Giving Tuesday – Gifts that Give Back

Today is Giving Tuesday (and of course, there’s a hashtag for that: #givingTuesday), and we are all about giving here! For those who are new to us, Ten Eighteen gives 100% – yes ONE HUNDRED PERCENT – of the donations away to our programs in Uganda. No administrative fees. No overhead. All giving.

And we’ve been doing some awesome things lately!

ONE HARBOR CHURCH in Beaufort and Morehead City, NC, did a giving campaign recently, and raised enough money to buy and send 335 Luganda Bibles to Kampala! Those, along with another 115 Bibles gifted by friends of Pastor Sam Namatiiti, are now in a cargo container, on a ship, headed for Mombasa, Kenya. Once they arrive and clear customs, they will travel over-land across Kenya to Kampala, where Pastor Sam will joyfully take possession of them and hand them out to retired pastors in rural villages. This new translation (akin to our English NIV, in modern language) has been VERY well received by Bugandans. Pastor Godfrey Wanamitsa at Arise Africa International joyfully told me, “This is SO easy to read!” (And then asked if Pastor Sam could translate it into Lugisu!)

SATURDAY NIGHT LIFE CHURCH also made a donation for Bibles, and I was able to take a dozen to Uganda with me in October and deliver them to Pastor Sam. (They weigh a LOT, as we wanted them to be big enough, with a big enough font, to be read in poor light, by people with poor eyesight.)


Luganda Bible Uganda

Since my return from my almost-month in Uganda, we have been hard at work on our sister project, the Ndoto Collection. This for-profit online store is stocked with great clothing (like these pajama pants), jewelry and other items (aprons, ornaments, bags), made by impoverished women in Uganda, that make excellent gifts for yourself or someone else. And the BEST PART: Ndoto is giving 30-50% of the profits to Ten Eighteen! So you’re giving gifts that give back, both to our co-ops and partners in the form of a sustainable income, and to our programs here at Ten Eighteen. Talk about a win-win!

rowan ladies sewing Uganda





Short Term Missions Opportunities 2014

 We have several short-term missions trips opportunities this year:



In August 2013, we did a youth camp for about 40 kids in Mastic Point (you can see pics on the website and blog). We had basketball, soccer, outdoor games and VBS. We’re hoping to do TWO youth camps this year, one in late June in Nicholls Town, and one in either late July or early August in Mastic Point. It’s a one-week trip and includes some fun stuff, too. Last year’s cost was about $950 for the week (the airfare is the main fluctuating factor). We will take kids 14 and up, but it’s a great trip for families, too – Last year it was 3 families and me. 🙂  For the Mastic Point trip, the max we can accommodate is 10. I’m still waiting on some info for accommodation in Nicholls Town. (NOTE: You do need a passport to travel to the Bahamas.)



I don’t usually take groups to Uganda (we did a basketball camp in 2011 that was great, though!), but I’ve had several people express interest this year. If we get at least 6, I’ll take a group in September. It would be a minimum of 11 days (it’s 4 days of travel), and we’ll work with women and children in the slums of Kampala, and go to the Arise Africa Babies Home in Bukaleba. We can also spend time with hospice in Jinja and/or Tororo is that’s of interest. And we’ll go on a 1 night (2 game drives) safari at Lake Mburo. The cost will be around $3000 a person – I’ll get more precise if we do end up with enough people. Minimum age is 16 without a parent, 14 with.

(NOTE: You will need typhoid and yellow fever vaccinations to travel to Uganda, and will take malaria meds while there, which isn’t included in the cost quoted above. You’ll also need a visa, which is $50, and a passport if you don’t have one, also not included in the cost above.)



We are trying to start a very short term, monthly program in Andros to work with the elderly. The elderly in Andros is a hugely underserved population and in desperate need. We were hoping to start in january, but the accommodation fell through (twice) and we’re still working on a plan B. Participants would fly to Andros, spend 3 days working with 3 groups of 15 elderly per day, then leave the following day. The cost (depending on airfare) would be around $750-800. We only need 2-4 people per month.

