Photo: High school students at our rural boarding school enjoying their new chemistry and physics lab.
Today we bring you good news from our farmland enterprise in rural Uganda, which is thriving thanks to our native team’s diligence and hard work. In October we began to harvest our newest crop of passion fruits and since then, we have been harvesting an average of 440 pounds (about 1/5th of a ton) of this delicious fruit each week. Because the passion fruits continue to flourish and we continue to gather them daily, we are planning to sell passion fruit juice to the local community to supplement our operating budget and work toward self-sustainability. In order to begin this new small business venture, we are seeking to raise $5,000 to purchase the juicing machine and plastic bottles, and pesticides and a spraying pump to keep our passion fruit crop, as well as other crops, healthy and vibrant for future bountiful harvests.
The rainy season just started in the region, so we recently planted corn, beans, tomatoes, green peppers, collard greens, eggplants, and watermelons — we look forward to a generous harvest of these crops in July or August. Our hardworking native team has been manually irrigating the crops with watering cans daily, but with your generous support, we are still seeking to raise about $5,000 to purchase a piped irrigation system large enough for our farmland which will be a much more powerful and less labor-intensive irrigation method. We will utilize these organic crops to feed the children in our programs and we will sell the surplus to boost our program’s activities. We are also growing these crops in order to save money that would otherwise be spent purchasing the same food items at market. In other good news from our farmland, we are planning to construct a hen house soon for egg production to further supplement our income.
We are happy to report that 68 of our high school students (ages 13-18) completed their national Senior 4 exams in November, commissioned by the National Department of Education. To prepare for the testing, the students thoroughly studied all of their school subjects, and they also received counseling, academic guidance, and prayer from their teachers to holistically prepare them for the rigorous national exams which prepare them to become purposeful citizens in Uganda.
All of our students passed their exams with excellent scores, and 10 of our students passed with the best grades, achieving the top percentile of ranking in all of Uganda. Thus, our high school ranked as top in the Western Region of Uganda (population 8.8 million). We are so proud of our students and very grateful for their dedicated teachers in reaching this very prestigious achievement for the school.
To celebrate the students’ hard work and success, our native team threw a party at the high school campus, which included a huge feast of chicken, rice, and vegetables, and the students with the highest scores received prizes. There were also special guests in attendance: our Executive Director, Kirby Trapolino, government officials, and members of the National Department of Education. The girls presented a beautiful multiple-song traditional Ugandan singing and dancing act complete with locally-crafted drums and percussion instruments which they skillfully played. The girls rehearsed this presentation for several days leading up to the celebration. They performed wonderfully and had the crowd very engaged. In the words of our field director: “Therefore it was great and we are so thankful to God and to Peace Gospel for the continued support through which we are able to transform the community for the better.”
The 300 students (ages 13-18) enrolled in our high school started a new semester on February 5th — they are studying math, English, geography, history, commerce, physics, chemistry, biology, fine art, economics, agriculture, computer studies, and their native language of Swahili. The students are enjoying their classes and are very thankful for the brand new chemistry and physics laboratory on campus. However, these students are in great need of new computers as our old computers are no longer working. With your support we are hoping to raise $20,000 to purchase 50 refurbished second hand computers ($400 each) so that our students can more effectively pursue excellence in their education.
Our 350 primary school students (ages 3-12) in Mairinya also started a new semester on February 5th — they are studying English, math, science, and 2 levels of literacy classes. There is a new head of school at Mairinya, and the existing staff is very excited about her leadership and the start of the new school year despite the challenges they face. We need to purchase 100 desks at $40 each, and math, English, science, and literacy textbooks. We need to hire 15 additional teachers, and we need to construct a building with 4 classrooms and office space as well as 2 dormitories for the boys and girls. We also hope to purchase play facilities such as a swing set, play tunnels, dolls for the little girls, and other such items for recreation. These are all items we are praying for. We are hopeful that donations will be strong enough to meet all of these expansion needs to meet the overwhelming demand for primary eduction in this remote rural region of Uganda.
Lastly, our primary school students desperately need better access to clean water. The children travel on foot for over two miles looking for drinking water. And when they do arrive at a well, the wait can be several hours to get to the front of the line. Our campus is located in a remote village and we do not have a water well at school. We collect water from a community water well which is over two miles from our school. The children often suffer from headaches due to lack of water in their diets. Therefore we need to raise $6,500 in order to drill and install a clean water well on campus.
We are abundantly thankful for your generosity to enhance the education, health, and happiness of our high school students, our primary school students, our loving teachers, and our faithful native team.
Take a Closer Look: view more photos from this project and others