Monday, January 18, 2010

An Update from Bonnie in Uganda

Bonnie, Leah, Pastor Ruth, Kathy

My friend Bonnie is in Uganda for three months and is teaching the women English! Here is her first report:
Notes from Uganda

After a journey that started 8:30 Monday morning, Jan. 11, we arrived at our destination on Wednesday, 2:00 p.m. January 13. Needless to say we were exhausted. "We" is Leah, a 26 year old nurse from Minnesota, Kathy, a 66 year old nurse from Arizona and me.

We were met in Entebbe at the airport by Pastor Peter, the leader of Kingdom Preparation Ministries. He is a friend whom I first met in 2004 - a beautiful, strong compassionate Christian.

We have rented a 3 bedroom house with 2 bathrooms. That sounds luxurious, and by Ugandan standards, it is, BUT one of the showers doesn't work, the floors are unpainted cement, one of the sinks is hanging off the wall, etc. Although the lease says fully furnished, there is one bath towel per person, no table knives in the kitchen and the kitchen is almost like camping out. There is running water which we must purify and a 2 burner butane "stove". There is a refrigerator which is half freezer which takes the greater part of the "juice' so that the refrigerator part is barely cool - a problem. Also the kitchen is poorly supplied - BUT the mattresses are comfortable. We spent Wednesday afternoon and part of Thursday unpacking and shopping for food stuffs and supplies.

Shopping: Half of the stores contain used articles - the stores with new things are all very poor quality but they do carry some packaged food stuffs. There is an interior central market with little stalls and fresh produce. They have quite a variety of fresh food, but most Ugandans cannot afford it.

Thursday afternoon we went to Smile Africa to meet with Pastor Ruth to discuss what she had in mind for us to do. Then to my surprise, I was scheduled to meet my first class at 2:00 p.m. the next day, Friday.

In the evening, our Ugandan friends, Andrew, his wife Frida and their new baby Rache, along with Andrew's brother, Timothy came over. We served them chapati (a flat bread similar to tortillas which I purchased from a street vendor) and jackfruit which they taught us how to prepare, to serve with water and tea. The Ugandans are great tea drinkers.

Friday morning Leah and Kathy left for Smile Africa at 9:00. I cooked beans I had put to soak the night before. We must purify all the water we use for cooking and rinsing dishes by boiling or with purification tablets. It is a hassle. We clean all the vegetables with a veggie wash. It is obviously time-consuming. I went to Smile Africa at 11:00 - in time to "pick" rice (picking the pebbles and dirt out of the rice) and help to dish up the food (it was given by Feed My Starving Children) for the 400 hundred children fed daily at Smile Africa.

After lunch, I met with Janet, an assistant to Pastor Ruth, to discuss the coming students, class and agenda for this initial meeting. The women, (18) finally all arrived around 3:00 - typical African time. We prayed, we shared our personal stories and as the Ugandans come from an oral history tradition, their "sharing a little bit about themselves" can take 20 to 30 minutes. Thus the stories lasted so ong, we couldn't get to the rest of the agenda but this was okay because it gave each woman some encouragement and gave me an opportunity to see them as individuals and not a class. Some of their stories were heartbreaking. The mothers of 2 of the woemn tried to kill them as children, all of them are either widows or have been abandoned by their husbands. Half of them had very little schooling, some none at all. Some of them, before coming to Smile Africa, felt so desparate they wanted to kill themselves and their children. One woman lived under a tree and one rescued her sons from being poisoned by her husband's family. Pastor Ruth has helped all of these women to now beome self-supporting via micro-loans to set up small businessed. Widows in Uganda are subject to the whims of their dead husband's families. Their land, home and children can all be taken from them. What these women struggle with daily to accomplish care of self and children shows their strength and courage. (Wendy, Janet is teaching the "Mission Principles" material to these same women following my classes.) After this initial meeting we determined to split the women into non-English speakers to concentrate on learning English, and for those who do speak English, we will work on enhancing reading, writing and math skills.

I am very excited about this challenge and I ask for the prayers of all of you who read this that God will lead and guide me in these efforts.

Today, Leah was managing the clinic by herself, while Kathy went out to a village with Pastor Ruth to take some pictures of a child in desparate need of surgery.