If you’re interested in a trip, use the comments or the Contact section at our website  – and feel free to pass this on to anyone you know who might be.

If you’re interesting in hosting a fundraiser, let me know! We are in fairly desperate need for 2014, after our largest donor was unable to contribute for 2014 due to the economy.

the whole camp balls up

I’m back from Uganda – Early!

I ended up having to return from Uganda early due to some pressing business issues (not Ten Eighteen). That was really a bummer… I hated missing the visit to Jinja, Bukaleba, and the party yesterday at Ray of Hope. Fortunately my son is still there, so he’s carried out Ten Eighteen’s commitments and done a great job.

While I was there, I had a great time and great visits with many of our ladies. The weather was great — not nearly as hot as the February visit, thank goodness! — and we had many great conversations in the community. Here are some of the highlights, followed by photos of the party at Ray of Hope.

*  LAULA. We helped Laula’s mother last visit with a micro-business grant for selling chapati and cooked goods. She did pretty well until she had Laula, who was born with a club foot. Since then, she’s traveled around the vicinity, looking for a hospital that would perform the surgery. One in Mukono said they would do it free, but the wait was at least until January. With this type of surgery, the earlier you do the procedure, the better the outcome, so she was hoping for something sooner. Entebbe Hospital could do it quickly, but the cost was 100,000 shillings, out of her reach. We were able to leave the fee for the procedure, plus money for transport and food for the family during the three weeks they’d be in hospital, and are eagerly anticipating the good news of a successful surgery.

I had to adjust the exposure so Laula's foot was visible in the dim light.

I had to adjust the exposure so Laula’s foot was visible in the dim light.

* OLIVER. Last visit, we gave a grant to a hard-working woman named Oliver. She has a business selling scrap, and was doing okay — well enough to have a small stall — but she wasn’t making enough for a decent home. She was renting a place that was quite literally over the sewer ditch, and it was terribly hot and dark on top of the smell and health hazards. With a grant, she expanded her stock and has now been able to purchase land and a house not very far from her business. She is so, so happy! And the house is two large rooms, with a barred glass door and plastered walls. Amazing!


* ROSE. Rose is new to Ray of Hope, but what a lovely spirit she has! It is now rainy season in Kampala, and the Sunday I got there saw torrential rains. Rose and her family had been living in the lower side of Namuwongo, where the buildings all flood with rain water, sewage, and other terrible filth. We saw Rose on Monday; on Sunday she’d moved to a new home because the waters had gotten so high inside her former one, and it was making them all sick (not to mention that their belongings were flooded). That had taken the capital she had for her maize-roasting business, plus she’d borrowed more. (In the slums, you have to pay at least three months rent in advance, which can be 120,000 or more — a ton of money for these families!) After our visit, I left the money for capital for her with Ray of Hope, and we ended up delivering it to her the following day. She was ecstatic!


We didn’t have the funds this trip to do more grants, but we visited new and old friends and saw how well they are doing. Sometimes, it’s just about relationship, and that’s more than enough!

IMG_9695 IMG_9703 IMG_9730 IMG_9732 IMG_9740

My son did the Jinja trip, and spent the night at the babies home in Bukaleba. He has always loved it there, and has such a heart for the kids. These two are among our sponsored children. Marvin, on the left, is more than twice as old as Matthew, but was severely malnourished as a baby and has struggled with developmental delays and illnesses. He’s doing really well now, though, for which we are so thankful! Matthew was found in a trash can on the day of his birth, covered with trash to make him invisible. He weighed about 5lb. We were in Jinja that day, and another newborn, Jacob, was also found, abandoned in the market. He’s doing well, but he’s a very solemn little guy!

Zeke with Marvin and Matthew

Yesterday was the Ray of Hope/Project Friendship party. Pictures are starting to trickle in, so I’ll share the few I have so far. My son said the party went really well, and several of the young men that we sponsor who chat with me on Facebook have already let me know how much fun it was. I HATED to miss it!!

