They have been very industrious in their pursuit to re-establish their lands by planting orange trees, banana trees, various fruits and vegetables including cassava and corn. This year the rains have been very heavy and the neighboring wetlands in this area have increased consuming their fields and creating boggy gardens and orchards. The land is so wet that their home (thatched huts with dirt floors) are sitting in mud. They sleep on the wet ground and many of the elderly and children are contracting pneumonia.
Escweru had a list of goods he wanted to take to the people and asked if the church could help. We asked for his top, two items on his list which were tarps and blankets. He felt he could find other organizations to bring the other things. We were able to get cleared through our leaders in South Africa 1000 blankets and 1000 tarps.
We drove to Soroti on a Wednesday where we spent the night and got up the next morning to meet the minister and load up 400 of the blankets and tarps and headed northwest to two distribution sites. Minister Escweru rode in our truck with us, Ssimbwe, our site monitor driving and we were off with an entourage of a UN group, various other humanitarian organizations and a police escort of 6 armed police persons.
Finally we were off to the villages. As we got into the truck, Escweru stated that what he liked about our church was that we got the job done. He said all these other groups want to have a meeting first and assess the situation and eat sausages and drink soda. He felt they spent more money getting ready to help the people and they just needed to spend their money on the people instead. Seemed true enough as we were the only group who had brought anything to give while all the others were on a fact finding mission.
Look carefully you will see a man setting his fish traps
I mean this man really knows how to work the crowd. He spoke in the native tongue and so we did not understand anything he said but he had them cheering, laughing, warbling and even singing. It was becoming a festive event. Finally he called the missionaries up and told the people we had come to bring them some help. We would give each mother a blanket and each father a tarp. They really got excited.
The women were so excited and each mother got something plus each child got something to wear. There was a pair of bright, sparkly, pink slip-ons that were a big hit. One little girl wanted those shoes so bad. Escweru had her try them on but they were at least 4 sizes too small. She was so disappointed as he turned and gave them to another child. We did find her a cute pair of black velvet pants. Thanks Dewitts, Thanks Kartchners. We are sure you never had any idea that your children’s old clothes would become treasures here in Uganda.
When they arrived at the first distribution site they were surprised to see so many people. Seems the word was out and hundreds of people had walked all night to get to the distribution site so they could get a blanket or a tarp.