Monday, March 31, 2014

Recheal's Clinic and Shelter - An Update

This series of photos was taken when we visited Recheal in Kikagate last November. You may remember that Recheal is one of the Bitengye Designers, and that last year she was sponsored in obtaining her "nurse's training". She is also a leader in her community, having started the group "Living Positively with AIDS", which performs instructional dramas and songs to surrounding communities. This year she told us that the next thing she wants to do is to build a shelter for HIV positive orphans (she has 17 in her care at the moment), and a counseling centre and clinic for adults who are HIV positive. A huge dream, but she believes it will happen, and when she told us all about it, we committed
ourselves to helping her raise the money to make it happen. Just like Alice's school, which is now finished. At one time it too seemed an impossibility.
So . . . once again we have an "Opportunities to Own" quilt which for which we are selling tickets - just $5 each. We are selling as many of the luggage tags we make as possible - if you or your Guild would like to order some of these, please let me know and I'll mail some to you - and we're accepting donations to this end. They're also $5 each. It seems that our time in Uganda is not over yet, that we are connected with these women we've come to know in a deep way, and we cannot forget them now.

P.S. Just a couple of notes about the photos - Recheal is in the brown skirt and brown top in the top photo, Joan is see holding Davita's hand - she's Recheal's youngest, and the grey-haired man with beard and baseball cap is my husband David. I don't think I have to tell you who the traditionally-built woman in the red dress is!

Monday, March 24, 2014

A Long Overdue Update

It has been far too long since I last updated you, both on what's happening with the Bitengye Designers and other widows in Uganda, and on my own work. I am going to blame it on major computer problems (I am now starting to get used to my new Mac) and getting well and truly sick in early January, and staying sick for weeks. But it really is inexcusable. Especially as so many of you have been so generous in donating to several of the women I've told you about, since my fall visit to Uganda.
So before telling you about anything else, I want to let you know that there was a terrific response to my story about the widows in Rubingo, who
didn't have savings enough to rent land on which to grow their food for the coming year. Many of you sent donations for this, and the result is that ALL of these women now have land for the coming year. Thank you so very much.
Another situation was that of Robin Zayanga. In the second photo, she is standing in front of her present house, made from banana leaves. But thanks to the generosity of a number of Canadians, construction is now underway on a new house for her. No more rain dripping on her
in bad weather.
And then there are the Bitengye women, six of them here at Alice's Sewing School, at which they are presently attending a two week workshop, led by Alice, on how to make garments. What they were finding was that in between orders for the other items they now make, they had no income. We talked over possible solutions, and came to the decision that if they knew how to make dresses for the local women, they could make these when there were no orders for crafts. Again, it is thanks to the generosity of so many Canadians that all of these things are happening. I promise to update you further, in the next blog post. I promise it won't be long before you hear from me again!