Aisha ROH party Emily Agnes ROH party Caroline Doreen ROH party little ones ROH party Edmond Francis ROH party Christine ROH party Keren ROH party Zeke at ROH party Edmond birthday ROH party

I’ll have some more pictures of the party, at least when my son gets home. A photographer friend was there and took tons of photos. I can’t wait to see them!

So that’s the trip! If you would like to contribute to Ten Eighteen by becoming a sponsor or making a one-time gift, please go to our GoFundMe site. We would love to have you partner with us!

Making lots of progress!

Now that the Youth Camp is firmly in the hands of my program director, I turned my sites to the Uganda trip. I began to panic a little bit, because Zeke leaves on August 21, and that is really not that far away! I’ve made an appointment with the travel nurse for both of us to get our typhoid updated (every 2 years…yay) and get our malaria prescriptions. That’s going to cost a pretty penny for Zeke’s long trip, but it can’t be helped. We’ve seen many people with malaria… No, thank you. (And don’t say, “They can treat it right away!” because I don’t even want 1 day of it!)

school christine 2 copy

I’ve made a tentative schedule, pending approval from our Ugandan partners, and arranged the transportation with Emmanuel Gabula, transport specialist extraordinaire. Here’s the tentative:

Zeke will go to Ray of Hope to work with the Haven boys on 3 Saturdays. This is going to be great, as the first Saturday will be the first one they’re out of school for the term, and the other two will be during the break, when they don’t have much to do.

Haven boys getting ready to dance for us

Haven boys getting ready to dance for us

I’m going on a quick day trip to Jinja on the day after I arrive for a friend’s wedding. No work that day (I may not even remember it, thanks to jet lag!).

Rinty and me, February, 2013

Rinty and me, February, 2013

September 16, 17, 19, and 20, I’ll be at Ray of Hope, going into the Namuwongo community, visiting our ladies, seeing the kids, and making the usual rounds. Hopefully it won’t be as hot as it was in February! Or raining. Rain plus slums isn’t a pretty picture.


September 22 we’re going to head to Jinja. We’ll hopefully spend a night in Bukaleba at the Arise Africa babies home, and we’ll visit with hospice. I don’t have the time to go out in the field with them this trip, but we’ll spend half a day at the morning meeting and in the office. I was hoping to get to Tororo, but I don’t think we can this time – the trip is just too short.


Friday, September 27, I’ll be back at Ray of Hope for a planning meeting. We try to look at the budget, evaluate the programs and see if we need to tweak anything, brainstorm some new craft ideas for the ladies (I actually have a great idea this time, so I’m excited to share it!).


Saturday, September 28 is the Project Friendship party, always the highlight of the trip. Nesco will be catering it, of course, and we might use holi powder (what they use in the color run) with the kids. We’re going to do it in Andros next month, so I’ll see how that goes before deciding for sure. But it’ll be a party, at any rate, with friendship bracelets and tee shirts and food and dancing and speeches. I’m just super, super excited about it — it’s so great to see all our ROH friends (all 125 or so of them!) in one place before we leave.

Thank God for the tent!

Thank God for the tent!



Image 31IMG_9977IMG_9908

delicious lunch!

delicious lunch!












October 1 we leave! See how fast that is?? So barring any needed changes by Ray of Hope, Arise Africa or Hospice Jinja, that’s the itinerary. I know it’ll be here before I know it — the Andros trip is so soon!! Please pray for us, for safe travels but most especially that we would accomplish everything that God has set for us to do!

OHHHH – and HOPEFULLY (praying, fingers and toes crossed), the Luganda Bibles will be ready before Zeke goes, and he can take a box, and then I can take 2 more!


What does “short term missions” mean to Ten Eighteen?

Basketball camp staff 2011

I guess because summer is upon us and a lot of people are going on short term missions trips, there have been a lot of articles and blogs around the web on what short terms missions are for. I wrote this article about a blog post that I strongly disagree with, and posted this link on the Ten Eighteen Facebook page to one I strong agree with. Ten Eighteen is about to take it’s second group for a short term missions trip, so I thought I’d give an explanation of our mission and vision for those who might not have heard me talk about it.

me with a gang

Ten Eighteen is not an organization that specializes in short term missions trips.  We did one team trip in August of 2011 to do a basketball camp in Nsambya for 44 kids from Ray of Hope. To date, that’s our only team trip.

