This year’s Easter letter is composed from Farsund. The Norwegian Easter holiday is about to start and spring has reached Norway’s southern coast. The anemones, violets and primroses are blossoming and the birch is covered in buds. The level of activity in the Christmas tree wood is high. Who said that growing Christmas trees is seasonal work? We promise to deliver beautiful trees this year as well!
Once a month we receive an e-mail with Ruth’s activity report covering the past month at Nyenga. We also talk with her on the phone (Skype) every Friday. Our work is made easier through the possibilities these forms of communication possess. We are able to share our joys and discuss difficult situations directly.
One of the challenges we are facing is our new school. The school’s operation and teaching has not met the standard we wish to achieve. This year we therefore have a prioritized goal to improve the fundamental skills in math, reading and writing in all grades. Measures have been initiated to be able to achieve this goal. We have already received reports of progression in reading. Something very important has been started in the minds of young children! The principal Grace and teachers at New Horizon Primary School form a good staff for continued progression. We would like to express our gratitude to Gunn Åse Ludviksen and Tone Tamnes for being back-up teachers and counselors for the principal this term! We would also like to thank Robin, Helle and Anita for their efforts in the kindergarten and school this spring.
Before Christmas we were considering to close the kindergarten. This made the parents protest! From being a free offer the parent group decided they were to pay 15 NOK per term. This makes it possible for us to employ a newly graduated kindergarten teacher from a neighboring village. It was also decided that the children wear uniforms for class. This is serious business!
We would like to thank for all the clothes, shoes and other equipment donated to us from our supporters! The gifts are appreciated and we try to stay aware as to how they are used. As a principle we buy everything we can locally in Uganda. Through this we are able to support local businesses. However, there is no doubt that we experience a difference in quality. Shoes from Norway are especially user-friendlier for small feet. In January we invited the whole village for a surplus sale of shoes and clothes from the store. The income generated from this financed the school’s 1-year anniversary celebrated on March 1st. A problem experienced at the health center is that few children finish the child immunization program, even though this is a free service. We have therefore started rewarding those who finish the program with shoes and clothes. In March five proud mothers were able to bring home sandals and clothes for their children.
On Maundy Thursday the village’s new borehole will be taken into use. To be able to ensure constant supply of clean water the well has been bored down to groundwater level. For those of you who are familiar in the area, the borehole is close to LC1’s residence. This means that most of the village’s households will be closer to a source of water. It is often the children’s task to collect water. The new borehole will therefore save time and struggle for young children in development. Speaking of development: there are now 82 families in the area who have received microfinance loans from Robert, our social worker. They are being creative when forming new jobs to provide income for their families: different kinds of stores, producing and selling bricks, rental services of chairs and party tents, breeding and sale of broilers and pigs, wholesale of dried fish, etc. We continuously hear of how a 250 NOK loan has changed a family’s life!
The Nyenga family keeps on growing. Last Friday Bakia, our clinical officer at the health center, received a baby girl. Now we are waiting for Ruth’s baby to be delivered.
Many of you met Ruth and Florence during their visit to Norway last June. In late August Robert and Justine, our nurse at the health center, will come to visit us. They will arrive in Oslo and spend a couple of days there before travelling to Bergen. We will inform you about their program and opportunities to meet with them later.
We often come in contact with other organizations operating in Uganda. We try to establish cooperation with these to be able to help and support each other.
Our network of supporting members has room for more! We cherish the regular contributions from faithful donors. As of now our operational costs are approximately 40.000 NOK per month. This does not include the investments we make. This autumn we will build a new kitchen for our school. We would like to thank our supporting schools: Fridalen, Rolland, Skeie, Sædalen, for their donations! And not least we would like to thank all the parents who contribute secretly.
Kind regards from the Board of Nyenga Foundation: Anne-Mette Tjønn Hansen, Anne Grete Kjørrefjord, Kathryn Bousman, Per Kristian Erdal, Fredrik Harloff