NEWSLETTER #4

Dear Friends,

Greetings!

We are praying and Trusting the Lord to protect and keep you from the pestilence. He has kept us well but with extended restrictions, especially public transport, learning institutions, churches and other large gatherings.

This affects us too, and being in a rural area it is challenging for students to easily access learning materials during lockdown. It means Teachers will not be accessible to their students on-line if there was a chance to do so. The Government will send the materials but not all the parents know how to help their children with homework.Most Parents have not had the level of education to guide their children.

In the midst of all this, food prices have hiked and could pose a big problem to thousands of families out here.

While on the verge of losing some funding from other potential sources in this season, we would like to ask for prayerfor wisdom to navigate round the setback.

There are uncertainties  of whether we shall have all students back if some parents have been unable to work for nearly 3 months. We need the Lord’s intervention.

The family is busy planting food and vegetables at the Base and around our House. I believe it is a wise thing to do at this stage. A learning experience for the children as well. They’re  all involved in laying seedbeds and transplanting when ready. We have at least 5 acres of maize doing well and now planting nearly 4 acres of rice.  Also growing portions of cassava, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, spinach, carrots, ginger etc.

All the challenges keep us busy at the Bushfire Base, the Gardens/Farm and at the House.

Thank you for the many who have reached out to usduring this pandemic and for your financial, emotional and spititual support. We appreciate you walking with us through all this.

God bless

Sam & Eva Kitalya  Continue reading “NEWSLETTER #4”

NEWSLETTER #3 JUNE 2019 – Sam & Eva Kitalya, Directors

PRAISE REPORT

Dear Friends and Supporters ,

We would like to share briefly our journey and praise report together with you for the last 16 years of operation. Thank you for walking with us and many of you still do to this day. You have nothing to lose if you still do.  Believe me, the poor will always stick around and it pays off if we can think about them.  We lost none of you and we will not lose any of you due to the spirit of love we share and can never be broken.  I guess this is the reason for our existence and never to lose each other under any circumstance.  We lost funding in some incidences, but we cannot lose our friendship.  We can protect this with our own lives.  It’s priceless!

We built 11 homes in 7 districts, and Bushfire Children Home included to support 1000 vulnerable and orphaned children in 2003.  The of these homes were handed over to local churches equipped with beds, beddings, kitchen utensils and clothes.  We settled in Bulange Sub-county, Namutumba District and set up a Nursery, Primary and a Secondary school, Community clinic, Vocational school, four Church congregations together ministering to nearly 1000 members in total.  The schools have grown to over 600 students and still growing.  The clinic supports a community of 40000 members in Bulange Sub county.  Our impact is evident and shared about with pride in churches, funerals and other community gatherings.

The question of giving and sharing what we have is a gift of God to mankind and I am certain there’s no limit to this exercise regardless of our status, poor of rich we have something to share.  It is one of those things I will cherish as long as I live.  Over the years I’ve learnt that serving to humanity is an endless exercise that brings unspeakable joy and fulfillment.  And no doubt accumulating to spend on ourselves only breeds misery and pain.

PRAISE REPORT

In the last 16 years of operation we gained friendship and family form every continent on earth including you.

We have fostered over 150 children in Bushfire Children Home.  This year we saw at least over 20 trained and qualified in various fields ad have jobs. Some are doing interns but with part time jobs helping at Bushfire Children Home and schools.

Most of the children became truly a part of our extended family and our fellowship is indescribable! And some have come of age and got married legally to responsible husbands. About 2% walked their own way but it’s expected in such a large undertaking.

We managed to provide land as a resettlement package to some of our older children that have lived and passed through the program.  Some are starting their own small scale businesses and investing in farming as well.  A few of them have bought land out of their own savings.

Our initial 10 acre land grew to over 200 acres of fertile land and its one of the reasons we can resettle those who have nothing to inherit form their family and can now own a plot at least.

Bushfire Children Home has paved a way for some to attend courses at University and other College levels and we see a bright future for the rest as well.  Today we employ some of our own grown up children, trained and skilled in Building and Concrete practice, Carpentry, Motor mechanics and other machinery, Welding and design,  Painting, Nursery and Primary School teachers, Hospitality & Catering and Office Practice.  We have hairdressers employed elsewhere and some find work at Bushfire Base.  Tailoring is developing a new culture, making bags which are sold in Germany and Australia.

We are investing big in farming this year and the work just began with developing a commercial rice farming and fish farming.  This is becoming possible with our own grown up children keen to put their weight behind the plow and to supervise it.  This was merely a dream in the past years, but we are putting our past and its regrets behind us and make every effort count on what lies ahead.

