Sunday, March 23, 2014

Week 55

Different drug story

Four year old Nellie just got out of the hospital two days ago for Malaria and possibly typhoid fever.  We took her and her mom to pick up their two prescribed medicines.  One that she was to take for three days cost about 2300 shillings ($1).  The other was for vitamin A, but the pharmacy didn’t have it, so they sent us to another one.  Interestingly, the “prescription” was for one tablet only of vitamin A!  We checked the prescription, but that was it: one tablet!   Vitamin A is for vision!

Truly, one person can make a difference

William  "Will" Tardio

We met William Tardio a year ago when one of our BYU friends invited Will to join us for Easter dinner.  Steve went back to the states last summer, but we have continued our friendship with Will and recently enjoyed some time with his parents while they were visiting here to celebrate Will’s 25th birthday.  They were not here for the safaris, but to help Will with some of his projects.  As you’ll soon discover, Will comes from an amazing (Catholic) family...dedicated not only to the people of Uganda, but to serving others around the world.  First, about Will:

In 2006 while in high school, Will, along with a teacher and two other students attended a global awareness conference in their hometown, Cincinnati, OH. One of the presentations was by the organization “Invisible Children” which told about the youth in No. Uganda and their night commutes from the village to town to avoid abduction or death from Kony’s army.  Will and his friends were so moved by the story that they returned to school and started raising awareness for the children of Northern Uganda and providing financial support for Invisible Children.

Two years later Will and a former high school alumnus met the headmistress of a primary school in Gulu.  A relationship developed and for the next three summers, Will would travel to Gulu to work at the school.  In 2011, after graduating from Miami University, he moved to Gulu for direct involvement in Unified for Uganda (“U4U”), the organization he started.  U4U continues to raise funds and provide scholarships for the destitute children in Gulu, who are often HIV positive or orphans of the war, thus giving them a real chance through education in their harsh environment. Unlike most organizations, 100% of donations received go to education.

U4U is a student run organization which now has 30+ chapters and is continuing to grow.  If you check out the website which Will developed and maintains, you will likely feel as I did, how his work – and the subsequent work of many other passionate students – is having a positive impact on people in the states as well as impoverished students here in Gulu. 

U4U continues to expand and now has its own NGO status, an office in Gulu, and serves children in primary as well as secondary and vocational schools. Each child has a mentor who offers support and counseling.

Will also started Vantage in March 2012 , an internet café in Gulu that has reliable WiFi, printing and computer repair. The cafe will someday help with the sustainability of U4U. Vantage is currently being operated by three Ugandans.

Will's most recent project is developing a computer training center. Anyone who has lived here knows how difficult it is to get something of this magnitude accomplished, but after a year of many delays and much hard work, a building was procured, is now being refurbished and will be up and running by this summer! The goal of this center is to offer state of the art computer classes to qualify Ugandans for computer employment.

Will is gradually turning the management of these programs over to others. He will return to the U.S. in July 2014.  He hopes to pursue non-profit work in other countries in the future. 

Will truly is an inspiration to us, as his actions continuously demonstrate the pure love of Christ:

And charity suffereth long, and is kind, and envieth not, and is not puffed up, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil, and rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth, beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

…Charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him.
(Moroni 7: 45, 47)

We were surprised to learn Chris and Sarah’s three other children have also dedicated much of their lives to service, Two daughters have both served as nurses in third world countries and his younger brother works in the states assisting in the rehabilitation of troubled youth!  Neither acclaim nor personal gain has been the driving force in their occupations.  I asked Sarah what she and Chris did to help instill such a profound love of service in their children.  She was humble in her response.  One of them had mentioned how as young children Sarah often took them to the nursing home to serve people there.  She taught them even at age 5 that life was not about them.  She also told about her father who did a lot of philanthropy work, particularly in Mexico and Russia and how the children were (at least occasionally) involved in some of this service.  What a powerful lesson this is for each of us, reaffirming the truthful adage, “train up a child in the way he shall go and he shall not depart from it”.  What a legacy this good family has created for their posterity!  We are inspired by their powerful example.

Will's parents, Chris and Sarah


A couple of Uganda Scouts off to a scout meeting one recent Saturday morning.
Is this one of the best looking young men you have ever seen?  One of our missionaries just transferred from Gulu to serve as a Zone Leader over other younger/newer missionaries elsewhere.  He wears this hat on transfer day.  Elder Latola is from South Africa.  Sweet, soft-spoken, dedicated to the work.  We already miss him.

The work is progressing!
Women washing clothes for family/friends who are patients at the hospital.  Gulu Referral...government run.
Photo above and below of Gulu Regional Referral Hospital.  The gutters on the buildings run water to the holding tank once the rainy season begins...which was about a week ago.   Was dry this week but next week promises to be cooler and wetter...YEA!

Children's ward of Gulu Regional Referral Hospital.
This is the gate to the Bardege Chapel grounds.  A small door one must stoop down in order to enter.
After 12 months, I still manage to scrape my head on the metal gate as I'm coming and going.  Very painful. Sometimes it is hard to keep my religion here.
An interesting article on the Church in Africa found in December 2013 LIAHONA Magazine of the Church.
Cut and paste into URL.

Elder L. Tom Perry of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles spoke about how the Sabbath is a special time for families to be together and reviewed 10 other activities of the many that are worthy of the Sabbath day: “This is the time we are to attend our regular meetings together, study the life and teachings of the Savior and of the prophets. ‘Other appropriate Sunday activities include (1) writing personal and family journals, (2) holding family councils, (3) establishing and maintaining family organizations for the immediate and extended family, (4) personal interviews between parents and children, (5) writing to relatives and missionaries, (6) genealogy, (7) visiting relatives and those who are ill or lonely, (8) missionary work, (9) reading stories to children, and (10) singing Church hymns.’ [“Suggestions for Individual and Family Sabbath-Day Activities,” Ensign, Mar. 1980, 76]” (in Conference Report, Apr. 2003, 44; or Ensign, May 2003, 42).
President Boyd K. Packer, President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, spoke of the reality of spiritual disorders that can cause powerful suffering:
“There is another part of us, not so tangible, but quite as real as our physical body. This intangible part of us is described as mind, emotion, intellect, temperament, and many other things. Very seldom is it described as spiritual.
“But there is a spirit in man; to ignore it is to ignore reality. There are spiritual disorders, too, and spiritual diseases that can cause intense suffering.
“The body and the spirit of man are bound together. Often, very often, when there are disorders, it is very difficult to tell which is which” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1977, 89; or Ensign, Nov. 1977, 59).

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