Monday, March 2, 2020

Worthy Causes: Meeting Needs in Uganda and Haiti

The Unisphere. My friend's father was a welder on this icon of the Fair.
It was a privilege to visit the 1964-1965 New York World's Fair more than a dozen times during its two year interlude in the Big Apple. Every nation, state and corporation put their best face forward in their various ways, striving to make a memorable impression, teach us something about themselves and ourselves while providing visions of a hopeful tomorrow.

The theme inside the Disney Pavilion was reinforced in the song "It's a Small World After All" reinforced in the memorable refrain, "It's a small, small, small, small world."

Over the course of my lifetime it's become apparent how very small this third rock from the sun,  Spaceship Earth, really is. One of my co-workers has travelled abroad at least 40 times during her lifetime. I myself have lived a year each in two countries outside the U.S. and my daughter has been to Europe three or four times, has lived in China 18 months and travelled in Southeast Asia.

With the advent of the Internet in the 90s, three of my short stories were translated into other languages, and through social media the degree of cross-cultural relationship building has become remarkable.

One result of all these communications advances is an increased awareness of the challenges our fellow brothers and sisters abroad have been struggling with. The "news" is no longer mediated by ABC, CBS and NBC. We have direct access to people whose homes are burning in Australia and whose parents have perished from AIDS.

This blog post is about a pair of needs, one in Uganda and one in Haiti.


A barrio in Haiti
Two weeks ago Gaelynn Lea sent me a note about an upcoming fundraiser concert for a Goodwill mission to Haiti. It was my intent to post something about the February 29 concert featuring
The Murder of Crows (NPR Music's 2016 Tiny Desk Contest Winnner Gaelynn Lea & Alan Sparhawk of Low), Katy Vernon, Kyle Ollah, Jerree Small & Four Mile Portage. The concert at Duluth Cider included a silent auction.

Peace*Love*Haiti is a small but mighty group of Duluthians who go to Haiti and provide free/ultra low-cost medical care at least twice a year. Their next trip has been planned for April, and the money raised at this fundraiser will be used for purchasing medications, renting a truck to take them to the rural areas they serve, and hiring an interpreter to assist with communication. This volunteer medical relief team was formed by nurses Tricia Mattson and Julie Zimmerman when they embarked on their first trip to Haiti in 2010 to help after the earthquake. They have been back over 20 times since, providing crisis relief for cholera and after hurricanes, and providing general medical care for people who rarely have seen a doctor in their entire lives.

When I lived in Minneapolis 35 years ago I knew a doctor who was part of a group who went for one month a year to serve needs there. It's actually quite remarkable how many professionals do this kind of work abroad without fanfare.

The concert is now past but you can still contribute here on their Go Fund Me page:

Letter from Uganda

I became aware of Samaritan's Way through a young artist from Uganda who had himself grown up in an orphanage, Steveboyyi Songman. Steve had a way with children and in Uganda frequently helped out at this orphanage. Having worked at an orphanage for a year in Mexico, I understood the challenges and the rewards of this kind of work.

Idah Mehangye did not set out to start a home for orphans, but when her sister and brother-in-law died from AIDS Idah and her husband Henry agreed to take in the two orphaned children. As others learned of their benevolence, more children were brought to be cared for. Today they have more than 40 children to house, feed and nurture.

I sent a small stipend recently and received this kind letter from Idah.

Dear Ed

We would like to thank you for your love and prayers. We truly know that you never forget about us. May God bless you abundantly.

The repairs and refurbishment of our premises are close to the finish. But we are still working in a very clumsy environment.

1. The building is roofed and finished but not yet painted.

2. There are not yet any drawings on the walls, which would be good for the kids while making the place look cool and bright.

3. Some of the swings and playing equipment have not yet been installed again. They are still lying on the ground. They are still waiting for the place to be firm enough in order to have them fixed.

4. The grass has not yet been replanted. The compound is still dirty and dangerous for the kids.

But in all this we are very thankful to God for His Grace and favor. At least we have a roof over their heads. We are very thankful to you for often putting food on their plates. We pray that very soon by and by all things will be in place. We give all the Glory to God.

Once again thank you very much and God bless you.

Hon. Idah

Some of the children at Samaritan's Way in Uganda.

Related Links
Orphanage In Uganda Celebrates Christmas with Our Help
Would You Like to Help Paint an Orphanage? Help Feed Children In Uganda?
A Baby Ripped His Heart Out (A Haiti story)

Send me an email:
I will put you in touch with Idah. 
100% of what you send will go to Uganda
for the orphanage and children.
You can even contribute via PayPal.

besides sending money... Maybe you have ideas
or skills that would help bring awareness, solve a problem.

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