Caretaker’s shelters have been built on our farm sites for ongoing supervision.  We’ve employed and hired nearly 30 people (these include older Bushfire Children and local community members) developing rice paddies, digging water channels, growing Maize and Soya Beans.

Some activities will include rearing chickens and goats on a larger scale as part of a learning but can fetch income as well.

This year will see our Secondary school children engage in farming, growing vegetables and learning about modern agriculture skills from the garden experts.  September this year when we are seeing most of the farm activities take off.

As part of our strategy to develop and delegate capable staff, we employed 2 couples who are practical and will be leading and directing all schools and farm practices.

The new couple on board have experience in running schools, and both have offered their existing school registration and recruiting stations to market and recruit for Bushfire Schools instead.  We are emphasizing recruiting more paying students from a wider community for cost sharing due to our “shaky and sometimes unpredictable donor stage” in recent years.

This has been  primarily a faith venture in the last decade and a half.  It will require out team to work hard in developing the loyal funding base from school fees revenue and exploiting the land at our disposal.

Our ability to delegate to other leaders is getting a bit easier but I realized no one can delegate FAITH to anybody. It’s a personal choice we make in our daily lives and can NEVER be imposed.

We would appreciate your prayers especially between now and March 2020 when our hopes of recruiting more students could happen. This period will give our farms a bit of room to produce enough food to cater for the growing number of students and staff in the schools and subsidize its budget.
This is a roadmap to our sustainability dream and sef-sufficiency.  It’s our deepest heart desire that we work together and enjoy the journey of treansforming society across the globe. Each one of us bringing in one grain at a time, done in love and self-driven will create a lasting effect to humanity.  I believe we’ve been and still are a great team making  a difference to the present and future generation.

I thank you all form the bottom of my heart,

Uganda Family

UK Family

USA Family

Norwegian Family

German Family

Stewardship Services UK

Global Development Group Australia

Australian High Commission Nairobi

Ugandan Government for providing a peaceful platform.  Finally I thank God Almighty for the gift of faith, wisdom, love and grace to serve, and life itself, without which we would not see all these great experiences of ordinary men and women changing lives and touching future generations today.

God Bless,

Sam and Eva Kitalya (Directors, Uganda Family Resource Link/Bushfire Children Home Uganda)

Australian Newsletter #2

BLOG – Bushfire Childrens Home

JULY 8, 2018

Australian Newsletter #2

Dear Friends,

On 18 June 2018, our four person Team from Cooma and Gosford in NSW left Bushfire after a fortnight visit with our dear friends.  Again we were impressed by the amazing people at Bushfire making real progress in many areas, but most importantly in faith, character and diligence. Although some students and staff had moved on, it was a delight to renew friendships and develop new relationships.  Every visitor to Bushfire cannot help but be impressed with the love and hospitality demonstrated by people at Bushfire role modelled by Sam and Eva Kitalya as Directors.

Figure 1 Esther, Pauline, Ken, Sam, Eva and Dr Dawn

Figure 2 Three new Primary Classrooms under construction

We were delighted the Bushfire accepted 17 children with a Teacher from Northern Uganda.  These teenagers have obviously been well educated and discipled since their English and faith is strong, but they have experienced terrible suffering.

It was terrific to see how these new children had been welcomed to Bushfire since they arrived with few possessions and much fear. The Bushfire community shared what little they had and Australian supporters provided funds for mattresses and school bags.  Although mostly teenagers, their education is at Primary level. However they are so keen to learn at school, develop vocational skills such as building, carpentry, hairdressing, electrical and tailoring and even become Doctors so they can return to rebuild their community. Additional accommodation and School buildings have been required.

Figure 3 Recently arrived children receiving mattresses & school bags

A major achievement has been the Registration of the School which required many visits to Kampala, extensive documentation, site inspections as well as improvements to Laboratory and Library facilities. Registration is not required for Government Schools but enables recognition of Bushfire qualifications and avoids costly frequent transport to Examination Centres.

Figure 4 Senior Boys accommodation near Vocational School

 

Figure 5 Bushfire Teacher and School children

Changes at the School involve strengthening the Vocational School by appointing  a talented Principal, Noah, who is developing the trade skills with very limited resources. Sylvia, previously Head of Primary has taken over leadership of Secondary whilst Teacher Rose is Head of Primary. A recent development is the establishment of a Nursery School under the leadership of Teacher Esther.

