Update #13

July 12, 2020

Here’s where we stand:

  • Total funds raised through GoFundMe campaign:  $2,700
  • Total funds received directly from other sources:  $3,110
  • Total transmitted to Joseph:                                       $5,810

With those funds, Joseph was able to achieve the following:

  • Completed roofing the Multi-purpose Hall at Musasa Primary School, which is being used as a temporary shelter for those affected by the flooding;
  • Purchased and distributed food – soap, sugar, posho (cornmeal), and beans – and non-food items – basins, saucepans, soap – to 88 people considered particularly vulnerable: disabled, elderly, widows;
  • Purchased and distributed cassava flour to 259 displaced people at the Musasa Primary School camp;
  • Purchased and distributed hoes and hoe handles to 436 farmers;
  • Provided cement for repairs to four homeowners;
  • Provided ironsheets (corrugated tin roofing material) for repairs to 6 homeowners;
  • And last, but by no means least, the Busingo-Mughanza footbridge was vastly improved and traffic is proceeding normally. 

Life is beginning to return to normal for many people there, but I want to emphasize that there is still much work to be done.  The Bughungu Primary School in particular may have to be completely rebuilt on the other side of the river; at some point the School Management Committee and the Parent-Teacher Association will meet to make that decision. 

My association with Musasa Primary School and its principle movers Joseph and Teddy is a much-treasured long-term partnership.  I will be closing this GoFundMe campaign this week, but if you are motivated to stay in touch and continue to be a part of this effort going forward, please check my website https://onepointartworks.com, or email me at karen@onepointartworks.com for how you can become a Friend of Musasa (perhaps we will be able to change that to “Friend of Musasa-Bughungu”).

Thank you all for your contributions to this campaign.  You have accomplished a great deal, and now you have the lifelong gratitude of these fine folks, and a personal link to a beautiful little area of the world that you probably didn’t know existed two months ago!  Imagine that!

Update #12

July 5, 2020

The Bridge, Boss, the Bridge!

Reconstruction is under way! 

Here is Joseph again, explaining what’s going on:

“Today this afternoon we are here at the Busingo Mughanza footbridge.  We are making some repairs and putting some logs to make it flat.  People you see here they are the crews and community members who are ready to use the footbridge once it’s complete.  Now the shape of it is coming on.  We thank the GoFundMe campaign, from Canada, and the well-wishers who contributed towards this bridge.  We are very happy and the community members are very, very happy for the work done today this evening.  We thank you for the efforts you put on for the contributions that you provided through the GoFundMe campaign.  We are now putting on the supporters and guards (handrails) so that people when they cross, they cross properly, and the community members are very happy because this bridge has been here for many years without having these timbers on top of it, and the people, they were just dreaming where they may get funding to have the timbers on top of this footbridge.”

So there you have it.  The footbridge is in use today, and the amount of traffic crossing it is returning to normal.  No, correct that… traffic is greatly increased because now EVERYONE wants to cross it, eager to try it out. 

Next week will mark the end of this fundraising effort, and I will post an accounting of how much money has been raised and how it was spent.  I hope you will be impressed by how much good you have accomplished. 

There is still so much more to be done, of course, but patience is a quality that my friends in Kyarumba have in abundance.   

Update #11

Warning!  These two videos are not for the faint of heart! 

Being in Joseph’s “old women” category (thanks, pal!) I probably could not cross this thing by crawling on my hands and knees, let alone with a bundle of market vegetables and/or a baby on my back. And people do it daily, often several times a day.  Our next big push is to replace this banged-together bridge with a proper one with timbers, nails, and handrails.  Joseph makes this appeal quite eloquently, and I have transcribed it as follows:     

“I am Joseph Kasibirehe, standing right now on one of the highest footbridges in Kyarumba, which connects Kyarumba and Busingo villages.  This bridge you see here, it is made by the community members by pulling out some logs from the nearest collapsed trees.  They collect them together and fix them on their own, tying with ropes which needs some repairs.  And this bridge, this footbridge, is used by women carrying some foodstuffs from gardens across the other side of Kyondo, in Busingo, they cultivate a lot of food crops: yams, cassava, beans, matoke, Irish potatoes, and personal fruits which they take to the market every week.  This footbridge is being crossed over every day by young children, women, and men, who collect food from the other part of the area.  The water down, it is almost like thirty feet from the valley to this footbridge.  So we intend to have some fundraising so that we can get some money to buy some logs, timbers, nails, and we can fix and have some supporters on each side, so that when a person is crossing, they can easily go, slowly by slowly, while protected by the supporters of the logs.  I’m just here watching the bridge and looking at the water… and like old women, above sixty years, they can’t cross this river, this footbridge, because it is dangerous to them.  So… once we get another funding through the GoFundMe campaign, we shall have to support this footbridge.”

