Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Sue Richardson's reflections

One of the team that recently visited Uganda with the Advisory board was Sue Richardson. Sue is a retired teacher and has been keen to become involved with Love Africa from the beginning. here are some of her thoughts and reflections....

Having just returned from Uganda, visiting the Love Africa projects, I cannot help but reflect on the wonderful people and children I met. People who had so little but so much. It has changed my perspective on life.

I remember the day when we left Soroti in Eastern Uganda to travel to Mbale the country’s second largest town. It was early morning many people were up and about walking or on bicycles, the red earth creating a cloud of dust every time a heavily laden truck roared past. The countryside with fertile rich soil was well cultivated with beans, maize, potatoes and cassava.

We were on our way to visit UWCM (Ugandan Women Concern Ministry) and Edith Wakumire who has a passion and a strong Christian belief to help the poor and needy. This ministry cares for women with HIV/AIDs and their children. They work within the community helping the vulnerable women by reconstructing housing, giving the necessary seed for planting and making them self sufficient where possible.

Edith, a larger than life Ugandan lady with an infectious smile, met us. After initial introductions we were ushered into vans for our trip to Bulaago, a village high up in the mountains and close to Mount Elgon. The road was narrow deeply rutted and up!

Eventually we reached Bulaago to be greeted by local women singing and dancing happy to hug and shake hands with us. Children stroked our skins – we were the first “white” people they had seen.

UWCM work through Community Mobilisation Teams (CMTs) and use volunteers mobilised through local churches to reach those in need in the community. A group of us went to see a grandmother and her five grandchildren. She had been widowed; her daughter had recently died from HIV/AIDs leaving her to care for the children. Her modest hut had burnt down but with UWCMs help the community had provided her with a new shelter. She was now able to care for the family. She had been given encouragement, hope and love to continue.

This truly was God’s Love in Action. It reminded me of James 2 v.5, ....has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him.

Edith was keen to show us the valley in which she had grown up, and once again children followed us. The view was spectacular and so beautiful. Our next stop was to view the new school building, which UWCM had funded. We stopped a football match to drive across the pitch!! Currently UWCM are working with five schools in the area, helping more children in villages by improving the rural schools. They focus on addressing health issues; training for teachers, improving the living conditions for teachers, and providing furniture and improved buildings.

Edith’s energy is limitless. The slogan on the back of the CMTs tee shirts is “Empower a woman and you empower a nation.” May the work of UWCM continue to help those women, children and people living with HIV and AIDs to live a dignified life, and may I never forget the wonderful work through Jesus Christ that they are doing.