February 2015 visit to Kenya and Uganda
By Naomi Corera, February 22, 2015
Dear friends, I go. I see. I experience the pain. And now I come back to express to you what I saw, what I experienced, and what was gained by your generosity to improve the life of these people each day.
I was very excited to leave on February 7, 2015, to see our new accomplishments that had undertaken in the most recent months. First I stopped in Kenya, and then I went to Uganda. At each stop I have the gift of seeing the fruit of your generosity, such as ribbon cuttings for new homes and clinics, but really I am only a messenger of the people’s needs and a steward for your generosity to provide for their needs. Here is a recap of the projects from this trip. It always seems like such a short and packed time when I am there, and then I return with more motivation to keep serving for our brothers and sisters who are waiting everywhere.
Peter’s new home in Ruai, Kenya
Remember last year how moved I was with the desire to help Peter, the driver for Little Flower School in Ruai, when I saw his old home and how devoted he is to his family. So this year on my first day in Kenya I went to celebrate the ribbon cutting for Peter’s new home. It was an exciting day for Peter. In fact, Peter said he was so excited that his teeth might fall out. So I told him, “Peter, if your teeth fall out, just don’t swallow them.” We even bought him a new shirt and pair of trousers so he looked really elegant and smart on that proud day for him. There he was with his new shirt and trousers, his immediate family and some of his extended family and all the little children that he serves so lovingly and caringly everyday. They were as excited if not more excited than Peter for the new house for Peter’s family.
It was a beautiful, bright morning. The children sang God’s praises in thanksgiving and then got to tour the four-bedroom house. Father Louis, a missionary priest from Indonesia, blessed the house. The children entered the house singing, “This is the house, this is the house that the Lord has made.”
There was a very nice extra gift for Peter and his family, a set of Rosaries for each of them. Peter assured me that if I ever need an office in Nairobi, his home is available for me.
Green Estates Homes reblessing
Also, while I was in Ruai, Father Louis was kind enough to re-bless the Green Estates homes. Although it’s been three years since CWE was able to build these homes, it was wonderful to finally be here for a blessing of the homes.
The chickens and the eggs
This is a very interesting project in Ruai. Just next door to Peter’s new home is a different Peter and his wife Rose. They had asked me for school fees for their son. Instead of providing their school fees, though, I proposed that CWE provide the startup capital for a modest sized chicken and egg business. Now they are the talk of the town, with 600 chickens total – 300 actively laying eggs, and 300 chicks growing and readying to replace the current 300 egg layers. They presented me with several of the eggs. See their house now – it is a nice house – and now they are paying school fees for two children, not just one, with the 300 eggs per day from the hens. Peter quit his day job and cares for the chickens full time. He was eager to tell me the story of on the day that the sisters gave news to his wife Rose about the startup funds for these chickens, on December 1, 2014. Rose came home and was so excited that she was speechless with joy about the startup funds arriving.
St. Martin’s Health Clinic in Mukono, Uganda
After a very exciting first day in Keyna, I took the half-hour flight to Kampala and then the half-hour drive to Mukono, Uganda, for the ribbon cutting of the St. Martin’s Health Clinic. The man in charge of this project is Anthony “Tembo,” who is serving as the head clinicial officer here and would be comparable to a physician’s assistant in training relative to the U.S. medical system. Tembo was able to acquire the property of a failed shopping mall, with the help of CWE, and establish this small town clinic. Mainly the cases here are for outpatient services, basic dental care, counseling, and even a small pharmacy. There were already patients in the reception room and one receiving care by the morning.
The namesake of this clinic is a nod to Tembo’s brother, Martin, who was abducted by rebels at the age of seventeen and was never found again. Tembo’s parents were able to come, and Tembo’s brother is the priest, Fr. Augustine. Fr. Augustine studied in Rome and wrote his thesis on Catholic radio. A stranger read his thesis and then provided him the funds to start the local Catholic radio station in Kampala, Uganda, called Kasese Guide Radio. One of Tembo’s sister Teresa is a nurse, and she’ll be working in the clinic alongside Tembo. Tembo’s other sister is a nun, Sister Judith.
Father Augustine went around the clinic blessing the facility. The family even made me a special dress for the occasion – it fit perfectly! For this clinic, CWE was able to provide the funds to purchase all of the equipment for the facility. It was very apparent that the father of this family –the father of Tembo, Fr. Augustine, nurse Teresa, and Sister Judith – is a very holy man, and his children said that they had never seen their father as happy as he was today.
Water for the convent in Uganda
The sisters always give so much hospitality and an incredibly welcoming spirit. They were so happy for their running water and water heater for the shower. It was a joy to get to stay with them. There is a maternity clinic nearby this is also getting a large running water project. The sisters were finally able to wash their dishes right inside their house!
Rweibale maternity clinic
Thanks to a generous U-M doctor, the maternity clinic will be getting running water and has been gifted with a baby warmer as well as an incubator for preemie babies.
Kyakatara projects: toothbrushes, Holy Spirit School, empowerment group
My dentist Lucas gave me toothbrushes to give the children. They left their toothbrushes in the classroom here, but had their pencils to show.
We were able to provide Bibles for Holy Spirit School, by the request of one of the teachers, Ms. Rosemary.
Here we have also started a microfinancing group modeled after the internationally successful SACAs. We are calling this particular group “Divine Mercy” group. The concept is a small association that meets monthly, pools together a small amount of cash from each person, and draws the person from a hat for whom the pool will go as startup funds. The goal is accountability for savings, investment, and microfinancing.
John Patrick School
Here I was able to speak with the students about the importance of working hard with their studies and staying true to the right path morally. The top student from last year’s S6 class at John Patrick, Aloysius, was especially convincing for his peers to do their best and work hard. After his talk, I was so happy to provide Aloysius with a laptop to take with him for his university studies starting in April.
The water project at John Patrick continues. Water was not found on the school property, but was found on a neighbor’s property. All of the trenches must be dug by hand – intense physical labor.