Many of you know that we have been dealing with a fairly serious problem in getting our container of food across the border from Kenya into Uganda. We have asked for prayer and many have responded, and we’re convinced that because your prayers, we will ultimately have a favorable outcome!
To bring you up to speed, we have shipped a container of food to Uganda to be split among our ministry partners there. This container of food will provide over 170,000 nutrient-rich meals to the children there, many of whom only have three meals for an entire week. This food, generously donated by the folks at Convoy of Hope, has enough nutrition in just one meal that it would suffice for one full week, if needed.
(Pic: Super Saturday program ensues in Masese, near Jinja, Uganda.)
There are pluses and minuses to exporting food to developing nations, and folks usually have a strong opinion one way or another. Man Up ultimately decided to re-up our commitment to this container (after shipping one in June of 2015) due to the tremendous impact it’s happening in the communities where we partner. We believe the credibility and voice it gives our ministry partners enables Jesus to come front and center, and that’s where change can really happen. At last count, between 750 – 1000 children are coming every single week!
One of the minuses we must deal with in this process is the corruption, which is especially prevalant in places like Africa. This time when the container reached the border, a hostile takeover essentially occurred, with the revenue authorities in Uganda (URA) demanding a “tax” on the container that varied from a couple thousand to almost $20,000. As we pushed the matter further up the authority chain, we simply alerted more government officials, which meant more hands looking for a bribe.
This is when we pleaded with you to pray. We still are!
(Pic: Team member Lyndsey guides a little girl to her seat during our 2015 trip.)
The good news is that at last correspondence (Sept 5, 2017), more officials had gotten involved and calmer heads prevailed. One of the issues was getting the URA to treat this container in a “non-profit” context. That is, our partners are not intending to sell the food to make a profit. It will all be given away to the children. Why would the URA “tax” us so heavily? We believe that your prayers are working to change their minds and reconsider the heavy tax they initially requested.
Even so, the driver for the transport company has threatened to unload the food and leave it on the border. Usually it does not take this long to enter the country, and he’s grown beyond impatient. The crazy circumstances have tested us all.
That is where we currently stand. We want to thank those who have already given to make this happen. Your support and belief in what we’re doing inspires us to continue forward!