Newsletter – September, 2006

Eagles Wings Children’s Village Inc. Uganda

Greetings once again from Masaka, Uganda.  We are keeping well and busier than ever.  It was wonderful to receive many reports telling us about the tremendous success of the Gilbert Plains Homecoming.  Well done, G.P!  We are subscribing, through the Internet, to weekly copies of the “Exponent” newspaper which we receive hot off the Internet the very day the papers are printed and released back home.   Now we are able to keep up with the many happenings of our home area.

Ugandan Peace Agreement for the north

The big news here in Uganda right now is that the rebels (Lord’s Resistance Army – LRA) in northern Uganda and the government’s army have, after twenty years, signed a peace agreement.   The local newspaper heading says “Guns fall silent” and adds that “UPDR soldiers quietly returned to the barracks in northern Uganda as a landmark truce that could spell an end to the 20-year rebel insurgency in the north came into effect yesterday morning.”  President Museveni officially announced an end to the hostilities on Tuesday morning, August 29th.  The world now needs to pray for Uganda that neither side violates the cessation of hostilities agreement.  The Ugandan government has never reached this far with negotiations before.  The government army has withdrawn all military escorts to humanitarian agencies and NGO’s operating in the northern region of the country.  Our Social Worker, Allan Kisakye, is right now on his way to Gulu in the north to visit the IDP camps (Internally Displaced Persons) from which we will be bringing nine children to our project when the buildings are ready.  Allan should be safe as the army is now maintaining road security through their foot patrol troops.

Allan just phoned us this morning to let us know that the bus he was on was knocked over onto its side into a ditch by another big bus that was trying to pass just as another bus was coming around the corner toward them.  Allan said that, fortunately, nobody was killed.  He has a stiff neck but is otherwise okay.  They were able to crawl out the windows on the upper side of the bus.  He was picked up by a small taxi van and has reached Kampala where he will transfer to another bus for Gulu.  The number one cause of deaths in Uganda is highway accidents.  Another update later today is that Allan reached Gulu safely after going through some bad thunder and rain storms.  He returns to Masaka Friday this evening.

Wedding in Rwanda

On August  8th we drove to Kigali, the capital city in the neighboring country of Rwanda.   We took the mother of the bride plus other relatives with us.  Some of our observations were:

  1. Rwanda is a country of 1000 hills, so they say.   It is a very beautiful country, mountainous and with higher hills than here in Uganda.  The Rwandese people take great pride in creating a very clean environment, free of garbage, both in the countryside and in the city of Kigali.  They have a beautiful climate, just like Uganda and are able to practice intensive agriculture with a couple of harvests per year.  The slopes of the hills and mountains are all terraced through hard work, as they use every spare inch of land.
  2. The country is in a stage of rejuvenation following the 1994 genocide of over one million Tutsi people slaughtered brutally in a matter of weeks.  Our friend, Nalongo, the mother of the bride, originally came from Rwanda and lost many of her relatives during the genocide.  We took her to tour the Genocide Museum in Kigali and came out with a fresh appreciation of what has happened many times in the world while the rest of the world sat by letting it happen.  Over 250,000 bodies were brought from throughout Kigali and buried at the museum site.  Many other such sites are located throughout the country of Rwanda.  After touring the site, we went and had lunch at the Hotel Rwanda where the movie by the same name was filmed.  It is now a very high classed hotel called the Novotel.  Many of you might have seen the movie “Hotel Rwanda” which depicted very well the reality of what happened in that short period of time.  We still have a hard time trying to believe that all this truly happened to so many people including thousands of children and babies.  The pictures in the museum left us with a churning, sick feeling in the stomach.  How well we were sheltered when we were living in Canada, far away from such happenings.
  3. The highways throughout Rwanda are the best we’ve seen anywhere in the world.
  4. The capital city, Kigali, has built a very fine infrastructure which they continue to improve.  They are now modernizing their city bus system and have purchased a number of new big buses to do away with the use of smaller taxi vans and motorcycles.
  5. We received very fine hospitality during our week’s stay in Rwanda from relatives and friends of the bridal couple, Ann and Fred Katagwa.
  6. We toured an orphanage/school project which is an hour’s drive east of Kigali.  This is the project with which Ann and Fred are working.  Fred was one of the founders of the project.  We always try to glean new ideas for our own project when we tour such sites.  We made some new contacts who are very interested in our project.
  7. It was a beautiful wedding at the New Life Bible Church and we were blessed to be able to witness many Rwandandese cultural traditions as part of the whole wedding celebrations.  The pictures taken after the wedding were taken at the Novotel which provided some great backgrounds with its fine landscaping.
  8. We took Nalongo to visit her sister, Rose, who lives in the Park of the Volcanoes adjoining the Congolese border.  It took us nearly four hours to drive there as the roads are winding like snakes all the way.  We visited Lake Kivu, with the Democratic Republic of the Congo on one side and Rwanda on our side.  Nalongo’s sister, Rose, lives right on top of a lava flow from one of the volcanoes.   It wouldn’t be my first choice of where to live.  However, after the genocide, Rose returned with her family from the Congo where they had taken refuge for their lives.   They were given a place to live in that area of the volcanoes.  Nalongo hadn’t seen Rose for fifty years, so they had quite a reunion for a couple of hours before we had to return to Kigali.  We had taken Nalongo’s younger sister along as well.  The three sisters sat in the kitchen catching up on all their news.  Unfortunately, my old camera refused to work when I tried to take a picture of them together.

