Saturday, May 07, 2011

Uganda Update

I'm in the middle (or should I say late stages? ) of planning my trip to Uganda. For those of you who may be new to my blog, I will give you the background.
It all started a few years ago when I listened to a podcast of an interview with Sandra Betzina. She happened to mention that she had just returned from Ethiopa where she goes every year to teach women to sew. She didn't say any more about it, but, I thought "I wonder if that is some kind of mission trip." I also wondered how you would get involved in something like that and thought that maybe I would want to do it. A few weeks later I was talking to a friend of mine who had gone on a medical mission to Uganda. I was asking her about it and mentioned this podcast I had heard. She said she knew someone who could set up a trip like that and that we should come over for lunch that day since he was going to be there on a visit from MN.

Andy and I went to my friends house for lunch and talked to a man named John Pipes, who I had met once before. He used to attend our church a long time ago, but had since moved to MN. John works for International Messengers and does ministry in the villages of Uganda. I told him what I was interested in and he said, "You decide what you would like to do, when you can go, and I'll set up the trip." Wow! I think that was during winter and on my Easter break I was on a plane to Uganda with no one I knew meeting someone I had only met a couple of times before, to go to a country where most of the people don't speak English (even though it is the "official" language) having very little idea of what I'd be doing there.

There were some other college kids that we met up with, but they were doing a music ministry and I was the only one doing sewing. It was so fun and amazing and rewarding. I couldn't believe how appreciative the women (and men) were just over the fact that I had come. It didn't even matter if I had taught them anything or done anything, they were just excited that I was there.

The following year, I went again, and this time spent more time in the Village. I got to see some of the same faces as the year before and lots of new ones. Some of the women did speak limited English but they have such a heavy accent that I could not understand most of what they said! They asked me what language I speak. I replied "English." They said, "No you don't" It was so funny. They said they could not understand me either. That second year I took another lady friend with me and we worked with the women in the villages teaching them to sew on treadle machines and doing bible study in the afternoon. Here is a picture of the women in the skirts that they made:

This year I have the opportunity to go again. I am very excited, but I'm asking for your help if any of you feel lead to do so. Our expenses this year will be much higher because of air fare. Our plane tickets alone are over $2700! This is what we will be doing.

It takes about 2 days to get to Uganda. The first day we are there, we will be shopping in Kampala for fabric and 2 sewing machines. These will be used in the villages. The next day, we will be traveling to Jinja, which is a much smaller town. It is on the equator and is where the "origin of the Nile" is. There is a pastor's conference that weekend on purity and we will be ministering to the wives. There are a lot of problems in Uganda with infidelity, domestic abuse, alcoholism, aides, and corruption as well as extreme poverty, yellow fever, and malaria. Here is a picture of one of the "classrooms" that we saw when we were in the slums of Kampala

Last year one woman asked us what we would do in her position. Her husband has been having an affair with another woman, and now he has brought this woman home to live with him and the wife. He expects the wife to take care of the children and home as well as cook for him and his new girlfriend! I'm telling you, the situations they deal with are nothing like what we have here. One woman asked us if we could take a couple of her children home with us because she couldn't afford to feed all of them.
After the pastor's conference, we will be going into the villages for the next week. We will be teaching the majority of the women who come hand sewing and embroidery. The two machines we purchase will be given to two of the women who the pastor has chosen to start up their own businesses. I will be teaching them more sewing skills and helping them find a way to market what they make. They will pay us back with a small amount of money each month from what they make so that we can buy two more machines to get more women involved in the business of sewing,. At this point, I'm thinking school uniforms since there are millions of children there and they all wear uniforms. Most of the uniforms you see children in are worn, stained and falling apart. We still don't have all the details worked out on this yet.

Please be thinking and praying about whether this is something you would like to help support. All donations are greatly appreciated. There are two ways to donate. You could send a check to me directly at Nancy Winningham, 1430 S. Grand Street, Visalia, CA 93292. If you would like a tax receipt, you can send a check to International Messengers with a note that it is for me and the Ugandan sewing ministry. Their address is PO Box 618, Clear Lake, IA 50428-0618. You will receive a receipt that can be used for a tax write off. Thank you so much for your thoughts, prayers, and any support you can give. These women across the globe are grateful!

ETA: Debbie Cook suggested that use PayPal and I hadn't even thought of that. Thanks, Debbie! If you would like to support me by making a donation through PayPal, my email address is


Debbie Cook said...

Nancy, Do you have a PayPal account? If not, would you consider setting up one? I think you would get more donations that way. I would definitely contribute, and also promote donations for your trip on my blog. This is a wonderful thing you do.

Anonymous said...

Nancy..did you see, or are familiar with the organization I posted about several years ago? It's Tools for Self Reliance.
I wonder if they could help you out with the machines or if you could find machines locally to refurbish? A wonderful project.

helenko said...

This is wonderful work you are doing! I will donate as soon as I can, and I will pray for your success.

Nancy W. said...

Thanks Jann - fortunately, we have the money for the sewing machines, which children in our own church donated during VBS. Thanks for posting the link to TFSR. I looked at what they are doing in Uganda and which other organizations they are working with. It sounds like they have a great ministry there as well. We also believe in enabling the people there to help themselves and to lead others. We can't go in and change their lives, but we want to help them get the tools and inspiration they need to do it. Thanks again.

Alethia said...

This is a wonderful idea! I am sharing your story on my website, Sew Much Talent ( I have a group there called, I Love Sewing For Charities. God bless you in all your endeavors!

Vicki said...

Hi Nancy, I sent a donation of $5 in Aussie $. I hope that is ok.

Sew Passionista said...

This is a really beautiful story and God Bless you for doing this.If I were younger and healthier,I'd love to got too.

Gwen said...

How wonderful -- I'll send a donation via PayPal and mention this on my blog too. Have you ever had any thoughts about opening these trips up so that others could join you? I bet there are others who would be interested but have no idea how to go about organizing a trip like this...

Linda said...

Whatever happened to the One Block Wonder quilt? I am anxious to see the finished project.