LETTER FROM CHRIS TILDEN
In my role as director of Community Health for the Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department, I work with partners every day to create conditions that improve the health and well-being of Douglas County residents. It’s challenging work, even here in Douglas County. I can only imagine how challenging the job of public health is in communities in the developing world.
This spring, several local residents will take on that challenge. Rosanna Bauman, a local farmer, and several family members and colleagues will travel to Kirinda, Uganda, to help a local non-profit, Kyempapu, develop basic infrastructure in the community. Kirinda is a small village deep in the Bukomansimbi District of Uganda where nearly all residents are subsistence farmers raising corn, legumes, bananas and other fruits, vegetables and coffee. Kirinda has limited electricity (supplied by a single solar panel which helps light a local community center), an unstable water supply, and limited health care.
Through the generosity of Cromwell Environmental, Rosanna and her team will be delivering four more solar panels to Kirinda this spring. They hope to use these panels to provide electricity to a school, to a water pump they also hope to install which will bring fresh water to the village from an underlying aquifer, and hopefully to some village homes.
In order to convert solar power into usable electricity, the community needs inverters and charge controllers. While not terribly expensive, Rosanna’s team currently lacks sufficient funds to purchase these supplies and deliver them to Kirinda. That’s where the Kansas Farmers Union Foundation comes into the picture. The Foundation is willing to accept funds to help pay for these supplies, as well as a water pump the Baumann’s also hope to take to Kirinda.
Individuals who want to help support this awesome effort can make a donation online or send checks to:
Kansas Farmers Union Foundation
c/o Rosanna Baumann
24161 NW Kentucky Rd
Garnett KS 66032
Donations may also be made through the KFU Foundation online system. Just follow the links below.
The Foundation is hoping to raise $700 in the next month for the purchase of this equipment.
Hearing this story, I was inspired by the young Ugandans who launched Kyempapa, and by Rosanna and her team. I imagine others will be inspired too –not by what I say — but through the words and images of the Kyempapu team themselves. To learn more visit www.kyempapu.org.
Kyempapu (pronounced ‘chem-PA-pu’) was founded by Sylvia Namukasa in 2009 and works out of Kirinda, Kitanda sub-county, about 140 kilometers from Kampala. The grassroot organization works in the areas of education, community development, envrionmental improvement, and youth engagement. Our programs and projects have included starting up a sustainaible pig-rearing business with profits reinvested in the community, a women’s crafts group to promote the tangible cultural heritage of Uganda while helping the local women generate income, as well as organizing sporting events and tree planting days for children and youth.
Kyempapu continues to grow as an organization with the help and support of its partner organizations and dedicated volunteers.
LETTER FROM MATHIAS
I am very fortunate to have the opportunity to share with you KYEMPAPU’S long term goals of improving people’s lives through the solar energy. My name is Mathias Mugema, an Environmental Science major at the Community College of Baltimore County Maryland-USA.
I was born in Kirinda a village located deep in the country of Bukomansimbi District Uganda. Growing up in the Kirinda, a village located a long the equator were the natives live a sustainable life is the biggest gift I could ever ask from God.
Kirinda is a village were 99.9% of the population are peasant farmers raising coffee, maize/corn, legumes, fruits, vegetables, moringa, vanilla among others not forgetting the stable food matooke/bananas. The peasants consume most of their total harvests and either sell the surplus or exchange one good for another good (barter trade).
Growing up in a peasant family was a strong foundation for me. I always loved sharing my ideas with everyone in the village about how we can practice environmental friendly farming methods. The fact that everyone in the village cuts down a minimum of two fully grown tropical trees a month for wood fuel/ firewood, became one of my strong concerns. I’m so worried that in the next decade my village will turn into a desert. Encouraging the peasants to cut a tree and plant four has been a great start to rebuild our relationship with the environment.
Sensitizing people about alternative sources of energy such as solar energy is one of my ongoing projects. It’s so sad seeing one person every year die from fires that result from kerosene use. The use of kerosene is the major leading source of indoor pollution a challenge that I would like to cover come. I’m working tooth and nail to see everyone in the village divert from depending on both kerosene and firewood as the only source of energy. It’s so sad that both these energy sources have more harm than good.
I have been working harder to find environmental lovers to give me a hand to teach my people how important it is to conserve the environment. I felt so blessed when Ms. Rosanna Bauman told me about your plans of helping to raise funds to improve the lives of the people in my community.
I’m on a campaign of building a clinic in the village so the people can have access to medication. The nearby hospital is about 56 miles away from the village, this has seen the village suffer a number of challenge due to lack of easy access to medication. I have seen 18 women lose their battle during delivering. The lack of medication and first aid in the village has seen a number of people in the village lose their dear lives to minor infections like headaches, minor cuts which if not covered and treated turn into serious injuries and costing people’s lives. In 2000, I lost my elder brother Simon Katumba who was 18 years old to food poisoning. I’m pretty sure had we had a clinic in the village, so many lives in the village would have been saved.
I’m sure everything single clinic started from a foundation, the solar energy is our starting foundation because we expect to use it to the very best to improve the lives of people in the village. The energy from the solar panels will help us during the clinic construction, provide energy to the homes of the community people for domestic use, energy from these panels will help us run the daily routine activities at the KYEMPAPU resource center, these solar panels will provide us with the energy to generate and supply clean water to the community (I have plans to raise money so I can dig an underground well for the community that runs off the solar electricity) to mention but a few. Praying that God can guide me in my efforts to improve the lives of the people in the community.
Thank you so much for the loving and caring heart.
May you have a beautiful new year filled with pure joy and happiness