A little while ago, I told you about Recheal and her plans to build a shelter for HIV positive children and for orphans in her home village of Kikagati. You may remember a photo of the plot she has bought for this purpose. A couple of days before we left the country, she came to Mbarara with plans for the building she'd imagined. When I saw the drawings, including a clinic and dormitories, counselling rooms and examining rooms, let alone the estimate for the cost of building such a structure, you would be correct in thinking that I was speechless. It was so much more extensive than I had imagined, and so much more costly, that I wondered how we could begin to talk about what might be possible. It was a reminder to me that from her point of view, the point of view of most Ugandans, we Canadians are all rich. And we are, but how to explain that we don't have this money in hand, but have to raise support, and that anything that is built will happen slowly?? I was very thankful that Athens was there to help me with translating, but still it was challenging. Recheal believes that if we
build the centre, people will come, both clients and staff. And that might be true. But there is nothing worse in Africa than to see unfinished buildings built by well-meaning and of no use to anybody. So, after some deliberations, I suggested that we start small, with a four-roomed building. That we go back to the architect and ask him what he can do with a budget of 20 million shillings (about $8000) - and that if the shelter and clinic is well-used, perhaps we could look at an extension later. Recheal accepted this, albeit a bit reluctantly, and this is where plans stand at the moment. It's still an enormous amount of money to raise, but it's much more do-able than the
amount of money initially suggested. Recheal will be able to dispense medications for HIV clients there, and be able to do her counselling, with support from the hospital she trained at in nearby Kabiunda. So it is a beginning. One of the ways I hope to raise the necessary funds will be to sell designated Kitambaa items for that purpose. And this will be one of the causes for which we sell Opportunties to Own on a quilt. Of course, donations are also very, very welcome, and all cheques made out to ACTS are income tax receiptable. I'll be sure to keep you updated as things progress.
Another visit we made in Rubingo, was to Wilson's School. Wilson worked with ACTS back in the late 90's and early 2000's, and became known to Canadian supporters who recognized his abilities and decided to help him accomplish his dreams. They supported him when he decided to return to primary school, at one time in the same class as his youngest child. He finished primary school, then secondary school, and then bacame a teacher. And now he runs a school of 340 students, accepting children who might othewise not be able to attend school at all, and works unceasingly to improve the school by any means at his disposal. His Canadian support has continued with sponsorships for students, assistance with school building expansion (presently he has 6 classrooms for P-1 to P-7), and so on. He absolutely beamed as he presented his students, and they danced and sang for us. He spoke of working to increase the teacher's salaries from 100,000 shillings a month (about $40) to 200,000 shillings ($80 a month). He talked of various challenges he still faces, but my overall impression was of a humble man, who had a vision to improve the quality of education in his village, and who has already accomplished much more than he had ever imagined. What a great story! What an honour to meet this man, quietly working away in his small corner of the world, for a better future for children.