This week, the Ugandan community is awash with news of the demise of Becky Nampijja, a recent graduate and a beneficiary of the Watoto Child Care Ministries.
Becky was raised up as one of the thousands of orphaned, abandoned and vulnerable children that have characterised the Ugandan social scene in part due to the scourge of HIV and AIDS reaping their parents or the burden of social responsibility being too much for unemployed parents.
In a unique model of a foster community, off Mityana Road, Watoto Child Care Ministries places 8 such children in a home with a mother and there, their lives being to take shape as they should have been had they stayed in a proper home. They get brand new brothers and sisters, and learn to accept new mothers with whom they share life. They go to school, have a medicare facility and a community centre where they meet on the weekends for events and church services.
Becky, would have, earlier on, travelled on the famous Watoto Children’s Choir where she would have sang and danced to share the gospel, and tell of the story of her rescue and transformation; and help to raise funds so that more children like her can be rescued. In the course of her life, true to the african adage, Becky would have been raised by a Village!
That village would include sponsors, from 6 countries where Watoto Choir has been, that village would include me and you, who for a paltry UGX 70,000 every month, provide the resources that Watoto Child Care Ministries needs to put children like Becky through an education all the way to the University.
In January 2015, a little orphaned and abandoned gal had grown and transformed into a beautiful young leader, armed with an education and the best possible upbringing – Becky graduated with an Economics degree. She bit so many odds to get to this point, and she already had a job, a rare and priceless acquisition in a country with nearly 83% graduate unemployment.
There are 4000 such children in the Watoto Children’s Homes and thousands more in the other foster homes scattered allover the country. In those homes, there are children who look up to their big sisters (read: Becky) and mothers who pride in sons and daughters who have lived to beat the curse of a fatherless generation.
To have to live with the death of Becky Nampijja in such a senseless spectacle is a heart wrenching matter – Becky is the very future of this country and before we have to reap the reward of years of hard work in rescuing and raising her to rebuild her nation, Becky is taken away from us.
My heart weeps, and the pain cannot be verbalised.
On the day of her death, Becky was one of the first of many fatalities for the month of March 2015, recorded at the Central Police Station in Kampala. This station reports 308 deaths due to Boda Boda accidents for the first 60 days of this year – that is 15 lives every single day.
If Alshabaab was killing 20 lives every month, there would be a supplementary budget for military acquisitions to the tune of many billions of shillings. Yet we sit idly by as Boda Bodas kill 15 people daily.
We had Operation Wembley when armed thugs began to kill and rob, at the height of it, no more than 30 people were killed in a month – but today we sit idly by as Boda Bodas kill 15 people daily.
Uganda, how many young people are we prepared to lose before Boda Bodas become a terror in our lives? How many excuses and reasons are we going to give before we consider this a serious threat to the very life of this community?
The strain on the country’s limited health budget is growing. According to a report by Makerere University College of Health Sciences and the department of orthopedics at Mulago, about 40% of trauma cases at the hospital are from boda-boda accidents (pdf). The treatment of injured passengers and pedestrians accounts for almost two-thirds of the hospital’s annual surgery budget.
For the life of Becky Nampijja and 308 other Boda Boda deaths in 2015 alone, I demand that we do something!
This is a big figure, whichever way you want to look at it. If you still doubt it, lets get some context going…
At 2455 UGX for each benjamin, that’s a whooping 2,523,740,000UGX – in words, Two Billion, five hundred twenty three million, seven hundrend forty thousand Ugandan shillings. 50,475 notes of 50,000/= each.
That’s my gross salary for 1009 and half months – just over 84 years! Considering that I started earning this gross salary only a few months ago, I have to live close to 120 years to ever make that money – and still, almost 40% of it would remain black holed into PAYE and NSSF!!!
Simple – I will never live to make that kind of money, atleast while still at my day job!
This figure will go down in books of history, as the first donation of its kind by a sub-saharan african church, to 3 churches outside of the boundaries of its own country! Watoto Church has just given away over 1 Million USD to Israel, Burundi and SouthSudan, for the purpose of building the church in the 3 capitals.
In a country where 64.5% of the population live on 2 USD and below – source – how is it that some 20,000 or so faithful givers have the means to raise 1 Million USD? In a country where there is no money, or atleast we have come to believe it, where do these christians get this much?
So it was a miracle missions offering – interesting! This money was all given as individuals, men women, husbands and wives, parents and children, companies sought to give an offering to missions, for a miracle.
Ok here is why this is mind boggling. If these christians would do it, imagine if 10 churches in Uganda, gave 500,000 USD in miracle offerings – imagine what that would do. To the spirit of Generosity, the breaking of the bonds of greed, and for Ugandans to learn to give – selflessly give.
Imagine what a challenge that would place to the government, to know that a community could mobilize to stock a hospital’s drugs for 1 a whole year, or a church would single-handedly fund a school, for the sake of the children getting off the streets and getting into classrooms. Imagine the challenge it presents to governments and authorities if a community of believers bought a ferry, and reconstructed a landing site?
You might say, that’s the church getting into politics -but what about the problems of the society. It would be great for christians to give 10,000 USD to Bududa Victims. You see the church is not just about the spiritual stuff. The church is very much community. Small groups meeting in a home, iron sharpening iron, small groups praying together, meeting each other’s needs. These small groups were first seen in the early church – read the book of The Acts. These small groups meet once in a week to encourage each other, and to celebrate their Christ. These small groups form a large unit. This Unit raises 1 Million USD. For that amount of money, which church shouldn’t be involved in politics?
Anyhow, What would you do with 1 million USD?