Go Big or Go Home

Go big or go home. A great motto and always best if whatever it is you’re going big about is something worth doing.

I awoke this morning to great news……Joseph and Berna have new wheels! It’s true. We thought we were getting them two wheels but miraculously they got FOUR! God does things like this all the time, often when we least expect it. It really shouldn’t be a surprise.

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Most of the roads in the outer villages of Western Uganda are dirt roads. It is dusty and hot. And most of the travelers on these roads are walking or riding a boda boda. When a car or truck passes by, all of those left behind are left behind in the dust. Literally. Great clouds of reddish-orange dust swirling about, sometimes so thick you can barely see the people and animals walking alongside the road. And just about the time the dust begins to settle and everyone can breathe again, another car or truck rumbles by, kicking up a new cloud.

And it’s hot in Western Uganda. Sometimes really hot. And there are things to be carried, often things that are much too big to be carried on top of one’s head or on the back of a boda boda. Of course this doesn’t stop the Ugandans from carrying whatever needs to be transported. It is the way of life there. For me, personally, I really appreciate having the roomy space in the back of my SUV that I can transport most anything in with ease where it is weather-protected, climate controlled, and will arrive without a layer of red dust stuck in the cracks and crevices. Our great God took the generous donations sent by friends all over the globe for #projectbodaboda and made it possible to provide an actual car instead of a motorbike for Joseph to get up the mountains and into the villages – a shiny white vehicle with a roof on top and seatbelts and cargo space and maybe even climate control. How awesome is that?

The coolest part of this whole thing for me is being right smack in the middle of a project that involved people from all walks of life, from far corners of the world. Donations arrived by way of family members across the US to former students of the National Cat Groomers Institute (you guys rock!), to Canadians and old friends in Thailand, and folks I haven’t seen in ages and only know because of my former days showing Persian cats! It truly is remarkable! In these troubled times of crime and hatred and petty disagreements that don’t mount to a whole lot in the overall scheme of things, it has been truly refreshing to me to see my circle of acquaintances come together at a moment’s notice to make it possible for a kind and generous and very knowledgable Ugandan man to travel up mountains to minister to people that need it the most. This is just really really awesome!

I’m totally planning on taking a ride in this new car of Joseph’s when I go back to Uganda. And when I do, you can be sure I’ll have camera in hand as we dodge pedestrians and potholes, kicking up a thick cloud of the very dust I so long to breathe in again. There is more to this story. Thank you to the all who pitched in to make it so beautiful!

 

Note: the children featured in the photo above are from the village of Karungu where we delivered 2 cows in June. Is their excitement not contagious?!?

 

 

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Joy to the World

What a joy it has been to work at Sangaalo home for children in Jinja this past week! The Call to Africa team served by helping with the feeding, bathing, dressing, and general care of the 32 children living at Sangaalo. We also worked around the farm, caring for the animals, building nesting boxes in the hen house, repairing the swing set, and doing other random projects around the property situated at the end of a long dirt road at the top of a hill.

Sangaalo was started 6 years ago by a Ugandan woman with a passion for orphaned children. Damalie and her husband, David, work tirelessly alongside a group of folks from the nearby village to provide food, shelter, clothing, medical care, structure, discipline and love to children ranging in age from newborn to about 5 years of age, all of whom have been abandoned or left orphaned.

Sangaalo means “joy” and joy is exactly what you see in this place where they have so little in the way of material things. Call to Africa has worked alongside David and Damalie over the past couple of years to provide a variety of needs including 2 cows that produce milk for the children as well as create revenue from the sale of excess milk on a daily basis. Chicks, goats, and pigs also contribute to the cause of turning this wonderful mission into a self-sustaining one.

The ladies that came over for this particular trip, all from the southeast part of the US, spent several days loving on the children, helping with the 3x/per day bathing routine, feeding time, play time, naps and oodles of other responsibilities that go into caring for 32 youngsters. Can you imagine the work load? And I thought raising 5 kids was a lot!! Yet Damalie and her helpers do this kind of work day in and day out, providing so much that these children would never have otherwise. Some of the kids are sick and fussy. They cry. It gets wearing on the nerves. These ladies seem to be full of endless patience, much more than I could ever possess!

If you think about it, please pray for David, Damalie, and these ladies that care for the children each day. They need it!

I wanted to share a few photos that I was able to snap during our week at Sangaalo. I think the pictures say so much. I hope you enjoy!

 

 

To view my top picks from the Uganda trip, check out the album here. Photos can be downloaded and shared by using PIN code 4618. Please feel free to share individual photos or the entire album. The more people learn about Call to Africa and the country of Uganda, the greater the reach!

