ROTOM Water Tanks Gifted to This Lovely Couple
Meet Dickson and Sofia – a couple who have recently joined the ROTOM family. They live in a tiny village of Kabawala and have been married for over 40 years. Together they have raised and lost several children and grandchildren. Life has given them some of the bitterest of lemons; and those lessons have come with some of the hardest falls. You would think that with the terrible hand life has dealt them, they would be bitter and angry. Yet they are some of the sweetest people I have ever met.
Dickson and Sofia have some very supportive friends from the U.S., and could not believe it (and thought it was a scam at first) when they heard about the Senior Friendship program and benefits because they feel that life has never given them anything good without a high a price.
“Our lives have changed drastically in the 3 months we have been supported by ROTOM. My wife Sofia gets her blood pressure medication on time, we recently received brand-new beddings, a new radio and even a vacuum flask to keep our tea hot.
We now spend our quiet evenings listening to the radio and marveling at the good fortune that has befallen us in our old age. I used to dread the dawn of each new day. Now, I cannot wait to see tomorrow,” Dickson says with his dazzling smile.
Slowly I had to repeat the vision of how ROTOM envisions older persons living dignified and fulfilled lives. I told them of other seniors in their village whose lives have been changed by ROTOM. You could see the hope in their eyes and hear it in their voices.
After many years of fighting to keep their heads literally above “water,” they met some very kind strangers from across the seas who have thrown them a lifeline; that of a U.S. ROTOM Senior Friend kind. And, they finally got the chance to see the doctor at the ROTOM Health Center in Mukono, received foodstuffs and soap. The smiles on their faces lit up the room.
The smiles on their faces are spotted with tiny beams of light – filtering through the holes inside their roof. This roof, made of iron sheets are simply held together by a wish and a prayer and every gust of wind threatens to strip them off the house roof. This dilapidated old house has not stopped Sofia from keeping it the cleanest house around! The dirt floor is even swept spick and span clean and every item in the house has its own place. Even the 10 new born rabbits have their own bed now!
Dickson and Sofia have always been extremely hard workers and an enterprising couple. Gardening is and has always been their expertise and absolute passion. There they have grown corn, sweet potatoes, vegetables, raising livestock including sheep, goats, and 3 grown rabbits. And where there is ‘harvest’ sometime petty. A few boys broke into their rabbit house and stole 3 grown rabbits. Fortunately, Dickson was able to hunt them down to retrieve at least 2 of them!
Inside their lush garden grows some of the juiciest lemons around, and Dickson is always quite happy to share them. At the height of COVID-19, their neighbors and community members flocked to buy them and sadly, there were some who resorted to stealing. Surprisingly, there was always enough (and, those thieves knew this) for everyone – and their occasional guests were gifted these luscious fruits.
For now, Dickson and Sofia still have no pit latrine and needed to build a shelter of iron sheets around their pit for privacy. (They now use a pit that sits out in the open with a few palm branches hung up for privacy). Thousands of people in Uganda live without a proper, safe or private pit latrine with running water. Some are even less fortunate than they are and often resort to using the bushes when nature calls. Their story is just one – of many, thousands who do not have access to nearby clean water.
Water is a building block of life. At ROTOM, we believe in sustainable solutions to the water crisis that will work over the long-term. We still have about 110+ seniors left without systems to meet our goal. Give today to those who need a water tank!
Testimonial article written by our Uganda field staff. Edited by Stephanie Matty.