Outreach - Mustard Seed Academy, Uganda

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Mustard Seed Academy - UPDATE from Lukaya, Uganda from Elaine Griswold

Imagine: no school, no internet, no food, no outdoor activity, a tiny, dark room, that you call home, filled to overflowing with people.

With no safety net in Uganda, and as the lockdown continues, Mustard Seed students and their families are in great need of more help--more than the school's normal budget can provide.

Sharing with friends and asking them to give and share will provide the rescue.

See the Video from Mustard Academy students:

Click this link for video  https://www.realpartnersuganda.org/covid-19-response.html 

Only 1.5 minutes long, Mustard Seed students singing about their dreams in the background.  

"Give Now" to help feed our children in Lukaya.

*Of course, we are also very grateful for check contribution sent to RPU, 5 Sicomac Rd, #203, North Haledon, NJ 07506, as well.

Greetings. I hope you are doing well, weathering this pandemic with as much cheerfulness as possible.  There are still no coronavirus deaths in Uganda although the number of cases has grown to 78. Being landlocked, many cargo trucks enter and leave the country, and most of them travel right through Lukaya. The recently identified cases were all truck drivers, but so far no one in Lukaya has contracted the disease.

My goal was to have this update and appeal out last week, but for me it seems that everything takes longer to accomplish than it did when we were not under 'house arrest'. I wanted to share the story from Mustard Seed in Uganda, with some recent photos sent to us from Lukaya, so I put together a short video. I hope you will watch it. It's only 1.5 min. and has some great Mustard Seed students singing about their dreams in the background.

There is a "Give Now" button on the end screen, which will take you to a secure donation page if you want to donate online. (Of course, we are very grateful for checks sent to RPU, 5 Sicomac Rd, #203, North Haledon, NJ 07506, as well.)

The most important thing you can do is share!

•           Share by forwarding this email.

•           Share by posting on social media.

•           Share by word of mouth.

Really, we need help to spread the word about what wonderful things Mustard Seed is accomplishing under really hard circumstances. Imagine: no school, no internet, no food, no outdoor activity, a tiny, dark room, that you call home, filled to overflowing with people.

Give now

Be well and safe.

With gratitude,

Elaine and all of us at RPU and Mustard Seed Academy  4-29-2020

P.S. With no safety net in Uganda, and as the lockdown continues, Mustard Seed students and their families are in great need of more help--more than the school's normal budget can provide.

Sharing with friends and asking them to give and share will provide the rescue.

 

Previous Report

Mustard Seed Academy - UPDATE from Lukaya, Uganda from Elaine Griswold

The number of Covid-19 cases in Uganda remains at 52, with none in Lukaya, and no new cases for a couple of days, and no deaths. All known exposed people are in quarantine. It is now looking possible that schools may reopen near the end of April if things don't change.

All of the former MSA students who were staying at other schools or universities were given help in getting transport back to Lukaya or to their villages. With fares increasing by two to three times, this was a big project and expense. Some were as far away as Lira, a 7 hour drive. Several students were attending an agricultural school on one of the Ssese Islands in Lake Victoria. The only way for them to get home was for our leader, George Kateregga, to rent a van, take the ferry to the island and then bring them back.

In Lukaya, adjustments needed to be made to keep the Mustard Seed students from going hungry. As the restrictions on movements became more stringent, the 'open kitchen' at school presented too many problems for it to be a daily source of food. The neediest families were invited to come to school for packages of food over a two-day period. They were very, very happy to be given 10 kg of maize meal and 5 kg of beans-staples of their diet. The 120 families represent nearly half of the population of the school, which has just under 600 students. The others are in their villages or have other ways of getting food.

The orders for the 'lockdown' were made more severe including a curfew from 7 p.m. to 6:30 a.m. on March 31. Sadly, the first night of the curfew was a night for thieves and vandals. And, they preyed upon Mustard Seed, through a high chain-link fence, passing two unarmed guards, and burglar bars on a locked window to enter the computer lab. They escaped with all but four of the computers in the lab. Those four, along with a projector and modem were found hidden near the gate. The police thought they had identified a suspect, but it was a case of mistaken identity. We now have to wait for finger-print studies to be carried out but hope for recovery is diminishing with each passing day. The computer lab with its 16 laptops was the pride of the school and a vital hub of learning.

On a happier note, in order to help reduce the spread of disease, hand-washing stations were installed near the main gate to the school and by the community water station. 'Thank you,' to the Lukaya Rotary Club and Ken Bennett, one of our partners who is a Rotarian from Slippery Rock, PA

THANKS to each of you who has helped to reduce the hardships for the many children and families who would have no place to turn without our school.

 

Previous Report:  Mustard Seed Academy - Update from Lukaya, Uganda

We are expecting to report on our trip and the good things happening at Mustard Seed Academy and to send out new photos and reports very soon. However, the more pressing communication seems to be about the current pandemic.

I left Uganda on March 16th and two days later, the President ordered all of the schools and institutions closed. He also closed the borders. They had identified 1 case of Covid 19 at the Entebbe airport. Now, the number of cases stands at 18, but all were travelers and were caught early. I think they are better at this kind of containment than we are. After all, Uganda successfully shut down Ebola.

On the other hand, there is no national or local safety-net. The orders must be followed even if it means going hungry or not getting treatment for medical problems.

To fill the gap, Mustard Seed Academy is trying to continue to feed the students on an informal basis. The kitchen is open and a few students at a time are allowed on campus to get food. It is challenging because it cannot look like the school is open. Too many kids at once, or too many on the road walking to school would be suspect and may cause police action. Still, there is not enough food in their homes, so Tree of Life Ministries and Mustard Seed Academy administrators are delivering food to some of the neediest families.

The living conditions within Lukaya are very crowded. It seems like social distancing would be easier at Mustard Seed schools (but that is not the case for many of the schools in the country). The shut down is for 32 days. Hopefully after that they will be able to resume teaching. Meanwhile the teachers have put together ‘vacation packets’ of homework for the students to complete while they are confined to home. They anticipate having much shorter school breaks between terms to make up the lost instruction time.

All public transport has been banned. This means that the usual small motorcycles, called boda bodas, that are used as ‘taxis’ are no longer available, as well as the larger ‘taxis,’ which are used for longer distances and are more like minibuses. Very few individuals have private cars, so transport is challenging.

Because of your steadfast support, Tree of Life Ministries is able to make the lives of the MSA community at least a bit better. Because of you, the community has somewhere to turn when they are facing dire times. The administrators are still at work, the social worker is on duty along with the nurses. And, as mentioned above, efforts are being made to see that students and their families are not going without food.

About half of the students from Mustard Seed have left the Lukaya area and have gone back to their villages. These villages are very rural and don’t have the same population density as the trading centers and small towns like Lukaya. There is more land for growing food and firewood is available. The basics of life are somewhat easier, so for the time being, those who can stay in such villages are the lucky ones.

These are uncertain times worldwide, but we are encouraged that our dear ones in Uganda will weather this storm. Your compassion and generosity have made their safety possible. THANK YOU!

Gratefully,

Elaine and all the RPU Board

P.S. We will try to be giving weekly updates and answer questions as much as we are able. Feel free to email us.

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