Happy Easter Dear Friends
Once again we would like to share our story with you and so join us to celebrate the goodness of the Lord. The “lockdown” is over but now adjusting to many changes.
Bushfire Childrens Home
We continue pretty much with the same number of 94 children and all are doing well and in school. Thank you for your prayers and support even through the pandemic. Older children continue on a public school whole we contemplate the future of the secondary school. We shall continue with only three trade skills and that is: tailoring, hairdressing and vehicle mechanics based on demand.
We have two older children finishing their courses this year and we would appreciate your prayers for them to finish well. One is undergoing hairdressing and the other will be instructing others in due course.
Working Bushfire children
A good number of our children have jobs now and we constantly check on them. Often times they send some little support and we are encouraged by that. Some have stayed on after their training and helping in various departments at Bushfire. This includes our two sons Joseph and Isaac who are managing a few other areas and giving us unspeakable joy and relief.
The Clinic has had its challenges due to most families struggling to pay a little for the services. We would like cost sharing but their part has been minimal so we are trusting we can keep it running. Health needs are a huge issue in this part of the country but technically it is a poor village as well and it’s the reason we came in to make a difference and build hope where possible.
The planting season started in march and so far rice fields have been prepared (needing a bit more rain though) plus sunflower already flowering for the purpose of pressing oil at Bushfire. We had a huge setback last season due to a long drty spell and we lost so much. We’re pressing oil for our own consumption and selling surplus to meet other basic needs. The good news is that we got our oil samples passing the test in the National Bureau of Standards laboratory. Now we have a one year permit and it’s a big deal.
Our Rice and Maize mills are running ok and provide jobs for our older children who run it themselves and so far so good. They have managed to maintain the machines and pay the bills plus keep a small income for themselves. They’re giving a small percentage towards Bushfire general activities and think this it’s the best way to go.
The Bushfire Church family and Bushfire Home children are reaching out into the community with the message of hope, providing small basic needs to the widows and elderly. We’re providing soap, salt, sugar, basic medication/First aid and clothing to the most vulnerable and taking them to hospitals for further management in our vehicles.
Apart from the Bushfire Primary School, the base has kept busy running a Diploma Bible class for Church leaders in our community., and we expect to run a ten week Certificate in Discipleship Training programme in a few weeks time. This will be in conjunction with a South African Christian programme – Foundations in Cross-Cultural Education (FCE). THey will run this on our property and we hope to maintain the programme even into the future.
We are setting ourselves up to have most of you, our dear partners, directly engaging with our staff and children online for One-on-One counselling, training and other practical input you may want to offer. I do appreciate your input in the past while visiting us on-ground but realise the situation has changed but we can revise ways of connecting again.
We have a young energetic white South African couple jouining us in a few weeks time for long-term service at Bushfire. They worked with us during the lockdown last year exhibiting such stamina and character that we are delighted to have them return. Steve is a qualified engineer and Tanya a medical doctor. WE believe they will make a huge difference working with us and will add value to the programmes with their amazing talents and skills, PLease pray for their provision as they prepare to come and the financial support while volunteering at Bushfire. Both have a wealth of skills and a heart for young people.
Once again, thank you so much for your kind support over the years and still do.
SAm & EVa Kitalya
I do hope and pray this finds you well given the difficult circumstances around the globe. We are facing a major crisis in Uganda right nowand would appreciate your prayers. More people are dying in numbers like never before. Hundreds are testing positive for COVID 19 on a daily basis. Hospitals are packed with such cases and we are in a situation where oxygen is like gold here. Not everybody will have access, let alone the limited quantity. The only equipped Hospital is in Kampala where the crisis is at peak. The only remedy at this stage is is for up-country regions like us is to staty home because the chances of of reaching Kampala for any possible treatment is a dream. For the first time since the outbreak last year, we’ve had deaths registered in our village and this is a big concern. We would appreciate your prayers due to the large number we are taking care of at Bushfire. Childrens Home.
It’s our desire to equip the Bushfire Clinic with enough antibiotics, vitamin C and other medication to avoid any symptoms developing further than we can handle. Many people are scared of going to hospital in case of being neglected and dying. Hence people opt for preventative measures rather than entering Hospital.
Prayer is a great weapon in such desperatate situations and we would certainly appreciate it.
We have a South Sudanese girl, Lucy, with us who was shot several years ago and now has a serious infection in her knee. where she was injured. Lucy is on medication at our house and will be going to Mbale for surgery. She has improved with medication and now able to move, helped by critches we found for her.
Please pray for our gardens to yield well as food prices have risen due to the lockdown. The prices for medicines has also gone up as the demand has increased and supply limited. We are not allowed to travel into the next District.
Although we have goats on a property in another District, we are not allowed to collect them. Cyrus was blocked by the Police and barred from collecting them. A young boy has been without supervision for two months caring for our goats. We plan to bring the goats back to Bushfire for better supervision and to engage our children in the project.
Will you please also pray for Speke and Sarah, a new couple at Bushfire who will help in the Childrens Home and running the School. I am hoping they will be a blessing by decreasing the workload. They will join Sylvia Kalenda (new staff member) who is doing a great job in my office.
Ouf family is doing well generally while Eva and I had a COVID test after her return from Kenya. in March this year. I have not been well but glad the Lord has pulled us through.
On a lighter note, many of our older children have found jobs to keep busy. Some are investing in goats and poultry while others have found work in Kampala and other parts of Uganda. We often get reports how their bosses appreciate their conduct and we thank God for that.
We are a million times grateful for your continued support. It has made what we are and what we do for HIs Glory. No doubt we share the blessings thereof.
Love from Sam& Eva with the Bushfire Family.
Sam and Eva Kitalya together with the Bushfire Community send Christmas greetings to all their friends and extend gratitude for the prayer, encouragement and financial support throughout a challenging year. The School was closed for much of the year and only now re-opening. Hence many children missed out on the education and care provided at Bushfire. Sadly the South Sudanese students had to return home, though Bushfire and others continue to support them. The plentiful harvest has been a real blessing. A major improvement has been the construction of a new Medical Centre due to a generous financial gift from Australia. Three phase power from the grid was provided to supplement the solar power and reduce running of the large diesel generator. The following photos indicate various aspects of life for the Bushfire Community, including the children currently back in South Sudan.
“Thank you for standing with us in all seasons. Our thoughts will be be with you through the season celebrating our Lord’s birth and redemption of man”. Sam & Eva.
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.
Sam & Eva Kitalya Continue reading “NEWSLETTER #4”
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.
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,
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.
Sam and Eva Kitalya (Directors, Uganda Family Resource Link/Bushfire Children Home Uganda)
BLOG – Bushfire Childrens Home
JULY 8, 2018
Australian Newsletter #2
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
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.
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
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