Several days ago, I wrote an introduction about myself and closed with describing one of the highlights of my role as coordinating bi-monthly food distributions for our Kwejuna mothers and their families. For the last several years, the United Nation's World Food Program (WFP) has been providing food supplements (usually corn-soymeal blend, beans, oil and sometimes rice) in Bundibugyo to malnourished babies and infants, primary school children, and most recently HIV infected mothers and their families. However, WFP decided to shift their emphasis to other areas of Uganda and closed their Bundibugyo office at the end of last year. Since having adequate nutrition is an essential component of good health for those living with HIV, we sought to continue to provide food supplements focussing on protein rich foods like beans, and adding cooking oil, with private funds that we hoped to raise through our supporters and churches. These food distributions serve not just as an opportunity to provide good nutrition, but also serve as a way to follow-up on our mothers, test their babies and husbands and link them to care, provide social support, and offer spiritual encouragement and the hope of the gospel.
In the days since I mentioned our desire to keep this food program going, I have received news that a generous couple from my home church, Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City, have donated the full amount to keep this program alive for another year! I am in awe of their generosity. As I shared this with the Kwejuna mothers at a family support group I was running yesterday, the women clapped and cheered loudly. It was thrilling to see their unbridled gratitude. I also had the opportunity to remind them- and myself- that this is ultimately a generous gift from God, the giver of all good and perfect gifts. Mukama assimwe! Praise be to God!