Category Archives: Uganda

100th Well Dedication

Friday, July 22, 2011

by Darlene Skarda

Today we went  first to the village of Buwoyi for the dedication of the Skarda/Lorfing well in honor of parents John E. & Darlene Skarda.  We were met by a group of  children singing and dancing.  We then walked quite a way to the original water source which was a dry mud hole.  I don’t know how far the people now had to walk to get water – maybe over 5 miles one way.  On our walk we encountered several cornfields, gardens with tomatoes, eggplant and sweet potatoes.  These are all common items grown in Uganda.  The well dedication was quite touching as I realized that this well would be here serving people long after I was gone.  We passed out mosquito nets to the boys and dressed many girls with the “Dress A Girl” project.  They were so thrilled with their new dresses.  Then Tristen tossed out a soccer ball and all the boys were running after it.  The people were very nice and not grabbing the dresses as we had encountered a previous day.  It was a good feeling as we left.

Then we went to the village of Sinde fot the 100th well dedication fort Water 4 Kids, Intl.  Angie had a nice banner made and it was quite the celebration.  The people here seemed even poorer than most of them we had previously encountered.  We sat under a large tree and were served soda.  One of the leaders speaking was a Muslim and Tom and Angie said he’s quite a “Christian” Muslim and very probably might become a Christian except that it might have bad consequences for him.  He was a politician but told the people that what Hope/Water 4 Kids was doing was very good as their own government was not doing it for them.  The crops appeared to be very dry and much in need of rain.  As we  were sitting under the tree the storm clouds were building and just as were about to get on the  bus it started raining – what a blessing?

As we were driving out a car in front of us got stuck in the muddy road.  Bobby, our bus driver, got out and helped push the car and after they were stuck again a couple times he got in the car and drove it out for them and then came back and drove our bus out.  He is a good driver!

We stopped a couple places along the road and dressed little girls.  One was about 18 months old and she had on a very ragged top and no bottoms – dress African style!  Angie got out and dressed her in a darling little 2- piece outfit we had in our bag.  That really felt like what “Dress A Girl” was meant  to be.

We drove a couple hours and got to our Rock Classic Hotel in time to shower before dinner as we were all covered with red dust.  It was a great day!

The Path to Clean Water

Writer Amanda Christmann Larson
Every one of us faces defining moments in life—those moments when we come to a fork in the road and must choose one path or another; moments that shape and define us, and often shape the lives of others in the process.

Anthem resident, Angie Simon, has faced many such moments, and her willingness to have faith when situations appear hopeless and push forward despite discouraging circumstances has meant the difference between life and death for children on the other side of the globe.

Five years ago, she took a trip to Peru with locally-based Hope 4 Kids International that changed the direction of her life. She witnessed first-hand how poverty and despair could be transformed simply by caring enough about other people to give them a hand up, and she returned home having chosen a new path. “I couldn’t go back to my regular life after what I saw and experienced,” she explained. “I just couldn’t do it.” She became a full-time employee for the group, and now serves as director for its offshoot program, Water 4 Kids International. She has worked diligently to make a difference in the lives of some of the world’s most poverty-stricken areas since that day she returned to Phoenix.

Recently, Water 4 Kids’ ministry team on the ground in Uganda came across a village called Sinde in a remote region of the East African country, where the only source of water during the dry season was a tiny, muddy spring. Women and children filled jerry cans with one small cup of water at a time. Each day, children were denied an education and women had to choose between staying home and cooking dinner, or waiting in line for hours for water. At times, unsympathetic husbands mistrusted their wives, beating them and accusing the women of stepping out on them.

During the rainy season, two small ponds fill up in the area, making water more available, but also creating the very real risk of snake bites and crocodile attacks for the women and children who collect water there. Despite the effort, the water carried back to village homes was not safe. As in most developing areas, water sources are shared by animals. Dysentery, cholera, bilharzia, and other waterborne illnesses kill thousands each year, making it responsible for 75 percent of the deaths in these remote villages.

Water 4 Kids wanted to make a difference for these villagers, but the government had already told the people there was no hope. There was no water below the surface, they said; so it would do no good to drill a well. This knowledge led Angie and Water 4 Kids to another defining moment: move on to a project that was a sure thing, or drill and face possible failure. They made the decision to drill, and it paid off. The Sinde well, completed this month with the help and love of dedicated donors, became the 100th Water 4 Kids well to bring clean water to children and their families across the globe.

