A year ago a Erika, Ellen, Marina, Bree and I came to Uganda as part of a group called Niteo. We were focussed on literacy and education, although Bree worked at God’s Grace to help create a garden. On this first trip we met many exceptional and inspiring people who had a vision of how to help Ugandans. Whether it was Pastor Jabulani George, Headteacher Ocan Charles or Labong Grace Oweka, they all had exceptional ideas on what the Ugandans need and how to do it but they needed to get started. It struck me a year ago and again this time that this country will only grow and develop if Ugandans are a key part of the solution.
Since then, ISEE Solutions was born and we are again in Uganda to look at not only education but also empowerment of women and sustainable projects. In Gulu we are presenting a number of women’s reproductive health workshops for various groups and we have visited the above mentioned people to check for progress. Pastor George is trying to encourage people displaced by decades of war to return to their villages outside Gulu. Grace is helping people from her hometown of Lamwo to build a vocational center for training people as machinists, seamstresses, hairdressers and more. Charles continues to work at St. Patrick’s to improve morale in local youth who were child soldiers or affected by them during the war. All three individuals are implementing projects and ISEE Solutions will take part in the development of them. In fact, this Saturday we will go and help the children at St. Patrick’s plant their garden of tomatoes and boo, a leafy green that can be harvested within three weeks. The development of gardens is critical to Ugandans in that it improves their nutritional intake and it can provide a source of income. ISEE feels strongly in supporting these projects.
Grace is an extremely dynamic individual who counsels HIV patients at the local hospital. Her goal will be to offer aid to HIV patients in her hometown. In general, Uganda has an exceptional program for HIV patients. All testing and drugs are free but many do not make use of these resources. Some of that is due to access. Her new centre in the north will help with that. So how will she get started? She has the land. All fifteen acres! Next is construction of the building. Ten thousand bricks have already been laid.
Pastor George is further along in his vision. He has developed centres in a number of villages where they have a school house, he has improved housing from last year (they leaked) and gardens have been started. Keep in mind that the growing season is year round and the rate of growth is phenomenal. His goal now is to have farmers work in a cooperative and grow food for themselves and to sell in the markets of Sudan.
So has there been progress? I am amazed at how much has been done in one year. Seeing the small experimental garden at St. Patrick’s and listening to our job for Saturday is exactly what we want. Students will grow food and it can be used as currency to pay school fees, for example. Additionally we have been warmly welcomed by so many schools and churches for women’s reproduction workshops that they will continue to be a key part of ISEE Solutions.