Life is so often whittled down to the mathematics of a situation. You did not get the promotion at work because Mr So-And-So has more years of experience. Or looking at auctions [...] the highest bidder wins. Of course, numbers can make it easier to make a decision, from things as large as buying a house to determining how many pieces of pizza each child gets before the inevitable eruption of "That’s not fair he has more!" Numbers, or at least understanding quantity, is an important way for higher-order sentient life to understand the world. Many animals use properties of quantity and numbers. So, what does this have to do with Uganda?
Since we as humans are so sensitive to the bottom-line of a situation, and we are in a situation right now, where days count, we are just going to get down to the numbers and what they mean to people in Uganda. Right now, Uganda is experiencing challenging lock-down conditions because of COVID-19. The most vulnerable people cannot get medicine or food, and people are beginning to starve. Families often cannot reach work or find work when public transportation is shut down, or trade is not occurring. They are not just hungry; they are beginning to starve. Other people are dying because of the inability to reach medical care and have begun ineffectually dosing themselves with herbs that won't work in the case of this illness. The Orthodox Christian Youth Network of Uganda [OCYNU] has been tirelessly organizing a task force comprised of Ugandans who will deliver food to about 700 vulnerable people. In trying to help those around them, they are truly living out the command to remember the "least of these."
Orthodox Africa works alongside OCYNU regularly in ministry and sustainability. We urgently ask you to consider giving to the task force. As someone on our team so aptly and bluntly said, if people are dying from hunger, there is no point in working on sustainable enterprises. Desperate times often call for extreme measures, and this is one of those times. Make no mistake, the Ugandan people are in dire straits right now!
From the Orthodox Christian Youth Network of Uganda’s President: Charles Mugulusi:
“OCYNU will be officially kicking off an exercise that will provide food relief to vulnerable Orthodox [Christian] youth in Kampala, Jinja, Fort Portal, Kumi, Nakabaale, Luweero, and Wakiso affected by the coronavirus Lockdown, on 12/07/2021. (July 12th) ed. The focus will be ensuring that the vulnerable youth, elderly, orphans, sick, and those who live hand to mouth but were affected by the Lockdown are taken into account. According to the program, each person will be given 5kg of maize flour, 3kg of beans, and a washable mask."
This may not seem like a lot of food. And compared to what most of us in the developed world eat, however, it is not. This amount of food will supply 1 person for 42 days [6 weeks] about 1.5 months. What is the cost of this? The answer is only $20.00 per person. You might be thinking to yourself…twenty-dollars is enough for the forty-two-day worth of food? Yes, this is the actual reality! Here is where the numbers come into sharp focus.
- For $20.00, you can feed 1 vulnerable person in need for 1.5 months.
- For $100.00, you can feed 5 vulnerable people for 1.5 months.
- For $500.00, you can feed 25 vulnerable people for 1.5 months.
- For $1000.00, you can feed 50 precious people for 1.5 months.
- For $2000.00, you can feed 100! Yes, 100 of your brothers and sisters for 1.5 months.
Seeing the numbers makes a big difference. Our Orthodox Christian family in Uganda is hungry. Here at Orthodox Africa; we say let's set some more plates and make sure they can eat too! Thank you for giving whatever you can to help your Orthodox Christian family in Uganda receives their daily bread! You can donate through Orthodox Africa via our website www.orthodoxafrica.org or on our Facebook Page, and we will take care of making sure it is sent directly to OCYNU. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us.
When donating, please mark your donation for the OCYNU and or send us an email at email@example.com so we know what your donation is for. You can also visit OCYNU's Facebook Page at https://www.facebook.com/OCYNU/ for more information about their organization.
Since joining Orthodox Africa in the Fall, the leadership, teachers, students and parishioners at St. John Chrysostom School and Annunciation of the Theotokos Parish in Nakyaka, Uganda has been very busy! In October, a second Straight Interlocking Stabilized Soil Block (ISSB) press machine was purchased with donations from Orthodox Africa supporters. This machine allows straight bricks to be made for straight wall construction. The first ISBB machine, which makes curved bricks, expands the ability to construct various types of things. Here you see the output of the ISSB curve block press machine being used to make a second rainwater harvesting tank. Notice the student’s desks being used as stools on which to stand! Those were handmade. Ingenuity and craftsmanship are used to full advantage in the school and church.