Update #10

June 20, 2020

Happy Father’s Day to all you great dads, wrapped in the love of your family.  Have a great day.

A message of thanks for friends and supporters is coming to you today from the farmers of Nyakeya village, which is adjacent to Kyarumba. Joseph became aware that this village has been neglected in its recovery efforts, so, with the funds you have provided, he was able to purchase and distribute hoes to replace the ones gone missing, and help this group of farmers start to replant their destroyed crops. 

Joseph writes: “It was a pleasure meeting people today at Nyakeya village who were very happy they told me that when ever they see trucks with relief items to Kyarumba camps they were always filling sad because for them they were not in camps only cultivates in the river valley while staying at high grounds and that today a golden chance came to them by even not knowing that someone may come to rescue them. They said I say thanks on they behalf to you and all contributed to this cause🙏🙏🙏”.

I want you to know that each one of you has done an enormous amount of good with your donations.  Hoes, bags of cement, bean seeds… they may seem like small things, but to many, it’s the difference between life and death.

GoFundMe Update #9

It’s been a month now since the River Nyamugasana flooded parts of Kyarumba, Uganda, leaving a shocking amount of devastation in its wake.  Your donations have done more good than you can ever imagine, but we are nowhere near ready to call it a day.  

I am in touch with Joseph on WhatsApp almost daily, and this morning he says: “Today we covered 90 people of whom, Expectant mothers, elderly, widows, children headed households, and other vulunerables.  Expectant mothers received sugar, a small bag of posho, a basin, and soap.  People that received these items are appreciating very much.”

GoFundMe Update #8

We are nearly 1/3 of the way to our goal of $10,000 thanks to a generous friend who donated to me directly.  That’s always an option, by the way.  However it comes, we are most grateful!

The rainy season is finally beginning to pass, and the weather is warming.  Joseph has purchased bean seeds, and has packaged them for distribution to the farmers who will be replanting.  In this video, he is calling people up by name to receive their beans, and some are also receiving hoes to replace those washed away in the flood.  As you can see, the farmers are mostly women, and some of the hardest working people on the planet.

Joseph updated me this morning:

“This phase is done and next now would be vulnerables: elderly women and men, people with disabilities, expectant mothers, households headed by children.  So far, we focused just on a few farmers in just two villages, Musasa and Kasithu, then 7 beneficiaries from Kyarumba town.  So there’s other villages from hills to River Nyamugasani where they were having farms for food crops while staying at their high grounds.  I will still look at other villages with its women who were cultivating food crops around valley.  But first, we will take care of the vulnerables.”

GoFundMe Update #6

We are now heading into the second week of recovery from the flooding that hit Kyarumba on May 6. There is still sporadic flooding in the area, and more people have sought shelter at Musasa Primary School. Joseph tells me the current count is 257 families for a total of 1,754 people! With the help of your donations, Joseph has been able to distribute cassava flour, and to bring in safe drinking water to fill the water collection tanks at the school.

Much like the children in Canada and the U.S., the children in Uganda are being schooled by radio during the lockdown. When they are not taking lessons, of course, they play. The need is still very great, but where children are playing, you know that, ultimately, everything will be all right when this is over.

GoFundMe Update #5

Joseph has provided me with these details as to the people who have been affected, and how best to allocate the funds. It is ambitious, but one can hope:

There are 87 families currently sheltering at Musasa Primary School. Their homes are in the direction of the flood and they fear that, if it floods during the night, lives will be lost. Most of these families have young children, so they shall need mosquito nets, jerricans, food, and soap, etc.

Other people affected are those who have food crops along the river. When it flooded all crops washed away (beans, sweet potatoes, matoke, cassava, fruit trees, groundnuts, etc.). They are staying in their homes, some on high ground, but will need to replant their crops. They can be provided with hoes, pangas, posho, jerricans, etc.

In Kyarumba center, about 15 houses were affected. Seven were totally taken away. Several others had their foundations broken, leaving them hanging. We can support them with 5 ironsheets to those that lost houses, and remaining can get 3 bags of cement each.

GoFundMe Update #4

In today’s news: On Friday, I transferred $1500 to Joseph in Kyarumba. The money will be used immediately to help feed the people who are sheltering at Musasa Primary School, and then allocated where possible. In this photo, Joseph is speaking to the group to raise awareness about disease prevention: malaria, dengue… a reminder about the need for mosquito nets. In the next update I will provide more detail about the people in this particular group, and the priorities for how the funds will be spent.