Update on the Farm – We Have Beans (and more!)

Rainy season is over, for which everyone is (temporarily!) thankful. Of course, now it’s hot… TIA! (“This is Africa!” which explains pretty much everything!)

This fall has been exceptionally wet and cold, so Ronald and Fauza weren’t really sure what they’d find at the farm when they got out for a visit.

They were wowed!

Apparently, it wasn’t too cold, because the plants have done amazingly well. What all’s happening?

Beans are ready to harvest – look how beautiful they are!

The matoke (top photo) is coming along great.

The maize is starting to put on cobs.

The new banana saplings have all rooted firmly in the earth.

The cassava is lush and we can get a second harvest from them soon.

With the latrine done, the house finished, and the perimeter fence up, we’ve accomplished SO much in just 3 1/2 short months!

The project is 64% funded, so we’re at a pause except for planting some moringa, tomatoes, onions, eggplant, and other crops. But once we’re at 100% (well, really, as the funding comes in) we’ll be able to take the project to the next level.

What’s still to do?

  • Build the greenhouse
  • Dig the well
  • Buy the grain mill for the maize
  • Construct the coop for chickens and pen for goats
  • Hire a full-time farmer/caretaker

We are so thankful for our volunteer farmer, Pastor Moses, who has overseen everything so far, cleared the land, planted, and tended the crops. He’s also the one who told Ronald about the land, so we are very indebted to him!

With Giving Tuesday and year-end giving coming up, we’d be honored if you’d consider giving to the farm project as part of your end-of-year giving plan. 100% goes to the project, and you’ll have the benefit of seeing the whole thing unfold here and on social media.

We so appreciate your support!

Webele nyo,

Jennings

PS If you want to give now – $25 can help us buy seeds for the next crops! – just click the button!

FABULOUS FARM FUNDS!

PSS DON’T FORGET to get your free ticket to hear my talk on the 11th at the Expat Money Summit, which started on Monday. The Summit started yesterday and there are loads of other great speakers talking about really interesting topics like investing.

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Exam Time (No All-nighters required!)

What do you think of when you think of exams? For me, it’s pulling all-nighters and going to the local truck stop at 2am to get greasy carbs and hot (bad!) coffee to stay awake.

Fortunately for our students, that’s not required. (I don’t think truck stops are a thing in Uganda!)

For the Hairdressing mid-terms, the girls have to bring in their own “client” and create the style of their choice. Some girls are fast, and some are slowerthat’s ok!

Our goal is competency, not speed. These exams give the teachers vital information to make sure that each student is getting the help they need to graduate and either get a job in a salon or start their own small business.

Tailoring is having mid-terms, too, for the same reason.

Competency.

We don’t issue report cards. We don’t have a GPA. Some of the girls have been through our Literacy program and some are unable to read and write.

It doesn’t matter.

What matters is that, when they graduate from Skills for Life, they can create a sustainable life for themselves and their families. If it takes longer to learn? We’ll be there. If they’re fast learners? We’ll challenge them.

Really, that’s how education should be!

We couldn’t do this without your support, and we are thankful for you every day (and every braid!) along the way.

Webele nyo!

Jennings

PS Did you know we have a Bonfire store with shirts and bags? Check it out below – maybe you’ll find some good Christmas gifts for family and friends. (Or you… just sayin’!)

CHECK THE MERCH!

PSS Don’t forget to grab your FREE ticket and hear me speak on the 11th!

jennings expat money show speaking ticket

Meet Our Newest Teen Moms

Clare, Brenda, Sylvia, and Leticia with their babies

When we started the Ross House in the fall of 2020, we put some parameters in place. We knew that the need for a crisis intervention residential program was far greater than anything we’d be able to “solve”, and we knew that we needed time to figure it all out.

Some of the criteria we’ve used over the past two years have been the mom’s age (usually 15 or above), no family members available to take them in (with added support from us), and a differentiation between a short-term emergency admission and a long-term full admission.

We also decided we couldn’t handle pregnant girls, and referred them to another local organization called Amani until after they delivered.

But things change!

Our first pregnant admission was 15-year-old Kalunji back in February, who was homeless after her grandmother died. Due to the rising rate of teenage pregnancy, Amani wasn’t able to take her in. Kalunji is still with us in the Suubi House and she’s doing great.

Our next was 15-year-old Sylvia, who was homeless and rescued by a local LC (community leader) and brought to us. Sylvia gave birth just a few weeks ago!

In the last month, we’ve also welcomed 17-year-old Leticia and her one-year-old son Chin-may, and 15-year-old Brenda with her newborn son Elijah. (We now have custody of Brenda because of the abuse she was suffering at home.)

And – many of you will remember “the girl in the chicken coop” story from my trip this summer – 18-year-old Clare with her one-year-old son Samuel was just evicted from the chicken coop and has now joined the residential program.

That’s four moms, two with newborns, in just a few weeks!

Because of the skyrocketing cost of living right now, teenage pregnancy is on the rise again all around Uganda. We can only take in eight girls with their children at a time, but we are committed to helping them learn the skills they need to create a fulfilling and sustainable life for themselves.

How are we doing this? YOU!

Your support means the difference between homelessness and a life without choices and a life of literacy, a skill for a lifetime of income, and the hope for a good future. We really can’t thank you enough for all your encouragement and support!

Webele nyo!

Jennings

PS One of our Skills for Life students is teen mom Isabellah. After she collapsed at the compound, Nurse Sherry discovered that she had no food over the weekends and her only meals were those she received at Touch the Slum during the week. We have been providing ongoing medical support to get her over malnutrition and she is now receiving meals at the compound during the weekend. Her project on DonorSee is about 30% funded and we only need $185 to complete it. Any amount will help! Just click!

