Disclaimer: Hackers are making a huge difference in Uganda but we are certainly not alone in this effort. Read on for the whole story.

When I witnessed the fire that destroyed twenty-six homes a stones throw from where we live in Jinja Uganda, my heart sank. I felt hopeless.

As we mobilized with donations from the hacker community to feed the victims who had lost everything, I began to feel hope.

But we couldn’t sustain the food program forever so we started looking for a longer-term solution. We started investigating options for rebuilding.

Yesterday afternoon I was really questioning why in the world I got involved in this. The food money was running low, and the estimate for the poles (which represented the very beginning phase of the construction) was around $1000. That meant we were $1000 from even beginning to help the victims with their long term needs. Less than a week into this project I was already discouraged and the blessing of the food program already seemed inconsequential because it wasn’t sustainable.

I should have had more faith. Really.

In the span of twelve hours, the hacker community responded and we tripled our financial need for the poles!

I had to check and recheck my math because I couldn’t believe it. The math was right, and just like that I witnessed a miracle. I should have more faith. I say that a lot.

After nearly 25 donations ranging from $5 to $1,000, the hacker community stood in the gap once again for the people of Uganda.

Today has already been a really busy day. We met with Grace, a carpenter recommended by Jessie and David and Edmond, a carpenter and engineer recommended by Barb, and we planned out the acquisition of the poles. We sat down and drew up a list of all the other materials needed to rebuild the village (excluding the lumber and iron roof sheets which may be donated) and the total for everything including the poles cost around $1,500.

This includes hammers, saws, pangas (machetes one for each home to be used as a cutting tool and for defense), nails, plywood, hinges and latches for doors, etc.

I put a rather sensational, exclusive-sounding title on this post. But I want to be perfectly clear: this is a group effort.

– HFC donors have provided the majority of the funds.
– Local missionaries from so many organizations have tirelessly provided labor, funds, household items, transportation and support.
– Ugandan tradesmen are working very hard gathering materials and their skills and effort will be critical as they oversee the building phase.
– Calvary Chapel staff has donated their compound and their staff has been working tirelessly cooking, distributing food and working as liaisons to the community.
– Jessie Rich from Calvary has put in countless hours on this project. His construction experience is invaluable and his connection and interface to the community has made a real difference. I’m really enjoying working with him. He’s been here in Uganda for 14 years and his experience is invaluable. I’m learning so much.

This thing is really coming together. We are actually rebuilding a village. Crazy!

Thank you all for your donations. Big and small, each one is making a huge difference.

I’m also proud to say that the overhead on this project is near-zero. Other than PayPal and ATM transaction fees, all the donation money is going right into rebuilding the homes, stocking them and feeding the owners. Thanks again everyone. This really is a miracle.