The worries about food and what to eat tomorrow are eased by the two acres of land at the St. John Chrysostom School which were planted with potato starts. Father Stephen Lunagula reminded everyone of Jesus’s words “Never get worried of what you will eat tomorrow — Your God in heaven knows of your needs.” (paraphrase St. Matthew 6:34) Nonetheless, planning is essential to those at the school, so straight into the ground went the potato starts! The goal towards fully funding the digging of a borehole well for water is ongoing. As was said so eloquently by Martin Becktel “water goes to the heart of the Gospel.” Jesus Christ is our spiritual water. Safe drinking water is our life. He says further when we express kindness to someone in a tangible way specifically in Jesus' name, such as through providing water, and even permaculture training and Christ-centered academic education as the Lunagula’s are seeking to do, we are also opening the door for them (and ourselves) into a society where all of our Lord’s word is honoured and kept, not just what He said about water and food, but much more. “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” Matthew 4:4. This is the beginning of wisdom and freedom and everything good, the fear of the Lord!
By God’s Grace, crops continue to grow. By that same Grace, they will be ready for harvest in the new year. Unfortunately, the ongoing lockdown which began in March has prevented St. John Chrysostom School from being open. Not only has this adversely affected the children, but it has also negatively affected the Lunagula family who runs the school. It is the source of their livelihood. As we anticipate celebrating the Incarnation of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, many are thankful the year 2020 is drawing to a close. It is one that was full of burdens. We covet your prayers for:
- Father Stephen Lunagula and his beloved family
- The students and their families of St. John Chrysostom School
- The volunteers who sacrificially give of their time and talents at the parish and school
- Martin Becktel and his beloved family
May God in His Mercy grant a peaceful and healthy 2021. Understanding the economic strain many of our supporters are experiencing, we at Orthodox Africa are very grateful for your prayer-filled support. If you can spare even one dollar your donations will be put to important use! Donate here on our website today!
The project that Father Johnson Otara Hezekiah and Pappadhia Irene Moraa started with the blessing of Bishop Athanasius Akunda of blessed memory is beginning to bear fruit! Following pastoral visits, fourteen orphans and their guardians began to visit St. Peter Orthodox Church. The small community were in support of the philanthropic ministry that the parish was beginning to conduct. Fr. Hezekiah and Pappadhia Irene started a feeding program from their own small garden and church members started providing food and clothes to the children. Since the beginning of the feeding program, six children became full-time boarders. A small dormitory was built, along with an administration building. Due to lack of bedding, the remaining eight children do not board at St. Peter's but is fed through the feeding program. Recently, crops of corn and beans were planted. The seedlings have germinated and are growing well. This is indeed a blessing and with God’s mercy, they will grow strong and be able to sustain the feeding program.
Following the goal of Orthodox Africa to become a self-sustaining mission, Fr. Hezekiah and Pappadhia determined that owning cows for milking and calving would be the best start to achieving self-sustainability. Through the support of Orthodox Africa donors and the local church, a small parcel of land, enough for two cows was purchased. Grass for the cows to feed on will be planted on the newly acquired land and a structure for the cows to be housed is partially built. Once it is completed; another cow will be able to be purchased. Step-by-step, St. Peter Orphanage and School are walking the road to self-sustainability. This has been possible only through the generosity and love of Orthodox Africa donors all across the world!
Recently Father Hezekiah held a “Mothers Seminar.” It was organized for all the churches in Kisii to teach them about self-reliance and the importance of giving offerings to the church. Please keep Pappadhia Irene’s mother in your prayers. She continues to be in the hospital with liver illness and is undertaking medication for the problem. The sun rises in the east and sets in the west, rain comes to water the crops, laughter is heard as the children play and learn. Through His prophet Malachi, God said, “I will open the windows of heaven for you. I will pour out a blessing so great you won’t have enough room to take it in!” Thank you, dear Orthodox Africa donors, for all of your support, both spiritual and financial. Without them Father Hezekiah, Pappadhia Irene, and the faithful of St. Peter Orthodox Church would not be able to do the work of the Lord!