David* is 90 years old, and lives with his wife, Jackline*, and two grandsons on a banana plantation, deep in a valley called Shooko in western Uganda.
For nine decades, David and Jackline have lived in this same village, built a home and a livelihood together, and raised eight children and many more grandchildren. David and Jackline imagined they would live out their final years in this very spot.
IN THE BLINK OF AN EYE
But everything changed for them this August when the storms came. Heavy rains and strong torrents dislodged hard rocks from high up in the valley, falling on theirs and many other homes in the community. The house, which David and Jackline had dedicated their lives to building, was about to be under water.
David and Jackline survived with the help of their two grandsons by hanging onto the windows in the worst of the storms, and strapping themselves to their bed for safety.
THE MORNING AFTER
After a dry season in Uganda which caused massive food insecurity in their region and across the country, David and Jackline were already on the brink of starvation. Their hope had been in their newly planted crop of beans and Irish potatoes. But the morning after the storm, they were devastated to see it had all been washed away.
They were left with bare, hard ground where nothing will now grow. Any other land which may have survived the initial flooding, could not then survive the hailstones that followed.
“The only home I have ever had is gone, our banana plantation gone. We have no source of food anymore, we are homeless. We think that we might as well die, because even if we live, how long shall we survive?”
DEVASTATION ACROSS THE REGION
100 homes were destroyed in the region, including those of some of their own children and friends. With the loss of so many gardens and plantations, livelihoods are in danger and families face starvation and being plunged deeper into poverty.
The gravity flow water projects we established have been partly destroyed by the stormwater, so there is work to be done to repair and bring back clean water to the area.
A NEW HOPE
A teams from the Kigezi Diocese visited the village soon after the storm. They reached out to David and his family comforting them and showing them that there were still possibilities like moving and building a new home in another, safer, part of the valley.
David tells us that he proudly reads his Bible every day, and that despite everything, he still has his sight to read the word of God. He prays that the Lord will grant them favour, and the means to see themselves through the challenges of hunger and homelessness ahead.
- For David and Jackline, and other families like theirs, who have had their homes and livelihoods destroyed. Pray for relief, shelter and long term solutions
- Pray for Kigezi Diocese to reach more communities in the area to mitigate against the risks of future disasters, to protect more people
*Names changed to protect identity
Would you like to hear more stories from Kigezi? Why not take a look at Connected Church - Tearfund’s way of linking churches in the UK with our overseas partners.