Tag Archives: Uganda

Last Few Days

I’m fairly sure when I leave Uganda in a few days, I will be leaving a fair sized chunk of my heart here.
Today was my last day on a Watoto farm. I started at Buloba in the feed mill that the guys are putting together, then moved to Lubbe where the machines are putting the finishing touches on the dam. The farm manager, Sam, asked me if I was sick or angry when he saw my face, but I’m just sad.
The rest of my week will be spent in the church office working on some things on the computer and attending a meeting or two. In 5 days I will be home with my family, assuming no problems with my travel arrangements.
I asked my mom if they would come visit me if I were to move to Africa. She said not to make any decisions right now because I’m emotional about leaving.
Darn right I’m emotional about leaving. I love this place and this ministry. I love what Watoto does and I’ve seen how they are always taking steps to improve.
Plus, they’ve combined loving and positively impacting the lives of orphaned children for Jesus with farming, and I don’t know how it gets any better.

Hello from Uganda!

– This post copied from my personal blog – beingsarahdiane.wordpress.com. –

(I’m having trouble uploading pictures to my blog – so I had to type thousands of words to make up for it.) (Just kidding.)

Travelling with three other people (Steve Swigert who has been here eight times in two years working with Watoto Agriculture, his wife Vicki, and Steve’s colleague Adam), I boarded a flight from a Dutch airline on Friday afternoon and flew for nine hours to Amsterdam (arriving at 8 AM Amsterdam time, although it felt like 1 AM to me). After a short layover, we boarded another plane and flew first to Kigali, Rwanda, then on to Entebbe, Uganda. I set my watch eight hours ahead and tried to convince myself it was 11 PM on Saturday instead of the end of a 36 hour Friday. After a short drive on a nice bus with the friendly and capable Watoto logistics guy (Joe), we arrived at the house we get to stay in for the next few days. Four tired people turned in for the night after making plans to get up for breakfast and church.

Sunday morning, we attended the Watoto Church central campus. We waited outside until they opened the church doors and then we were seated in reserved seats in the second row. Church in Uganda is fun. It is an altogether different experience from any church I have attended in the United States. The music is energetic, to say the least!

They asked any first time visitors to stand. I stood. They asked the group of Watoto Agriculture visitors to stand. I stood again. Church was fun in spite of that!

In case you are just now tuning in, Watoto Church based in Kampala, Uganda started the Watoto Child Care Ministry in 1994. Uganda has a huge population of orphaned and neglected children. Estimates vary, but because of the recent civil war in Uganda and the HIV/AIDS epidemic, most of their middle-age range population is missing, leaving something like 2.6 million orphans in a country of 26 million people. The average age in Uganda is 15. Watoto Child Care Ministry is an innovative orphanage model that uses house mothers in children’s villages to raise (currently) about 2,600 children. The benefits of this model are wide-ranging. For example, the kids are raised in a family environment instead of an institution. Schools and churches are on-site in the villages so the children never want for education or spiritual nourishment. The house mothers get purposeful and fulfilling work raising Uganda’s future leaders. Watoto has children’s choirs that get to travel the world touring and singing. However, the costs and challenges are many. As you might imagine, feeding 2,600 children as well as their house mothers and teachers is quite the feat. The purpose of Watoto’s Sustainability project is to make sure that Watoto can keep functioning and creating positive change in Uganda. Part of this effort is Watoto Agriculture, of which I get to be a part this summer. This first week we will be mainly seeing Watoto’s work and what has been accomplished so far agriculturally.

Monday morning, we piled in a van driven by a Watoto driver (Simon) and headed to the Watoto village at Suubi. At Suubi, there is a children’s village (complete with houses, schools, playgrounds, and a medical clinic), Watoto’s fabrication unit, the goat dairy, and a beautiful babies’ home that currently holds nearly 100 babies under two years old. A new worship center is currently being built.

Next, Simon drove us on to the poultry farm and feed mill at Buloba. The poultry barn, when finished, will house at least 7,000 laying hens. The feed mill will be finished in the next few months and will save Watoto from buying flours and meals from external sources. My first two days in Uganda on this trip have been great. Tomorrow, we head north to Gulu, where we will visit another Watoto site and possibly get to drop in on Sister Rosemary Nyirumbe, who I got to see when she gave a seminar at OSU in February. Hopefully we will get to see the school she runs for displaced girls. Our hosts here in Kampala are wonderful and I have loved every minute seeing and hearing what Watoto is doing in this country!