When I was young, I was told: "respect your elders!"...
Caring for senior citizens is a value we have in Canada. It’s part of our culture. We may not be perfect at it, but the value is there. It can be seen in how we address older persons, and even in our government’s policies involving social services for seniors.
When I was in Uganda with eMi last spring, I got to chat with John Kimbe. John is the chairman of the board for Reach One Touch One Ministries (ROTOM). ROTOM cares for senior citizens in Uganda. As I found out, seniors face many challenges living in Uganda.
“They feel like they have spent their whole lives trying to do things for other people and trying to help, and in the evening of their lives no one cares about them,” John told me.
With no social security, no income and often left with orphaned grandchildren to care for, thousands of Ugandan seniors live in extreme poverty with little access to proper medical care.
At eMi, we don’t have the influence to change government policies. We don’t have the resources or knowledge to take care of Ugandan seniors. But we have unique skills that allow us to come along side organizations like ROTOM to empower them to make a difference in their country.
eMi designed a seniors' health centre for ROTOM in 2007, which opened it’s doors in 2014. John told me that the idea of building such a nice facility to care for seniors was an odd concept to many Ugandans. Because of this, ROTOM was having difficulty finding people who supported their vision. That is, until eMi’s team showed up.
“eMi was willing to dream with us and to move with our dream. They understood we’re dealing with seniors. That design was tailored for them.”
I was so pleased to hear John say these words. He must have said “thank you” to eMi 4 or 5 times during our conversation. He told me that the design was fantastic and explained how helpful it was in their fundraising for the facility and that they were hoping to start construction on Phase 2 in January of 2017.
That’s when an idea popped into my head: could eMi return to complete a Phase 2 design that reflected ROTOM’s evolving needs? When I proposed this idea to John, his eyes lit up. “Oh absolutely” he said.
Long story short – an eMi Canada team is returning home from Uganda today after spending 11 days in Uganda with ROTOM designing Phase 2 of their seniors’ health centre. ROTOM has already served almost 1000 Ugandan seniors, and I'm excited to see that number increase as they continue to expand.
Unfortunately, my September trip to Nigeria had to be postponed indefinitely due to security concerns, road conditions and jet fuel shortages in the country. Please pray for the current economic and security issues in Nigeria.
That's all for this newsletter! Thanks for reading!