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                                                  UPDATE 2012

I have faced many challenges on my 6 trips to Uganda (5 of them for our charity, Help Orphans And Widows). The flooded roads in 2007, volcanic ash disrupting travel plans through Europe in 2010, quarantine of animals in 2011, and lots of other frightening stories. However, it is all worth it when we drive up to a group of widows waiting out by the road, and cheering as they lead us and our pickup-load of goats into the meeting site. The minute I see them, I can’t hold back the tears of joy! They told David that they have been promised animals before, but this is the first time they have gotten them!

I went to Uganda on my 5th trip in late August, 2011. After I had booked my tickets in April, I found out that there was a quarantine against moving goats (any domestic animals) in or out of our District where we worked. Luckily, our widows from 2008 had 16 available goats that we BOUGHT from them! Isn’t that the way it should be? (I later got word in October that all the 4 remaining goats were given.) While visiting with the 2008 widows, I reminded them that they agreed to give us a female goat next year in the 4th year. Many international charities want the first born baby animal, but we couldn’t do that to people who were so destitute.

In 2012, I went in late August again. David, my interpreter, did a superb job of finding 20 more of the poorest widows, several who were handicapped. Of all the 104 families we have helped since 2007, the 20 widows from 2008 have impacted me the most. I remember how downtrodden and hopeless they looked back then. Now, they walk tall with an air of confidence. They have enough money for food, school fees (pronounced “skulfizz”) medicine and repairs to their huts. This year, they gave us back the gift of a goat. We were able to pass the female goats on to our new 2012 widows. Some could only give male goats, and so we gave a couple of extras to a local orphanage in Soroti. In addition to the gifted goats, we also bought more goats from our widows and some from a goat farm, to replace goats that had died from the widespread illness of goats and cows the previous year. We continue to support our previous widows’ herds until they are all self-sufficient. The 104 families probably = 450 children whose lives are much better.

For their gift of a goat, we gave them each a solar lamp that will not only provide light in their huts at night, they have a dual cord that will charge cell phones at the same time. They can charge a small fee for that service. We had found the solar lamps in capital city of Kampala for $20 each. What a difference it makes for people living in mud huts with grass roofs. They had been using kerosene lamps or candles, but those cost money. These lamps are far brighter and will enable the children to study their schoolwork at night. Being so close to the Equator, the sun goes down and comes up at 7:00 every day.

It was exciting to hear their stories (with David interpreting). Some have large herds! Two have sold some goats and bought plots of land! An unimaginable dream! Another sold a goat because she had malaria and needed to go to the hospital (you have to pay in advance there). One widow sold some goats to send her daughters to private boarding school. That seemed excessive until we learned that the daughters are 16 and 17 years old, and had only been through the third grade! Two have sold goats to buy milk cows. This will bring a good income although cows are harder to handle and have to be driven to water each day. Faith has sold a goat and bought a bicycle—transportation! One widow gave her grown son a goat to use as a bride price so he could get married.

Our Veterinarian’s assistant, Dr. Sam, has been a vital part of our program. We are still paying him to go out every three months to doctor all the goats. Each time, he re-trains the widows how to care for the goats. We had been paying for a motorcycle guy to take him. (One person on a bike is a boda, one with a passenger is a boda boda.) We have bought Sam a motorcycle – licensed in his own name. He will reduce his fee for the next couple of years, until that savings pay for half the cost of the motorcycle. Sam also has a charitable spirit, and said he will go out on any emergency call for no fee. Breaking news! He just reported that the 2012 widows from this September already have 7 baby goats! He (we) has since bought an additional 6 goats from our 2008 widows, still replacing previous widow’s goats. That is so exciting, since they receive nearly a year’s income with the sale of one goat.

Reaching out to Meru, Kenya in 2011, we gave Bishop William $10,000, to fence half of their 20 acre plot, build a barn and caretaker’s hut, and buy a herd. In the last report, they have a beautiful goat herd, and are well started on their program. It was very difficult for them to find Anglo-Nubian goats in Kenya. We expect them provide an ongoing income for feeding the hundreds of orphans he has identified. They have an orphanage, plus an outreach feeding program for those they cannot house.

This year, we are providing $2,000 each to two additional orphanages to establish dairy goat herds. One is in NW Uganda near Sudan to the North and the Congo to the West. This is run by a Marvin and Jewell Wright, a Baptist missionary couple who are very brave and hard working. The other orphanage is far to the West in Liberia called “Bridges Of Hope West Africa”. It was established by several Rapid City Lutherans who saw a need in 2005, and have built a wonderful school and orphanage they call “City Of Hope”. We are honored to reach out to these orphanages.

All that has been accomplished was made possible with gifts that you have given from the goodness of your hearts. Thank you so very much for your support. From Karen, Bonnie and Carol


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A Non-Profit Christian Charity
PO Box 9362
Rapid City, SD 57709

PROVERBS 27:27 "There will be enough goats' milk for your food…and for the food of your household."