Kampala, Uganda Day 2: Katoogo Slum Colony, ‘She Has Hope’

My second day in Uganda brought me back to the beautiful people of the Katoogo Slum Colony where Peace Gospel International operates a school and nutrition outreach in conjunction with local leadership. Today I was able to be around to observe breakfast and lunch being served to our nearly 200 students, which is quite a feat for our school’s team to accomplish each day!

The Children’s Hope Center of Kampala is a new project of Peace Gospel, and although we lack the funds to adequately maintain the outreach, we’re doing the best we can with the limited funding available. That’s why you will see quite rudimentary facilities in my photos. As well, as mentioned in yesterday’s blog post, the school has been prone to flooding and that’s why the floors look roughshod. We are in the process of raising the level of the school to prevent further flooding. Funding is being sought from donations to provide more classroom space, more desks to replace ones damaged in the recent floods, and relief funding for stockpiling of food staples, which have doubled in price due to recent food shortages in Uganda. If you might be able to chip in toward our goal of $5,000 to shore up immediate needs, we would be grateful.

After lunch was served, I took some more photos of the classes in session, and then wandered around the colony meeting more of our amazingly resilient neighbors you’ll see in the photos after the school shots. They deal with so many challenges, yet most are able to maintain their smiles. Life is definitely hard in the colony with so many hazards present, not to mention unemployment, crime, and disease. Sewage waste accumulating in stagnant pools scattered throughout the colony and trash strewn about everywhere has created several health problems for the residents.

In brighter news, our new Kampala ‘She Has Hope‘ rehabilitation home has recently launched, being modeled after our Kathmandu, Nepal rehabilitation home. You’ll see some of the girls we’ve recently brought into our new home, and them enjoying their craft-making classes. The goal is to equip them with all the skills they need to enter the workforce as empowered citizens, fully realizing their potential, restoring them to a life full of hope.

Click/tap on any photo to start a slideshow. 

Rural Uganda: Mairinya Primary School, Local Village Life

In a remote part of southeastern Uganda in a town called Mairinya, Peace Gospel International’s local team operates a K-7 primary school serving about 200 children in the area. These children have no other access to education within a reasonable walking distance.

The school provides a warm porridge breakfast and a fresh-cooked lunch for the children each school day. The facility consists of 3 buildings and 4 pit latrines. The two main school buildings are seen in the first photo. Our first building is the temporary wooden one with dirt floors seen to the left, and the newer, permanent one is seen at right. The other nearby building across the road serves as office, storage and kitchen space.

I was deeply impressed with the children’s understanding of the material they were studying and their command of the English language. The staff are warm and very fun-loving toward the children, led by the gregarious example of Mr. Moses, their dedicated and hard-working headmaster who takes the bus two hours each way to reach the village. Dedication! Four other women work as support staff, preparing and serving meals and providing other assistive duties on campus. Their joy is contagious as you’ll see in the photos.

In the second portion of this post I’ll introduce you to the villagers and village scenes around the school, to give you a better idea of the local lifestyle and dwellings.

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Breakfast is served! Fresh-cooked porridge, which they either drink straight from the cup or with a leaf spoon like this little guy has here.

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After breakfast classes begin!

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We were able to purchase some new uniforms last week, and the children were excited to try them on. But we still have several we need to purchase. At about $10 per child and 200 children, it’s not a small expense. Don’t they look great?!

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The rest of the children were measured for uniforms. While they were waiting in line for their measurements, I took a few photos (surprising, I know).

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Then it was back to class, with me making plenty of interruptions, of course.

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By then we were hungry again and broke for lunch which consisted of rice and beans. During harvest times we are able to prepare the meals using organically grown ingredients from our farmland and garden project.

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The water source in Mairinya is not very safe and many of the children are complaining of common water-borne illnesses. We are in the process of getting funding together for a new safe water bore well which will be located on campus and made available to the entire village. You can see in this photo the water being served to the children is quite murky.

