It is a very warm Sunday afternoon here and I am feeling it is high time to bring you all up to date on life here in Uganda…
New Internship Program
Our first group of interns have arrived this weekend. During this month we will have a total of 25-30 young women and men join us for a 10-12 week internship program. Two young men from South Sudan, twelve came from a large university, another young man from nearby village with more to come. It’s exciting for us as we want to help equip a new generation of leaders on their journey. The interns will be involved our daily work programs on our farming locations, tree planting program in schools & communities, tree & plant nursery, value added processing, farm market sales and customer service and at our national agricultural shows stalls. We have lots of expertise to call on for specialized training sessions and and are eager to get started.
Our staff making double decker beds for our interns. The guys have learned skills like welding while working with us at Uwepo.
In addition to our internship programs, we keep looking for ways to add skills to our young staff and other community leaders. Friday we held a workshop “Discovering Your Leadership Voice”, led by a close friend John Mansour from YWAM Harpendon, UK. Next workshops will be on Customer Service, Marketing and Bookkeeping for Small Business.
Water Shortage in Our Village
Our house is facing nearby Lake Victoria and we are just a kilometre from the River Nile but… road construction is continuing between our house and the farm and one side effect has been a limited to non existent water supply.
First there were leaks from the road construction vehicles now the lines are being replaced. All in all we have not had water for the last three weeks. We find that there are interesting conversations going on here:
What is the maximum number of 25 litre jerrycans a boda boda ( motorcycle) can carry? 8 so far if they are full.
What is the best way to take a bucket bath so the water can be reused to flush toilets, water plants, etc?
We are trying to find grace in this and hope that funny smell is not us.
Writing a Children’s Book
There is a very, very limited supply of books for African children here. Even people sending books to the country will not meet the need of children to have stories in a context they can relate to. We have had some children authors at our farmers market recently. This has been very successful. Through some of these relationships I, Cheryl was inspired to write a children’s book. The theme on how planting trees affects animals and how children can be involved.
I am being mentored through this process by a lady with much experience and success.
The 2nd draft is finished, and we are excited about the potential .
I need your prayers to get this through the illustrating and publishing process.
Please pray for the right illustrator, good ideas on putting the book together and money to get it published. I have been told the whole process can be up to 7000 US. Also told it would come back quickly as the books begin to sell.
The Expected Long Rains… Disappointing
The normal rains come from March to June. Sadly they have been very late and sporadic this year. The government is projecting famine in many parts of the country (other African nations are doing the same). We are working hard to plant trees like jackfruit that are food security for times when other crops fail.
Pray that governments and organizations work towards long term sustainability solutions as well meeting the immediate needs of the poor.
10,000 Giant Lira Trees
We just moved 10,000 giant lira seedlings to our River Nile Farm where they will be planted in the next month. Grown from seeds in our nursery, giant lira is the best timber tree in East Africa with many benefits.
Hass Avocado Growing is Becoming Popular
While Uganda grows many varieties of avocados, the small Hass variety is becoming very popular for export and for oil. This young avocado is already producing on our farm at two years.
Planting Trees… Daily
The school term ended Friday and our tree planting team (Our Trees Our Future) were planting with schools to the last day. Last Saturday we had a tree seedling giveaway with our partners Trees That Feed Foundation and offered free seedlings to all visitors at our Jinja Farmers Market.
We’ve also continued to move out other districts in Uganda sharing about the importance of caring for future generations by caring for the environment. “Simple sustainable solutions for complex problems”
Pressures as we move forward
2019 has come with a greater set of challenges for us and we are often struggling together in many ways. We need your prayers in the following areas;
~ Senior accounting officer – We have interviewed numerous candidates and are ready to hire. (Update – we’ve hired and the accountant starts tomorrow)
~ Finances have been a great challenge. Personal finances and ministry finances. We need support for our monthly living expenses and sometimes larger items like rent four times a year, health insurance yearly (due now), etc.
~ Our Trees Our Future is entering the next season without funding needed to carry out tree planting goals. Usually Nick has been able to do some travelling abroad to share the vision but this has not happened yet in 2019.
~ We often face situations with corruption overtones that require wisdom to navigate through. We have a very difficult situation now… we would appreciate prayer.
~ External challenges to our work have come very recently and we need wisdom & grace to guard our communication and our hearts. It’s always disappointing when those you work closely with and trust, move against you in unexpected ways.
1. Finances for Tree Planting Outreaches
a) Help us plant trees with community groups representing 10-15 rural households each. Remember $50 helps plant enough fruit trees with a family to educate a child from kindergarten to college. Over 1200 families were helped in this way in 2018. Simple solutions to complex problems.
b) Help us plant trees in partnership with schools
$800 will sponsor a school that will receive tree planting education and 300 valuable trees. Last year we partnered with 52 schools.
c) A vehicle, 4-wheel drive pickup or double cabin to reach rural communities with our teams and tree seedlings.
2. Personal Finances
As we are on the road to creating a situation where we can be sustained through our agro-business activities in Africa, we continue to need financial support from friends. Your gifts help keeping us going month by month. Ask us personally for details if you would like to help out.
1. Key Personnel Needs Met – Financial Office, Internship Co-ordinator, Agronomist
2. The needed rains are coming now… better late than never!
3. Thankful for growth of our staff and the commitment to us and our work together. Often they go above and beyond… we are blessed!
4. Thankful for our health and safety
5. Thankful for the discovery of the “miracle tree” moringa and the energy it gives us.
Financial Partnership Opportunities
For tax deductible gifts in Canada please contact :
Into All The World – iatw.ca
727 Woolwich St. Unit 201B Guelph ON N1H 3Z2 * Note new address
Call the office at (226) 706-1701 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org Please designate what the gifts are for.
Thank you for your friendship and partnership,
Cheryl & Nick DeKoning