Why? From our founding, Ten Eighteen has been about relationships. We never intended to have a “one and done” type of a ministry. We have returned to Uganda 6 times since the original visit (or, more accurately 8, since my daughter went twice by herself). On each trip, we stick with our mission, which is to continue to build relationships with the people we have met and work with there. We do not promote an atmosphere of hand-outs, which is very easily done when you are going on a one-time, short term trip. It feels good to give kids stuff, to see them smile… But in most cases, that does more harm than good. It fosters an entitlement/welfare mentality, rather than one where self-reliance is the goal.

Agnes, May 2012

Agnes, May 2012

So why not big teams? I have been able to go 7 times. I have been able to get to know the ladies of Nawezakana, the kids of Ray of Hope and Nesco, the children at the babies home, the staff of hospice. We email, we Facebook, we even Tweet. My daughter has received a dozen or more wonderful, loving, heartfelt messages of congratulations on her upcoming marriage from her Ugandan friends. Taking teams takes time. Group mentalities are what they are – when you are with a group of people you know, you naturally talk to those people. You move as a big blob through the environment, making it difficult for people to break in and talk to you.  That doesn’t help our goal of relationship.


Well then, why do teams at all? First and foremost, because on both occasions, God has been very clear about doing it. The basketball camp was God’s idea, and the camp went great. We had a dozen Ugandan volunteers along with our six, and the kids had a blast. This youth camp is the same. When we were in Andros over Easter, God gave me a very clear vision of this camp. One way to know an idea is from God is if it’s something that isn’t at all in your wheelhouse. These camps aren’t. I’m an introvert that doesn’t love large groups. I find being responsible for groups stressful. I enjoy one-on-one interaction. But I am ridiculously excited about this team and this camp, and that’s how I know it’s a God thing.


Shouldn’t you do one every year, if they go so well? The typical “church” answer would be, “Of course!” We tend to try to institutionalize anything that is successful once. We were asked when we were doing another basketball camp, and my answer was (and remains), “When God tells me to do it.” He hasn’t yet. The same will be true of this youth camp in Andros in August. No matter how well it goes, unless God tells me to, I will not start planning “Youth Camp 2014” as soon as we get home. There are times and seasons for everything. Success doesn’t mean you must duplicate. Obedience is what God’s after. Those are the principles on which we operate.


So what’s in it for me? Well… maybe nothing except a new stamp in your passport. You might get sick. You might be hot and miserable. You might find a bunch of kids annoying. You might hate the food. You might hate being with a group of people for a week. You might not cope well with a lack of power, water, or internet. If you’re going because there’s something in it for you, PLEASE reconsider spending your money (or other people’s donations). If God calls you to a missions trip, it’s for the people you’ll be serving. Your lack of ability to cope, eat, sleep, or be content and happy will be more than made up for by God’s… If you let it. Take one week (or however long your trip is), put yourself aside, and serve others to the best of your ability. Hug, laugh, talk, and show His love. Even if you don’t feel like it. Even if you’re grumpy. Give to whoever He called you to what He has given to you – uncompromising, unequivocal, unconditional love.


My family and I go to Uganda, and now Andros, as an ongoing calling. We don’t consider what we do “short term missions” even though we’re there between 2-4 weeks at a time. We are visiting friends. We are showing God’s love in the ways that He opens up for us. Maybe thinking about your short term trip in this same way will help you keep your focus on what’s ultimately important: HIM.

JW at babies home copy

Internet! And a pool!

Suzanne and I are at Emin Pasha, a lovely hotel we’ve spent a good bit of time enjoying over the years. We’re doing a “spa day” which bascially means we paid 60,000 shillings for lunch, a pedicure, and the ability to use the hotel and pool all day. Plus power for charging things and the internet! Not too bad! Here’s where we’re sitting:

I'm under that shelter typing away right now. This pic was this morning. It's now quite sunny and HOT

I’m under that shelter typing away right now. This pic was this morning. It’s now quite sunny and HOT

The last few days were challenging and very exhausting. I’ll start with Monday.


