Archive for April, 2011


Friday, April 29th, 2011

An MCC partner organization, located in Kamuli, runs a program called Hope Never Runs Dry. It provides school fees and other support to school children affected by HIV/AIDS. In some cases the students themselves have HIV/AIDS and in other cases it is their parents or other caregivers.

We met with some of the volunteers who assist with Hope Never Runs Dry. We visited a technical school and two primary schools which are attended by some of the supported students.  We met some of the supported students and also with an MCC service worker who provides assistance to one of the primary schools. The MCCer is here on a one-year program called SALT (Serving and Learning Together) and lives with a host family.

Source of the Nile

Wednesday, April 27th, 2011

Recently we spent time in Jinja, located at the “source of the Nile” — the place where water from Lake Victoria spills into the Nile River and begins its long journey north through Uganda, Sudan, and Egypt. Near this entry point the river descends quickly through a series of falls and rapids that provide recreation opportunities for kayakers . We spent a night in a small hotel / guest house and enjoyed the view from our balcony. It is said that two of Uganda’s past presidents frequented this same guest house.


Saturday, April 23rd, 2011

In Soroti we met with COU-TEDDO (Church of Uganda development offices).  MCC has helped with peace-building activities.  Several leaders are trained in peace building who then train others.  These “peace promoters” live in the communities and try to step in and mediate conflicts .  There can be conflict in families and land conflicts.  In this area there are also many conflicts between the Teso and the Karamajong ethnic groups because of cattle raiding.  There are peace promoters on both sides who work to bring these two peoples together to live in peace.  There have been some villages built where the two ethnic groups live together.  MCC has helped start some “peace gardens” to help with livelihoods.  Citrus and eucalyptus trees have been planted.

CPA in Lira

Friday, April 22nd, 2011

Concerned Parents Association (CPA) was formed in the middle 1990’s when the LRA abducted 139 school girls one night.  A staff member followed the girls and was able to obtain the release of 109 of them.  The other 30 were taken in to captivity where they were forced into marriages or taught to use guns against their will.  In the last 10 years 25 of the girls escaped or were released, 4 died, and 1 is still unaccounted for.  Parents of these girls formed CPA to work for the release of all children abducted and to help them resettle in their communities when they return.  This is not an easy task.

CPA members train others to help when conflicts arise among the girls, in families, and in the community. We met with a rural support group who were trained and continue to be supported by CPA.

St Monica’s Vocational School and Gulu

Thursday, April 21st, 2011

St. Monica’s Vocational School is a girls’ school for those who were once abducted by the LRA (Lord’s Resistance Army) and have since returned.  These girls bring with them horrific memories and need help adjusting to community life, including making a living.  Many also bring children born of their forced marriages.  Courses in catering, tailoring, designing, weaving are held.  There is a nursery and preschool for children( toddlers to 6 years of age) where our MCC service worker helps out.

One of the projects at the school is building a plastic water bottle house.  These bottles are numerous!  Sand is pounded in to the bottles; the bottles form the wall with a mixture of 10 parts sand to 1 part cement to hold the bottles in place.  The building is approximately 15 ft x 15 ft and will be used as a guest room.  It is nearly ready for the thatched roof.

Another project for the girls is making purses out of metal flip top rings, ie, the openers for soft drink cans.  They are beautiful and unique.  A sweater type garment was even created.

We stayed on the third floor of a hotel in Gulu with a good view of the middle of the town.

Stella Matutina

Wednesday, April 20th, 2011

Stella Matutina is a girls four-year secondary school.  The Global Families program of MCC sponsors 26 girls.  We met and talked with the girls.  Their stories of family conflict and abuse were difficult to listen to.  Several years ago there was a special MCC donation to build a science block for the school.  There are now good biology, chemistry, and physics labs–and girls interested in science.  There was also some extra money to buy solar panels — a logical solution to lack of electricity in this land of sunshine.

6-day trip north

Wednesday, April 20th, 2011

We recently completed a 6-day trip visiting MCC workers and partners.  We’ve included a map here to show the route.  The next four entries will describe some of the people we met, activities being conducted, and scenery we saw.

Arusha National Park

Friday, April 8th, 2011

After our meetings were over we needed to spend 2 nights in Arusha, Tanzania, waiting for our return flight to Entebbe / Kampala.  Arusha is in a beautiful setting next to Mt Meru.  During our full day there we used an MCC car to visit Arusha National Park.

Just inside the park gate we were soon surrounded by zebra and giraffes, and nearby was a herd of buffalo. We continued down a gravel road in the direction of the extinct volcanic cone of Mt Meru. Near the other side of the park we hired an armed ranger to escort us on a game-viewing hike. We passed another large herd of buffalo and were able to get quite close to several giraffes. Eventually we found our way to a nice waterfall. On our return we spotted a little dikdik under some brush. After our hike we drove to a lake filled with flamingos. On our way out of the park we passed a small group of zebra next to some acacia trees with misty rain in the background.  It was a very enjoyable day!

Tanzania Meeting

Friday, April 8th, 2011

We recently flew two hours on a 50-seater modern turboprop plane from Entebbe (near Kampala) to Arusha, Tanzania for several days of meetings with other East Africa MCC Representatives. In addition to us from Uganda, there were representatives from Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia, and South Sudan as well as our “bosses” who represent all of this region.

We stayed in a beautiful mountain lodge and enjoyed the surroundings and amenities such as the pool. We had time for formal and informal conversation, worship, and entertainment.  On our last evening together we were treated to an outdoor barbecue and some traditional dances.