On December the 9th, we held a Christmas party for the nursery and primary children and it was truly amazing. Even without candy or Christmas presents at this party, these were the happiest children. As I watched these young children happily sing Christmas carols to their parents and the community who proudly cheered them, I could hardly believe that just three months ago, these were the same children who could hardly publicly utter a word, who had signs of malnourishment and whose parents were unwilling to send them to school. But through your prayers, support and community counseling, they are now happy and healthy children who have access to free medical care. With the five accessible new water wells, they spend less time drawing water and have more time for school. The highlight for most of them is that school provides them with breakfast (porridge), possibly the only meal for the first ten hours of the day for some of these Children.
Temporary School Structure of Two Classroom Blocks
We purchased Land and set up a temporary school structure of two classrooms. Other two class rooms are under construction. The community has pledged towards the construction of another temporary classroom structure for primary 4. The two nursery school instructors report that the attendance has risen from 60 to 200 children for the nursery and over 50 for the primary within two months; the numbers are expected to rise next year. I am pleased to inform you that the community has shown its delight for the project by electing a school committee to oversee the smooth running of the school and contributing to the children’s breakfast (porridge) and the Christmas party. The adults are also very responsive to the adult education classes and the greatest impact of these classes has been in the bible studies where more people are learning to read the bible.
Bible Study Groups
Bulike now has five fully active Bible study groups, with five instructors. There is also a sense of responsibility in the bible study, before people used to wait for an instructor to come before the bible study would begin, but they now feel confident to start one without an instructor. For the past two months, Bible studies have been on “The Life Walk” and about the gospel of John. On top of the bible studies, we have also undertaken drives to evangelize to the community through the organization of seminars, door-to-door preaching, visitation, preaching to all members of the community irrespective of religious affiliations and running projector film shows of bible stories. They are well attended by Christians, Muslims and even by witchdoctors. These efforts with the help of the Holy Spirit have resulted in over 1,000 people coming to Christ, restoration of morality, creation of a spirit of unity, brotherhood and forgiveness within the family and the community, and changing people’s perspectives towards the gospel of Jesus Christ. There is also a church committee comprising of 8 people who have played a big role in bringing the Christian faith to the community. They carry out home visits to the sick, the bereaved and the helpless people.
Many thanks go to the generous donation towards the alleviation of water shortages. Two new water wells have since been constructed in addition to the existing two drilled in the first six months and another well has been repaired in Buluya. These wells were dedicated to the Lord at a highly attended occasion which gave us a good opportunity to share the gospel of Christ. One 80-year old lady was so happy that a water well had been drilled near her home and she kept on singing praises and dancing to God. She told us that before her and the nearby communities were drawing water from a dirty water pond that was infested with frogs and mosquitoes leading to sickness to many community members.
Currently, three mobile clinics are running for three days a week with a comprehensive clinic running once a month. This month we had one visiting general doctor, two nurses, a lab staff, an eye doctor, a midwife, a dentist, and ten counselors. The clinic went on for over eleven hours and even when it got too dark for the medical staff to carry on, people were still flocking in to be seen. Mosquito nets were distributed to the community with special priority, going to the school children. Community sensitization on proper primary health care was given to the community.
Counseling and Economic Activities
I am also immensely grateful to all the Bulike ministry leaders, community elders and volunteers for their efforts towards the Bulike transformation through their community sensitization drives aimed at changing the mindset of the community about the way they live through counseling and community unification. The community leaders have not only embraced the UCSS ministry in their community but have also played a big role in unifying the community and using community events to encourage teamwork and hard work for positive change. Hand in hand with the ministry leaders and community volunteers, they have sensitized the community about the benefits of the economic groups revolving and the value of implementation and monitoring of the economic activities. There is good progress on the initial ten projects and six new groups were handed piglets and goats upon completion of the animal structures. A total of twenty one groups have been set up to promote community development and teamwork through projects such as piggery, goat rearing, orange tree growing and crafts.
UCSS is making a strong focus on community reconciliation by organizing events like the football match which was held on December 9th between the church and the community. I was fortunate enough to be part of the football team but every time I felt tired, I was energized by the loud cheers from the community.
Future Programs and Challenges
One of the highlights of this month was the two meetings that we had. One of the meetings was with Ministry leaders, Bulike community leaders, medical workers, bible study facilitators and UCSS volunteers and another meeting with the whole community on December 27th. The purpose of the first meeting was to appreciate each and everyone’s effort in transforming Bulike positively, reinforce unity among these key players in the UCSS ministry and also plan for the future. The meeting was a success because at the end of the meeting each of these key players knew and appreciated how they add value to the holistic (spiritual, emotional and physical) transformation of the people of Bulike. The second meeting with the community was to find out how they felt about UCSS ministry has changed their lives in 2011 and what their expectations were for 2012. The community emphasized the need for education (primary and secondary), health centre, modern farm, more economic activities, permanent structures (school, clinic, store and church), micro finance and more water wells. Despite the achievements, we faced some challenges and these among others include; – Lack of suitable vehicles to run on the poor roads not to mention the very poor road network in Bulike. – In addition, Bulike is infested with mosquitoes and we inevitably were been prone to suffer from malaria. – The overwhelming poverty in the community emotionally affects any individual working with them and sometimes challenges one to doubt whether what one is doing is enough (I particularly remember one day a committed community volunteer who had spent the whole day with me doing community sensitization confided in me that after spending the whole day that he lacked food to feed his family), – We have also faced resistance from unbelievers and Muslims. – Also the temporary structure hosting the church and the clinic is quickly getting dilapidated, making it unusable during the rains. In spite of those challenges, people’s lives have been transformed immensely since inception of the project and we expect to have an even more promising 2012 with your continued prayers, guidance and support. Appreciation and Call for Continued Support During this festive season, I would like to say thank you for giving hope to the people of Bulike, Uganda through your prayers, guidance and support. It is my prayer that you do not get tired of giving your best financial gift in the coming New Year (2012) to ensure that UCSS programs run smoothly. Together we can provide hope and God’s unending love to his people. On behalf of my family and the entire Bulike community We wish to express our gratitude to you all for all your effort in transforming Bulike community. We all wish you a Blessed New Year (2012).