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$5-A-Month Challenge

Many of Kitega’s families, some averaging 12 members, have a monthly budget of just US$5.

Could you live for a month on $5?

Try it and see just how difficult it is to survive on such a small amount; then consider making a $5 donation to Kitega’s community to help the families who struggle on this meagre budget each and every month.

We hope to raise multiple donations of $5, in order to ease the strain that many families in our community are under.

Please join this challenge, share your story, and make a small donation so that a family in Kitega will not have to decide whether to spend their meagre budget on school fees or food.

Your donation will provide real help to people like Matieda, whose story is told by Amy, one of our international volunteers:

$5-A-Month: Matieda’s Story
Could you survive on only $5 a month? I recently met a woman who has to do just that. She is called Matieda and she is a widow and a grandmother. Her two children have both passed on, so she now has to look after the three orphans that were left behind. The Kitega Community Centre supports one of these children to go to the local primary school – Katungulu CU. The youngest child is still a baby, so Matieda spends her days at home looking after this child. The other child does not go to school due to the costs and the budget of the centre.

Matieda previously suffered from an illness which caused her to be away from the house for three years. This meant the orphans had to stay in the house by themselves. Matieda has now recovered, but is much weaker than she was before.

I met Matieda at her house, which is very basic and only has two rooms. It is built with bamboo sticks and mud; like most of the other houses in the area. The floor is just dust, which means there is a higher chance of jigger infections in the feet. This risk of jiggers can be reduced simply by wearing a pair of shoes. The house which Matieda lives in was donated to her by some kind people. Matieda used to own a piece of land on which she grew banana plants and sold the leaves at market, but due to her health she cannot do that anymore so she is totally unemployed.

The area in which Matieda lives is known as Katungulu, which is around 3km from the nearest village, Lugazi. The area is surrounded by sugar plantations and can be dangerous to walk past on your own. The road is a rough dirt track and the only mode of transport other than walking is a boda boda, which costs money.

Matieda is blessed to have a little piece of land on which she can grow seasonal vegetables, but she mostly relies on well-wishers in the village to bring her some sugar or other food stuffs. Most of her support though comes from the local woman’s banking group – Katungulu VICOBA; she is very grateful for their support.

When I met Matieda, she was sitting on a woven papyrus mat on the ground outside her house peeling Matokee, which is the staple food for this area. She says she enjoys having visitors as they bring her hope and make her happy.

One thing that struck me about Matieda was her happiness despite her circumstances. A few years ago, she donated the land where Katungulu Church is now built. If she had sold this land she could have received 4 million Ugandan schillings (about US$1,100), but instead of selling the land she donated it as a gift. That is such a massive gift for anyone to give, but especially for someone who has nothing. The land she donated has enabled the church to construct a school, which is benefiting the whole community.

Matieda continues to praise God and does a lot of work for the church. Would you be able to praise God in these circumstances? I find it amazing that she can live with nothing and that she could have a slightly better life if she had sold the land, but she is happy to see that a church has been built and can be used by the community. The school is next to the church and uses it for extra classroom space, so the building is used nearly every day.

Surprisingly, Matieda’s is not one of the worst cases. Some families have twelve members under one roof to feed and look after, and even with both parents’ monthly income, the total does amount to $5. This makes life practically impossible to live.

I would like to put $5 into perspective for you. In America, a simple meal for one person would cost about $7. Imagine then having to feed twelve people for a month with less than what you have just spent on yourself for one meal. I would encourage you to think about these people when you next spend $5. Maybe you would even think about donating some money to help these families out.

Amy Kirkwood, International Volunteer, 2012


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