We left for Bukaleba at 10:30 and got there in about an hour. We went first to the primary school and visited each of the 3 classes, P1-P3. They all did their “Welcome Visitor” recitation for us, which is pretty funny. Here are the classes.


P3 doesn't have any tables, but I was able to leave money for those!

P3 doesn’t have any tables, but I was able to leave money for those!

IMG_4211After this, we went to the babies home. There is a brand new manager, who was thrown into the fire because the former manager never showed up to train her. So she (Sarah) is doing her best to figure things out as she goes. The main concern is that the babies aren’t doing well, including Marvin (who isn’t technically a “baby” but is still with the babies because of his development). The former manager had set the menu to give these children (all about 10 mos – 18 mos) cow’s milk and porridge only, and they aren’t thriving (for obvious reasons). Godfrey was going to pick up some of the high protein mash in Kampala and get formula from a woman in Jinja who specializes in malnourished children. If Marvin and two of the three triplets that we met last May don’t seem improved in a week, Godfrey will take them to that lady for nursing.

IMG_4212 IMG_4213 IMG_4214It was hard to get photos because they were all in a narrow room. But in this last picture, the baby on the left looks EXACTLY the same as she did last May. She’s one of the triplets. She’s at least 14 mos old, if not more. Her sister, in the middle is in the same situation, although she’s a bit healthier. The other triplet is doing better. Jacob, with the bat, looks good. He’s the baby that I got to name, that was found in a trash can. Marvin is the one standing in the top picture. He’s at least 4… He was extremely malnourished when he got to the babies home, and still is having trouble. He also had malaria at our visit so he wasn’t well.

We ate lunch and visited the new office, then went to the secondary school, visiting some of the classrooms, the new dorms, and talking with the headmaster. They have about 165 boarding students there now, and it’s going well. We got back to the guesthouse at about 5:30 (no internet).


At 8am on Tuesday, James, the driver for Hospice Jinja, picked me and all my stuff and we went to the office. After worship, prayer and a meeting, I set out with Dr. Patricia (one of the married, retired Irish doctors who come spend a month twice a year volunteering at hospice), Beatrice, Metrice, and Esther and James took us out into Luuka district. WAY out… We were far. We saw over dozen patients, both in their homes and at clinics. I also got to experience my first “mad man.” I don’t like to take many pictures of hospice patients – I wouldn’t want people to take pictures of me! – but I have a few. I’ll caption them.

And old report, but you can see how big a problem malaria is

And old report, but you can see how big a problem malaria is

I don't think you can see them, but this woman's foot and lower leg are covered wtih Karposy's Sarcoma... It's almost always HIV/AIDS related. Hers is getting better with ARVs.

I don’t think you can see them, but this woman’s foot and lower leg are covered wtih Karposy’s Sarcoma… It’s almost always HIV/AIDS related. Hers is getting better with ARVs.

This is where the young man with HIV was, being cared for by his mother. Until ARVs he was in bed unable to move. He is now sitting and getting some strength back.

This is where the young man with HIV was, being cared for by his mother. Until ARVs he was in bed unable to move. He is now sitting and getting some strength back.

"Dry gangrene" causes body part to dry up and break off. Most of the top of this grandmother's foot is gone. Unlike "wet" gangrene, it doesn't get in the blood, but without amputation it will spread

“Dry gangrene” causes body part to dry up and break off. Most of the top of this grandmother’s foot is gone. Unlike “wet” gangrene, it doesn’t get in the blood, but without amputation it will spread

The home of the lady with dry gangrene in her foot

The home of the lady with dry gangrene in her foot

Dr Patricia talks to a patient (far right) who is HIV+

Dr Patricia talks to a patient (far right) who is HIV+

Your tax dollars at work - this condom distribution thing was in all the clinics.

Your tax dollars at work – this condom distribution thing was in all the clinics.

