Author: Ainsley Richardson

2021 YEAR IN REVIEW

2021 YEAR IN REVIEW

We want to wish a wonderful Merry Christmas to all of you from us here at Ddembe! We wanted to take a moment to look back on the year and remember its many gifts as we move closer to the beautiful celebration of Christmas.

Due to increasing COVID-19 cases throughout the country, schools remained shuttered for the second year in a row. These early years of learning are critical in the lives of children, and our kids at Ddembe love to learn. The thought of losing another year of school was crushing for many of them, but thanks to your support, we hired private tutors to continue to meet with our kids throughout the year. We’ve seen so many of them improve leaps and bounds in their studies this year, and as schools are set to open in January, many of them will be able to move on to higher grades.

The widow ministry, which is helmed by our beloved Mrs. Mary, has also grown exponentially this year. On the one hand, we are saddened by this because more women’s lives have been marked by tragedy and loss. On the other hand, we rejoice that Ddembe has been able to partner with these women and bring them the hope of the gospel in a season that has seemed devoid of much light. We have been able to weep with them as they wept and rejoice with them as they have rejoiced. Your support has enabled us to do this and include more women in the work happening at Ddembe.

This Christmas, we are thankful for the many partners of Ddembe from the U.S., Uganda, and beyond. You all have blessed us with your prayers, encouragement, and support, and we are so very grateful. Yet ultimately, this Christmas, we are most thankful for Jesus. Because of Him, we can have hope this Christmas and as we look into the days ahead. In Him, we have experienced true love, which leads to hope and ultimately to freedom. Merry Christmas, friends! We pray many blessings on you all this year and beyond.

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Grin Coffee’s “Goat Fund Me” Campaign A Success

We are so very thankful for partners who help us provide sustainable empowerment opportunities for our families. Last year, Grin Coffee ran a “Goat Fund Me” campaign to raise funds to help provide small livestock (7 goats and 12 pigs) to nine of our Ddembe families.

Rearing livestock is an important pathway out of poverty for rural Ugandans, particularly small livestock such as pigs and goats. Poverty in Uganda is described as a rural phenomenon because most of the people (80%) live in rural areas, are heavily dependant on rain-fed agriculture, and are poor. Livestock keepers are generally better off, and have more income opportunities, than those who depend entirely on crop agriculture, and small livestock can more easily be raised by people with limited land resources. Thank you, Grin Coffee, for showing the love and helping to improve the lives, income, and nutrition status of our Ddembe families.

Not just goats—pigs, too!

Jjajja (grandmother) Winnie has done an amazing job with her pigs and is expecting her first litter of piglets.


Harry and his faithful helpers.

Rogers is always up for a dance break.

Doesn’t everyone give their pig a ride in the van?

Mama Kato has done well with her goats.

Giving Tuesday: Help Support Our “Food-Tuk”

COVID-19 has wreaked havoc all around the globe, and Uganda is no exception. Thankfully, we have not had any infections among our Ddembe families, but we have faced a host of challenges due to the restrictions and procedures in response to the virus. Uganda’s governmental lockdown does seem to have helped stem the spread of the virus, but some of the strict measures put in place have also had a significant negative impact on the poorest and most vulnerable. Travel restrictions and home confinements have made working, or even gathering food, nearly impossible for those living in the villages. 

Only single-occupancy vehicles, like boda-bodas (small motorcycles) or tuk-tuks have been allowed on the roads. The impact of this restriction on Ddembe has been that we could only acquire the food and supplies that Moses could attain within walking distance and carry himself. This was sufficient for Ddembe House but not for the care of our widows or families out in the villages.

With the inability to use our regular vehicle, and with no end in site to the lockdown, we had to figure out another way to get to our families, despite the legal restrictions. The solution: a tuk-tuk. (For our western friends, think “3-wheeler with a cargo bed.”)

This was a big investment and unexpected expense for Ddembe—$5000 at short notice for the tuk-tuk and initial food supplies—but we knew it was necessary to provide for our families. We are asking for your help to bear this burden so that no other area of Ddembe may be hindered. Your gift helps Ddembe as a whole and contributes to its continued ministry even in the face of a global pandemic.

This difficult year has affected us all. As it draws to a close, we celebrate what God has done at Ddembe despite the hardships. As we look towards 2021 we expect even greater things! You can be a part of that future today through your gift! It might just be a tuk-tuk, or as we now call it, our “food-tuk,” but it’s also a symbol: Ddembe is about meeting needs so that those within may find rest, and then find the love, hope, and freedom found in Christ. Won’t you help us do that? If so, please click on the DONATE button above and select “Tuk-Tuk” in the Sub-Fund menu.ion

Loading up the tuk-tuk for delivery to Ddembe.

Papa Moses happy to make his first supply run since the lockdown began.

Taking on the supplies.

Unloading supplies to get the ready for distribution.

Flour, soap, beans, rice, sugar…getting it all ready.

Gathering at the church to get ready to distribute the goods to the widows.

One of our Ddembe widows heading home with her supplies.

Rejoicing With Our First Ever Graduates

What a tremendous time of celebration and praise this is! We are beyond excited to introduce to you Ddembe’s first graduates!

 

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    The first is Mawagali Joshua. Joshua has a huge heart for loving and caring for others and, as a result, pursued and achieved training to become a nurse. He is already practicing and using his knowledge and skills to serve the sick and the ill in our community, and he has dreams of returning to school someday to become a doctor.

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    The second is Nakkazi Christine. Christine is a nurturer by heart, and what started as a willingness to always help with the younger children at the home, grew into a desire to be a nursery school teacher. That dream achieved, Christine is now a certified nursery school teacher with a good job and, for the first time in her life, is proudly able to support herself!

Mrs. Agnes (of Agnes’ Childrens’ Care, where these two got their start, and the predecessor to Ddembe) and Papa Moses celebrating our two graduates.

The graduates showing respect and giving thanks to all those who have helped see them through their educational and growth journey.

What a blessing! Gifts of gratitude from Joshua’s extended family for Ddembe. We are thankful for the families we get to know and build relationships with.

Christine and Papa Moses.

Joshua with his Jajja and Papa Moses.

Even royalty was on hand for Joshua’s graduation, as the Busoga King attended a building dedication ceremony on the campus.

Showing Thanks Through Stewardship

“As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace:…” 1 Peter 4:10

The rainy season was tough on Ddembe House this year. Not only did the erosion caused by the heavy rains take out our driveway, a portion of the back wall, and the cattle pen, but the constant beating of the rain did quite a number on the paint jobs of the house, the office building, and the wall, too. So now that we’ve gotten our first sunny week in months, it’s a great time to start repairing and sprucing things up. Not only that, it’s a great opportunity to teach the kids some different skills—though I don’t know if paint wars technically qualify as “skills”!—as well as teaching them about stewardship. To have this place that is being used to serve so many is a great gift, and we are so tremendously thankful to have the responsibility of caring for it.

Good job, Ainsley!

Grace is our quality control manager, inspecting all sand piles for playability.

Kato and one of the workers bringing in small stones to mix with the concrete for the corral.

Harry and his faithful helpers.

Rogers is always up for a dance break.

Peacy and Yonna doing some scraping and prep work for the painters.

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