Map of Uganda

Map of Uganda
The Uganda Kampala Mission includes Uganda, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Burundi and Southern Sudan. Our assignment covers all the areas except Ethiopia.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Orphanage Christmas Party

Early in December we were told that there were 150 students at The New Hope for Africa Orphanage in Seta who had nowhere to go for the Christmas break. We previously did a project at the orphanage and Elder Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve visited them while he was here in Uganda. So the senior missionary couples, along with President and Sister Christensen and some of our friends from the Mengo Branch, decided to prepare a dinner, gifts and a party for them.

We arrived early in the morning to begin preparing the food. All the cooking is done on this wood burning stove.

Everyone was pressed into service to help with food preparation. Art and Joseph hard at work on the carrots.

The main staple food in Uganda is matoke, which is made from a type of green banana, cooked in banana leaves.

It is not really the favorite food of the children but no meal is considered a "feast" without it. Our friend Olivia is a great cook and dishes up the matoke when it is cooked.

Some of our other friends from the Mengo Branch: Harriet,Tina,Olivia, President Sylvester Mugishu and Kezia

We also prepared beef, potatoes, chicken, beans, cabbage and cake.

The kids rarely even see a large piece of cake much less get several pieces. It was easily the favorite food group. Usually when they "cut" a cake here, everyone gets a piece about the size of a quarter. Four little girls waited for us to cut up one piece for them to share. They could not believe that they each got their own piece and just stood staring at their plate and smiling for about 30 seconds befor digging in.

Everyone enjoyed the meal, especially the rare chance to get seconds.

There was even enough for some of the children from nearby houses.

We took some jump ropes and soccer balls to leave for the children to use. They had great fun playing while we were preparing the meal. Two of Elder and Sister Beachley's children were visiting from America and helped with the kids for the day.

The older kids put on a great show for us with authentic drumming and dancing.

Many of the older orphans were displaced as a result of the war in the North with the LRA. The country-wide dance program was designed to help them forget the trauma of their early years. They have a lot of fun when they perform.

After the show, we handed out a school bag with some Christmas goodies, toys and school supplies sent from our friends in the U.S.

We got to enjoy the day with some "substitute grand kids".

A good deal for everyone! A BIG Thanks to all our friends back home who made this day possible.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


Actually, a lot of help from our friends and relatives. Many of them in the U.S. send us supplies like reading glasses, children’s books, candy, pinewood cars, dolls, etc. You can’t imagine how much joy these small things bring to the kids here. Many of them have never had a toy as we think of them. Recently we got a package which included some balloons. So, we decided to buy the ingredients for ice cream floats and have a party with the kids at a nearby school, during their break.

We had made some hand puppets on one of our projects to teach hygiene in schools, so we started with some stories (complete with puppet accompaniment). The kids had a great time reading the stories.

Next,it was time to hand out the balloons.

It did not take long for the excitement to start. The contest was on to see whose would fly the highest.

Then it was time to get down to the serious business of ice cream floats.

Life doesn’t get much better than this.

The next day we went to a school where we are starting a new project. It is not as fortunate as the first. The school is deep in the forest of the Nakaseke District about 30 miles from Kampala. The villagers have built a mud brick classroom which is falling down.

Their latrine is also mud brick, full and beginning to collapse. The village had purchased supplies to build a new latrine. We are not allowed to construct classroom buildings…but we can build latrines (complete with a 45 foot deep pit).

So, we built a six stance latrine and they will use their supplies to build a new classroom building. Then, we will install a rainwater catchment system with a 10,000 liter tank.

This is what the almost finished latrine looks like…

Complete with a new design we are trying out for a hand washing station.

When all the work is finished, we will take the ice cream float-balloon-puppet party here also. A heart-felt thanks to all of our friends for your contributions. They have brought a smile to many a face!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


We are involved a lot with our new project to build protective structures at natural springs. This time of the year is the long rainy season. Most of our springs are in remote villages about 50 kilometers outside Kampala. The roads to the sites are beautiful with flowering trees. They can also be exciting. Sometimes we have been close to vertical, but Art has done a good job of staying on the road… so far!

This part of Uganda is lush and green with dense forest.

This site is in the forest away from any village center and will serve about 300 people

We were asked by a village to protect this spring because a large Python is coming out of the forest into the spring at night and making the water muddy. They are afraid that it will get one of the children when they go for water….a reminder that we are actually in Africa!

This is the structure being built at “Python Spring”.

The water is now protected and much cleaner. The villagers have hired two Congolese snake hunters to catch and remove the Python from the forest. The villagers say it is 15-20 feet long and we have offered to pay for a picture when they find it. That will make a great blog photo!

