Where are the blog posts?

I’m sure some of you are saying “where are those blog posts Karon was going to write?”   Well it turns out that this trip has been more difficult than any other trip for access to the internet.  In Uganda, I have access to the internet only in the morning before leaving for the villages or in the evening upon my return to my hotel and on this trip, the internet has been down consistently during those windows of opportunity!  My appologies for the lack of  posts.

However, Kerrie Sadler, one of the board members who accompanied me on this trip has written a beautiful reflection on the trip and I think you’ll enjoy it.   Here it is:

“You Are Very Welcome”

I’ve returned home and had awhile to reflect on the essence of my African experience.  What keeps coming to mind for me is the graciousness of the Ugandan people, even in the face of unrelenting poverty.  In each village we visited we were greeted with such genuine warmth by our borrowers!  Among the common forms of greeting we heard were the words, “You are very welcome.”  With those words and with hands outstretched in friendship, they invited us into their world.

That world is not an easy one to navigate; I had no real idea until I saw it firsthand.  Most women we support through micro loans are not just operating small businesses but also caring for their numerous children. Many of them grow, pick, dry, grind, slaughter, and otherwise prepare the food they provide for their families, as well as to sell at their village market.  And they cook in pots over fires – there is no microwave to pop a meal into when they’re on the run!

This is the lifestyle within which we have had the honor of doing our work, improving their lives with our micro loans.  But the improvements go beyond just the women. As one of our Ugandan loan administrators, Annette, said, “Mothers and children move together.” As such, what benefits our borrowers also benefits their offspring and uplifts an entire community.

These amazing, resourceful people ask for so little. They smile and are so grateful for the help we’re able to provide through the generous donations we receive from so many of you here at home. We repeatedly heard the words, “Thank you for loving us.”

I came away feeling that the world is now a little smaller due to the connections we have made in each of the villages we support. As Karon Wright once wisely stated about our African sisters, “They are us over there.”  We all want good health and an education for our children, and we all have the same basic needs.  I am convinced, now more than ever, that The Greater Contribution’s work is indeed making a measurable, lasting impact.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Reflections on coming home

I’m back home and naturally reflecting on my most recent trip to Uganda and making comparisons between life in Uganda and my life here.   The obvious comparisons have to do with our widely different standards of living.  At times, just seeing the unrelenting poverty, day after day, mile after mile is really hard.   I just can’t believe that almost half the world lives like that.   It just doesn’t seem possible.  It seems like it must be a  science fiction movie about the end of civilization and yet I know it’s reality.   But what a reality and how vastly different from life in America.

Most of our loan clients live on less than $1.25/day –hard to imagine, but true.  9e TYPICAL HOUSINGThey live in mud huts with palm leaves for roofs or if they’re a little higher on the economic ladder, they can afford a tin roof and maybe a cement floor instead of mud and dung.    They eat one or two meals a day and suffer from an array of medical issues, some of them quite serious,  that can easily be cured with a few dollars worth of medicine — a few dollars they don’t have.  Their children go without shoes and many never go to school since that requires paying school fees.

Yet in the midst of this abject poverty, I see a human spirit that is amazingly resilient.   I see strength, wisdom and determination in these borrowers. 13a Borrower listens intently during trng It is remarkable to me that people can retain hope and ambition and the drive to learn and to better themselves against such incredible odds.   Equally as important, they are neither bitter nor cynical.   They are loving, kind, and appreciative.   I wonder if I would do so well in their circumstances.

I am deeply grateful for the privilege of helping the women of Uganda.  The cost to help is so little and yet makes such a very big difference.

Upon arriving home, I received an email from our Loan Administrator, Annette, who wrote, ” DSC00784…thank you for the lives of many women that you have changed within a minute and for their

beautiful smiles that shows real hope restored.”

I am also grateful that so many of you are of a like mind and give of your time, your talents and your financial resources to enable us to do this work.  If you would like to get more involved with this work, please email me at:   Karon@GreaterContribution.org.  Or if you would like to give a little each month to provide micro loans and help sustain our work,  please go to www.GreaterContribution.org and click on the Donate link and follow the prompt.

Thank you for following my journeys to Uganda and for your support.  Till next trip…

 

 

 

 

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There is nothing I enjoy more than distributing the loan money to borrowers!   You can almost feel the anticipation as the women gather to receive their loan proceeds.   The loan money is carefully counted at the bank and placed in individual envelopes with the borrower’s name and loan amount ahead of time.     As each woman receives her envelope, we congratulate her, she in turn thanks us profusely and occasionally even kneels before us!   Many tell us they will work hard and be successful;  some say they won’t let us down!  Many are shy and simply say thank you.  It is inspiring and humbling to see how much a small loan of $100 or $200 can mean and how grateful the women are.   Truly a moving experience.

Here’s a woman counting her loan money…..

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…and a couple of borrowers in Tororo receiving congratulations from me.Karon congratulating a borrower in Tororo

In the Lwaboba center, our Loan Administrator, Annette Nasirumbi, asked the borrowers into the office in groups of three to receive their loans.  As each group came in, Annette would deliver a few words  of encouragement to each group, reminding them that this loan represented a great opportunity to turn their lives around and that they should not squander it!  I was impressed that each time she delivered  the message, it was a little different and yet always delivered with love, and inspiration!   Annette is  a remarkable  leader.

Here are a trio of Lwaboba borrowers who just heard Annette’s message and just received their loans.   They’re seeing a new future on the horizon and you can see the joy and excitement on their faces.   DSC00784

 

Thank you to all of you who make these loans possible.  You’re helping to change the world one loan at time.   Please spread the word about TGC to all you know who would like to make a real, life changing difference in the lives of women. 

 

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