Friday, October 24, 2008
"Everything must have a beginning"
We have arrived to start our mission in Uganda. This is truly an amazing place; a beautiful country with very warm and friendly people. There are incredible needs here arising mostly from poverty and disease. Although many people have an education, work is hard to find and good employment is rare. Life here for most people is on a subsistence level; trying to find food and avoid diseases. Prospective here is entirely different than what we are used to. It was raining heavily the other day and Elaine and I were commenting on how much we liked the weather. We were talking to a man who said, "the rainy season will start in two weeks and people will begin to die from malaria". Something that we have never had to deal with before. HIV/Aids has also taken a heavy toll on the population in Uganda. There are so many children here it is incredible; there are orphans everywhere. The people take them in and it is not unusual to see families struggling with 8-10 children. We talked to a woman yesterday who has taken in twelve children. She said, "sometimes I feel sad that I cannot do more, but everything must have a beginning". We have decided to use that as our personal reminder to guide our actions here as we try to help. In spite of their circumstances, the Ugandans are wonderful people who are happy and optimistic about their future. The LDS Church is providing the means to assist many people in various projects. We will partner with non governmental agencies and community based organizations to provide assistance and means for their efforts. In November we will start the most extensive water and sanitation project the church has undertaken in Uganda. We will drill 20 new wells in the Mpigi district, rehabilitate 32 other wells, construct 1600 pit latrine slabs, build water catchment systems at 16 schools and distribute 1600 mosquito nets to families. We will obviously be very busy here for the next 18 months. The needs are overwhelming but, "everything must have a beginning".