Saturday, May 30, 2009

A Walker for Martha

Martha, a widow who cannot walk on her own pushes a flimsy, plastic chair from her one room apartment to the community latrine. Making it to the latrine is slow work as she pushes the chair out in front of her and takes two steps, stops, breathes heavily and starts again. She struggles across the broken and often cluttered walkway. The chair leg catches in a large crack; the chair bends and Martha stumbles with a look of fear crossing her face. She manages to regain her balance and pauses briefly before she labors on. When she finally returns to her room she drops to her bed, her arms hang limply and her body sags in relief.

Her days are spent cooped up in her little room behind Smile Africa Minstries where she makes necklaces from paper beads; reads her Bible and prays for those who are suffering. She has a doll named Miracle who keeps her company and her daughter, Pastor Ruth, and her friends drop in throughout the day to chat and bring her food.

On a recent trip to Uganda I carried a walker donated by my friend Mae. When Martha was presented with her walker she raised her hands toward heaven then covered her face with her hands and wept. Her granddaughter and friends shouted and danced around her rejoicing as her tears gave way to a smile that lit up her entire face.

Martha now stands with dignity when she arrives at the door of Smile Africa ministries gripping her walker and beaming at her Ugandan sisters who joyfully welcome her. Her friend Rukia rushes up and embraces her. Martha says, “Rukia, now I can walk across the street to your home. I can see where you live.”

Each afternoon when the women gather at Smile Africa to work on their crafts Martha sits among them, no longer relegated to creating her necklaces alone in her room.

Consider booking Rachel Eggum Cinader for your next conference, retreat, club meeting, worship service, women's ministry event, etc. Her mixture of humor and compassion makes for a delightful session as she encourages women to seek God's direction and purpose in their lives. Email Rachel:

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Victory Gardens In Uganda!

Hope 4 Women International’s goals are to bring dignity, joy, health, and God’s love to the women of Uganda. In a society where women are so devalued we want them to know that God cherishes them. One method of providing dignity is by teaching them to be self-sufficient and by growing proper food so they and their children can eat and be healthy.

Robert has talked to several of our Ugandan friends about starting victory gardens and has provided them with seeds. The result has been some beautiful gardens but the process has been slow and we wanted to reach more people.

Recently Michelle Obama made victory gardens popular. Robert googled and found many websites featuring victory gardens so he asked me to send Pastor Ruth some of the links.

Pastor Ruth reacted enthusiastically when she saw the websites and called together 200 women to tell them about the victory gardens. Since the Ugandans consider our president their brother, they also deem Michelle as their sister-in-law. Pastor Ruth told the women, “Michelle Obama, our sister-in-law has started planting Victory Gardens and I think we can also take up this activity seriously and help our families eat well.” They all clapped wildly and shouted in agreement.

Hope 4 Women International provided the funds for this project. Smile Africa Ministries taught them to start the seeds by making hotbeds—which are leaves covering the newly planted seeds to protect them from being destroyed. Once the plants grow and are healthy they are transplanted to the gardens. Andrew, an employee of Smile Africa is assigned to checking on the gardens and will spray for bugs as needed.

Our hope is to increase these gardens to many more women throughout Uganda who are in need of food for their families.

We would like to purchase walk behind, motor-driven plows to speed the planting along. The plows cost around $2000.

Would you like to be a part of this project? We need funds to purchase more seeds—currently we are sending money for Smile Africa to purchase the seeds there because it is the planting season and we want them to get started right away. We are looking to purchase at least two plows.

Want to know more? Would you like to book me as a speaker for your next event? Contact me at

Hope 4 Women International is a division of Hope for Kids international

Here are a few delighted recipients of seeds for their victory gardens.