Love to all - Bonnie

Friday, January 15, 2010

Udate on Rose

Rose at home with her neighbors

Rose went for a biopsy. Once they receive the results she will once again meet with the surgeon. I’ve added here the preliminary report from her doctor.
Please continue to pray for Rose. She has three children who need their mom.

Rose with her three children

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Dress a Girl Around the World Goes to Uganda

If you haven't been to our website please check us out and help us dress girls around the world.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Can You Help this Lady?

Recently I have been feeling fatigued. I chalked it up to traveling around the world and working all hours on my Hope 4 Women International/Dress a Girl Around the world projects.

My friend Victoria from South Korea is highly trained in Korean medicine and ran a test on me. Her findings were that my energy was low and suggested I may have a problem with my thyroid. I dismissed it as I have blood tests every year and my thyroid always is within the normal range. As the fatigue wore on I decided I may as well have my doctor check me out. They discovered two nodules on my right thyroid so now I get to go through more tests. I am sure I will be fine as 85 to 90% of thyroid nodules are benign.

But this caused me to remember a woman I met briefly in Uganda the month before. I was at Smile Africa and in a hurry—we Americans always try to keep on schedule even in Uganda where there doesn’t appear to be one. Anyway, Pastor Ruth stopped me and said, “Rachel. I want you take this lady’s photo.”

I sat at my computer and pulled up the forgotten photo and said, “Thank you God that I live in a country where I have easy access to medical attention and don’t have to face the things my sisters in Uganda face.”

I know that God would have me help this lady. It will cost several hundred dollars to get her treatment. So. I started thinking if I could get my friends and family who have had or know someone who has had a thyroid/goiter problem to pitch in a few dollars to help--together we could help this lady. Maybe we would collect enough money to not only help her but others like her.

If you can help please contact me or you can click on this link and put your amount in next to the hope 4 women box and donate directly online. Please email me telling me that that is what you want your donation to go toward.

Thank you so much and God bless you for making a difference in the life of this lady. I’m in contact with Pastor Ruth to find out her name. In my haste I didn’t take the time to write it down. Hmmmmmm. Maybe there is more than one lesson to be learned here. . .

Friday, January 1, 2010

Hope 4 Women 2009 in Review & Looking to 2010

2009 was a great year for Hope 4 Women International!

Learning to make Pillow Case Dresses

In March my sister Joan and I arrived in Uganda armed with pillowcases, bias tape, elastic, and sewing supplies. We taught the women at Smile Africa Ministries how to make pillowcase dresses on treadle sewing machines. We then turned the women loose to create their own designs of the pillowcases. We chose to carry pillowcases because they are light and easy to carry and pillowcase dresses are an easy item for the women to learn to sew.

Distributing Sewing Machines & Supplies to a Village

In July, Wendy Stokes represented Hope 4 Women and helped us distribute eighteen sewing machines for seven villages in Uganda. She also helped Hope 4 Women distribute pillowcases and supplies to these groups.

Women are so eager to learn to sew they will sew on paper if no fabric is available.

In November I returned to Uganda with the Hope 4 Kids team. Hope 4 women provided eight more sewing machines to villages. We gifted a women’s group in Fort Portal two sewing machines and paid three months rent toward a shop so they are able to sew items and sell them from their shop. We decided with these women that they would be self-sufficient in this program within three months.

We daily visited villages, donating sewing machines to women's groups and teaching them to sew on the spot.

Team Member Nancie teaches the art of making pillowcase dresses

In 2009 we distributed a total of 700 pillowcases and supplies to Uganda and held a number of sewing classes teaching different groups to make pillowcase dresses.

We began over 1500 victory gardens throughout Uganda and distributed over 400 garden hoes to women. Team members Hum & Donnie Ybarra purchased 300 hoes and Mae Jackson purchased 100.

See the previous blog for an extensive report on the Victory Gardens.

We purchased hundreds of dollars of hand-crafts from the women of Uganda. Crafts included necklaces, bracelets, earrings, slippers, totes, baskets, and drums. We sold many of these items at our two art shows and through individual craft sales and house parties. The initial purchases in Uganda went directly to the women who crafted the items. The profits made here in the United States go back into the program allowing us to once again purchase crafts from the women and to keep sustaining their work.

Handcraft display at True Vine Ministries

Our goal in 2010 is to expand our support of handcrafts to other countries. We want to purchase sewing machines in Romania, India, Peru, & Rwanda and teach women to make over-the-shoulder bags using their local fabrics. We will continue to teach pillowcase dresses/clothing and will work with the women of each country on items that will sell in their local areas as well as in the United States.

