It's Friday and I am asking you to pray for Suubi Teen MOPS in Uganda. This week we received a generous donation to buy water filters. We had already saved some funds towards this need, but this gave us all we needed. Water-born sickness is common in Uganda. According to water.org 7 million people in Uganda have no access to water. And “urban people living in poverty pay as much as 22 percent of their income to access water from water vendors. Spending such a high percentage of earnings on water reduces overall household income, limiting opportunities to build savings and break the cycle of poverty.” Two years ago, Suubi had to pay for an average of 2 cases per month of Typhoid fever or bacterial sickness due to dirty water. And we also had several cases of burns. People must boil the water for up to two hours a day. And sometimes the water would slip from the fire injuring the person, often children. I remember once one of our kids being so badly hurt. It was tragic. We feared she would be scarred for life. But they rushed her to the hospital. And they treated her very well. And when I met her, she was completely healed. No scares. We have had only two cases of Typhoid over the past two years thanks to the water filters. We have had no burns in two years. The women no longer spend hours a day boiling water. They save money on charcoal. The filters are a blessing. But they only last two years. So it's great to replace them. The old filters are being recycled. They will be renovated and given to people who need them. We thank God for the gift of clean water!
This is one of the kids burned by the water. She is the one holding the red balloon after she recovered.
At the Suubi center, we bought a 10,000-liter water tank for water. It cost 150 Euros to fill. It was a temporary solution until we can afford to have a deep well built. The well will cost about 7000 Euros. We are seeking a grant for the well. But we also do some fundraising. We cannot count on grants. Over Christmas vacation, no one was on the Suubi property. The locals came and took all the water. They emptied 10,000 liters. I guess I would be upset about that, but I know they are desperate. Sylvia was driving to the center in the rain. She was about to go through a mud puddle when a woman with 3 children stopped her. They wanted to harvest the water from the mud puddle. The people continue to beg Sylvia to use the water from the center. We realize something must be done for the town, or the center will have people constantly trespassing. Stealing water and perhaps food and tools. I am not sure what is better, to build a well at the local church, or teach them how to do water caption off the roofs? Water is a big issue. You can not live without water. You can not grow crops without water. Animals cannot survive without water. Suubi can't live in a bubble. We must help pull the community up or they will pull us down. We already know this is going to be hard. We need wisdom.
They began making bricks this week. 4 men are working hard. It will probably take them 4 to 6 weeks to make 15,000 bricks. We are considering using the bricks for affordable rentals for our women. They are paying 100,000 shillings for one-room houses. These houses have no electricity, water, and only pit latrines. This is the only rental property available. We feel compelled to provide something better for them. It would still be rental houses. The income would help provide income for the Suubi center staff. But the quality of the houses would be very nice. So, we also consider having two more school rooms built in the style of the kitchen and dining room. This building is made of fire bricks. Fire bricks are cheap but bad for the environment. But if we build the rooms, it will be affordable. We would have the basic school built. And the building will be built over a rock field. We either build on the rocks or pay a company thousands of Euros to move the rocks. Snakes like to live under rocks, so we can not just avoid the rocks. We had planned to build the school with interlocking bricks, but now it makes sense to use the bricks for homes. It makes financial and practical sense. Please pray for wisdom.
The center was 100% dark. They had trouble finding power to charge phones. So, this week we also had a small amount of solar installed in the kitchen. Now they have two lights and power to charge cellphones. I am also applying for a grant for solar. That will cost about 2500 to 5000 euros. We will need the power to light the compound, the houses, run sewing machines, drive water pumps. Again, we cannot count on winning a grant, so if anyone wishes to give us the money for solar, that would be great. But it is very exciting we now have some power.
Right now, the women must race to prepare the fields before the rain comes. We are considering putting in large fields of ginger this year. It is a crop that needs only 7 to 8 months. It is supposed to be lower maintenance. They are first-time farmers, and they have building projects to do. The profits could potentially give them income for all next year. We are thinking about short-term needs and long-term investments. Working towards sustainability. They are doing very hard work. Pray for them to have joy.
Schools are to open in Uganda on Monday. We are considering keeping our kids in tutoring this term. There are already rumors of another lockdown. We just don’t trust things in this unstable time. If we pay the school fees to the schools and it locks down, we lose the fees. If we pay tutors this term, we are certain the kids get an education. Of course, we want the kids back in the classroom. Hopefully, stability will return. But right now, we are very uncertain about sending the kids back to school. We need the smoke to clear so we can make a good choice. We will let you know what we decide. 2 sponsorship families decided to stop sponsoring. So we now need 8 new families. It's sad but we respect our families and their situations change. You can read about child sponsorship on our website. You can also find ways to donate there. Thank you for your prayers. It cost 140 euro/160 USD a term to send a child to school or have private tutoring and provide food. We are short these fees for 8 kids. If anyone wishes to pay fees one term while we search for long-term sponsorship we thank you for your support.