Moses in Uganda is his village’s go-to-man. It’s not surprising that hand wash buckets and masks to fight COVID-19 were requested. Now Moses is not wealthy. He is an ordinary villager with an extraordinary heart and a super charge of tenacity.
Several years back, shortly before we visited him in Uganda in early 2017, Moses stumbled upon something remarkable. After his first March to Save Elephants and Rhino poachers approached him. They told him they would gladly give up the poaching life if they had alternative money making options.
This was all Moses needed. He reached out to his friends on Facebook for help. Moses used the modest funds to help these former poachers to learn basic vegetable farming, beekeeping and how to raise Tilapia fish.
Once we got involved with Moses we helped him increase his reach. To date he has a group of 46 reformed poachers and their families. They grow vegetables, keep bees and raise Tilapia. Things were going reasonably well… and then the Coronavirus pandemic hit.
With Uganda under strict lockdown farming and bringing their products to the local markets became problematic. Fortunately most families still have fish and vegetables for their own use. However, the spread of the virus made all villagers fearful.
Most recently when I chatted with Moses we discussed the use of Hand wash buckets and masks to fight COVID-19. We talked about how Moses in Tanzania was using them to help his farmers. (Moses in Tanzania addresses human wildlife conflicts. He builds beehive fences to keep elephants out of crop fields.) In Moses in Uganda’s situation the population is less economically stable. Sadly, not even old clothing is an option to make face coverings for some. Why? Because every item of clothing they process is worn! Not even soap is found in many of their modest homes.
Moses however knew that a hand wash bucket and masks to fight COVID-19 would do two things. One, help these families protect themselves from the Coronavirus and two, boost their morale and lower their fears.
This past week Moses used the donated funds to provide the first of his reformed poacher families with hand wash buckets and masks to fight COVID-19. More are needed. Assistance at this time is crucial to keep these reformed poachers from being ‘compelled’ to return to their killing to care for their families.
Poaching is a horrible practice. Poachers use snares and crude spears to kill antelope, hippo, bush pig and whatever else crosses their path. Dying in a snare or from multiple stab wounds is traumatic and painful. For the human poaching is soul destroying and risks jail time.
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