Hope 4 Women International plans to set up an online store in 2010.

In October of 2009 Hope 4 Women International launched our Dress a Girl Around the World program. Since it’s introduction groups sprang up in sixteen states to create pillowcase dresses for girls around the world. Within two months we distributed 313 dresses to Uganda, the Congo, and Honduras. We tucked 25 dresses into Samaritan’s Purse Shoe Boxes and donated dresses to a local Angel Tree Program.

Our goal for 2010 is to personally take dresses to India, Peru, Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania, Romania, Russia and more. Since we imagined a world where every girl has a least one dress we offer other organizations our dresses to distribute. We ask in return that they photograph the distributions for Hope 4 Women’s Dress a Girl Program.

Dress a Girl Around the World and Water 4 Kids International http://www.w4ki teamed up after Jennie O’Hara, a talented artist who donates her work to Hope 4 Women, painted this painting of a little girl in her pillowcase dress, clutching a prayer doll (found in the pocket of her pillowcase dress)—collecting water at a newly drilled well—a gift from Water 4 Kids International. We now are asking churches, individuals, clubs, etc who are sponsoring a well to ask their members to make pillowcase dresses for girls who will be drinking at that well. When we dedicate the well we will distribute the dresses made by those involved in that well’s sponsorship.

Angie's Love by Jennie O'Hara

We also launched a Women sponsorship program this year. For $36 a month a woman will be placed in a program teaching her to become a successful business woman. If you scroll down the blog you will see our sponsorship program in detail.

Fatuma Raises & Sells Turkeys

Fatuma is in a sponsorship program in Uganda. She had leprosy at an early age and lost her fingers and toes to the disease. When we met her she had no skills and survived by begging in the streets. She now is the proud owner of a turkey business. She is so proud to be a business owner and when Pastor Ruth, the overseer of the sponsorship program invited women to her home for a Christmas tea Fatuma kept reminding her she needed to get home to care for her turkeys.

Fatuma at Tea

In 2010 Hope 4 Women will expand the sponsorship program to empower more businesswomen as well as to aid those elderly widows who have no one to care for their medical, physical and spiritual needs.

We served 100’s of women at our tea party/spas where the women receive an afternoon of pampering with foot washings, nail polish, colorful headscarves and practical gifts.

Along with sponsoring day spas we sponsored hundreds of women in business start-ups from donating garden seeds, to purchasing wholesale charcoal for women to retail; sponsored soap making projects--liquid and bar soap (see blog about Catherine's soap making); purchased sewing machines for individuals whom have graduated from Smile Africa's tailoring course; helped women start road side hot food and produce stands--to name a few.

In 2010 Bonnie from Wisconsin will be in Uganda for three months to teach women English, reading and arithmetic. Watch for updates from her.

Hope 4 Women International held two art shows in 2009. Generous and talented artists throughout the United States donated their work and the fabulous Blue Daddy band traveled from LA to perform. Venues were provided by the Shops at Norterra in North Phoenix and Jazzy's in Prescott. The proceeds funded women empowerment projects in Uganda.

Foot Washing by Jennie O'Hara

New Life by Elaine Toth

We look forward to more art show/musical fundraisers in 2010.

Coming in 2010: our online store selling artist prints as well as handcrafts created by the women we serve.

Anna & Her Sisters
a novel by
Rachel Eggum Cinader

To receive our brochures and other information about Hope 4 Women International please contact

Hope 4 Women International Victory Gardens

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.

Victory gardens became popular during WWII when the president’s wife encouraged people to grow crops in order to feed their families. They once more became popular in the US as our economy is in a state of suffering.

Hope 4 Women volunteer; Robert Cinader was compelled to help the suffering women and children of Uganda by providing funds and seeds to one of our Ugandan partners, Smile Africa Ministries. Pastor Ruth called together 300 women and discussed how to plant and care for the gardens.

Women filled with Joy at the news of receiving seeds

The women were then given seeds and sent out to plant their crops. Hotbeds were planted and the women transplanted the healthy plants to their gardens.

Demonstrating Hotbeds

An overseer visited the gardens offering advice, spraying, etc as the crops came into being.

