to a UNICEF greenhouse system (since ruined by weather) for drip irrigation in dry season and income generation garden in all seasons. Something that could be sustainable for income generation for a deaf school. There has been a lot of struggle to get this up and going even after 3 larger tanks were installed undergound, new rain water roof collection system with gutters pipes and pump. Oh how this was "stalled" far too long for our comfort!  I stress immensely about any projects with problems as i am cognizant of our faithful generous donors and I never want to let anyone down. We all discussed with Paul our mentor as well as CFD, had a potential game plan going forward with hiring and training a farmworker for 6 months in farming gods way to get this on its feet. The ultimate goal is that there is nutrition for the deaf children and income generation esp in dry season. Disabled children are literally thrown away in this culture esp during the war time. Sr Teddy is passionate about these children even if she is a poor manager of some of the resources. The children are resilient beyond what you can imagine. They dance by the vibration of the ground and drums when playing even if they can't hear it. They win country wide competitions even. Seeing them sign is a joy.  This visit was not exception and they came running out of their classroom to great me. This visit was no less of a surprise as after we blessed her with an additional fence around the vegetable garden to keep animals out, we heard she was unhappy with the farmworker hired, the cement floor the peace core worker placed was sinking. Yet she persevered and managed to fix it!  Now she relays and we see "It is working very well".  The vegetables grown this past season fed all of the deaf children in school this year and some Sudan refugees staying at the school, as well as provided some income from sale of tomatoes. Onions are in the field now as they are also scarce in dry season, store well and will generate income. Of course she has more requests but at least we can praise God, sing Hallelujah! Maggie is "clapping" happily with the kids -  for deaf children clapping is waving hands in the air!  Music to my soul.


Wipolo Village outreach "How did the chicken cross the road?"

As we move up north to our Kitgum base, we continue to be entertained by Maggie who is teaching Denis and Bosco and Terence American silliness. Every time an animal darts in the road in front of us (which is very often) she exclaims, "How did the chicken cross the road? Because Terence is driving!! Then roars in laughter which is contagious to us all. Then it is "Why did the goat cross the road? Why did the cow cross the road?  The pig? The dog? HahahahahHa!! Woot!  Then there is OMG there is a mountain!  It Is so beautiful! I was getting tired of just seeing grass after grass along the road!  Look at that sky!  All the way to Wipolo village (which means heaven), to our first village outreach, one of the villages we have been implementing our community development model for post war recovery, empowerment and sustainability  (PRESM). First off, we walk to the borehole (deep water well) recently repaired through our Billings world water day, walk for water fundraising. We met the water board who oversees the care and maintenance of the borehole. The water
Board Committee receives world water day t shirts for their service and reports on how they are taking care of it and the village contributing
to a fund that sustains any repairs needed. They are off to a good start, their borehole and fence and area is immaculate! Last January we sponsored a farming gods way training In Gulu and sent 2 persons to train from all of our projects (32 people and a total of 85 attended the 3 day training). We donated vegetable seeds and start up crop seeds with the requirement they use this technique, as it is proven successful and yields bountiful crops.
The Wipolo community farming group consists of 60 people, 8 different gardens, 2-5 acres each. They saw the advantages of farming god's way technique through a very successful ground nut crop, very successful sunflower and peas. They grew very big onions and egg plant and cabbages as well as these massive pumpkins! The maize did not do so well due to too much sunshine early on and army worms, which we have found to be typical. Their work plan for 2018 is chicken rearing to diversify and offset the farming risk due to weather conditions or other unforeseen issues (which we encourage). 32 acres of sunflower and soya beans as there is a good market for this and a company actually comes the village looking for these commodities.  This farming group has been supporting an orphan in school and the income they have raised has paid school fees for her in senior 4. They are hoping to find help or raise enough to send her to nursing school, to which she has been accepted. In addition, we are training 2 more persons from this village as VHT's. One was trained years back as her daughter had sickle cell disease, same genetic blood disorder my Kenny has. Today Rose is growing tall and smiling singing and dancing.  Latrines have been implemented in every household. They all received mosquito nets with our prior large distribution and malaria prevention program. Today the VHT taught handwashing and hygiene and asked for demonstrations back for which one adult and one child volunteered. Followed by a handwashing song. You wash hands before....and after....The children colored handwashing pages as well. It truly makes a difference!  Illness is reduced, malaria prevented and all have better nutrition with income potential to send their children to school and live a better life! A rise out of poverty!  Plus they learn unity and giving back. The law of the harvest: you reap what you sow. Love thy neighbor as thyself is the theme of all of my messages this year, peace on earth!  Last
and certainly the most fun is dressing the children with these amazing gifts of love from long time great family friend Marilyn Magelitz and her amazing friends!! Maggie loves loves to squeeze these kids!  Just look at these beautiful children receiving dresses, shorts backpacks and dolls!! The colors,  the special touches of many hands made with much love gives such joy, encouragement and hope! Love reigns!  Listen, can you hear their songs of gratitude!  Just wonderful! Hallelujah!! We sing praises!   Come Along my friends...Maggie keeps saying, "Just when I thought it could not get any better it does!!"
- with Margaret Prindle (Magpie)


Vocational and income generation - "Meet Grace" seamstress

Meet Grace!  We gave her this sewing machine and start up fabric  a few years ago after we saw such promise and heart in her efforts making paper bead necklaces and bracelets. She now has rented her own shop in Gulu!  And look at all the varieties of beautiful colorful treasures she has made!!!  Today, she takes in children in need  and young adults as a mamma and mentor amongst her own family.  Time for me to stock up on more wonderful items to bring back and sell!  The suggested donations of these items goes toward start up micro businesses our board carefully reviews and to further women and family empowerment projects!  Save the Date!  Her beautiful handmade crafts are available at our 10th annual spaghetti dinner and auction fundraiser Nov 16 in Billlings Montana!