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The ever-jovial support staff…

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After lunch I spent more time around the classrooms and got a few more shots of these beautiful children who are all so happy to be in school. The girls of the K-4th classes send you their love…

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And for my Canadian friends…

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Now to take you around two or three of the local villages in this area… the people are so welcoming and the children always excited to see a foreign face. I’m sure they must think I’m a bit crazy, taking interest in what they see as simple everyday life. You’ll see the ubiquitous yellow jerry-cans which the children will carry for miles to reach local wells, some safe, some not very safe, to fill up with the day’s water needs.

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Rural Uganda: Clinic, High School, Farmland, Children’s Outreach

Some miscellaneous shots from around Peace Gospel‘s main campus in rural Uganda.

Some fun news in this post. But first a little update about our clinic. Our hospital is not yet fully operational, so I’ve decided to still just call it a clinic for now. Once we can gain more profits from our farmland & garden enterprise, and/or raise more monthly sponsors to cover the staff needs at the clinic, then we can call it a hospital. Almost everything else is in place for it to be a true hospital.

Here are a couple of shots from around the clinic which offers medical aid to local residents and their children. We do have one full time nurse seen in the photos, who is licensed to administer first aid and medicines from our small-scale pharmacy. We hold seasonal medical camps at the clinic; in October we treated over 1,000 local residents in a 3 day period.

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Our high school is home to several children who would otherwise have no access to education past “Primary 7” which is the American equivalent of “7th Grade.” To serve the 460,000 residents of the Mayuge district, there is only one government high school with adequate facilities. There is simply no room at the high school, and even so, if there were, most the Mayuge children would have no way of reaching the school. Thus we have started our own high school to offer an affordable alternative for the rural children to continue their education past Primary 7. Many are on scholarship, and for those who do pay, it is very minimal, avg. $20/month. A total of 153 young scholars attend the school. We also have a boarding facility at the high school, home to 45 of our scholars during the school year. Here are a few scenes from the high school. This first shot is from lunch time.

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The big news is that our orphan home on campus is getting several finishing touches, including painting, fixtures, an full indoor kitchen and a security wall, all being completed this week. Here are a few scenes I captured from the new home which is situated right beside the high school. Our directors Frank & Susan are so happy to finally be able to live on campus with the orphans they’ve adopted as well as their biological children. The new facility is a vast improvement over the previous rented home which was just a rudimentary shelter with an outdoor kitchen.

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Our native team has a 6-acre farmland to help supplement their funding and provide nutritious ingredients for the meals served to the students and local children they reach with nutritional support. Frank surprised me with news of their effort to raise turkeys! So you’ll see a shot from the– what do we call it? “turkey house?”– here, as well as from our piggery and potato crop. The farmland employs several locals who are proud to be a part of the project. (The boy pictured in the potato field is not working the field, he is just playing, by the way– I’ll get emails if I don’t clarify this!) The vegetable garden is being replanted for the coming rainy season at the moment, so you will not see that.

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Our nutrition & hygiene outreach program serves several children from the community whom we have identified as at-risk. Here are a few photos from one of the meal times when we served over 80 children a fresh-cooked meal. These children also receive hygiene supplies when needed, as well as clothing and school supplies.

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Uganda: Kampala “Children’s Hope Center”

In the midst of the Kampala slum colony known as “Katoogo” (see my previous post for context) lies the Children’s Hope Center, an education outreach of Peace Gospel International. The program is operated by locally empowered leadership in Uganda. In its humble facility the center offers a Kindergarten through 7th primary education for about 100 children who would otherwise have no access to education. Several of the children are orphans and stay with our program leader and his family in a make-shift orphan home located in the colony. The program provides the students with school supplies, second-hand shoes and uniforms, and nutritional support including daily breakfast, lunch and clean water. Thanks to a recently successful fundraiser, the past three weeks the facility has been undergoing renovations and improvements to prevent flooding and provide adequate shelter for the students during the rainy season. The improvements include upgrading from dirt to concrete floors, a new roof, permanent chalkboards and other repairs and upgrades to the perimeter of the facility that will prevent flooding and keep the children safe. I was so happy to get to see some of the upgrades already complete or underway. The children, teachers and administrators are so thankful for your support, as they had been awaiting the critically needed improvements for quite some time.

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