Every day, while most Americans commute back and forth to their offices and schools, millions of women and children spend hours walking back and forth to polluted lakes and streams to collect the day’s water. They carry heavy jerry cans on their heads, risking the threat of attacks from both wildlife and human predators. In some places, women and children are afraid to walk alone out of fear that they will be attacked by men waiting in the bushes. Children are unable to go to school and women are unable to spend time selling goods or otherwise contributing to their families because they have to walk for miles at a time for their most basic need: water.

“It doesn’t matter if you’re passionate about water, health, education, women’s rights, justice or sharing the Gospel,” Angie explained. “It all starts with clean water. It affects every area of people’s lives.”

Hope 4 Kids International and Water 4 Kids International are making a very real difference in the lives of these people. They partner with organizations already doing good work in the areas they serve and create a system of accountability so that the money donated through the kindness of others is put to good use. At the same time, they focus on maintaining dignity throughout the process by giving villagers ownership in the projects. They have built a hospital, medical clinics, agricultural projects, women’s empowerment projects, and schools; and paired thousands of loving sponsors with vulnerable children since 1973. Both are grassroots organizations started by Tom Eggum, whose vision and passion have helped children and their families in 98 countries.

Hope 4 Kids International’s water projects were started in 2003, and under Angie’s oversight of Water 4 Kids, have multiplied steadily in numbers each year. Her own passion shows. She has spent much of the last decade traveling around the world to share her love and the team’s spirit of ministry with strangers, only to find herself transformed by the love she has received in return.

The water program has grown to include hygiene and sanitation education at each dedication, as well as distribution of mosquito nets. In October 2009, another program called Dress a Girl Around the World was started. At each dedication since then, girls are given dresses made from pillow cases from all over the United States. The simple idea of providing a dress for little girls to wear and feel beautiful in has received overwhelming response—25,000 girls have been dressed in these loving creations in 36 countries around the world.

Defining moments do happen in each of our lives, and each one of us has an opportunity to help others. If you would like to find out more about Hope 4 Kids International and Water 4 Kids International, to volunteer or donate, visit or email Dedication of the 100th well will take place in July, and volunteers are encouraged to help Hope 4 Kids and Water 4 Kids celebrate.

“People have a heart for many different things,” said Angie. “This is where my heart is.”

In Uganda, Small’s Kindnesses

Ric Small, volunteer chaplain at Liberty High School, and Larry Davis, generations pastor at Northgate Christian Fellowship, have returned from two weeks in Uganda, an experience Small described as “devastation, with a glimmer of hope.”

Small said the trip “would forever shape our perception of the difference between need and greed.”

That need has spurred the two men to urge Benicians to contribute toward providing clean water to Ugandan children.

The men arrived in Entebbe about midnight April 5, and left early the next morning for a bus ride of more than six hours that took them to Tororo, the city with the highest crime rate in Uganda.

But just one hour into their trip, they arrived in the Ugandan capital, Kampala, and “the first thing I noticed was a burning in my nostrils from a combination of unhampered vehicle exhaust and burning garbage,” Small said. That pungent odor would be present during most of the day.

Their bus soon passed a fatal accident, caused when a minivan taxi collided with a small motorcycle taxi called a “boda-boda.” The three passengers riding the boda boda had died and were lying on the side of the road.

Later, Small said, he would see as many as four people riding together on the small motorcycles. For every 100 boda-bodas, he said, he saw one passenger vehicle and 20 minivan taxis.

“The more we traveled, the more I realized that this is a country whose economic status would be somewhere between lower income and poverty in America,” he said.

Small and Davis made the trip through Hope4Kids International, a nonprofit based in Phoenix, Ariz. They stayed in four villages where the organization has built wells.

“At the first village, Nasinu, we were greeted with beautiful tribal dancing and singing,” Small said, as the children commemorated Palm Sunday. “The young kids carried tree branches, signifying the palm branches that greeted Jesus as He entered Jerusalem. It was quite humbling and emotional.”

Before their well was built, the children had had to travel up to 10 miles each way to retrieve water, he said. But the water wasn’t clean. It was contaminated, spreading yellow fever and dysentery among the villagers.

“Larry and I also handed out mosquito nets, bought by monies raised by Northgate and Benicia Middle school students,” Small said. When they passed out the nets, they assured villagers they would no longer have to worry about mosquito bites, which frequently transmit malaria that often can be fatal.

The Benicians also went to Wanenga, where they got a far different reception. They were the first white people (“mzungu” in Ugandan) the villagers had ever seen. Initially, the people were reserved in dealing with the two strangers.

But the residents showed the pair the hole that had been the village’s original water source, and told the men that during the previous year, two small children had drowned there. “There are no swim lessons in Uganda,” Small said.