Figure 6 Motor mechanics at Vocational school

Figure 7 Hairdressing at Vocational School

The Bushfire Business Centre in the adjacent village of Bulange, which has grid power supply, has developed further beyond the Milling Centre and Shop established last year with support from a USA family. The Centre mills large quantities of maize and rice for both Bushfire and local farmers.  The energetic and capable Simon is the BBC Manager.  A Carpentry Workshop, under the leadership of Jabel, has been established adjacent to the Milling Centre.  Bushfire can now produce much of its own furniture and provides valuable basic training for young people in woodwork.  Furniture products can be sold to village people who previously had to travel to a larger village to have their timber milled or furniture purchase.

Figure 8 “Life Journey” session

Figure 9  Tailoring at Vocational school

Figure 10    Jabel at Carpentry Centre

Our small team was able to undertake counselling, sharing the Gospel, medical checks, music sessions and technical guidance. Much of the Counselling and Medical checks were focused on the Bushfire children.  Dr Dawn also had some medical challenges with some pregnant women, particularly since she had no back-up pathology or radiology services. The Bushfire Nurse, Esereda was very grateful to be working with Dawn.  Pauline taught most days and used her considerable counselling skills to help each of the new children as well as Bushfire children and staff. Esther from Gosford was able to easily relate to the musically talented Bushfire young people through Choir, Guitar lessons and just sharing time laughing. The percussion instruments she brought were very popular and her friends in Australia provided funds to purchase four guitars for the Bushfire music team. The soccer balls were a great hit with intense games involving  separate games of Primary Children, Teenagers and Girls – often wearing Cooma Tiger Soccer Club shirts. The older boys demonstrated amazing skill and mentioned that they believed they could easily beat the Socceroos!

Figure 11 Dr Dawn in Clinic

Figure 12 Esther at Recorder class

Figure 13 Old & new footballs

Fig 13   Home Group in Village

For many years, the provision of a reliable supply of fresh water has been a problem at Bushfire. The original wells were not deep and either ran dry or became contaminated.  A new well was established on adjacent land and a pipe run to Bushfire. However the “re-charge time” is slow after 15mins of pumping hence volume limited. Another well,  65m deep was drilled at the bottom of the Bushfire property in a soak area. This well appears to have ample good quality water and recovers quickly during test pumping. Funding from Australian supporters is being provided to provide a submersible pump, head tank with a tower and pipeline to connect with existing storage tanks at Bushfire. Initially it was thought that the pump would need to be powered by a small diesel generator with inherent high operating cost and reliability concerns. However an Application to the Australian High Commission in Uganda for funding of a 4.5kW solar, battery and inverter power supply was successful. The Australian Government has provided just over A$14,000 towards the project under its Direct Action Programme (previously known as AUSAID). This generous support follows a site visit by AHC representatives from Nairobi who were impressed by what has been achieved at Bushfire and the obvious ethical leadership of Sam and Eva.

Figure 14 New water supply tanks

Figure 15 Maintenance team of Ben and Jairus with electrical equipment from Australia

Another notable achievement was establishing a relationship with the Global Development Group based in Brisbane which manages financial gifts to Bushfire providing Tax Deductibility for donors. For a small 7.5% commission, GDG ensure that funds given to Bushfire are correctly spent as intended, Child Protection and Financial probity standards are fulfilled, financial receipts and statements issued to meet Australian Tax Office requirements  and they receive a better exchange rate than you or I could manage.

Sam, with the help of Florence, will be enhancing the communication process between Sponsors and Children to develop the relationships. Further development of the Business Centre is also being planned with USA supporters.  During our visit, it was good to meet Eric from Washington State since he and his family have been long-time partners of Bushfire.

Finally it is pleasing that Sam’s health has improved and that he now appears to have a reliable, competent and committed leadership team to support him and Eva. They and others have been much encouraged by visitors from West Australia, UK and the USA.  Many improvements achieved with the help of previous visitors are evident. Some of young people developed through Bushfire are now in various leadership roles which augers well for the future.  Indeed many students and staff asked that their gratitude be passed on. On-going prayer and financial support is required to protect the Bushfire people and to enhance this remarkable ministry.

Ken & Paulina Lister, Cooma, NSW 2630

Contact:   kenclister@gmail.com

 

Australian Newsletter #1

Dear Friends

Paulina and I have just returned from 3 weeks with our amazing friends at Bushfire in Uganda. We are energised by the love, passion and positive attitude of the Bushfire Community and delighted by the improvements evident since our visit in 2016. It is always great to spend time with the staff and students who send their greetings and gratitude to their supporters.

