We want to give Beckham & his whole village Clean Water for Christmas!! If only 400 people donate $20 by then, we will exceed our end goal of $7500, so we can give his Batwa village this life saving gift. We have joined the international Giving Tuesday (Nov 29) movement, a day of Giving back, after the Black Friday shop-til-you-drop and Cyber-Monday.
It would be difficult to find a child less like the suave British soccer player than the Batwa boy Beckham - he caught my attention through my camera lens on my first trip to Uganda in January 2014. His ragged shirt and malnourished body make a stark portrait that my heart could not overlook. What happened to him a couple months later is heart wrenching. Over the days leading up to Giving Tuesday Nov 29, I'll tell his & his family's story.
Even when I returned to the US in Feb 2014, I couldn’t forget Beckham's forlorn face & kept looking at his photos. The day I'd visited Kalehe village, I also took this photo that included the orphan girl Joyce. Little did either of us know what the future had in store for our lives. God is good.
After I went back to the US I had a Ugandan friend check on Beckham & his family. Every time he went & took photos, Beckham was in the same dirty shirt and the kids were left all alone with no adult supervision. I sent money for new clothes for all four of the children, and had the parents take the kids to Bwindi Community Hospital.
This is a photo of mom Jacklin, who herself looks quite gaunt in this photo, along with Beckham and his younger brother Shivan at the hospital in their new clothes we got them. The boys were both malnourished and received Plumpy Nut supplement, which helps them gain weight quickly. Shivan's hair was light colored and not curling properly, an indication of not getting enough protein.
Children like Beckham are excited to come to us (although less excited if they have to have a jigger removed from the sole of their foot!) every week for our Educational Soup Kitchen nights. After having their feet washed and nails trimmed, they have a nutritious and protein-rich meal and we play an educational games and sing songs. Clean water would make the children's lives in their village immensely safer.
Did you know 1 in 5 kids deaths in Africa come from preventable waterborne illness? Also, HIV-positive individuals are particularly vulnerable to unclean water.
While water is extremely abundant in Bwindi, Uganda (with over 100mm of rain some months), the rivers where the Batwa people gather water in "jerry cans" is highly polluted with fecal coliform bacteria, amoeba, and other pathogens. This causes constant diarrhea and illness in children and adults. The diarrhea further pollutes the water, since ill people are less likely to go to the latrines, but rather resort to open defecation at will.
Can you help us today or any day leading up to Giving Tuesday on November 29? Donate your cup of coffee $5 for 4 days! Are you up for the challenge? Donate here! All donations to our 501(c)(3) nonprofit are tax-deductible in the USA.