September 4th, 2007

Shopping list -- further explained

Our shopping list may seem an odd one. In fact we had a lot of discussions and arguments over its contents. Some articles are clearly neccessities and show a monetary return to the organization: a mosquito net will prevent malaria and reduce medical costs. A textbook will enable students to succeed in school, keep them from repeating classes, and give them opportunities to win scholarships. These make sense. But we had to argue it out over whether or not to get our children sandals for casual attire, thermoses (to keep tea in), nightgowns, or powdered milk. We quickly nixed the requests for leather suitcases and badminton racquets and spent a little more time deciding to refuse the requests for sports shoes. They'll all do without the leather suitcases and continue to play football barefoot -- those were expensive items. But we did get nightgowns (in Owino, for a dollar each) and many students received sandals as well. There were eight students at a vocational institute who used to play football, but since they arrived at that school (which doesn't have a team) they've been bored -- so we bought a football for them to entertain themselves. Another set of eight students at a very high-quality secondary school wished they could look as "smart" i.e. tidy as the rest of the students there, so we bought them an iron to share.

As we purchased and gave these items, the following verse from Psalm 123 came to my mind over and over.

Have mercy on us, oh Lord, have mercy,
for we have had more than enough of contempt.
Our souls have had more than their fill of the scorn of those who are at ease,
of the contempt of the proud.

One thing we can give to the students of COU, in some small measure, is the ability to hold their heads high and to be respected by their teachers and classmates.
-- Talitha

"I'm still walking around with four million shillings in my pants..."

Quote by Tim. Took him a day to realize it... True story. Also, we found a 1.5 million envelope in Cassie's bag a few days before we left. And Talitha had a lot of fun entering illegible receipts on a spreadsheet.
this is...

We wanted to report to you, our donors, telling you what your money bought in Uganda. Thanks to you we had more than $10,000 to use for the children, and it went far. That is exclusive of the $1571 that bought Talitha's plane ticket. Here are the results, broken up by categories. The numbers are approximate, because of differing exchange rates throughout the time we were there, and a shortage of electronic records (we left a couple of piles of paper in Uganda and had to reconstruct them from memory.) But we promise, the office in Kampala kept us accountable, and all the receipts matched the money spent. And all pants pockets were emptied before we left.

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