Early in 2017, there was insufficient rain in east Uganda and crops failed to produce. Not only did Bushfire farms have little rice or maize, but the prices to purchase food increased 3-4 times normal cost. This really strained the Bushfire finances. Fortunately mangos sustained many people. The maize crop was also affected by insects which damaged the crop. Rain fell in April and May which eradicated the insects as well as helping the rice grow.

Damaged maize

Primary School with recent bright paint

Water for the Bushfire base was also a problem since the wells went dry. This required many trips of the truck to bring water from the well near the Kitalya house.

Many village parents were unable to pay school fees for their children and this meant that teacher salaries could not be paid on-time. We witnessed a mother giving Eva a chicken as a contribution towards school fees since no one could afford to buy her chicken. God enabled  a donation which covered the teachers backpay.

Over the past 12 months;

  • the security fence has been largely completed (except swamp section) and impressive entrance gate installed,
  • Building externals have been painted in bright colours chosen by the staff,
  • A very large rough structure has been constructed on Bushfire land known as the Altar. The purpose is to separate Church activities through the week from School activities for security reasons,
  • Outstanding electrical safety opportunities previously identified had been rectified,
  • A new Business Centre has been constructed in Bulange where there is grid power supply (though not reliable!) for the large electric motors for milling,
  • Retail shop-front established in rented premises in Bulange to buy and sell food,
  • A new Dormitory block has been completed and occupied and
  • A new Library room (part of new Dormitory) and Laboratory and Science store (original kitchen) established
Sam & Eva near Mbale
Simon in Business Centre milling maize

The new Business Centre in the village uses the rice and maize machines relocated from the Bushfire base hence avoids the need to run the diesel generator with expensive fuel. It enables Bushfire to reduce costs by milling their own produce as well as providing a service for other villagers.  Despite original concerns, this Christian business has been well received in the predominately Moslem village. Thanks to generosity of Bushfire friends in the USA for this wonderful project. Efforts continue with the Government to extend the high voltage power line several km further to connect Bushfire to the electricity grid.

Another major initiative has been the Jiggers and Bedbug elimination project. These parasites have caused major health issues in the villages in and around Bushfire. They cause people to not sleep hence unable to work in their gardens as well as ostracised by their neighbours. If untreated, Jiggers, which enter a body through their feet, can cause infection of flesh and bone possibly requiring amputation in worst case. However due to the terrific efforts of students at Mackay Christian College who raised approx A$3000,  over a thousand homes and huts have been sprayed (twice) to eliminate the Jiggers and Bedbugs as well as educating the villagers. The people affected, and their neighbours, are just so grateful to Bushfire (specifically Fred and Hereth) for their efforts and love. Well done to Jonah and friends at Mackay Christian College.

Sadly the second daughter of Pastor Joseph and Olivia passed away after only several days. The whole Bushfire community and many overseas friends grieved with this family.

During our recent visit, Paulina preached most days and undertook many counselling sessions with teenagers and some staff. Pauline was able to teach and encourage many people, both young and old.  The lessons to be learnt from the Psalms were a particular focus.  Ken, with the help of Ben, Jairus, Simon, Jabel and Bob installed new solar panels, batteries, switches and inverters to reduce the need to run the diesel generator. The energy provided by solar enabled the Secondary School and some Primary School classrooms to have lighting for study until 9:00pm each night. Various other electrical safety deficiencies and improvements were resolved.

Bushfire also appreciated the gifts of cash, wedding dresses, soccer shirts, tools (including engraving & labelling) and of course Tim Tams. Of particular value to the Science students was the surplus equipment for Physics experiments from Monaro High School.

Many people expressed gratitude for the support of Robyn and Ann from Western Australians who visited last year. Interestingly they assumed that because we lived in Australia, we often catch-up!

Overall we consider that the culture and hope is stronger in 2017 than last year, and there is no doubt that the prayer and practical support has been really encouraging.

Prayer Points include;

  • The children at Bushfire accept Christ as Lord of their lives , are discipled well and they continue their Christian walk, despite outside influences,
  • Water supplies shall be replenished,
  • Students learn and achieve well,
  • Crops continue to produce,
  • Leadership and staff continue to trust and depend on the Lord and have good health, endurance and wisdom,
  • Financial needs are met

On behalf of Bushfire, Ken & Paulina Lister (kenclister@gmail.com and paulinalister@gmail.com )

Bushfire Church

Physics Class
Village girl with leg and bone infected by Jiggers
Fred & Hereth – Jigger & Parasite Spray Team at a village