Hands for Cosmas

Hands for Cosmas

http://happiestfacesonearth.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/Cosmas-Appeal.mp4 This story began in January 2015 in Jinja, Uganda, and was started by Elder Kim and Sister Nancy Squire, who served as senior missionaries in the Jinja are. It was later turned over to us when the Squires completed their service in July. After a few failed attempts at getting prosthetic hands from charitable organizations, we started our efforts afresh on August 14, 2015 in Gulu, northern Uganda. Meet Cosmas Opedmoth, age 23. His life changed in an instant the night of January 12, 2015 while working with a grinding machine. His hand was caught by the blades, and before he could pull it free using his other hand, it too was sucked in. The horrific result was the loss of both hands, leaving only thumb-like stubs. It’s a miracle he didn’t lose his life. After posting his story here on our website, we were contacted by friends and other concerned people in Utah, asking how they could help. What ensued was heart-warming and miraculous to us. With the help of these friends, here is how the campaign came to be: Medical practitioners were found in Utah who specialize in prosthetic hands. Three different types of hands will be created for Cosmas. A Sunday pair (lifelike hands for social meetings and light duty), a work pair (pinching hooks which are durable for every-day use), and a plastic pair (mechanical hands which look like robot hands) for light duty work. An organization called Hands for Cosmas was formed to raise funds for Cosmas and his older brother Reagan to come to Utah for his hands. Reagan will accompany Cosmas to aid...
Help from Nexdor

Help from Nexdor

Having our feet on the ground here in Uganda has provided countless opportunities to reach out and help. The degree of poverty, violence and corruption here is among the most challenging in the world. When we first arrived as missionaries, it was suggested that we not offer financial or material support because of concerns that people would flock to the Church for a handout, or perhaps join for welfare purposes. Gradually we discovered ways to help that were discreet and not simply charity. We have found that we can help people become self-reliant by offering the kind of assistance that puts them to work in their own business, get married, or get education. There are some who have taken advantage, but for the most part, we feel very good about the results. We call our efforts Help from Nexdor, closing the gap between Uganda and our friends in the U.S. who have stepped forward to help. We created an accounting system, like a check register, to track donations and how monies are used. In most cases we keep the donor anonymous so the recipient does not contact them for unnecessary help, and so they can feel good about a secret act of kindness. Here is a collection of projects that donors have sponsored. Many other projects could not be shown for privacy reasons. The feature image at the top shows how a family is set up in business making and selling American pancakes. We’ve done this for two families so far. The pancake is rolled and sold on the street . It is very unique here, and the customers love them even without syrup or other...
Charities – Read Me First

Charities – Read Me First

Since coming to Africa, we’ve had many family and friends at home ask how they can help these wonderful people. Let us share some counsel first, then invite you to consider your best approach to sharing the blessings you enjoy. Mission Rules Being full time missionaries, we are asked not to assist any group or person financially or materially. This is one of the most difficult parts of our mission since we see so much need. We are also counseled not to facilitate contributions from home unless: It is a one-time need that leads the recipient to self-reliance. It is a worthy cause that can continue unaided once we have moved on. Helping or Hurting? Over the past 20 years, over 1 trillion U.S. dollars have been poured into Africa from government and non-government organizations such as charities and churches. One would think this would result in an empowered nation, but just the opposite is true. Many Africans have become dependent on outside support and Africa has become a welfare state. Some have gained an attitude of entitlement for yet more and more support. We advise using caution, therefore, when you choose to help any individual or institution in Africa. Before you do, ask yourself if the action is a true need and that by its offering you are helping the person or group become more self-reliant. Does Your Dollar Reach the Cause? You are doubtless aware that much of the aid pumped into Africa has been syphoned off by corrupt government officials or individuals whose hands were in the cookie jar before the kids ever got home from school. Corruption is still a very...
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Child Soldier

When your young life starts with terror and violence and your family is destroyed before your eyes and you are forced to commit all manner of atrocities…for six long years…what will you do once you escape? Meet Ayella Denis (see the video here), once a child soldier of the LRA in northern Uganda, he escaped to start a new life on a very different path. See how one man can change not only his life, but the lives of many, many others. As missionaries, we are discouraged from soliciting funds for worthy projects while on our mission. We’ve struggled with that, trying to know how to share the great needs here without asking any one person for money. We’ve concluded that we will describe the needs, then leave any contribution between the giver and the recipient so no money is passed from our hand to theirs. This seems to be the cleanest way to help those here who have genuine need without putting ourselves in the position of the giver. The beauty of this cause is that there is no concern regarding government corruption or a greedy middle man who siphons off the proceeds before they reach the recipient. We’re confident that Denis will exercise care in using the money for its best purpose. There are several ways a person can help Denis. We’ll list them here and leave it to you whether to become involved and in what area. Our personal recommendation centers on providing things that can self-perpetuate, such as building the farm or sponsoring a talent tour. We caution you not to send money or goods by mail or parcel service. It will not...
Set Her Free Foundation

Set Her Free Foundation

Slavery is still very much alive in many parts of the world. Human trafficking is a huge problem in Africa. Meet Robinah and see how one courageous woman can take a stand to save one girl at a time from this horrible plague. You may donate to her non-profit foundation and help save another girl. You may buy some of the hand-made goods they produce. Or you can drop to your knees and thank God your daughter is not a victim. Either way, you’ll come away with a new appreciation for courage to take a stand. http://happiestfacesonearth.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Set-Her-FREE-Foundation.mp4 Want to Help? First, read this document about Charitable Giving. You can help by coming to work on a project or send contributions. You can contact Robinah Nabuganda personally by: Email: m.robinah@gmail.com Phone: 256781608595. You can send your contribution using Moneygram. If you need help or have suggestions, please let us know:...
African Service Adventure

African Service Adventure

Neither words nor photos can capture what we have experienced this week. We cannot believe all this change has happened in only 5 days in the field. We will never be the same again. I’m working on a video post of our experience in the bush yesterday (Saturday), but am sending a photo summary here along with a re-cap of an epic rite of passage. http://happiestfacesonearth.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Mpendo-Packer-1.mp4 We’re beginning to understand what President Chatfield means when he says you cannot explain Africa, you have to experience it.  There is a feeling you get here in this third-world country that is both raw and sacred at the same time. To see the mass of humanity in Kampala and the isolation out in the bush is indescribable indeed. Words fail. Pictures don’t capture it. You have to feel the dirt and the grit and smell the odors and see into the eyes…and be truly humbled as if looking at a mighty redwood tree or standing in a sacred place rather than amid squalor. And, as we had anticipated, the happiness of people who have every reason to be miserable. Maybe that’s why it seems higher than we are. Our visit to a village near Jinja was the most transforming of our week. Just the drive there shook our world. We will never complain about bad roads in America again. You can’t imagine the driving conditions on these roads (if you can call them roads). The experience resembles navigating through a battlefield after a war. I’m not kidding here. There was one section of road today where the skimpy pavement had so eroded that...