Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Win $5,000 and help Compassion!

Rushville Rotary to Raffle for Compassion

My time here in Uganda with the PC is nearly complete and I’m happy to announce that I’ve got a very exciting thing to pass along to you!! The Rushville Rotary is conducting a raffle to help support needy families in the Compassion International project specifically in my village in Uganda!!! I spoke at one of their meetings a year ago about PC, Uganda and Compassion International and they said they were in need of an international project to sponsor, so a partnership was made. Their goal is to raise $10,000 and to give HALF of it to us here and the other half will go to the winner of the raffle! That’s right, the winner will receive $5,000!! The other $5,000 (which could triple to $15,000 through matching grants from Rotary International) that goes here will NOT be going to the building project, but rather to our neediest families for a number of income generation projects, such as goats, cattle, garden projects, clean water collection projects, etc to improve the health, sanitation, income levels, and general living conditions of our Compassion Families, which have already been identified as being the neediest of the needy in this community. Most of the household incomes of the families which we deal with is around $1 a day!! The goal is to tangibly help and support the community through income generation projects while the community center building project is also going on which will support the community in another way.

I’m super excited that the Rotary has taken this project on! It’s a GREAT opportunity for you to help these needy families here as well as a chance for you to make some money for yourself!! Raffle tickets are $50 a piece (or 5 people could all pitch in $10 to buy one and then split the winnings $1,000 a piece). The raffle will be held on April 19th. Tickets are limited. Tickets can be bought from any Rushville Rotarian, so they can call Markus Strobl or any other member of the Rotary Club in Rush County. Markus’ phone is 765-938-5110 (business), or 938-3424 (hm), and the email is: itsjustglass@verizon.net.

Please consider helping this needy cause!

Caroline’s Story

I heard this story when I first arrived but some new developments have arrived. Caroline is a 14 year old girl. She was found in the bush by a cattle keeper after she had been abandoned by her mother when she was an infant. The cattle keeper took her to his sister who raised her along with her own children. In the following months this new caregiver of this girl talked to local government officials and churches to identify the parents of her. Nothing came of it.

About 4 years ago a wealthy man came forward identifying Caroline as his grand daughter and said that he wanted to take her into his home. He claimed that is son fathered the girl by a house girl they had at the time. This house girl was of an ‘inferior tribe’ and in relative poverty and thus the boy could not marry her.

Caroline has known for some time that she wasn’t born into her current family but that she was found and raised by this older woman. They live in dire poverty. The grandfather and even the father are trying to claim Caroline reasoning that they can provide her a better life. They have money to afford secondary school and to provide for her needs. The grandfather reasons that he has all this money and why should one of his granddaughters be suffering in poverty when he has the means to help her.

The current caregiver, however, is reluctant to let Caroline go with them claiming that she doesn’t know who the parents are and wonders why they are just now stepping forward to claim her. Caroline has a striking resemblance to both the father and grandfather and she would receve more opportunities with her birth father. The situation was even brought to the police to have them resolve it but they said without DNA proof that the girl is related to the father the could not intervene. So, if the father & grandfather wish to continue to pursue this matter they’ll have to go to Kampala for DNA testing, but even so, trying to convince this poor, uneducated caregiver woman about DNA testing, what it is, how reliable it is, etc, may prove to be another bridge to cross.

Caroline has yet to be asked what she would like to do, but I believe that Compassion is going to do that soon.

Stolen Scale

We had a scale stolen from Compassion recently. The scale is used frequently to measure a number of food stuffs that are brought into the office. I didn’t realize it but the scale costs over $100. We have 2 cooks that work for Compassion who have been here the whole 2 years I’ve been here. The staff has told me that small amounts of food seem to disappear from our store room all the time and they have always suspected the cooks, both men. The cooks are paid around $30 a month to cook and work around the office. Sometimes, depending on what jobs need to be done, they earn $50 a month.

When the scale came up missing the cooks were immediately suspected and one in particular started acting funny. He went to the local radio station without being told and took out an ad asking for the return of the stolen scale. He also thought that the cooks should work together to replace the stolen scale. Nobody has admitted to stealing it, but it looks somehow suspicious and right now it looks like the more suspicious cook is going to replace the scale.


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