Uganda is an agricultural country with 98% of the population in Lwengo District depending on peasantry farming, from garden to house. We mainly grow maize, beans, cassava, banana and sweet potatoes. We keep the rest of the excess surplus from the garden in granary for consumption in the next season. Lwengo District has no machinery or technology to add value to cereal crops and we must travel 15-40 kms to Kinoni or Lwengo town council where milling machines are located. Economic opportunities are few as food prices are low; petty trade is conducted.
“Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are older they will not turn from it.” Proverbs 22:6
Kyamaganda community has one government school which is located at the extreme end of the village. The children travel a distance of 5-12 kms to reach the school. In the town council there exists private schools but they are expensive on the level of peasantry farmers that at times have one meal a day. Children study in the bare footed life, only 2 children out of 20 have shoes and they carry their books in polyethylene bags and one or none has a descent bag to keep the books safely. Children carry food to school as part of the leftover from supper and its mainly posho. By lunch time such food is not in healthy state but no option. At school porridge costs UGX: 30,000 ($24.00 USD) and Lunch UGX: 50,000 ($13.50 USD) per term (three months).
Many students hardly have enough scholastic materials since the economic stand is weak and the schools themselves have not enough teaching and learning aids. Many school structures are in a sorry state made of mud and wattle, those in town are better off than rural schools.
Notably, 60% of students have full school uniforms, a reasonable number have very old uniforms which are torn and in a funny state which degrades privacy and human dignity. The teachers hire houses from community where they stay and 70% of the schools don’t have teacher’s houses. Some teachers travel using bicycles to reach the schools in the morning and move longer distances on average of 3-5 kms to go at school for teaching.
“I will heal my people and will let them enjoy abundant peace and security.” Jeremiah 33:6
The area is under served and people have to travel far to search for better health services. There exists two government referral hospitals, Masaka Regional Referral Hospital which is 35 kms distance and Lyantonde Hospital which is 45 kms distance from Kyamaganda community. The area was hit by HIV and AIDS in early 1990s leaving behind many orphans and vulnerable children. In our program, currently we have 183 HIV positive children under our care and support on ART treatment (ARVs) The existing health centre 111 is 20 kms distance away from Kyamaganda community and faces challenges such as inadequate staffing and limited drug supplies due to the big population it serves. There is a great need to construct a modern and better health centre in the area, as well as a need to have local medical camps.
“He who has compassion on them will guide them and lead them beside springs of water” Isaiah 49:10
The Kyamaganda community, in Lwengo District, is located is a semi-arid area under Ankole-Masaka dry corridor. The water tables are low and changes timely. At schools in Lwengo District it is worse because students share with animals in an open dam constructed by government. We timely lament that “even if it’s dirty water, but it exists better than nothing” Children travel 3-6 kms to get access to water source, which is dirty and not fit for human consumption and during the dry season it is worse. But in rainy seasons, it is pretty and if households could have alternative means of harvesting rain water it could take the household to the next seasons and water borne diseases would reduce. However, students have no water bottles even if caretakers could boil water for drinking.
Many households are orphan-headed and others under the care of older caretakers who are 60-90 years on average. Each household has 5-9 children aged 8-22 years and 90% were either infected or affected by HIV/AIDS pandemic in the area. This has made the life complicated without basic care and basic necessities. The children in a house three share one sponge and with no blanket and some households are in sorry state of collapsing. The old suffer more because the youthful generation seems not caring due to weak economic stand. But food is available.