Each woman was instructed that at the harvest she is to bring in 5,000 shillings from her profits and set aside enough money and seed to fund next season’s garden. The 5,000 shillings ($2.50) from each woman will be put into a fund to pay for the person who goes around to the garden spraying for bugs, etc. It will also pay for the spray.

The first harvests came in and the women joyfully showed off their beautiful crops. One woman sold her vegetables and had enough money left over to pay back the ministry and to rent a larger plot of land for her next crops!

As they prepare for the next season of planting Smile Africa will have a walk-behind motorized plow to aid them in plowing bigger plots.

We are fast approaching our goal of 1500 gardens in one year. The ultimate goal is for all of Uganda to feed its children.

Hope 4 Women/ Hope 4 Kids visits Uganda approximately five times a year to check on your investments. This past November while in Uganda, Rachel Eggum Cinader, director of Hope 4 Women International, and her husband Robert hired a driver and visited some of the victory gardens. Here is Catherine’s story:

Catherine had a bumper crop of eggplants and local cabbage. She generously gave out of her garden to those who were in great need.

Catherine is on the far left rejoicing in her garden

She sold a big portion of her crops and purchased more seed and rented a larger plot of ground. She proudly announced: “I was struggling to pay school fees for my grandson and I was able to pay them when I sold my vegetables.”

She brought out a beautiful plastic watering can she purchased with her profits so she can water her gardens when the rains fail to do so.

Catherine allows her friend Grace to use her new watering can

Standing next to her was her good friend Grace who also had a successful garden. As we strolled through the gardens they burst into joyful laughter that can only be shared between two great friends. Grace fluffed up her hair. “We also had enough money to get our hair done!” They then turned toward one another and let loose with more peals of laughter.

When we finished walking through Catherine’s garden they led us to their neighbor who received seeds from Smile Africa. She proudly showed us her garden and said, “Not only have I benefited from my own garden but I am a hairdresser. When the women have extra money from selling their vegetables—they pay me to do their hair.” WOW! How’s that for putting prosperity into motion?

Timothy and Robert present the hairdresser with a Victory garden stake

This neighbor led us to the home of yet another neighbor who had been a seed recipient. She has a partially built house—she adds bricks as she can afford them and someday hopes to have a complete house. She decided to plant her gardens in the “rooms” of her partially built home.

These women are so resourceful and given the chance and tools they can become self-sufficient and I know someday she will complete her house and can say with dignity, “Look what I have done with what God has given to me.”

The House Garden

We are excited about what has been done so far but are looking forward to 2010 with great expectation. Our friend, Larry Sallee, from Seed and light international and can be found at donated enough seeds for about 1800 gardens!

Some of those seeds went to the Pygmies in the Congo. The rain forests of the Congo, which have been home to the Pygmies, are being destroyed. This eliminates many of the animals they hunt to feed their families. They were given seeds and a Ugandan gardener will travel to the Congo to teach the Pygmies to grow their own food—with great hopes of preserving these people! We are in need of funds to purchase garden hoes, sprayers, etc. in order for them to begin preparing their land to plant crops in February.

Robert presents seeds to the Pygmy Chief—enough to feed their 300 families

We also left seeds and pages of written instructions sent by Larry of Seed and Light International for Outreach to Africa, our partner in Western Uganda.

In Tororo, Uganda Robert held classes on composting, killing the bacteria in the soil through solarization, etc. He made copies of the instructions sent to us by Larry Sallee and left them with each ministry that will be overseeing the gardens planted by the people in their area. We gave out the remainder of seeds donated by Seed and Light International and Robert chose a core group of people to plant demonstration gardens. He taught them to test the soil and to replenish the PH in the soil by using wood ash collected from their cooking fires.

Timothy, a young schoolteacher who loves helping the women of Uganda, is Robert’s contact person for the demonstration gardens. He recently reported:
“We have decided to have at least four demonstration gardens. We felt it was wise enough to try different lands too and not to put all our eggs in one basket. I guess you know what would happen if the basket falls. So these gardens will work as reserves and will help us with more information to deliver.”

Timothy goes on to say: “First I visited Andrew's gardens and found out that he had planted the squash and water melons and they had all sprung out with very healthy and tender leaves and also he has bags full of decaying compost for his gardens right out side his house

So after great time in his gardens I then rode down to visit our other gardens. Oh wow!!!!!!!!! It was so amazing seeing the red cabbages, spinach, tomatoes, beets and carrots doing really well in their seedbeds. Every plant is growing very fast and healthy due to the great preparations here.”

