Click below to read full appreciation letter from Fr. James Okello, Pastor of St. John the Evangelist, Paicho, Uganda
Dear St. Joseph Community,
Soon after Fr. Francis’ arrival in the summer of 2018, Fr. Jesse asked Fr. Francis if there might be a way that our St. Joseph community could assist in his native Uganda with some form of humanitarian aid. Fr. Francis expressed the need for fresh water wells, and the rest is history. We initiated our clean water initiative to support our brothers and sisters in Uganda. Our community raised enough money to drill six wells!
A brief history of Uganda: Uganda is a small, landlocked country, located on the equator in East Africa. Approximately 40 million people live in Uganda. The life expectancy is 60 years and the mortality rate for children under the age of five is 69 deaths per 1,000 children. More than half of the population of Uganda is under the age of 25. In addition, many people do not have access to clean water and consequently, there is rampant disease and illness that is spread due to contaminated water.
The northern part of the country has suffered greatly from a 22-year civil war that finally ended in 2008. As the community recovers from the ravages of war, they have also taken on the heavy burden of hosting over 1 million refugees from South Sudan in many parts of Uganda including Northern Uganda. The existing infrastructure currently in place cannot adequately support this significant influx in population.
Speaking of his own experience growing up in Attiak, Uganda, Fr. Francis remarked, “I can remember as a child we would walk about 3miles to get clean water at the only school in my village of Attiak.” Unfortunately, this is still the case for many children.
Thanks to the efforts of the St. Joseph community, that story is changing! We are happy to report that five fresh water wells have already been successfully drilled and are fully operational. One more well is still in the process of being drilled- there were some issues due to heavy rain that has stalled the installation process for the final well. Some of the beneficiaries of this water project include: parishioners, school children, as well as orphans. In total, approximately 75,000 brothers and sisters in Christ will benefit from this clean water project.
We have also formed a partnership with St. John the Evangelist Parish in Paicho, Uganda. The parish is one of the recipients of this water project. Our hope is to have the pastor and school principal visit our community in 2020 to speak about the difference we are making and how we might continue to support their church and school. Of course, there will be ways we benefit from this relationship as well.
We have included some recent photos taken after the installation process as well some photos of the scholastic materials that were shipped out of the Port of Baltimore to support as the parishioners of St. John the Evangelist, school children, and those children being cared for in their orphanage.
The communities that are benefitting from the water project are the communities in Attiak, Paicho, Bobi, Lakwana, St. Catherin Sienna School in Nwoya.
With Deepest Gratitude: Fr. Jesse, Fr. Francis, and the Uganda Outreach Committee (George Wanga, Jim Hamilton, Frederick Fonlon and John Schmuff)