Field of Hope supports five VSLA groups of women. VSLA = Village Savings & Loans Associations. Forty women are invited to join the group where they then elect leadership and begin committing a small amount to the savings box each week. After enough money has been accrued, the group begins loaning funds to the members. Women in the VSLA are often able to borrow money for the first time in their lives. This money is typically borrowed to pay for farming inputs or to pay their children’s school fees. The women of the VSLA group set their own interest rate and are required to pay back their borrowed money with interest in a certain amount of time.
Never Give Up: A Volunteer Story
“How do we miss this?
How do we ignore this?
And what needs in the world am I turning a blind eye to?”
Follow Field of Hope volunteer Whitney Thurmond as
she discovers a role to play and a call to answer.
This is Whitney’s story. What will your story be?
How many times has “Run a 5k” been on your New Year’s list of resolutions? On your bucket list? Your goal list for the summer? To be honest, it’s been on mine quite a few times. Usually when I place it there, I Pinterest a “5k in 30 days” running plan and set off to work, only to be interrupted by life some two weeks in.
What if I told you there are those out in the world who walk SIX kilometers every day.
It’s set in stone in their schedule.
No life interrupts them because this 6k walk is pivotal to giving them life.
Field of Hope has named Alexa Wilcox as new Executive Director. Effective November 1, 2019, Wilcox will lead funding efforts, donor relations, program development, communication strategy and partner relations for the organization, which implements agricultural empowerment projects in Uganda and India.
At last month’s FOH Annual Board Meeting, we opened with a listening prayer. This involved each member of the board and our current program director taking 30 minutes to spend with God – not asking Him for anything but, instead, listening to His direction and guidance. One member noticed a theme occurring - many of the “answers” coming from this prayer were words that began with the letters “pr”. These were words such as prayer, provision, protection, promises, praise, and pressing on. It is our desire to share with you how these words inform our work at Field of Hope.
This week the Field of Hope team has been busy busy busy with outreach trainings to the surrounding communities of Lira. On Thursday we went to Otino Waa, a local children’s village, to speak to farmers about agriscience practices. At the start of our meetings, we always begin with prayer, followed by personal introductions, which then segways into the training. On this day in particular, Nicholas (FOH staff) came over to Heather (the other fellow) and I, saying “I need you two to come up with a ten to fifteen minute speech to give these women before we start.” I froze. What?! I didn’t prepare for this!
Interest approaches are commonly used at Field of Hope’s trainings to capture the participants attention and keep them engaged in the lessons. At one of the recent outreach trainings, the interest approach involved sticks. Geoffrey, our trainer had two volunteers come up to the front to participate in a demonstration. One participant received one stick while the other received a handful of sticks. Each person was instructed to try to break the sticks in half.
After arriving in Uganda and spending the night in Kampala, Nicholas (FOH staff) and Sam (two Sam’s woo!) drove me up to Lira. A good seven-hour trek that resulted in lots of laughter, agriculture talk, dreaming, singing, and even some sleeping. Throughout the drive we stopped for lunch, bought roasted sweet plantain from the market, and interrupted a group of baboons crossing the street. One even jumped up in our window! Thanking the Lord that it didn’t jump in mine because that probably would’ve ended with a wild reaction. As if all those experiences weren’t enough, there was quite the VIEW too.
My first two weeks in the Pearl of Africa have been exciting, challenging, but most of all relaxing. It is no secret that flying from the U.S. to Uganda would mean adjusting to a new time zone: 8 hours ahead of my normal schedule to be exact. However, the biggest time change I have experienced here is the Ugandan sense of time. In the U.S., Americans are known for following strict timelines and punctuality is of utmost importance. In Uganda, time is viewed a little differently. Instead of rushing to get places and stressing about time, we enjoy every second of the day.
It was the sweaty seventh mile of the day and I couldn’t have been happier to see a chair with a back and two arm rests waiting for me. I picked up my feet a little faster as I quickly approached the chair anxiously awaiting the moment of rest. With a loud thud and an exhale of relief I plopped down and began rubbing my calves wondering how long ago it had been since my last hiking adventure. Because I couldn’t remember where or when it had occurred, I concluded it was obviously a long time ago.
Ugandan Bucket List
It feels like I was just boarding the plane to get to Uganda with high anticipation of what the next three months would bring. Now I’m on the plane to depart, reflecting on my time in the Pearl of Africa.
In recent years, my parents have been into checking things off their bucket list. Since my first blog post was about how my parents inspired me to go to Africa, I find it fitting that they have inspired me to create a Ugandan bucket list.