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A LETTER FROM JAMES

My name is Mwesige James. I am 22 years old now. I have two sisters (Enid and Sylvia) and two brothers (Clovis and Derrick). Our father and mother died of HIV/AIDS when we were young.

When my parents were still alive, we had a big property but they had sold piece by piece to pay for their medical treatment, we were left on a small piece of land where our house and latrine are. We suffered a lot, life was hard for us. At the time, I was young and didn’t know what to do. As the oldest boy, I had the responsibility to take care of the family. We had no food and no clothing. The inside walls of our house had collapsed, the base of the house had been destroyed by termites. We had sleepless nights especially, during the rainy seasons, we wouldn’t sleep for fear, that the house might collapse on us at night. The rainy season was the worst. The nights were cold, we didn’t have beddings, no blankets and the house was leaking. Our grandfather, who lived 15KM from our home sometimes came to bring us food when they had enough.

Years ago, our village in Nyakagongo, Kitumba Parish, East Division in Fort Portal Municipality, selected our family to be supported by ITI, we were visited and prayed for by the staff of ITI. They didn’t promise to help us but took information about us and took pictures which they promised to share with friends. They told us to pray and believe that God will make a way for us.

In 2011, we received news that we got sponsors. Our lives have since then changed. We thank our sponsors; the Damron, the Schmidt and the Koestler families, who built for us a 3-bedroom permanent brick house. We no longer sleep in fear but sleep in dignity. We now have four beds, mattresses, bed sheets and blankets. We have good clothes, chairs, a bicycle, new latrine which is also being used by 3 neighbors. They supported us with income generating projects, even if our goats and pigs died, we have chickens and we plan to replace the goats from our sister Anna and the pigs from John and Debbie. They took us back to school.

Today, my sister Enid works in a restaurant in Kampala, she earns a salary, she sends us some money through mobile money which helps with home needs, Sylvia has a crafts and basket making business, I and Clovis are undergoing training in metal fabrication and mechanics respectively and our last born, Derrick, is in a boarding school. I also sell firewood and Clovis keeps chickens. Our next family plan is to buy land and cultivate our own gardens so that we have a sustainable supply of food rather than buying from the market. Our lives have been changed.

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