The road back to Jinja was ENDLESS, bumpy and hot. We hadn’t had lunch or any bathroom breaks, and everyone was exhausted. We got back to the office at 4:20, and at 4:30 James and I left for Tororo. The 1 1/2 hr drive took 2 1/2, thanks to road construction, but we got there, dropped my stuff, and I had a nice dinner with Rinty, who runs Hospice Tororo. I crashed after a freezing cold shower!


No power, and it was dark when I woke, but I had a nice breakfast and tea with Michaella at the guesthouse before the 3 of us walked to the hospital, where Hospice Tororo is. I have no pictures from there, as I didn’t want to walk around the hospital taking pictures. We saw three patients on the wards in the morning: a very emaciated woman with HIV (next to her was an old woman that couldn’t have weighed 70 lb… she looked like the old pictures of Ethiopia); a middle aged woman with HIV; and an old man dying of prostate cancer. He was about 80 lb, and had horrible bedsores. His grandson has been caring for him and is doing a great job, and he has a private room, which is helfpul. There are about 40 people per ward, otherwise, and it’s very grim. Honestly, to me, it looked like half the people there should be in hospice!

We had a good and very cheap lunch at the hospital (2000 shilling, or about 70 cents, for a full plate of beans, rice, chapati and greens). The driver was 1 1/2 hrs late getting to Tororo, so we left at 2:30 instead of 1pm, got our stuff, and headed back. We dropped Rinty in Jinja, and then kept going to Kampala. The “4 hour” drive took 6 hr and 15 min, was hot, frustrating and way too long! And I didn’t get dinner… I got back to Fathers House at 8:45, had tea, and crashed. No power, there, either, but there had been for about 2 hrs earlier so at least the shower was lukewarm.

So that’s my week! Emotionally and mentally, not to mention physically, it’s been quite challenging, so I’m very glad for this day off. Tomorrow I meet a new friend for coffee, then go to Ray of Hope to review the women we met last week and go over business plans. Saturday is the party, then Sunday I head back! Hard to believe!

Thanks for all your thoughts and prayers!

My first real TIA day

My friend Suzanne, who lives here, says TIA a lot. It means, “This is Africa,” and it is used to explain the inexplicable and often contradictory things that happen here. And those things are many!

Today, I was supposed to head out to Bukaleba after lunch, spend time with the kids in the babies home, and stay the night out in the lovely guest house. I saw Godfrey at breakfast, and we agreed we’d go after lunch. I said, “Lunch there or here?” He said here. Then he left with a team that’s here from Austin, TX for church, and I got some work done, since I’d be busy all afternoon.

The power was out this morning, and my laptop battery got pretty low, so at noon I came out to the dining area to read and wait for the team to return and lunch. By 2pm, neither of those things had happened. By 2:30, I was starving but didn’t know when Godfrey would return, so I didn’t want to go to town. I had a bowl of pineapple and watermelon and then went to my room and had Nabs. At 3:30, Godfrey came to my room and asked if I was ready to go… BUT, I couldn’t stay out there because the water isn’t working at the guest house. Which would mean we’d drive 2 hours or more round trip to spend an hour there… Not a smart idea.

So. I said that seemed like a waste of fuel, and suggested we just go tomorrow morning. He agreed (I think he was relieved, as he has been very very busy with the team, not returning from Mbale last night until after 8pm, and heading out again early this morning). What that meant was that I didn’t get lunch and had a lazy day. Not that there’s anything wrong with a lazy day, but it’s usually better if you know it’s going to be one ahead of time, rather than after it’s mostly over with! (I also discovered that my laptop hadn’t been charging because the converter had partially pulled out of the outlet… Yeah, that kind of day!)

I’m doing some work now, writing more blog posts for the two blog tours I have coming up. We’re leaving in the morning after breakfast and will be gone all day, so I won’t get any work done tomorrow, then I’m going out with hospice and going to Tororo afterwards, so no work Tuesday either. I’ve still got about 25 blog posts to write, so I’m just taking advantage of the time (now that I know I have it!).

That’s all I have to report! I’ll try to get a post in tomorrow, with some pictures from the school and babies home. It should be a good, long and probably hot day, but I love going out there, so I’m still excited. Have a good, lazy Sunday!