The purpose of the mission trip was to experience first-hand the work Tearfund have been doing in Uganda. The trip was headed by Seth Pinnock and Lisa Adeji. Our group was made up of 6 fabulous ladies who are all doing wonderful work in their respective spheres of influence.
I had the opportunity to meet with entrepreneurs, teachers, children, church leaders, community leaders, community facilitators who were individual that were beneficiaries of some of the projects that Tearfund have run.
Tearfund run the following programs in Uganda:
- Church and Community Transformation
- HIV & AIDS
- Orphans & Vulnerable Children program
- Child Survival Program
- Village Saving Loan Association
- Saving and Credit Corporation
- Food security program – Conservation Farming
- Participation Evaluation Program
We took what felt like a death defying trip up a mountain to visit schoolchildren and teachers and to speak with community facilitators and hear how they have benefited from the partnership programs. We were greeted with such joy, happiness and energetic dancing.
We meet beneficiaries from the HIV program, they shared inspiring stories of how they are able to live with HIV and minimise stigmatisation, one lady in particular shared her journey of transformation and how she was able to regain her strength and support others in the community.
I can add mountain climbing to my list of achievements. The water sanitation program was located at the top of a mountain a 2 hour climb took us to see the sophisticated engineering that served several communities with clean water. The impact of this meant that children could go to school instead of having to take a 4 hour round trip to fetch water for their family.
Meeting with Ronald and Joy was most remarkable. Ronald took a loan, the equivalent of £50 purchased a pig, when the pig had its litter he sold each piglet for £10 he used the proceeds to repay the loan and repeated the process. Over a 5 year period, he went on to add 2 more rooms into his family house he purchased more land and more live-stock so that he could add value to his family. Ronald actually told us that he is so glad that he is “no longer living in poverty” and one of the significant things about his concept was that because he was able to use his entrepreneurial skill to generate revenue for his family as well as create employment for the local community the significance of his decisions and the impact that has from a generational perspective on his daughter who is able to go to school without fear of being sent home.
Alice my Ugandan business partner showed me her business strategy of how she would go about expanding her business in order to increase her customer base, her creativity, innovation, tenacity and drive to contribute to her family was awe inspiring.
In general the Ugandans demonstrated “Joy” when I look at what we saw and experienced in the rural villages no Wi-Fi, no microwave, no laptop, no TV none of the modern conveniences that we seemingly cant live without. When I think about what I actually heard from the people – I heard vision, legacy and generation planning and you can see it in their work-and the way how people commit themselves to what they do. It was incredible to see how individuals that have seemingly nothing make it everything. The Ugandans gave us the best-of their food, they demonstrated unity and work- ethic with such joy, key lessons for those of us in the developed world.