The water in the hole was so dirty, he said, most Americans “would be hard-pressed to even wash our feet in that water.”

Besides clean water wells, Hope4Kids also sponsors a day school, Smile Africa, attended daily by 420 children who get not only an education but also two meals a day.

“If it weren’t for Smile Africa, they would have nothing to eat and malaria-infested water to drink,” Small said.

Hope4Kids has been operating in Africa for nearly 10 years, Small said. He had a chance to talk with its president and founder, Tom Eggum, and asked whether he has become hardened by the poverty he sees every day.

Eggum told the Benicians that the work done by the agency saves children, “giving them clean water, an education, and the true Gospel of Jesus Christ, which is love-based,” Small said.

The two weeks in Uganda convinced Small that Benicia and its neighbor, Vallejo, should set a goal of underwriting the cost of 10 wells to be drilled by the end of 2011.

“The cost of a well is $10,150, so that is a goal of $101,000,” Small said.

The company for which Small works, Alonzo and Small Insurance, will start the fundraising by paying for the first well.

“For those who may not be in the faith community, but consider yourselves humanitarians, this is a human need that is a top priority.”

He called for believers and nonbelievers alike to help, because the need is great: 49 percent of Uganda is less than 14 years old, and 3 million children there are orphans, a number that increases annually by about 260,000.

“We can save these children, one at a time,” he said.

Donors may contribute through the Hope4Kids website, giving in the name of Benicia or Vallejo; they can also receive documentation for taxes, Small said.

Money raised by Walk 4 Water in May to aid African village

Money raised by Walk 4 Water in May to aid African village (LOVELAND, CO)—For most Americans, accessing water takes little more effort than walking to the kitchen faucet.
Yet for millions of people in Africa, getting something to drink is far from that simple.

Starting at about 10 or 11 years old, girls will spend about a quarter of their day trekking to the nearest water source.

The typical walk is about 4.5 miles one way — with a large canister to fill.

And when they do finally reach the water, the source is often no more than a muddy puddle shared by animals and mosquitos, and often ripe with disease.

In fact, because of water- borne diseases, about 50 percent of babies in Uganda die before they’re 5 years old, said Loveland’s Carolyn Griebe.

Griebe, who recently spent a month in the African nation, has seen how difficult and dangerous this system can be.

“The girls walk 6 kilometers each day, every day, to get dirty water,” she said.

“Then so many babies die from dysentery.”

Griebe and those involved with Hope 4 Kids International want to break this cycle, starting with one Ugandan village.

And they’re asking Lovelanders to help.

This May, coordinators will host a Walk 4 Water event, raising money to build a water well in Kajarau, Uganda.

During the fundraiser, participants will be asked to walk a 6K — the average distance trekked to water by African women every day.

“Not only will this help drill a well in Kajarau,” Griebe said, “but it’s also an opportunity to educate walkers about what life is like in Uganda.”

While the event isn’t until May 7, coordinators are asking participants to sign up now and begin finding sponsors to support them and the cause.

Walk 4 Water hopes to raise the $10,500 needed to drill the well in Kajarau when Griebe returns in November.
By tapping into the deep underground pools and filtering the water, the pump well will provide clean water to the village’s 4,000 residents.

Griebe and others will help form a committee among the villagers, too, to teach them about water diseases and the importance of using the well.

Angie Simon, of Hope 4 Kids International based in Phoenix, has seen what a difference a well and training can make in an African village.

“Having a safe, reliable source of water drastically transforms an entire community,” she said in an e-mail.

Thousands of people are saved from dehydration and other waterborne diseases, while their hygiene is improved.

Additionally, girls who once spent most of their day fetching water are able to spend more time in school.

“It allows them to spend more time … focusing on education rather than the basic needs of survival,” Simon said.

Griebe hopes Lovelanders will help bring the same changes to Kajarau by fundraising for the well.

“It’s a way to bless people in a village,” she said, noting that the well should last about 30 years. “Hundreds of thousands of lives will be saved.”

By Sarah Bultema
Loveland Reporter-Herald

Loveland woman uses pillowcases to create clothes for the poor

As Dress a Girl Around the World gains momentum all across the country. Carolyn Griebe in Loveland, CO couldn’t help but join in. After a 25 year break from sewing, Carolyn and many of her friends from church have joined together to sew pillowcase dresses for girls all around the world. So far, Carolyn has collected over 300 dresses!

Read more from the Loveland Reporter-Herald

Anthem Boy Works to Get Safe Drinking Water to Africa

(ANTHEM, AZ) — A 10-year-old Anthem boy is reaching out to help children across the world who are suffering from the lack of safe water to drink.

