Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Mothers Union

For the three months that we are living in Bushenyi, we are staying at Kitungu Mother's Union. We have been given a partially detached guest house on the property. It has two bedrooms (with ensuite bathrooms and cold water showers), a living room, kitchen (with a stove and even a small fridge). It is bigger than our apartment, very clean, and luxurious by local standards. We are very grateful for the generous hospitality.

The Mother's Union is the rough equivalent to the Anglican Church Women in Canada. Here in Bushenyi they are very active. They have this property with a guest house, dining hall (they usually provide room and board to their short term guests) hostels, and a meeting hall. There is also a small house near ours where the doctor stays while he is working at Bushenyi Medical Centre next door.

We have only begin to hear about some of the many activities of the Mother's Union. Lillian, the Mother's Union Worker, explained to us about some of their current ministry. We are hoping to follow her around at some point and learn more about their work. They have an ongoing prison ministry in the local prison where they bring tea once a month, visit, and teach employment skills (basket making, sewing,etc) to help the prisoners learn how to reintegrate into society. They donated a sewing machine to allow the inmates to practice these skills. Here on their property they are also running seminars to teach women marketable skills such as flower making and budget planning.

They also work in the rural communities to bring communities of women together, identify the most pressing needs of the community, and brainstorm solutions. They teach hygeine programs to minimize transfer of disease, encourage the building of latrines and clean water sources, teach about food preparation and balanced meals. They also look out for children who have been orphaned and seek to help them out by finding family connections and providing school fees in some cases. To decrease infant and maternal mortality, they encourage women to save money and plan to have their children in hospitals, not in remote villages. They speak up about issues of prostitution and cross generational sex - issues of concern here in Uganda. They have a dream of establishing a safe house for women caught in prostitution if they find the funds.

We were overwhelmed with the scope of ministry currently running out of here. When we first arrived, the Mother's Union has arranged with Rotary International to provide 45 wheelchairs free of charge to people with disabilities in the community. It seems they are busy meeting the many needs of their local community. When we told Lillian that we were interested to learn how Mother's Union assisted with women's issues, she responded by telling us that Mother's Union does not deal with only women's issues - they address family issues, which involve mothers, fathers and children and they work on human rights issues. They are truly making a difference in these communities, being the hands and feet of Christ in the midst of their families and friends.

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