Friday, November 28, 2008

Christmas Goat Giving

We are so thankful for more than 100 families who received dairy goats in 2008, funded by the generosity of our friends and supporters in America.  Once again this year we are offering the Give-a-Goat opportunity.  For $130 we can purchase and transport a specially bred dairy goat here in Uganda, train a family in its care, give them a few tools for constructing a simple shed, and then allow them to take the goat home.  Thanks to this project, many children who otherwise would have starved, can thrive—drinking the calories and protein they need.  Most of our recipients are babies whose mothers have died, or whose mothers are infected with HIV/AIDS and therefore need to wean them from potentially infectious breast milk. 

Your donation is a gift to a family which is about as close as one can come in 2008 to that of the homeless and wandering parents of the infant Jesus, living on a slim margin of survival.  The first 100 donors will receive a hand-made African Christmas tree ornament which symbolizes the real gift of the goat.  Please put it on your tree to remind you that Christmas is all about incarnation:  love in bodily form, God becoming human and needing milk, your generosity translating into a real live animal and its milk.

The mechanics:

1.     Use the "Give-a-Goat" button on our sidebar (or at to donate by credit card.  This is the simplest and fastest method, and allows our colleague Ginny Barnette in the Sending Center to quickly confirm your donation and address and mail you the ornament.  Here is the direct link :

2.     Send a check to WHM Donation Processing Center, P.O. Box 1244, Albert Lea, MN 56007-1244, writing "Goat Fund  12375" on the memo line.  Since the processing and return of the information to Ginny could take a couple of weeks, you may want to email her ( in order to be sure you receive the ornament before Christmas. 

3.     If you would like the ornament mailed to a DIFFERENT address than the one on your credit card or check, you must also communicate this to Ginny.  A card will be included with each goat describing the program.


Saturday, November 22, 2008

To Whom Does it Belong?

To whom? To whom? To whom does it belong?

Hands on hips, bobbing up and down, Heidi and I chant in unison with the other thirty volunteers who showed up for Lamech’s seminar on ownership and sustainability. We were utterly clueless as to why we are chanting, and why we are chanting this particular phrase, but no one else was having similar qualms. Apparently, such “energizers” are common in Ugandan seminars. It’s pretty impressive when you think about it, because it definitely would take more than two minutes of chanting to keep me refreshed and focused through a 7-hour seminar.

Pauline, Lamech and Baguma Charles, entirely on their own initiative, organized this training for the BundiNutrition volunteers and a few other key farmers in the community. Many of the attendees were members of the four BBB production teams, others were volunteers from the Busunga/Bursaru outpatient nutrition programs, or buck keepers from around the district. They listened attentively and participated actively. The morning was spent brainstorming what makes an effective team, and ways for the production teams to be self sustaining if BundiNutrition is not around some day. The afternoon discussion centered around brainstorming micro-enterprise ideas with a focus on local chicken projects.

Heidi and I agreed that one of the best things about this seminar was that (other than organizing the lunch) we had nothing to do with the planning or execution. Often there can be a disconnect when we Bazungu come in with our ways of thinking. In this case, Ugandans with a wealth of knowledge and creative ideas were effectively encouraging and educating each other.

When we’re discouraged with the state of the district, it’s a privilege to glimpse how God is truly working in the hearts and minds of community members.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

The Unsung Heroines of Motherless Babies

Dear Readers, 
These two motherless babies are cared for by some of the unsung heroines of Bundibugyo, Grandmothers!  These two babies born were born one day apart and have just turned 6 months old left to right: Ategheka Francini (the Italian Mubwisi) and Batigwa Bususanna. Their mothers died after giving birth to them and their grandmothers came to the rescue. Both grandmothers have nursed their babies in the hope of producing milk after years without having children. One of these has been more successful at providing breast milk than the other. Grandmother Francini came to us the very day his mother died and received milk and Dr Jennifer's attention. Grandmother Bususanna came days later and received the same kindness and care. 

I wanted you to see the faces of these heroines who carry on their backs baby, milk and beans to and from their homes deep in the village to receive medical attention and support for their grandchildren, sometimes great grandchildren.  

Once when we were waiting for the motherless caretakers to receive medical attention, I asked the volunteer staff, "Which baby would you choose to be if you could be any one of these babies and be cared for by one of these grandmothers?" We all had different answers because we each saw such wonderful nurture and love displayed by several of these amazing heroines. I thank God for the selflessness of these women who lay down their lives to care for these motherless babies.  thank you too for the generosity of your gifts that enable us to give milk, beans and vitamins to many children in the Nutrition Program!