With Sam Nollette’s passion and dedication, those who are supporting him hope he can save thousands of children’s lives. Nollette is organizing the Water 4 Kids Baseball Classic tournament. He’s assembling teams for a two-day baseball tournament at the end of January. All the proceeds will provide kids in Africa with clean water to drink. In the process Sam’s mom, Jamie, is hoping it will teach other kids in the US how to make a difference in the lives of others. She says Sam hand-picked a special village to sponsor. In that village are five schools that will benefit from the well. The village is called Molokochomo and is located in the central east region in Pallisa District in Uganda, Africa. Over 4,400 people – 1,400 adults and 3,000 children live in Molokochomo village and will benefit from the well. Children from neighboring villages, nearly 7,750 students total from five different schools (Molokochomo Primary, St. Jacob, St. Elizabeth, St. Mercy and Day Care Nursery school) will drink from the well every morning before and during school. Currently, these villagers have to walk over 3 km to a small, seasonal open pond. During the dry season, this well can dry up and they have to look to other sources of water. This pond is heavily congested from the two trading centres nearby and many fights break out because villagers are waiting for water. Even at home, families quarrel because of the long time it takes to fetch water from this water source. There are 3 ways to support the event: 1. If you have a team, sign up to play – email Jamie Nollette or call 623.824.3273 2. Send a donation to Water 4 Kids Baseball Classic Mail checks to PO BOX 74010 Phoenix, Arizona 85087 3. Come watch some baseball. January 30th and 31st in Anthem at the softball and baseball complex.

California Coast Bike Tour

From July 11th to 18th bike riders from Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd will ride 370 miles from Monterey to Torrance.

California CoastEach of the 20 riders has pledged to raise at least $500 to build a water tower and install a 20,000 liter tank to service a new deep well at Smile Africa (Bison) community center in Tororo, Uganda.  The center serves meals daily to several hundred of the poorest children in the area. They also provide job training and support for widows and their families.  This project is part of our ongoing work in Uganda.  Watch for more information on how you can support the riders and this mission project with our friends in Africa.

Embrace in Education Fundraiser

On Friday, May 8th 2009, over 170 people came together for an evening of inspiration and enlightenment at the beautiful home of Scott Schuff in Peoria, Arizona.

The object of the gathering was to bring awareness about the overwhelming need in Uganda and to raise funds for a double-classroom for the True Vine primary boarding school in Tororo, Uganda.

The cocktail attire affair held several areas for attendees to mingle and share how they came to be at the event. The message was clear for all. Help was needed and empirical evidence alone wouldn’t be shy to reveal that the ability was present. Many guests in attendance previously traveled with Hope 4 Kids to Uganda resulting in an abundance of personal attests of the need of the people of Uganda. Live, authentic African music and dance was performed during the event, courtesy of Kawambe-Omawale -African Performance Theatre Company, which only added to the experience of the night. A humongous projector screen was erected for all to watch video and slideshows of Hope 4 Kids International’s missions and quickly became the main focus of the guests. One of the two “guests of honor” in attendance that night was Hope 4 Kids International’s president and founder, Tom Eggum. The other of the aforementioned “guests of honor” was Uganda’s own, Pastor Wilber Sigombe of True Vine Team Ministries.  Bishop of fifty-one churches in East Africa, Pastor Wilber is a long time friend and partner of Hope 4 Kids. Pastor Wilber’s appearance was a surprise for the other guests, some of which had previously made his acquaintance whilst visiting Uganda.

All said and done, the event raised over $125,000 for ten wells and a double-classroom. Thirteen orphans were sponsored in H4KI’s Orphan Sponsorship Program. Also, funds for desks, double-decker beds, teachers’ tables, fifty textbooks, dining tables, meals, office desks and chairs were raised. Larrie Fraley, President of CCV Stars (local soccer club) presented Pastor Wilber with 200 True Vine Team Ministries’ soccer uniforms. All this, plus impromptu speeches from Tom Eggum and Pastor Wilber Sigombe, made for a spectacularly successful night.

Although the impact of the success of this event will be felt, an unimaginable set of problems is still prevalent in Uganda and the rest of the world. Over a billion people in this world lack access to the basics: clean water, nutritious food, basic healthcare and quality education. Hope 4 Kids International truly believes education is one of the ways children can escape the grips of education. That’s why they’ve built their own True Vine Boarding and Mixed Day School in Uganda and support a number of schools in and around Tororo, Uganda.
The evening would not have been possible without the generous contributions and support of some very special businesses: Trader Joe’s Glendale, Babbo Italian Eatery Arrowhead, Y-knot Party Rental, Black Tie Events, Inc, Ageless Aesthetics, Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen and Waste Management. Special thanks to our hostesses of the evening: Shawna Schuff, Kristi Sonsky, Lisa Peterson, Victoria Elbin, Jennifer Mook and Sheri Maki for their heart-felt passion and dedication for the children of Uganda. Special thanks to Scott Schuff for opening his home in Peoria for this event.

