Sunday, July 20, 2014

Week 72 Back to the Refugee Camp at Adjumani...A rousing success.


We finally were able to complete the distribution of the hygiene kits!  Because the numbers of refugees are so high, all of them went to one camp.  This particular camp requested from Musa the kits, as well as dresses There are three more camps whose needs we could not meet.  Besides camp staff, thirteen of us came to participate in the actual distribution and everyone was needed.  And of course, none of this would have been possible without all the volunteers from wards and stakes across the U.S., from Days For Girls in the U.S., Canada, and Uganda, and the cash donations.  We estimate more than $15,000 for materials and distribution, plus 4,500+ hours of donated service.  How blessed Americans and Canadians are to be able to render such compassionate service for those who cannot do this for themselves.


From left to right:  Sister and Elder Hansen, Public Affairs missionaries; our beloved Simbwa; Sister Squire, our mission nurse and Elder Squire, our mission fleet manager.  They all live in or not far from Kampala in southern Uganda.  For many weeks the young missionaries in the Mango district of Kampala also donated service hours sorting the kits.

Proof we were there too.  Simbwa is a member of the church and has assisted in many of our Church's Humanitarian Service projects.  He was the driver for the Days for Girls staff, but his most important contribution may have been his mediation skills between Days for Girls and camp personnel.  Without him, there may have been many more difficulties.
Days for Girls - Uganda staff arrived Monday for hygiene training with the refugees.  Tuesday morning we all gathered for a meeting at the Adjumani Office of Member of Parliament to work out details of the actual distribution.

Assistant to the commander who was in charge of the distribution of the hygiene kits.  Titus, the commander, had a conflict. and was not in town.

Lines and lines of recipients.  All 3200 kits were distributed.  We were short about 40 kits but were told another source would make up that difference . 

There were six continuous lines that were set up according to the "block" in which the refugee lived.  To assure accountability, each woman/girl had to show their camp papers with ID, their ID number was recorded in a book and a refugee's card was marked in a certain spot once they received the kit.  Still, we caught a few who  had manipulated their cards and were going through the line more than once.

There were 6 different lines for distribution.  Lots of kids came with their mom's or sisters.  I took time to give them candy and show them a few  "magic" tricks.  We had a lot of fun together...except for one young fellow about 5 yrs old who likely had never seen a mzungu (white person).  He was scared to death of me.  I finally softened his heart with a piece of candy...|"sweet" as candy is called here.

This lady was making this large flag or couch hand of course.  Standing in the sun working on it while waiting in line.

Just a cute kid.

A collage of pictures of people from around the USA  and Uganda who were involved in making or sorting the kits.  The words at the top are Sudanese for "You called; we answered."

Pam forgot that on the back of the bulletin board was the Young Women/Young Me Mutual theme, Come Unto Christ" with some stories and pictures depicting His spirit of service and love for all of human kind. Someone turned the board around to view that side.  Throughout the day many were looking at both sides of the bulletin board.

Remember the Batwa...the pygmy's? This shot was taken in Bwindi.  This man barely made it to my shoulder.

Well, it was payback time.  The Dinka tribe from So Sudan at the refugee camp are very tall people.  Here I am with three ladies.  They could all play for the NBA.  Notice. I barely make it to their shoulders.

This smart woman knew the lines would be long as well as the wait so she brought her own chair to sit in the shade.  She was balancing it on her head at the time of the pic.  It also serves as a sun shade, like an umbrella.

In addition to the Hansen's and Squires was the wonderful Days for Girls-Uganda staff.  Standing next to Elder Moore is Libby, the incoming director for DFG-U , followed by Eliza  Chard, outgoing director who will return this month to the states to start her masters program at Brandeis U.  To their right are three Dianas!  The first two are members of the church from Kampala area and the third is a professional photographer from Romania who has done work for DFG-U. Last but not least is Immaculate.  They  have deeply embedded humanitarian service aspirations and were wonderful to associate with.

Walking out of Poverty class
This class has been eye opening for everyone involved.  Seventy two enrolled but we are now down to 19 who are attending.  Those who are still attending are committed, even though the homework and practical application is difficult for them.  We are learning that simple things, like computing 10%, is not readily understood, even by those who have completed all levels of high school.  We take so much for granted with our education.  The only reason these people may be ignorant is because they have not been given the kind of opportunities to develop critical thinking or analytical skills like those taught in our schools.  While we are spending many hours outside of class tutoring them, it is a joy to do so - especially when we see their "light" turn on or we see their sense of achievement when they learn a new life improvement skill.  


  1. You are right. We take so much for granted here. We also quickly learned that on our first mission. That knowledge changed us forever. Thanks for the reminders.

  2. It is great to hear of your experiences. It gets me excited to someday serve a mission. Thank you for all you do to help those on the other side of the globe. Awesome!

  3. Dear Brooks and Pam, my name is Kathy and I manufacture ceramic water filters here in Uganda. I would love to hear about your hygiene project that took place in Adjumani to see if our filters could be of help. Please check out our website at to reach out to me!