Dear friends and family,
Oli otya! I send you greetings from Uganda. It's hard to beleive that I have been here for 5.5 months already. I can guarentee you that I am a changed person because of this experience. I am now not surprised to see people in public urinating or picking their nose. I expect to be charged the "mzungu price", I expect to see people throwing their trash wherever they please, and for every boda man to ask me, "we go?". Haha! On a more serious note, I expect to see people give all that they have, for complete strangers to invite me into their home for tea and to socialize (though we speak a different language), for children to over thank me for buying them bread or fruit, and for people I meet in taxis to start up a conversation as we are stuck in the jam and to be genuinely thankful for what little I am doing.
I am so grateful for each and every one of you who has blessed me in so many ways. Without all of your thoughts, prayers, and well wishes- I know without a doubt that I would have given up months ago.
As you are all aware the holiday season is quickly approaching. As the popular song asks, "Do they know it's Christmas time at all?", the answer is YES. Many (actually every) ngo that I have been working alongside are feeling the pain in their finances as the world economy is hurting. Children's homes are unable to feed their children- kids are going to school hungry (that's if they are lucky enough that someone was willing to pay their school fees). They are so in debt to food suppliers, medical caregivers, and schools, that eventually the tabs are going to be put to an abrupt halt and innocent children are going to suffer.
But YOU (yes you) can make a difference. It costs approximately $1.50 to feed a children three, hot, basic meals per day. I know that the vast majority of you have $1.50 in your pocket at the end of every day. Ugandans will hustle all day to get that money and then turn around and give it to a friend in the hospital or give it away to a person needing transport.
I have lived my whole life valuing saving money- to see how large I could get my savings account. I even have money in stocks, cd's, etc. Then there are people in Uganda MY AGE who can not find a job and so they hustle EVERYDAY and when they come home with $2 they buy dinner for everyone in their house. If they have been blessed with $8 that day, and they so happen to get a phone call from an orphanage who can't feed their kids dinner that night, they give $8. And when that orphanage calls me I ask 150 questions, who, what, where, and how. I have seen it all. And every time I think WOW!
The world has so much to learn from Ugandans. The people here have a desire to take care of one another to the point that it hurts. I am not asking you to necessarily give until it hurts (because I am not able to give that way. But, hey, wouldn't it be cool if we did sometimes.) I just ask that you give from the overflow.
All contributions will be given to orphanages to pay off debt that they have accumulated to make sure that their children's basic needs have been being met. I know most of your Christmas trees will be crowded with things that you don't really need. Why not consider giving the gift of education or a few hot meals to a child whose parents are deceased and others whose parents chose to not want their children. If we all give a little, we can change the future of Uganda by impacting her future leaders today.
All contributions can be made payable to me "Jolene Goss" and mailed to 8 Campside Circle Conestoga, Pa 17516. Or see that either of my parents or brothers receive the contributions. Thank you once again!!