- Nadine

Animal husbandry - Meet "Daughter" the milk cow

Hi all!  Meet "Daughter" the milk cow who is in love with her caretaker! She is one part of high hopes for a sustainable project for Rosa Mystica Rest Home, elderly nuns who fought hard for the lives of the people here during the LRA war and for the development of this country their whole lives. Sr Paulina even drove a huge tractor trailer from Kampala and back. Can you imagine? On these roads that were much worse than they are now! They still work the land of their compound, we have introduced them to drip irrigation in dry season with a 1/4 acre kit and vegetable seeds which was very successful. They are awaiting next dry season to plant more. The milk from this cow gives them nutrition and some to sell. And she is pregnant!  The grain grinder we donated is also working for income.  These bamboo wood pictures and cards are they own craft project we support. Thanks to many of you who have bought these one of a kind treasures! With every ugandan partner, we are looking for sustainable projects through gifts and micro finance to help give a hand up for their lives.  Currently, we are entertaining trainings for an IMO organic pig project in the future (many of you known how I love pigs) that is self contained efficient clean healthy with little start up and high yield. Oh and they don't smell! They don't trench out the irritation ditch or nearly tip over the car like my "Miss Polly" pig did while using it as a scratching post!  Unfortunately not every project is wonderful and we are very saddened by the crippled condition of this billy goat on Opit Farm. Some hard lessons and some hard discussions and plans are taking place.  There is hope and we are taking major steps to bring life back to this project.  - Maggie Margaret Prindle just Loves animals! So far she has pet a cow, pig, goat, rabbit ....The dog was so afraid of her however - The only one I would allow her to touch. Haha! Maggie loves all things actually and she continues to brighten all of our days, bringing much laughter and sunshine!  More to follow....come along my friends.

- Nadine

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Village Health Team training in Gulu


So Sorry for the delay! Our sleep wake cycle has been a bit sporadic and It has been a busy time! We explored a new water project site and visited the Opit Farm. I have had some tough decisions to make with the board and CFD on one of our projects that I will share later. Meanwhile, 2 days of Village Health Team training were held in Gulu, in follow up of our January team trainings in January and Mariel Rieland and our partner org Community Foundation for Development in August. We did knowledge assessments and reviews and further teaching. The VHT's did skits depicting the importance of malaria prevention (which was hilarious and engaging and impactful!). We viewed there teaching and critiqued sole important points. and it It was fabulous, even for me who has done this for so many years. 5 northern uganda villages were represented in this training and those chosen by their villages
To represent them and share this knowledge is truly and honor. They are bright and interactive and engaged, soaking up any bit of Knowledge we could teach them. Here are some heartfelt perspectives from amazing Maggie Margaret Prindle who has dove right in and participated fully in everything and with everyone!!  "Yesterday morning we had our first VHT training. 10 boys and one girl took time out of their lives to travel here to Gulu to learn. In these remote villages, there's no doctors. There's no clinics. These young adults are volunteering to learn how to teach and treat simple things as well as recognize danger signs of major illnesses and aide their people to get to a clinic. They were all so engaged, asking intelligent questions, and already having loads of knowledge as well. And so entirely grateful!! They told us at the end of class their biggest challenges and greatest feats being a VHT. It seriously hurt my soul when they told us some people don't want to learn because some fellow villagers are jealous. Others  also think they are getting paid so expect some money for simply just listening. Where we are, all of the people around my age and older experienced one of the worst genocide and epidemics man has known. These humans i have met, have more heart and fire inside of them than most people I know, even though they have experienced hardship that is incomprehensible. Coming here and seeing the hope, the light, the heart and love persevere in these people is the most inspiring thing I have ever experienced. I can't begin to wrap my head around the timing. It's a funny feeling when you know that where you are is where you're supposed to be in that moment. These VHTs won't give up. They are going to work and work until they see change in their communities. They also explained to us the good they get from this experience. Some said they feel like role models to many. That they brought their community a little bit closer together and that force of love and unity is unreal. Especially since they are the cause of it. The one girl, Irene, even said that she was thankful that she got to connect and learn from me!! I feel the same way towards her. I am now so inspired. I am now so engaged. The Acholi people have a special spark to them and I am very thankful to be here. This red dirt is forever embedded in my skin, my heart, my mind, and my soul."

- thank you Maggie, from all my heart! You are an inspiration and bright angel of light energy and love to me and all you meet! We are truly blessed!  Come along as we see more of Maggie with the deaf children and village outreaches as we move on to Kitgum, Wipolo and Palabek!  - Nadine