A few months ago, you may have seen some posts on Hearts & Hope's social media platforms about a young girl in our sponsorship program in Nakabango who was pregnant. Catherine is a true orphan; no parents, no grandparents - no siblings willing to take her in. She was starving and receiving no prenatal care.
Many of you responded to our plea for help. You donated funds that allowed our staff to take her to a clinic and buy her food and supplies to get her through her pregnancy. She gained weight and the reports at the clinic indicated that her baby was growing well.
Three weeks ago, a healthy baby David came into this world! Catherine and her baby are doing well and yesterday we had the chance to visit both of them in her small one-room home. The love she has for that small child was evident from the moment we stepped inside. She showed him off with pride and thanked us over and over. "I don't know what I would have done without your help," she said.
Layet Dorothy, the Hearts & Hope Village Sponsorship Assistant, who stayed with Catherine during part of her pregnancy, said that Catherine had more supplies at the hospital than any other patient, due to the generosity of our donors! Others sent clothes, blankets, and toys with us for the baby that she handled with great care when she took them out of the backpack they were delivered in. The bags of Skittles and Gummy Bears were a great treat as well!
Catherine and David's lives are not easy. She has not even completed primary school. But she has an added reason to survive now. She has a mother's love for her baby - and support of friends of Hearts & Hope. We will be checking on them during our visit in February as well and will continue to pray for their well being. Many thanks to everyone who helped this story continue to be a good one!
Tuesday was a long day for the Hearts & Hope leadership team! We visited two of our partner villages, Kamuli and Mbulamuti, and had a 4-hour meeting discussing how to improve our schools that didn't end until 11:00pm! It was all time well-spent, as we walked away with a tangible plan for researching and implementing some new ideas. Thank you to our Uganda staff as they had done a lot of work prior to our arrival to prepare!
Mbulamuti and Kamuli both have established schools with quality structures. It's always a thrill to drive up to both and watch the field flood with dark red uniforms and giggling kids! We met with sponsored kids in both schools and enjoyed entertainment from the school choirs. They are great kids and we love spending time with them. Many of them were some of the first kids sponsored through Hearts & Hope and they are growing up!
Our meeting was a great discussion about education in Uganda. We learned a lot about some cultural norms here that were definitely new to us. Our goal is to continue to improve the quality of the education our sponsored kids are receiving and we are excited about the numerous possibilities to make that happen!
Thank you for your prayers as you support this team during our time in Uganda. We are traveling to Butangala today and more meetings are planned for this afternoon and evening, with a boat ride on the Nile squeezed in between.
The Hearts & Hope leadership team is currently in Uganda for a week of village visits and meetings with our staff. While meetings are never the highlight of a day, having this time to spend with our staff is priceless. So much of our work is done via email throughout the year that we value this time of being in front of one another to have meaningful conversations about the work we do and how to be more effective doing it.
Last night's meeting topics were "Staff Roles and Responsibilities" and "How Can We Help You Do Your Job More Effectively?" The results of both subjects will help us attain one of our goals of maximizing our impact here in Uganda.
These meetings always bring to the surface some of the cultural differences between the US and Uganda. Those discussions sometimes are the most eye-opening. Our expectations of conduct and deliverables may conflict directly with a cultural stance here in Uganda. Our goal is never to inflict US culture on those we serve and work alongside. However, certain accountabilities are necessary in order to meet the requirements of donors in the US. A lot of time is spent finding a balance that fits in with the needs of those on both sides. What an honor to work with a staff so willing to adapt and learn!
We look forward to the remainder of this week as we align ourselves even better to serve more children in Uganda.
Hearts & Hope is a nonprofit organization focused on unlocking the potential of people in Uganda through relationships with people in the US.