Upon arrival, we discovered that Andrew and the two orphan boys from the A&O vocational school (Innocent and Kamuntu) had already handmade 6,400 bars of our 8,000 soap bar order for Soapbox Soaps! In addition to providing work to these orphans, we were able to distribute 2,500 bars to the Ibanda Baby Home and Ibanda Hospital, 500 bars to the Sanyu Baby home in Kampala, as well as 500 bars to a baby home in Jinja. We are identifying other orphanages, villages and schools in need for the remaining soaps. The administrator at the hospital said the soap will bring dignity to many of the women coming out of surgery, who don’t have the means to purchase their own soap to cleanse their incisions and wounds. What a joyful and humbling work this was!
When we arrived at the airport in Entebbe, we left for a road trip to Eldoret, Kenya to take delivery of our very own well drilling rig to bring clean water to Western Uganda. This 1,500 kilometer round trip venture over difficult roads with our overloaded 20 year-old truck may have been a bit too ambitious. But after 6 days, 5 hours detained at the border, 3 alternators, 4 new tires, new brakes, and a new clutch, we finally arrived safely back to Kiburara with our new drilling rig. In our remaining time there, our Kenya trainers taught our four orphan students how to find water underground with copper wires and to successfully drill two bore holes (one on our SMI land for orphan care and one at a church location at Kabingo). The third well will be drilled at the remote location of Kyaiswarra when the dry season arrives in January. We are very excited about the business and ministry opportunities that come with owning our own drill rig. Once we get established, our desire is that other NGO’s will hire our SMI crew to install their wells in Western Uganda, and we will also raise funds to install our own wells. Since the majority of churches and their communities in the network of Pastor Moses still have no access to safe drinking water, this will be SMI’s first priority.
Lake George Filtration Project
SMI is in the process of raising the funds needed to bring a water treatment facility to a remote village on Lake George in Western Uganda. This fall we will conduct an online auction for this purpose. The goal is to open the facility in January 2015 through a combination grant and loan from SMI to the community. Last month the community formed a water committee and elected the committee members. The committee promised to reach all the households in the community and ask them if they are willing to join the water club. To date, the community has now registered 116 households and each household head already paid the membership agreed to by the members. With the monies collected, the community opened an account at our Sustainable SACCO (Savings and Loan). using the funds that were collected. The current plan is to have a “Water Club” where households will pay 50 cents per week to have access to clean water from the store during open hours (7am-7pm each day). We anticipate that 130 households will participate in the club, bring safe drinking water to over 500 people for the first time.
SMI Health Clinic
According to a 2011 UNICEF report, only 42% of births in Uganda are attended by skilled health personnel. This figure is likely much lower in the remote areas where SMI is based. As a result, maternal death rates are high. In addition, a 2006 WHO study reported that Africa accounts for 24% of global diseases but only 3% of the global health workforce. In Kiburara, there is no health clinic. The closest full-service hospital is over two hours away in Mbarara. To help address this need, SMI desires to open a clinic in the future on its 26-acre parcel of land. SMI envisions hosting medical teams in the future that can provide critical training to clinic staff and care to patients in the surrounding communities. Please pray for us as we pursue this important endeavor.
Nwatwine House Project
In our last update, we mentioned that SMI provided funding for the students at the A&O school to build a new house for our neighbor Nwatwine as part of a construction class and gospel outreach. When we arrived last week, we discovered that Nwatwine had professed Christ weeks before and he greeted us warmly at the church on Sunday. He also came and helped us every day to drill our SMI well, and would carry his bench to the drill location for us to sit on. What a joy it was to worship with him last Sunday.
On a final note, last week we were very excited to receive our IRS approval letter certifying SMI’s status as an approved 501(c)3 organization. If you would like to make a tax-deductible contribution to further our ministry efforts, we would be glad to receive it! Just follow the instructions under the “Giving” tab. Thank you for your prayers and support for SMI.