As a kid we all want to explore and play outside. Even in a world of video games and virtual reality children still want to go outside and play. Our foster families have so many children they are caring for and sometimes the kids need an outlet for all their energy!
With COVID-19 dominating the news and restricting travel the past year, the focus of Man Up and Go has, in some respects, turned domestic. However, our programs internationally are still in operation, even if hampered somewhat by Coronavirus restrictions.
Man Up recently sent a team to East Africa as part of their Climbing Kili for the Kids trip, giving them a chance to reconnect with our partners there in person for the first time since March of 2020. Here’s a quick summary:
Ethiopia Authentic Masculinity Program (AMP) Update
Our CEO travelled to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and was able to meet the 7 men enrolled in AMP for the first time. In this inaugural Cohort batch, what impressed him the most was the camaraderie which had formed among the men.
“We went to lunch with these men and had them share their experiences with AMP. Each of the seven men talked about the brotherhood that had developed among the group, saying it was something they’d never had before,” said Jeff Ford, Man Up CEO.
During a global pandemic in which so many restrictions and mandates of isolation have been handed down, we count this as a huge victory for these men and for the reduction of fatherlessness in the future. The enemy wants us isolated, but strength is found in the community of God’s people. These men are more equipped than ever to handle life’s challenges and the temptation to abdicate personal responsibility when the going gets tough.
Jeff also had a chance to meet with Man Up AMP Coordinators Sami and Tamirat. Tamirat is in charge of teaching the men and Sami oversees the administration of the program. Despite a number of challenges, we are proud of these men and give God thanks for all they’re doing to pour into and equip men to lead during these tumultuous times.
Side note, if you’re ever in Addis Ababa, make sure you head to Kaldi’s Coffee Shop…after all, the Ethiopians founded the coffee bean.
Uganda AMP Update
The team met up in Entebbe and from there drove about 6 hours east (and a little north) to the village town of Pallisa. Here they met up with Man Up’s AMP Coordinator Eliazar and visited several of the men’s businesses that had been started with the microloan from Man Up. The challenges were greater here, as police strictly enforced social distancing laws and curfews (sometimes with canings and jailings). Despite this, several of the men were thriving in various businesses:
Casava (common food) Production
The following day the men spent time with Geofery, Man Up AMP Coordinator in Kibuku and Bulangira. They had a chance to visit with 35 men enrolled in Man Up’s AMP there, saying a few words of encouragement as well.
After that they were able to visit some of the projects from these men:
Moses has produced over 30,000 bricks, 3 times the area average
Roman used his loan to invest in materials to make motorcycle seat covers
Other men invested in what was already life-sustaining in their communities – animals
Even Mushrooms (not an animal, but still pretty cool)
We believe God has put an innate desire in man to provide for his family. Sometimes the woman is the breadwinner, but in Africa, it’s nearly always the man. Equipping these men with microloans and the mental and spiritual fortitude to pay them back is preventing more children from growing up fatherless, and for this we give God praise.
Child Sponsorship Update
Finally, the men were able to check in with the children and Kerith Children’s Home. Although their time was short – and although the gifts from sponsors were on a baggage delay from Amsterdam – the men report the children were doing great!
Since they didn’t have the sponsor gifts (don’t worry, they eventually got there), they popped into town and brought sandals and matoke (banana) as substitutes.
The men got their African dance on with the kiddos too (don’t judge the skill level):
For those who sponsor kids at Kerith, seeing them is always a treat:
Because of the travel restrictions in the world due to COVID-19, the trip was a difficult one logistically. We’re thankful God allowed our men to make the visit and to see how He continues to move around the world, even in a pandemic.