Students Bike From Tempe to Chicago to Raise Money for Uganda

This summer, Chris Johnson and Michael Alexander are embarking on a 5 week bike ride from Tempe, Arizona, to Chicago. Their goal is to raise $10,000, which will go towards the purchase of a truck for the farm of James Kamanyire and the Sunrise House of Fort Portal, Uganda.

Chris and his buddy on their ride to Chicago

Chris and his buddy on their ride to Chicago

For anyone unfamiliar with the Sunrise House, it’s a home for students in the Fort Portal area who have lost both of their parents. The house was founded by AZ Rep. Sam Crump in 2004 on behalf of the Anthem Rotary Club.

Through the financial support of the Anthem Rotary Club and individual sponsorships via Hope 4 Kids International, 50 orphans are able to attain an education and lifestyle that would otherwise be impossible.

Unfortunately, as times have gotten harder here in the United States, the house has seen severe drop in sponsorship money. However, the Sunrise House students’ food, living, and education costs have remained the same. Each day, the house is falling into increasing debt.

So…who’s James Kamanyire and what does he need with a truck?

James Kamenyire is a Fort Portal farmer and (along with his father, Bishop Eustace Kamanyire) runs the Sunrise House. James owns a 30 acre farm 10 km across town from the Sunrise House. On his farm, James raises chickens, cows, goats, and even has a tilapia pond. He also grows corn, avacados, bananas, sugar cane, coffee beans, and many other crops.

With the means to transport food from his farm, to the Sunrise House, James will eliminate 2/3 of the house’s monthly expenses! He will be able to better transport his crops to the market place, which will allow him to do better business. He can also transport Sunrise students to and from his farm, where he plans on implementing an agriculture education program. Because of their intertwined relationship, anything which benefits the farm, benefits Jame’s children at the Sunrise House.

By supporting the Sunride, you are helping the Sunrise House take a major step towards self-sustainability. Please support the Sunride as we ride across the country on two wheels, so James can drive across town on four wheels.

All donations will be handled by Hope 4 Kids International and are 100% tax deductible.

Please feel free to e-mail me with any questions, comments, or encouragement at

The Food Has Arrived at Smile Africa!

After much delay, Hope 4 Kids International is thrilled to announce that our food finally arrived to Smile Africa! Nearly a year ago, Hope 4 Kids shipped a 40-foot container of 270,864 meals for our Karamojong children and boarding school kids in Uganda.

270,864 ,eals delivered to UgandaBefore our feeding program was established in July of 2007, the Karamojong children would scrounge through trash bins for rotten potatoes, chicken bones and discarded produce for food. They were extremely malnourished, naked and they did not know where they were going to get their next meal.

Under the guidance of Pastor Ruth from Smile Africa Ministries, Hope 4 Kids International responded to this need in a significant and compassionate way. We are humbled to say that 420 kids now receive two meals a day from our feeding program. They also have an opportunity to bathe, have their clothes washed and wounds treated. There are teachers on hand teaching them reading, writing and arithmetic. Over this last year, the children’s health and sense of hope has greatly improved as a result of the direct impact from this feeding program.

Hope 4 Kids International collaborated with Feed My Starving Children in an effort to bring steady nutritious meals to these children who are suffering from malnourishment. FMSC provides individually packed highly nutritious and filling meals packed with rice, soy, vitamins and dehydrated vegetables all for free. Each meal provides a day’s worth of vitamins and nutrients to enable the children to grow up strong to fight off diseases like malaria, measles and dysentery.

The kids eat their first meal!Hope 4 Kids is so grateful for the tireless efforts of Pastor Ruth of Smile Africa and of our customs clearance agent, Hussein Simiyu Khatua from W & S International. Together, they were able to convince high-ranking government officials from the Prime Minister’s office to waive $20,000 US taxes by the Ugandan government. The long African bureaucracy process could not derail Pastor Ruth’s determination in receiving this food successfully and without penalty. “This was a battle that only God could fight,” she says. We are so thankful to everyone’s prayers and efforts in delivering this food. The kids had their first meal yesterday and they loved it!

Thank you for everyone’s prayers and for all the money donated for the shipping container. We are truly grateful for your partnership!