Updates on EWCV

  1. The harvesting of the maize crop has been completed at the EWCV property.  A granary has been built to house the cobs of maize which are now spread out for drying in the sun.  The workers are preparing special ant hill mud to plaster on the outside of the granary to keep out the rain.  The granary was built using eucalyptus poles and is raised about four feet off the ground.  We still have to paint the legs with termite repellent to keep the termites away or the whole structure will collapse quickly.  Once the maize is in the granary, we will be able to take out cobs of maize as needed.  We remove the kernels for further drying and then take filled sacks of kernels for milling into flour which we use in feeding our children at EWCV.
  2. We have had over five new acres cleared of bushes and a local farmer has plowed this new area.  Tomorrow, he will plow the area of seven acres where the maize was harvested.  Everyone is now preparing their land to be ready for the rainy season when we will all get busy planting new seeds, fertilizing, and then weeding.  We understand that the harvesting back home on the Canadian Prairies is well ahead of schedule with some wonderful crops.
  3. We have purchased one Boar Goat which originally came from South Africa.   Our friends, Dan and Bergetta, were selling it at less than half price.  They think that it is pregnant which will be a bonus for us if they are right.   They were getting rid of all their goats and now want to specialize in pig farming along with dairy cows.  Three times a week, they sell us fresh milk for our children to enjoy.
  4. Construction will not be completed for another month at the property.  Things do not progress as quickly here in Uganda as I would like and we have faced more delays.  However, I have to remember that it is in God’s perfect timing, not my own!
  5. The main trusses for the roofing of the dining hut are now in place.   They have also poured the cement mixed with aggregate for the dining hut floor.  The plumbing for the Parent’s House is nearly completed with the Septic Tank and Soak Wet Pit in place at the back of the house.   The tiling in the bathroom is completed and the ceiling is nearing completion.
  6. The water system connecting all the buildings is now completed and the water storage tanks are located on their stands beside the buildings.
  7. Representatives from a German organization which works with the Ugandan Government has assessed our buildings for a Solar System.   They are providing us with the solar panels, inverter, batteries, regulator, and lights.  Eagles Wings Children’s Village will provide the wiring and the plug/switch fixtures and the labor.  Yesterday we had an electrician measure the length of wiring we will need.  Our plan is for us to put the wires inside conduits and bury them in the ground so that our site will not look like a spider web of wires running everywhere.   That would spoil the beauty of the site.  This donation will allow us to divert funds towards our agricultural expenses.
  8. Not only do we have our NGO certificate renewed for two more years, we now have our Work Permits/Passports completed and stamped allowing us three years to work here in Uganda.  Allan picked up our Work Permits in Kampala earlier this week.

Praise Items

  1. The wonderful hospitality received by our son-in-law Ken, daughter, Linda, and their three children when they visited with our cousins Fred and Agnes White in Long Island, New York this summer.   The whole White family rolled out the red carpet for our family making them feel quite at home in the White House.
  2. The operation for knee replacement for sister Gloria Bassett of Moose Jaw, SK.
  3. Our safe journey to Rwanda and the super hospitality we received during our week’s stay.
  4. Our completed harvest of maize and the plowing which will be finished tomorrow so that we will be ready for the planting of at least 12 acres when the rains come.
  5. Construction beginning on the roofing of the five huts.  This is the final stage.
  6. Receipt of our Work Permits granting us three years as well as the renewal of our NGO Certificate.
  7. The encouragement from donors whose generosity and emails enable us to proceed to completion of the construction of this first family unit of 25 children plus staff.
  8. The prospect of peace in northern Uganda, the first in 20 years.
  9. The tremendous job done on the EWCV pamphlets by the Humby family in Winnipeg.   Copies of these pamphlets can be made available for groups/churches by contacting Francie and Harry Humby in Winnipeg at harryhumby@nullmts.net or  f_humby@nullhotmail.com. Also, we give praise for our secretary, Pat Bates, in Winnipeg, who looks after our Canadian Head Office voluntarily as well as other volunteers here in Uganda and in Canada.   We have some great ambassadors for EWCV.

Please Pray for:

  1. A speedy healing for sister Gloria Bassett when she gets home from the hospital in Saskatoon where she had the knee operation and for Katherine Bassett in Winnipeg.
  2. Continued peace in northern Uganda.
  3. Quick completion of the construction at the EWCV site.
  4. Wisdom for us as we deal with so many issues working within another culture.  There are often misunderstandings and frustrations.
  5. Two more sponsorships needed so that all nine Acholi lone-orphaned children to be brought from northern Uganda will have sponsors.

We encourage and welcome everyone to check our website and visit our photo gallery: www.eagleswingschildrensvillage.com

We are guided by the Bible Verse:   James 1:27