Isabellah’s Project

PSS Don’t forget to grab your free ticket and hear me talk about our work in Namuwongo!

Past the Halfway Mark in T3 Skills for Life!

16-year-old Husinah is having a stellar year! She was in our first-ever Literacy Class, and just graduated a couple of weeks ago from Basic Tailoring. (If you didn’t see the video from that EPIC graduation, go check it out on Instagram!)

But she didn’t stop there — now she’s in Advanced Tailoring, and look what this gal is doing: TAKING NOTES.

She’s TAKING NOTES, y’all… She was totally illiterate at the start of 2022!

I don’t know about you, but I find that absolutely astonishing. And how did this happen?

YOU!

Some of you donated to the Expat Money Community’s fundraiser at the end of 2021 which paid for the Literacy Program to launch and run through this year. Some of you donated on DonorSee for supplies for Skills for Life. Some of you are monthly donors who help us keep the lights on and the electric sewing machines running all day.

When I first saw this picture, I looked at the usual things – Husinah’s pretty dress, her concentration, the machine. And all of the sudden it hit me what a monumental win this is, because it seems so normal.

This isn’t normal for the majority of girls in the Namuwongo slum. Our goal is to change the culture one girl at a time until it is. Thank you for joining hands with us to make it happen!

Webele nyo!

Jennings

PS We have a project up for supplies for this term’s Literacy class – they go through a lot of notebooks, crayons, pencils, pens, art supplies, and paper! If you can help, just click!

LITERACY CLASS SUPPLIES!

Rainy Season in Uganda

I’ve spent a lot of time with my Ugandan friends trying to explain the concept of seasons. (I haven’t been that successful!)

In Uganda, there are just rainy and dry seasons – two of each per year. We are coming to the last few weeks (we hope!) of this fall’s rainy season, which has been brutal.

  • At least 24 were killed in flooding in Eastern Uganda in August
  • Thousands were displaced by flooding and landslides in Western Uganda in September

Our own programs have been affected, as you can see from the picture above of Hopeland Primary School in Mbarara. Wells of Hope and the surrounding village in Rwakobo have had even more significant flooding. The work on the farmhouse was delayed significantly by rains.

You may not know it, but Kampala is about 3000 feet above sea level. I’ve only had one trip in 14 where I was hot — often I’m wearing jeans and a sweatshirt! And few windows have glass in them so the damp cold is hard to get away from when it never seems to stop raining.

We’ve had several girls struggle to control their asthma during this time, and about three times the usual number of respiratory illnesses. We’ve even had some cases of dysentery due to all the contaminated water girls have to walk through to get to class.

So… Did you know that you can sign up as a monthly sponsor of our Haven Clinic? It’s true! We are at 40% right now. There’s no minimum to be a sponsor, and it really helps us keep all our teen moms and teen girls healthy by paying Sherry’s salary and restocking the medications we use daily.

SPONSOR THE CLINIC!

Webele nyo!

Jennings

PS Bonus picture of Sylvia with her new baby boy (no name as of yet) coming home from the hospital to lots of love yesterday!

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It’s a Boy!

I woke up to the good news and wanted to give you a quick update –

It’s a boy!

Sylvia went into labor yesterday evening, and the baby boy was delivered this morning. They’re both fine, and hopefully one of our team will be allowed in the hospital soon. Since minor surgery was involved she’ll be there for a few days – I’ll update you when I know more.

Blessings,

Jennings

Do You Have a Minute to Leave a Review?

In 2020, we got connected with GreatNonprofits online. At the time, we didn’t even realize people could give through the platform — we were just happy to be able to be listed in a way that people could find out about us.

Then, thanks to you all, we got this award!

For a small nonprofit, that’s a pretty big deal. And it brought in more than $1000 in donations over the past year.

Now we only have 3 more weeks to get the award for 2022.

Will you help?

It only takes a few minutes to leave a 4* or 5* review, but it means a lot to us for the upcoming year. Just click the button below now, and let the world know what you love about Ten Eighteen and Touch the Slum.

YES! I’LL LEAVE A REVIEW!

Webele nyo!

Jennings

False Alarm… Quick Update on Sylvia

Sylvia’s labor stopped and the hospital sent her back to the Ross House with “exercises and advice to walk” to induce labor. She’s one week overdue now, according to estimates, and they’d rather the baby not get bigger.

We’ll keep you posted!

Webele nyo!

Jennings

PS We do have a project up for the birthing kit we have to provide for all the pregnant girls to take with them to the hospital. It’s 22% funded (but 100% already paid for!) so we’d love for you to consider a $25 donation.

Sylvia’s birthing kit

Sylvia’s in Labor!

Jennings with Ross House teen moms, June 2022

Sylvia, right in front of me in the striped skirt and top, is in labor. She was still 15 when I was in Uganda in June – very young!

Nurse Sherry took her to Amani, which is a charitable organization that helps teen mothers and will do deliveries if it isn’t high risk. Unfortunately, they have referred her to a hospital because her age and physical development mean she may not be able to deliver naturally.

They’re on their way to Naguru Hospital as I type this… Of course, everyone is a little concerned for both Sylvia and the baby.

We’d appreciate your thoughts and prayers today for a safe delivery for both, and, if she needs a c-section, for a skilled doctor to be on shift.

I’ll keep you posted.

Thanks so much!

Jennings