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Persistence of Bulungi Shade Tree Friends

Published: Feb. 19, 2021

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Dear Friends:

In the past 17 months, Bulungi Tree Shade Friends Meeting experienced the killing of two members, including the head of a new worship group; the police torture of eight members; the fleeing of 40 of their members from the country, including the co-clerk; numerous beatings requiring serious hospitalization as members attempted to intervene in lynchings, and more.

Still, they persist. The following are reports from their Clerk Hellen Tanyinga, and a question and answer from me.

David Albert, Olympia Friends Meeting (2/13/2021)

 

Report from Hellen Tanyinga

Bulungi Tree Shade Friends Meeting (BTSFM) moved from Kamuli where it used to meet in a mango tree shade to Jinja, still under a shade at the source of River Nile at the extreme end where the friendly management gave us space to use every Sunday at no cost. We have enough privacy; we sit on the green grass.

BTSFM needs to secure a permanent home, we have the land where we can establish our permanent home, however we shall need to construct a shade or at least purchase a big tent. BTSFM is open, affirming and welcoming to all, BTSFM has become a place of refugee every Sunday as many homeless, struggling, addicts, the LGBTQi, sex workers and those without families come to, it’s a place where they feel like they won’t be judged, a place where their hopes are renewed and they live for another day.

BTSFM has given such people a platform to speak, reflect on life, encourage them to do self evaluation, and listen to the soul. As a spiritual place, we have seen lives changed for the better. Whenever members speak out, sometimes we have been able to solve problems, which have tortured souls internally for years. BTSFM has offered an alternative to locals who have been abused by their churches, exploited by words of fear, judged by priests and pastors, put in a life of guilt, sin and punishment.

This is one of the reasons our Meeting is growing. Every Friday, we have a wellness program where we do yoga, play and a warm meal dinner served at Ugx1,000/= (27 cents U.S.). Some can’t afford but we manage somehow.

During Covid-19, in the earlier months, we missed almost 3 months of not meeting but this was an undoing, a members committed suicide and I am sure if we had been meeting, maybe she could have spoken out and we help her.

BTSFM needs a full-time psychologist, build a meeting shade or purchase a big tent, we also need some financial help towards the feeding, clothing, education and health care for the 108 children we directly care for.
 

 

Response from David Albert:

What an amazing report. Be blessed.

Question for you: On the tent, would you put it up in your current location, or your new one? (Or current, and then move it?)

What would it cost?

This is some of the most important Quaker work going on in the world today.

We are proud of you!
 

 

Response from Hellen Tanyinga

Thanks so much for your email, Papa.

We can use it at the current location and once we move, then we shall move to a new  ocation, we shall move with it.

It's a big tent, with an appearance of a house, so that even when it rains its just adjusted to still serve the purpose. It comes with 350 chairs though it can accommodate to 400. Once the Covid-19 gathering restrictions are lifted, our weekly attendance will shoot high. Currently the weekly attendance is on an average of 180-200 and on every Friday when we serve a warm meal after the wellness and yoga the numbers is between 200 to 240.

The quotation we have is at $2,850 USD

Thanks for introducing us to the Quakers ' life.

We still have so much to learn along the way.

Thanks so Papa

 

To help, contact:

David Albert at davidalbert1717-AT-gmail-DOT-com

 

from David Albert, Olympia Friends Meeting (2/13/2021)