1. Why does Ourganda plan to build a community center?
A: Our current space is inadequate – We have been renting three small rooms and secure parking for our vehicles since day one. Two of the rooms are used to store our medications, equipment, supplies, tents, generator, etc. The other room has a small table and a few chairs. Now that the team has grown from four employees to ten, the facilities are stretched beyond their limit. The only place our workers can gather for team meetings is outdoors which is impossible during Uganda’s frequent rainstorms.
B: Our growth requires us to change – We are steadily providing health education and treatment to more and more people in the Bundibugyo District. Our next step is to add four more staff in 2021, and we will eventually have many more employees and vehicles. Security is paramount in Bundibugyo, and no place exists where we can have office space, store the growing inventory, safely park multiple vehicles, and gather for team meetings. Our vision is way too important to think small.
C: Ourganda’s respect in the community will increase – The Ourganda team assures us that the government and the community do not take a ministry seriously until that ministry secures its own facilities. This reason alone did not persuade us, but combined with what is noted above, we believe that our vision can only be fulfilled by creating and controlling our own space.
2. Did Ourganda obtain good property at a reasonable price?
Yes, and yes.
A: Land values throughout the district have increased significantly since 2014 when the government paved the road through the Bundibugyo District all the way to the Congo border. Hundreds of families and myriad businesses are migrating into this area.
B: The price we paid was lower than the owners would have received from local buyers. How? The land is adjacent to Haven High School, a Christian school in Nyahuka. Joseph Sempungu, a school administrator, secured the price by offering free and reduced education for children of the current owners if they would sell at the agreed-upon price.
C: The property was a rare find. We needed land near the paved road with electricity and water nearby. The land had to be level, and we hoped to secure at least two acres. Parcels tend to be small because they are owned by families who have divided the land multiple times over the years. The only way to buy more than two acres was for multiple owners with adjoining property to jointly agree to sell which, as noted above, came together thanks to Joseph Sempungu’s negotiation. Sharing a border with Haven High School also assures an extra level of security.
D: Ourganda purchased 3.17 acres at 35 cents per square foot ($15,344 per acre). By way of comparison, land in Bundibugyo Town starts at $1.10 per square foot. Our team scoured property for many miles around and found land elsewhere for 52 cents a foot, but the parcels were too small.
3. What kind of campus does Ourganda envision?
A: What we create must reflect and facilitate our vision of significant, systemic change. We know it is possible to help an individual flourish, but is it possible to transform an entire village into a human flourishing zone? We think so. By the end of this decade, we aim to have at least a dozen villages where the majority of people feel healthy, happy, and safe. The vision is bold; the campus must be as well.
B: Our first mobile clinic rolled into the villages 2.5 years ago, but Ourganda is already recognized as the premier health care provider in the Bundibugyo District. Our care team is exceptionally professional and committed. They are coached monthly by Dr. Michael Garnett, a family practice physician in Washington state who has served thousands of people during many mission trips to Africa. Each employee has his/her own laptop which they use to track every treatment of every patient using the latest medical software.
Our employees participate in professional improvement events several times a year. Latitude Trade Company has asked Ourganda to consider providing health care for the 1,000 farmers who provide the cocoa for their chocolate business. During the pandemic of 2020, Ourganda received accolades from hospital and government officials for transporting health workers to their places of employment. Every week, we receive requests from medical professionals, mechanics, drivers, and even pastors to join the Ourganda team.
C: The campus will serve as a community center as well as Ourganda’s headquarters. People from the community will visit the campus to purchase supplies from the dispensary or to attend health lectures, movie nights, kids’ story time or sports events. The offices, meeting rooms, and storage rooms will support our employees’ work in the villages.
D: The Ourganda campus will be both functional and fresh while remaining financially temperate. Our care team will feel a deep sense of pride whenever they arrive for work or for an event. People from the community will admire it when they pass by, and when they arrive on the grounds or enter the buildings, we want them to feel peaceful, safe, inspired, valued, happy, and connected. All of these are completely opposite from the desperation and fear people currently feel in their villages.
4. How, speciﬁcally, will Ourganda create a campus that is functional and fresh yet reasonably frugal?
A: Indoors – Most buildings in Uganda are dark with tiny windows. Our building is designed to maximize natural light. The interior decor will feature local art. The lobby will be inviting and will include a kids play area. The offices will accommodate our ministry coordinator, admin assistant, and accountant. The multi-purpose room will allow our team to conduct health classes for the community or to show the Jesus Film or other inspirational movies.
We will include a small library, a kitchen, indoor restrooms and showers, and a small apartment for a night watchman or one of our staff. Our employees can gather for planning and prayer in the conference room, villagers can visit the dispensary, and the team’s supplies will be stored in rooms dedicated to medications, general supplies, and other items.
B: Outdoors – This is where nature meets nurture. Of course we will have a place to park our vehicles along with a covered area to service them. But the entire campus will inspire and inform. The centerpiece of the landscape will be a Wellness Walk that teaches the 8 Laws of Health complete with signs and sponsorship pavers. Some will choose to relax around picnic tables or enjoy a concert at the amphitheater while others will stroll through the Garden of Distinction that honors local heroes like the women who carry the load in the villages.
Sports Outreach Ministries finds that the quickest way to gather young people is to organize a soccer game. Partway through the game, they pause for story time and tell the story of Jesus. We envision a sports field / kids area where young people can gather to exercise, strengthen relationships, and receive moral and spiritual guidance. We will install outdoor latrines and include ambiance lighting. Staff and visitors can gather on an outdoor patio with a view of the Rwenzori Mountains. The building design will include a rainwater collection system which will supplement the piped water and allow our team to transport full jerry cans when they travel to the villages.
5. How can someone like me get involved?
Here are several options:
A: If you want to participate with suggestions for interior design or laying out the landscape, we want to hear from you. If you know of an expert with a particular niche, help us connect. If you would like to be part of this project financially, we welcome your gifts.
B: We also envision recognition of significant donors. As mentioned above, a person or family can sponsor a personalized brick in the Wellness Walk. Someone may decide to sponsor the sports field, the main building, or the multi-purpose room. And we are ready to memorialize a family or a foundation by naming the campus itself in their honor.
C: Above all else, remember that building something that matters fills your heart more than money ever will.