Cows, goats make great gifts
Marty Jones, owner of the Wildflower Farm, Garden Center and Gift Shop in Edwards, recently spent three weeks in Uganda visiting the child he sponsors through a Denver-based organization called Christ Aid.
He sent several e-mails to his wife and four daughters, family members and other child sponsors at the Gracious Savior Lutheran Church in Edwards. Most of the children in Christ Aid’s programs have lost either one or both parents to AIDS. Jones and three others, including the organization’s Ugandan-born president, David Mporampora, arrived just after Christmas with presents including goats and bicycles.
A goat can be particularly valuable to a Ugandan family as one female animal can be used to start a herd. The male animals can be eaten and others sold. The bicycles are a key form of transportation in Uganda, Jones says.
“They use bicycles like we use light trucks – and they carry almost as much on them,” Jones said.
Christ Aid’s goal is to build schools so the children can get an education and move beyond the region’s subsistence economy, Jones said.
“The goal of the group is to be transparent,” Jones said. “They let you come over and take pictures of your child receiving a goat or bicycles.”
Those interested in Christ Aid can call Jones at 926-5504 or visit the group’s Web site: http://www.christ-aid.org.
The following is a final excerpt from Jones’ e-mails home.
– Matt Zalaznick
By Marty Jones
Special to the Daily
Saturday – Cow Day, We arrive midmorning at the school site to see brick walls coming up from the foundation. It was wonderful to see.
Rodell and his crew are working very hard. They took a break and we went up for the gifting of the cows. Samual, David’s right hand man, had driven for two or three hours to buy the best cow he could get for the money. The cows were then driven or walked for two days to the site.
There were only five children to receive cows from our respective churches. There were four from other churches. The children were allowed to pick out their cows, then Sam had the chore of capturing them.
There is no coral or fence. He had to go up and grab them by the hind hoof and tie a rope around it. The last cow was not cooperating and Sam chased him across a field and finally grabbed his tail. They went round and round and round until Sam could get a hold of a hoof. It was hilarious.
The children and the adults all laughed long and hard.
Power of words
On Sunday we went to church at a place where David grew up. It was not far from the school site.
There was an 80-year-old women there who founded the church some years ago. It was constructed like many of the homes here. The old mud and bamboo style. It was fairly large, maybe 25 by 50 feet, with a dirt floor.
The pastor started the service and the choir sang beautifully. African drums were used to keep time. We were introduced and asked to speak briefly.
The service continued. They took the offering. I asked David what would be appropriate. He said what ever is in your heart. David, Belinda and I each went up and put 10,000 schillings in the basket. David said that was more than there has ever been in that basket – 10,000 schillings is about $6.
Then they told us of there plans to build a permanent structure. They took a special offering for the new building. Then it was the time for speeches.
The 80-year-old woman got up and told a very animated story about David, how he was so small that when he would preach as a boy they would have to put him on a table in the front so everyone could see.
She told how after David’s Mother died how she had helped raise him, and how she never expected him to grow into such a powerful man.
Then we were asked to speak again. We told them what an honor it was to be their guests and how grateful we were. I told the that I was a man of few words in front of such a crowd but that my writings home were touching hearts in the United States. This brought a large round of applause.
After a three-hour service, with no fans, it was over. We were invited to go to see James’s daughter who had been recently scalded by hot milk. She lay in bed barely conscious.
They had taken her to the hospital twice. They had given her some antibacterial burn cream and sent her home. We pray that she will be all right. We are getting some pain medicine and more cream to her today.
We then went up the hill to another house for a light dinner – hard boiled eggs, bananas and Ugandan bread. The home was very simple and the woman was very gracious.
We left to go to the home of the director of the school we are buildings. We could see the building site across the valley.
Here was another Ugandan feast prepared in our honor. About eight kinds of starch, chicken, goat and beef with a small portion of fruit for desert.
The director had a very nice home and was extremely gracious.
Today is the last day of mission work. I have met all the children, including Bob and Linda’s boy, and Kenneth, a child adopted buy Greg and Susan Guastella. They will receive their goats next week.
Tomorrow we are going to the Queen Elizabeth National Park for a two-day safari – to see the natural beauty of Uganda. Then it’s back to Kampala, London and home. I can’t wait to see you all and share the photos & videos with you.
Oikate Krungi (good bye)