One of the great things about going on a mission is the people you meet along the way. It is such a blessing to get to know people from a totally different culture and realizing that we are all God’s children and that we are just one of the grains of sand on the sea shore.
One of the delights of our mission here in Uganda has been to meet Eddie Mutebi. Here is a young man, 30 years old who seems to own the world. He is an active member of the church. He is not married but is engaged to Winnie but with no set wedding date in fact the marriage date changes every time we ask. He has so much going on he can’t find time to get married.
The Glenns (our predecessors) hired Eddie as a site monitor and used him to solve problems on several projects. He is mild mannered, quiet and full of energy. He can get more done in a day than anyone we know. That must be why Sis. Glenn dubbed him “Fast Eddie”.
When we got to Uganda Eddie was the contractor on the Mukono Springs water project. That project went very smoothly and we soon learned that Eddie is an amazing young man with many talents. He has put together a company called Union of Community Development Volunteers - Uganda (UCDVU) a community based organization that has 30 volunteers working to do good in the community. They secure homes for orphans, teach HIV/Aids prevention, train communities in health and hygiene and many other services. In the organization he has developed a natural springs development company that takes natural springs and turns them into a viable clean water source.
Eddie’s company is going international and will be developing springs in Rwanda for a big water project for the church, the first water project the church has done in Rwanda. But today Eddie is managing our water project in Masaka.
When we went to Masaka last week for a look-see at the project Eddie took us around to the schools and gave us the grand tour. While we were on the road we passed a very unassuming little house made of mud that we wanted to take a picture of.
Eddie said we would stop on the way back and see it. Seems the little house was his birthplace, the home his grandfather had built for his grandmother when they were first married.
Eddie was born in Bubondo Village in Masaka District. When he was 1 ½ years old his mother died during childbirth leaving 9 children for her husband to raise. Eddie’s grandmother came and took him home to relieve the father of some of the burden of parenting. Eddie’s father remarried having 6 more children but Eddie was raised by his grandmother and grandfather. His grandfather had served in WWII in northern Africa and left quite a legacy for Eddie. Eddie was raised with his uncles and aunts and they treated him as their little brother.
Grandmother was a great teacher who taught Eddie to work hard. He raised chickens to pay his school fees and put himself through primary and secondary school.
Eddie is the only member of the church in his family. He left Masaka with a man who was going to take him to So. Africa. When they got to Kampala the man dropped him off and left him. Eddie was in a strange city where he didn’t know anyone and he had no money. He wandered the streets until a stranger invited him to stay with his family while he found work. While on the street he met the missionaries and before long he joined the church where he received the fellowship and security he so desperately needed. He has served as a ward clerk for the past seven years and seldom misses a Sunday even though he often spends the week out of town on a job he always comes home for Sunday as he says the bishop is counting on him to be at church to fulfill his calling.
Eddie is a very successful businessman. Many of his employees are much older than he and he is a good boss, taking very good care of his employees by paying them a good income, providing food and housing for them on the job and providing medical care for them. He said that his family can’t believe that he has a company that is coming back to their village to bring them clean water.
We will be working with Eddie’s Primary school on the Masaka project building a latrine and water catchment system and when we went to visit the school the head mistress said, ‘ Our little Eddie has come back to bless us. This is a reward we get for educating such fine young men.’
Gertrude, Head Mistress of St. Bruno Primary SchoolEddie’s father is gone now and his grandmother recently passed away. It was a difficult time for Eddie to lose his grandmother as he always knew she was there for him and gave him great council and praise making him feel he could do anything. He attributes his success and work ethic to his grandmother’s teachings.
Eddie gave elder Barlow a tour of the homestead.
Eddie’s uncle still lives next door to the homestead and one of his cousins sleep in the old house. We spent some time with his family, most of who do not speak much English.
Eddie took a bag of suckers we had brought and treated all his cousins.Eddie took a bag of suckers we had brought and treated all his cousins. You could feel the love of this family as they laughed and talked in a language we could not understand.
Eddie’s cousin brought out this great clay pot. Eddie said his grandfather had made the pot over 50 years ago. It is used to store water and they still use it.
It is Eddie’s treasure and the family is keeping it safe for him till he has his own home. But next to the ancient clay pot was the proverbial jeri can rigged to catch the rain water,
using a banana tree stalk as a funnel for the water running off of the tin roof of Eddie Mutebi’s birthplace, the home built by his grandfather 50 odd years ago.
Some day you may be able to see a plaque on that house stating, “The Birth Place of Eddie Mutebi, Prime Minister of Uganda.”