The Need of the people

The Need Where to start, the need is vast and anything we do is a drop in a bucket and this can almost be a reason not to start…. But how can we not at least try to make a difference to a few lives and who knows when we have started maybe we can change many more. In my first blog I mentioned the village Bukaleba and Lukindu in the parish of Lwanika. The village is a long way from the nearest town and there is no public transport and private vehicles or motorbikes are unaffordable by the majority. You will often see a family of 4 on a motorcycle riding over rough terrain with potholes that will easily destroy most vehicles.

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The Need of the people

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Excerpt
The Need Where to start, the need is vast and anything we do is a drop in a bucket and this can almost be a reason not to start…. But how can we not at least try to make a difference to a few lives and who knows when we have started maybe we can change many more. In my first blog I mentioned the village Bukaleba and Lukindu in the parish of Lwanika. The village is a long way from the nearest town and there is no public transport and private vehicles or motorbikes are unaffordable by the majority. You will often see a family of 4 on a motorcycle riding over rough terrain with potholes that will easily destroy most vehicles.

The Need

Where to start, the need is vast and anything we do is a drop in a bucket and this can almost be a reason not to start…. But how can we not at least try to make a difference to a few lives and who knows when we have started maybe we can change many more.

In my first blog I mentioned the village Bukaleba and Lukindu in the parish of Lwanika. The village is a long way from the nearest town and there is no public transport and private vehicles or motorbikes are unaffordable by the majority. You will often see a family of 4 on a motorcycle riding over rough terrain with potholes that will easily destroy most vehicles.

The Village History

The villagers used to make an income from farming the land around the village, selling the produce in the local markets.

It was an African farm, where animals from other countries brought their animals. It was a thriving community where people could support themselves and their families. In the 70s a sickness called African trypanosomiasis which is a sleeping sickness caused by the Tsetse fly bite. When this came to the area and it killed many people. The death rate was catastrophic and taking the lives of so many that a vast amount of the population decided to leave the village and head to the city or surrounding areas. In 1970 the government another major blow happened to the community when the land that they were farming was taken away by the government and given to two European countries. These countries then took over the area and they planted trees meaning the locals ability to grow crops was drastically reduced. There was still some land where people could grow crops however until in the year 2000 one European government took over all the land that was already planted with trees confiscated the remaining land that was still being farmed. This made a bad situation even worse as there was nowhere for the local people left to grow crops or raise animals. The hopelessness, poverty and inability to grow food has resulted in a desperate situation. The foreign governments have increased their land grab in the surrounding areas and prohibit the locals to grow anything there.

If a local person is found growing crops even at the edges of the woods the authorities come and destroy them and take everything away.

During our visit in early 2023 the road to the village was desolate as the trees that were planted in 2000 had been harvested and the land had just been left empty. In time new trees will be planted and the cycle repeats itself.

The Consequences

When the villagers ability to both feed themselves and earn an income was taken away increased property and desperation set in and most of the younger men of the village left for the towns leaving their wives and children behind. Unfortunately in the Ugandan culture a single woman with children is not an attractive option for a new husband so to further the problem the women often depart the village too leaving their children with the grandmothers who are generally unable to feed themselves let alone several more little ones. Quite simply the problem is that there is no support for these grandmas and no options to earn money to feed themselves. Often they will go without food for days and even when there is a meal is never more than one a day.

Our First Visit

After a very bumpy ride in the 4X4 we arrived at the village accompanied by little children running alongside the car excitedly. We started a tour around the village meeting the grandmas and seeing for ourselves the situation for the first time. It is quite overwhelming and hard to walk from hut to hut seeing empty huts and empty eyes, all hoping for a bag of food which Michael and his team often brings.

During one trip to the city of Jinga we brought several 50kg bags of rice and maize flour, dried beans and pulses, sugar, salt….. and soap!! Back at Michaels house we divided it all into 1kg bags of each ready for our next visit to the village. The sense of excitement as we packed was awesome knowing the need we were going to face and what a difference even a little was going to make.

As you can imagine, as we arrived at the village and opened the back door of the vehicle there was already a crowd of children around us excited to see us (and the sweets that we took). The followed us around the village for the next couple of hours as we gave out a supermarket bag filled with food (and soap), and the dark faces and hands that came out of the mud huts to gladly receive is a memory that will stay with me forever.

Seeing the state of many of the huts was also shocking. The construction is mud walls with straw like roofs supported by thin branches. Because many of these huts stopped being repaired. The walls are breaking down and what is left of the straw roofs is pathetic. When it rains, and in rainy season it doest stop for days, the grandmas and the children have to stand in the corners where the rain doesn’t come in. At night they often have to spend all night standing so they don’t get soaking wet.

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Life in the New School

Christianity and the Poor: A Call to Compassionate Action

Life in the Day of the Children – New Hope Uganda

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