The Passing of the Cow

It is nearly midnight here in Uganda. It has been a long but productive day. I have so much to say…… today a cow in Uganda was named after me. And one after my daughter, Halla, who is with me here on this trip as part of the Call to Africa mission group. It has been a tiring but extremely exciting adventure thus far.

One of the many, many things that Call to Africa does here is work to meet the immediate physical needs of the people so impoverished. By most accounts, it takes $3 a day for a Ugandan to live at a very, very basic level. This is an impossible thing for my American brain to wrap itself around. A mere $3 per day. And yet so many Ugandans do not earn $3 per day.

This past January, the folks at Call to Africa spent some time working at an orphanage near Jinja where the ration of formula for the babies had been depleted. An immediate call to action by Call to Africa mission organization secured 2 cows for the orphanage. This made it possible for them to collect enough milk each day to provide for the children old enough to consume cow’s milk and then to sell the remainder each day, taking the proceeds to buy the much-needed formula. The provision of just two cows has solved a dire and deadly problem for this orphanage.

Today, through the amazing work of a pastor and veterinarian named Joseph living in a small village near Mbarara, Call to Africa was able to utilize the generous donations sent with us by supporters back in America to secure 6 cows and present them as gifts to some extremely needy people in Joseph’s village as well as the village of Karungu, about an hour and half drive from Mbarara. The cost for a single impregnated cow is $1400, which includes dewormer and vaccines to help keep the cow in good health. Joseph was able to wrangle a great deal so that instead of buying 5 cows as originally intended, the $7000 sent over with us specifically for cows was spent buying 6 cows! Yeah Joseph!

It was amazing to present each of the 6 recipients with the cows today, a gift that will truly keep on giving by providing milk for their own consumption as well as an invaluable opportunity to sell each day’s excess milk and thus help the villagers earn the $3 per day to survive. Each of the cows presented today are in-calf, meaning there will be 2 cows for each of the recipients in the not-so-distant future. The “Cow Project” or “the passing of the cows” as we have loosely been calling it, is a fantastic way to teach and promote an ongoing self-sustaining way of life. It is needed in so many places here in Uganda. I am pleased to report that today 6 cows were added to the project and the people in 2 different village are extremely thankful!

I have gotten to know Joseph and his sweet wife, Burna, over the past week. They work tirelessly to spread hope, truth, grace, and life to the people in very remote villages, sometimes on top of mountains. Joseph and Burna have no transportation. The old boda boda (dirt bike) that Joseph had at one time finally gave up the ghost. Joseph and Burna must now walk or hire a ride everywhere they go. Because of cost to hire and the impossibility of walking up a mountain to a remote village to do his work with the people and their animals, Joseph is unable to minister and serve as often as is needed. I came away from today determined to provide Joseph with a new boda boda that will enable him to traverse up the deeply rutted dirt roads that lead into the villages. The motorbike will cost $3500. I have already spoken with the folks at Call to Africa about utilizing them to send raised funds to purchase a boda boda for Joseph and Burna. There are channels that must be followed when sending money or making purchases within Uganda so that the money does not end up in the wrong hands.

I am personally going to work toward earning money for Joseph’s much needed boda boda bike. If everyone I knew pitched in $10, we could raise the $3500 quite easily and quickly, allowing us to present Joseph with a means of transportation. All it would take is giving up 2 Starbucks drinks or 1 night at the movies! I wonder if anyone would like to contribute toward this project that I have claimed as something that truly needs to be done. I’ve just got to figure out the best way to collect the funds for this project……..I will work on that tomorrow during the 8 hour drive from Mbarara to Jinja. I’ll keep you posted. I hope you all will help with this.

UPDATE:
For those wanting to help me raise the money for Joseph’s boda boda you can either send a check directly to Call to Africa non-profit or you can donate directly through their Facebook page via this link. IMPORTANT: everyone who donates for this particular need should message me and let me know so I can be sure your donation goes to this! If writing a check please keep “memo” line empty so you can take the tax deduction.

We WILL get Joseph his much-needed wheels!! I’d love to present a boda boda to him before we leave Africa on the 12th!

Please send me messages or email me so I can keep up with the total. Danelle@nationalcatgroomers.com

Call to Africa Facebook link with donation option and mailing address.

Call to Africa

2nd UPDATE:
We have raised enough to purchase a boda boda for Joseph thanks to the generosity of my readers! Thank you so much! What a difference this will make in the villages of Uganda! You guys are awesome! Stay tuned for photos of the new boda boda bike once we get funds sent to the right place and find just the perfect set of wheels for the task.

To view my top picks from the Uganda trip, check out the album here. Photos can be downloaded and shared by using PIN code 4618. Please feel free to share individual photos or the entire album. The more people learn about Call to Africa and the country of Uganda, the greater the reach!