Mary is the recently widowed wife of Alex Aciga
Rev Alex was a senior leader in the Diocese of Kajo Keji who was killed in a tragic accident at Easter in 2019.
This immediately meant all income was stopped for Mary and she became destitute overnight and had to move out of her house which had gone with her husband’s job. She was in a very depressed state in September when the CRESS UK team visited her in her tiny 2 room house.
Mary illustrates the need to provide support and training in a number of areas if someone is to be lifted out of the cycle of chronic poverty and ill health.
This multi-faceted approach to development has been the driving vision behind CRESS. Caroline Lamb saw that only helping in one area of life such as education does not provide enough security to enable the lifestyle of the individual to become self-sustaining.
CRESS has helped Mary in 5 areas of her life
Mary herself in 2015 was sent on a CRESS bursary to Kasenge Riverford Farm School, Mukono where she learnt the organic farming system. She was then supported by CRESS (before she fled her country South Sudan) to grow a range of vegetables – she proved so successful that she was promoted to an agricultural group leader. Three of her children were educated with CRESS sponsorship and 2 daughters have now gained Bachelor’s degrees. Her son Godwill is still in a CRESS sponsorship about to commence his A level programme.
Following her family’s flight from their country following the civil war she started agriculture again in Uganda. However after the tragic death of her husband she was overwhelmed by grief and unable to do any work.
CRESS has been able to step in and help her along with Mike Gwartney from the US – through Rev Israel Taban – on the ground a new home has been found and the rent paid for 2 years by Mike. CRESS has funded her to rent some agricultural land and equipped her with tools and seeds to restart her agricultural business again.
However another aspect of CRESS’ work with the South Sudanese was needed- Mary’s trauma was so overwhelming she could not work. CRESS then funded the head of the clinic Edward Mika to visit her. Edward has been training through CATT training to help those suffering with trauma – he has now worked with her and she is getting back to her work again as her trauma has been reduced to a level that she can function again and restart her life.
So Mary has been the recipient of – education sponsorship for her children, agricultural training and equipping, and then trauma therapy. She has needed all these to give her any chance of regaining a life where she can be self-sufficient on her own after 2/3 years.
She is an exact example of the need for many strands and training to help secure someone to become self-sufficient in an African situation.
A letter from Mary’s daughter
Dear Caroline and Mike,
I trust this massage gets you well and healthy by God’s grace. It’s with joy that I came to write this letter. We spent the Christmas well with Mummy and my siblings. The fund Mike send reached well and Edward managed to meet my Mam in person and listened to her problems and supported her psychologically and asked Mam to call him any time she is not feeling well, we were able to buy two chickens for 25thDec 2019 and one duck for 1st Jan 2020 plus soda for the eve days. There were a lot of people at home that we spend the Christmas together.
I was privileged to visit Mummy’s farm and it is really doing great, they have tomatoes, okra and sukumawekey among other greens and others like onion, cassava are yet to be planted.
I came back to Juba and have started work already. My job is going on well, and my plan for this year is to start my Masters at one of the universities in Uganda. I am planning to go to Kampala in March to apply for my Master in Public Health – Sexual Reproduction and Population at Uganda Martyrs’ University and hopefully will begin in August. The program is a distance program with an aim of continuing with my job to be able to support my Mam and the kids and I move to Uganda for examination and some lectures only.