Sunday, December 16, 2007

Uganda Eat That?

Dear Friends and Family,
Dear Advocates for the Weak, Marginalized, and Oppressed,
Dear Proponents of Alternative Energy,
Dear Believers in Education and the Transformative Experience of Travel Abroad,
Dear Lovers of God,
Dear Lookers for Year-End Tax Deductions:

I have a fantastic opportunity for you! I am more excited about my next trip than any I have taken before. Let me tell you about it and explain why I think it is an excellent opportunity not only for my family, my students, and me, but for you as well.

What is the plan?Half a dozen engineering students will travel with me and my family to 500 acres of rural Uganda on the Victoria Nile River to partner with a new Christian non-profit organization called Restoration Gateway. Among the goals of visionary leader Tim McCall, M.D., are to build an orphanage, a medical clinic, a seminary, a vocational training school, and other ministries over the coming decade. At this early stage, infrastructure needs have a high priority. At present, a team of 40 Ugandan employees is producing bricks for building construction. The first orphan home now has a foundation and walls. Our assignment is to provide electrical power for a cluster of orphan homes using wind power. We will specify, purchase, and assemble a suitable wind turbine(s) and associated electrical gear. We will design, construct, and erect towers to mount the turbines including guy wires and foundations.

Our friend Katy took this photo while visiting Restoration Gateway. These children, while poor, are not orphans. Imagine the plight of orphans there...

Why Uganda?
Beginning in 1987, civil wars ravished the country, especially in the north, halting forward economic and social movement, and robbing thousands of children of their innocence. The guerrilla army known as the Lord’s Resistance Army has engaged in mass abductions, rape, murder, and forcing children to be child soldiers or sex slaves. The conflict and abductions largely ended a few years ago, but the scars (physical, emotional, economic) are still present.

Part of Dr. McCall’s strategy is to train and mobilize the church in the southern part of Uganda, relatively stable and prosperous, to minister to its own in the north. Thus, there will be educational and training aspects to his planned medical clinic, for example. My point is that investments made in this project will not only serve the immediate needs of the area, but continue to earn the interest of good works from future generations of Ugandan nationals.

A Personal Note:
M and I went to visit Restoration Gateway in September of this year. It was her first time to Africa and she was profoundly moved. She often cried at night and when I asked her why she said it was just so hard to see such poverty and suffering. It is hard. And it is life changing. We slept under a mosquito net in a traditional mud hut with a thatched roof (albeit with a new concrete floor). I was helping with a solar panel array for the base camp, and M made bricks, worked with a medical student doing HIV testing, and befriended the ladies. M made a friend in Evelyn, one of the workers employed by Restoration Gateway. Her two youngest children would accompany her to work and quietly play while she made bricks. The older of the two was named Jewan and was about eight. She took care of her little sister, Small (her real name apparently) who was less than two. On our last day, Evelyn brought a gift for us from her children, three raw eggs from their chickens and a bag of “gee nuts” which you and I know as peanuts. We were touched by her generosity.

For our next visit we plan to stay three weeks instead of one. We want to bring the boys too. We feel that this trip could be a trajectory setting experience for them as they see their parents and many others living out a calling to service to Christ through the service to the poor.

How Can You Find Out More Information?
This post could be a much longer, but I want to respect your time and be concise. However, I created a blog to help disseminate information to my students and their parents. Please see (this is not a joke despite the witty URL). From there you can read more about why I believe this is the project God has for us right now. You can also read a detailed list of the equipment we need and perhaps choose one to underwrite.

Will you please prayerfully consider joining us by contributing financially to this endeavor? Please leave me a comment or send an email to find out more about this tax-deductable opportunity.

Middle-Aged Fat Guy


Angela Fehr said...

Tenkyu tru for visiting my blog, Brian! Sounds like you make life-impacting trips on a fairly regular basis!

Tok Pisin is such a fun "language" - quick to learn and fun to use. When we returned to Papua New Guinea in 2005, I was able to use it despite 11 years having passed since I had been exposed to it. Any trips to PNG on your agenda??

Brian said...

The thought of taking a trip to PNG is what got me started doing these trips. I think it was God's way of getting me interested. I am still in contact with my friend and hope to, one day, work there. Lukim yu behain!