Dignity and Community

Christine, Chairwoman of the soap-making co-op. The theme of the day was dignity and community. Not food, education, or clean water. Addressing extreme poverty isn’t about meeting the tangible needs typically associated with it. It’s about restoring human dignity. We met with three of our newest economic development groups today, to hear about their struggles, but more importantly, to hear … Read More

Lofty Campaign Slogans

Sweet Summer 17: Week 1, Day 4 Companies have long used lofty campaign slogans to sell their products. They promise a better life, freedom, happiness. They’re idealistic and sell a lifestyle more than the attributes of the product. Can sharing a Coke and a smile really teach the world to sing in perfect harmony? I’m not so sure. A few … Read More

Tears of Joy

Sweet Summer 17: Week 1, Day 2 I’ve been in Uganda with Sweet Sleep President, Madelene Metcalf, for four days now. We have a team coming next week to distribute 800 beds to orphaned and vulnerable children, but before that happens, we’re spending a few days visiting eight new groups in our economic development program. This is a program that … Read More

A Mile In Their Shoes

Sweet Summer 17: Week 1, Day 1 This week we’re in Uganda, visiting our newest graduates of Sweet Sleep’s Economic Development Program. These women have, on average, 5 children — both biological and adopted. With no opportunity for an education in their childhood, they’ve had to resort to low-paying, hard, manual labor work to simply feed their kids one meal … Read More

A Week Of Love And Joy

10 July 2016 It is exactly one week since I stepped into pastor Ion (John) Groza’s little church in Crihana-Veche, Moldova. Our team is temporarily stranded at the airport in London as a result of a flight delay for reasons unknown. I think maybe it is His way of giving me time to begin this writing. A lot has happened … Read More

Camp Romantica

Moldova appears as a small, almost featureless country on the Eastern European maps. There are no great rivers or ocean ports in the country. It has little international strategic value, especially for Americans. We hardly ever hear of it. Quiet, unremarkable, and seemingly insignificant, there it appears on the maps. Ask the average American where it is and you get … Read More

Going Home

All week we’ve been talking about caring for the orphan by equipping their caretakers to be self-sustainable. Another vulnerable group that very often gets overlooked are the older children — children in their teens who, without parents, are expected to be able to provide for themselves. But really, 13 and 15 year olds are still just children.  We’re excited to … Read More

Village Savings

A component of our economic development program in Uganda is the Village Savings and Loan Association, or VSLA. We’ve found it to be a critical piece to sustainability because it provides immediate relief to our beneficiaries, by our beneficiaries! It works much like a regular loan, except the seed fund and management of the fund is handled entirely within a … Read More

Necessary Adjustments

Day two in Gulu started with a visit to another one of our economic development groups in the Gulu district. This group, comprised of 30 HIV+ women and men, started a pig-rearing project following our February visit. With support from Sweet Sleep, a pigpen was built and five piglets purchased. When we visited in February, we found the group to … Read More

Goats, Loans and Hope

We have moved from Kampala to Gulu, and today Madelene and I, along with our program director of northern Uganda, Jennifer Oketta, went out to visit the first of four groups in the Gulu area that we initiated into our economic development program this past February. The group that we visited today in the village of Purongo is, like those … Read More