For those who have no land or access to land—they can start with bag gardens and move on from there as they make profits and purchase or rent garden plots. One can also poke holes in the sides of these gardens in a bag and have plants growing throughout the bag taking advantage of all of the space.

Robert is also introducing co-op gardening so women can share land and become self-sufficient together.

In April Hope 4 Women will return to Uganda with Hope 4 Kids and are expecting to find hundreds of healthy gardens/crops. Not only are women going to be feeding their children but also they will be doing so in a healthy way. On our recent trip to Uganda I was told over and over, “It is so wonderful not to worry about what to feed my children. I just go to the garden and it is there!”

Along with more classes we will be introducing herbs and nutrition education. Hope 4 Kids International is drilling wells throughout Uganda and we know that along with clean water, our nutrition education and provision of gardens we will save lives.

Currently in Uganda 50% of the children die before reaching the age of five. 52% of Ugandan’s population is children fifteen years old and younger. The life expectancy of those who live beyond fifteen is forty-six years old. With your help we can turn a dying nation to a thriving nation!

We need your help to continue this great project:

Greatest Needs for Victory Gardens in Uganda:

Tools & Supplies for 300 Pygmy families: $600

Walk Behind plows—Each organization will have one or two gas powered “tillers” and will till the widow’s gardens for a nominal fee (if she is destitute we expect them to do it for free).
These plows will strengthen the self-sustenance of the organizations and provide jobs for those who will plow the gardens as well as bring in an income for the organization.
The plows will allow for larger gardens as the women now prepare their gardens with their hand held hoes—it’s slow and tedious—the plow could turn the soil and prepare the garden for planting within minutes. Smile Africa has received the funds for one tiller so to purchase one for each of the other organizations would be $12,000. To add an additional tiller to each organization to manage the hundreds of gardens each will have is an additional $16,000. (Sturdy plows or tillers are approximately $4,000 Each)

A pickup truck—This would be for the gardens of Smile Africa Ministries—they are the core group with whom Hope 4 Women started these gardens. While our other organizations have vehicles for transporting Smile Africa does not. Each time they go visit gardens, take seeds to widows, transport produce, etc, they have to hire a vehicle. As this is expensive and non-productive we would love to purchase a truck for them. We can get a nice truck for around $15,000.

Wish List for Victory Gardens:

In order to continue to grow this program throughout Uganda we will purchase the following items each time we visit Uganda according to the funds donated toward these items. For instance this past November we distributed 300 garden hoes along with thousands of seeds.

Garden Hoes: We’d like each person who has a garden to also have a garden hoe for weeding, etc. The cost per hoe is $5 to $7 each—depending upon the market. —We will purchase hoes each time according to the donations toward purchasing hoes.

Watering Cans: On those occasions when a dry spell hits the women can carry water to their gardens from the wells and watering cans help distribute the water over the plants. Approx $11 each.

Machetes: For clearing out bushes etc for new garden plots. Around $5 each

Rakes: Around $5 each

Spraying Pumps: for the organizations as they visit the gardens and spray for fungus, etc. We need a total of eight at $40 each =$320

Insecticides & fungicides=$1500 for all gardens

Gum Boots: Most women work in their bare feet. We’d like to see them protect themselves by wearing gumboots. About $10 each.

For questions, suggestions and donations please contact

To donate online: check the Hope 4 Women International box and put in the amount.

To donate by mail: Hope 4 Kids International; Hope 4 Women Victory Gardens; P O Box 74010; Phoenix, AZ 85087

Hope 4 Women’s Future Plans for Victory Gardens

For our friends in Peru who live on sand dunes we would like to introduce Gardens in a Bag.

We would like to provide seeds, training and tools for the women of India.

In August we will be traveling to the gypsies of Romania and would like to introduce seeds and gardening to them.

Wherever Hope 4 Kids/Hope 4 Women travels we see people in poverty. If we can provide them with clean drinking water and a way to grow their own food we can change their world!

Hope 4 Women International remains indebted and extremely grateful to Seed and Light International for without them we would never have expanded our seed distribution so quickly. Larry also provided us with a wealth of information, which we were able to pass along in hopes of growing top notch successful gardens. Please visit them at and thank them for helping us to feed the people of Uganda.