Barbara Eykel and Andy Eaves recently visited Uganda to visit projects that are part of the Tearfund/ PEP programme. St George's has supported this project since 2013
My recent trip to Uganda to visit PEPprojects (participatory evaluation project) with Andy Eaves and others was truly inspirational. Tearfund and the PAG church in Uganda are working together on a process that changes people’s mindset from dependency to one of realisation that they have God-given resources that they can use. A change from ‘if only someone would give us’ to a realisation that ‘we already have….’
We visited four churches in the Soroti area with Judith who is incharge of PEP for PAG in the Eastern area and led by Owen Crane from Tearfund. Transport was by Land Cruiser driven very ably by Moses. It was fantastic to go to Lale on the first Sunday after arriving there and I found it a place of such joy. There was a sturdy roof in place and an amazing welcome with much singing, cheering and dancing!! There are several churches in the Lale area and many had come from the other churches so it was very full with other denominations there as well, all working together.
After the service we went to see some of the local projects while lunch was being cooked. We visited Jimmy who has developed his mango plantation and has learned how to graft them to produce a better variety. He also had a field of tomatoes. He told us he used to only have one pair of trousers but now he can have more! We then visited a family who have a brick house which makes them feel safer and protects them against the weather. He has made the bricks from the ant hills which are plentiful and he can sellextras to provide for his family. It took quite a while to visit these two as the projects are quite spread out.
Lunch when we got back was rice, potatoes, cabbage, interesting pieces of chicken and sauce - and this was the pattern that followed on each of our visits to other churches. As a parting gift we were each given a chicken - a really precious gift to be given. We weren’t quite sure what we were going to do with them but they came with us for the rest of the week and Moses the driver ended up with them - probably eaten by now!
We visited a church where the project has not yet started and the difference was tangible. One man asked us what we had come to give him - no change of mindset yet. We also visited another project which has been going for twelve years and they are involved in successful advocacy as well as saving small sums of money, initiated by the women themselves So we can see how Lale might develop.
We met with the Bishop Sam of Soroti and he wanted feedback so we talked about the difficulty of communication as it was plain to see why there was little information coming from Lale. He and PAG and Tearfund are looking into how this can be improved so that supporting churches have more up to date information .
There is a committed prayer group from St George’s who have met regularly for the last three years to pray for Lale, as well as the Nunn family who are in Ethiopia. It was therefore thrilling to be able to share up to date information as well as photos and see what a change has taken place since the process began.