This is one of the larger spring structures we have under construction. It will have four pipes and a flow of about 100 liters/minute. The average flow from a borehole well is about 12 liters/minute. When electricity eventually comes to this area, a flow this large can be pumped to the entire village.

On another day we visited a school for the blind near the headwaters of the Nile River. They are in need of Braille machines and paper.

We also toured a facility in Jinja that manufactures Trike style hand-crank wheelchairs. We are hoping to get approval from Salt Lake to order some of these before the end of the year. If we can have them made locally, it will save us the cost of having them shipped here from the U.S.

Elaine served as “test pilot” for one of the Trikes. However, despite her protest, she was not allowed onto the open road.

As part of the Spring Project, we are building a latrine and installing a rain water catchment system at thirty two schools in the out- lying villages.

Elaine was surrounded by some of the 800 children at this school. Three hundred of the children board at the school also. We are always amazed at the number of children in Uganda.

Art performed his usual duty as group photographer. With this many kids, it is impossible to take an empty photo of the school buildings.

This is what the finished product looks like…not something Frank Lloyd Wright would build, but functional.

On the drive back to Kampala Friday afternoon we got to follow this truck, headed for market, over-loaded with sacks of charcoal. Because it was raining heavily the truck did not have the usual supply of ten guys riding on top of the sacks. We are always amazed that these trucks ever manage to make it to town.

Another adventurous week gone by….and we love it!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

LRA attacks Darfuri refugee camp in Southern Sudan

Sun, 25 Oct 2009 03:08:59 GMT
Font size :

The LRA is one of the world's most brutal guerrilla movements.
Ugandan rebels of the Lord's Resistance Army have attacked a camp for Darfur displaced persons in south Sudan, killing at least five people and wounding several others.

A Sudanese army spokesman confirmed on Saturday that the attack happened in Western Bahr al-Ghazal state, which has a long border with Darfur.

"The attack happened on the 21st (of October) ... targeting the displaced people from Darfur in a camp," the Reuters news agency quoted Kuol Diem Kuol as saying.

Military sources said three police guarding the camp and two Darfuris were killed in the attack.

The attackers from the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) also abducted a number of people in the region during the ambush.

The LRA rebels, in desperate need of supplies, often raid southern Sudanese border villages.

The LRA became active in northern Uganda in 1988 and is categorized as one of the most brutal guerrilla movements in the world.

It is currently engaged in an armed rebellion against Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and some other African governments in what is now one of Africa's longest-running conflicts.

The movement, led by its ruthless leader Joseph Kony, is spread out in Congo, south Sudan, and the Central African Republic.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

CHILDREN SINGING...another school to help.

The Lakeside Preparatory School, Mbiru is located in a poor fishing village on the banks of Lake Victoria. This is one of the most needy areas in the country. We are going to repair the roof of the building and install a rain water catchment system.

We will also build a new latrine structure for the school. Currently 320 students use this one latrine with outdoor urinals.

The children sang for us when we met there to discuss their project

Saturday, October 10, 2009


The day we went to the Gihembe Refugee Camp it was raining and cold, especially by African standards. The camp is high in the hills of Rwanda 60 km. from Kigali. It was 55 degrees and the sky was dark with low hanging rain clouds. The camp was established in 1997 to host Congolese refugees fleeing the fighting between rebel groups and the government. Twelve years later, continued and renewed fighting has sent a new wave of refugees to the camp. There are 4,000 mud houses holding more than 19,000 refugees of which 11.000 are children. On days of heavy rains, walls of some of the houses collapse or are carried away by mud slides.

Today, the children huddle beside the buildings or under blankets for warmth.

The Church, through Deseret International Charities, has partnered with the United Nations High Commission for Refugees and sent 10 containers of supplies totaling 180 tons of clothing, wheelchairs,blankets, shoes, hygiene, school and newborn kits. We were there to begin the distribution of the supplies. They were sorely needed, especially by the children. The hygiene kits were desperately needed. In the camp every pit latrine is shared by 27 people and proper hygiene is a major concern.

The warm clothing, blankets and shoes were especially needed and appreciated. One item slightly out of place was a lime green toilet seat a camp with no toilets. However, one young boy made an excellent winter hat out of it.

This baby, born the day before our arrival, will receive a new blanket and one of the new born kits.

These children posed for us in their newly acquired clothing. As we were leaving, the rain stopped and the sun came out briefly. We hoped that it signified a brighter day ahead for the residents of Gihembe. As we left, more UNHCR trucks were coming into the camp with additional supplies from the containers.

"Everything must have a beginning"

"Everything must have a beginning"
Children at an orphanage in Entebbe, 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.