Day 3 – George took Tony and Ken to the hospital first thing this morning. They saw 49 patients during rounds and then spent the afternoon in surgery. One of the surgeries was a complex pelvic fracture. This type of surgery is very specialized and would most likely go untreated if Dr. Rhorer wasn’t here. Ken had sent me a message that they were going into the surgery and could use some prayers so Sister Rosemary led our team in prayer right then. Dr. Rhorer is the best in his field, but we certainly felt the Lord at work.
he rest of the group started off the morning going to St. Monica’s Vocational Training School where Sister Rosemary Nyirumbe is the Founder. If you haven’t heard me talk about her before then you must take the time to visit her site www.sewinghopefoundation.com. I would also highly recommend reading her booking or watching the documentary, Sewing Hope, narrated by Forest Whittaker. She was named by TIME “Top 100 Most Influential People” in 2014 and is also a CNN award winner. I could go on and on, but the accolades still don’t do her justice. She is inspiring, hopeful, courageous, innovative, hilarious, and everything about her is contagious.
Sister Rosemary told us many stories and all of us agreed that we could have heard a million more. Two of the stories were about the grown children she had taken in because everyone else thought that they were useless and hopeless. Because of her belief in them and the love she gave, they have flourished. Patrick, who was abandoned by his mother and called “monkey” by other kids, is not only top in his class but also top in the entire school. Sister Rosemary can’t wait for the day when he returns home to his village to serve his community and gets to tell his old peers to call him Dr. Donkey!😍
Marilyn is 20 years old and was developmentally delayed. Sister Rosemary had to teach her to walk, how to take care of herself, and how to learn some vocational skills. She is a very hard worker and has become an exceptional caretaker and cook, and she’s currently learning to see . What you see and feel the most when you meet Marilyn is absolute joy. She has a radiant smile that never leaves her face.
There are hundreds of Patrick’s and Marilyn’s finding renewed hope and dignity at St. Monica’s. Catering, sewing, jewelry and bag making are some of the vocational skills taught at the campus, but you will also find a clinic, birthing center, restaurant, farm, and school for the children. We had fun shopping and learning more about their new products including masks and liquid soap which they are distributing to the most vulnerable communities. It was also so fulfilling to unpack the 500 baby blankets that Paula and Hannah Baptist collected to put inside the 500 birthing bags that the women from Sewing Hope are making. We were able to support this initiative through our Pipeline Worldwide tote sales!
In the afternoon we went to visit Artisan Global which is a grassroots nonprofit organization that develops creative jobs in Uganda for local entrepreneurs. Their focus is in Fashion, Design, Media, Photography, Business, and Art. This was the first time visiting this organization, but I was impressed with their model. Not only do they provide all the skills training, but they also provide micro loans with no interest. Jason bought an amazing painting, and I’m looking forward to collaborating with them on future projects.
We made one more stop to Ocer Campion which is a large secondary Jesuit school in Gulu. This 100 acre campus was founded by Father Tony Wach who taught at Creighton Prep in Omaha, Nebraska for 20 years. Fr Tony is a humble guy who has created a legacy. Ocer Campion is the only school of this quality in Northern Uganda. It serves a severely poor community and provides life changing opportunities for some of the most vulnerable students. We were able to visit the sports court we donated a few years ago. Fr Tony told us that even though schools have been closed for two years due to Covid-19, the sports court was still being used. Schools are finally reopening and students start to report back this weekend. The pictures I’ve posted doesn’t do the school justice because it is just so impressive. WELL done Ocer Campion!
We wrapped up the evening with a team dinner at St. Monica’s restaurant with Sr. Rosemary. It was great to have Tony and Ken join us and get some time with Sr. Rosemary too. After much laughter, we left with full hearts and bellies and grateful for such a wonderful day.