Monday, December 24, 2012

Have a VERY Happy Holiday!

Have a VERY Happy Holiday, Christmas or what ever is your tradition. 

Click here for a very special Holiday gift from Uganda!

What we have accomplished in 2012 is astounding!  We have changed, improved and, YES, saved lives and planted the seeds for futures so bright for so many people!   2013 will be amazing. 

May I be filled with loving kindness,
May I be well,
May I be peaceful and at ease,
May I be happy & free from suffering.

May you be filled with loving kindness,
May you be well,
May you be peaceful and at ease,
May you be happy & free from suffering.

May all beings be filled with loving kindness,
May all beings be well,
May all beings be peaceful and at ease,
May all beings be happy & free from suffering.

- Loving Kindness Metta -

Mark Bertrand
Founder: The Giving Circle/ The Giving Circle Africa

Monday, December 10, 2012

Kagoma Gate Friendship School & Pit Latrine Update

Pictures are here!!  Pictures are here!!

This is so great.  Changing lives!
Friendship School Desks & Books!

Pit Latrines!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Kagoma Gate Developmnents

I wanted to share a message from Moses on the developments of Kagaoma Gate:

Ours has been a busy day, all the furniture has been delivered to the school site and this Sunday the a waited videos will be taken,when the kids are gladly dressed in the school uniform,the community in attendance and the TGCA team. Books will be read too!

Green house was delivered and stand pipes fixed with concrete today. A waiting the setting of cement then top bar will be fixed and the rest of the work will start. Training 
and then the actual cropping."

I will post pictures and videos soon - keep en eye out!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Sponsorship Holiday Party

The holiday sponsorship party went wonderfully, Emma, Moses, Ben, Cecilia, Rose (big baby belly) Pauline and Paul, once again did a great job.  Check out the following video from our Ugandan Team!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving from TGCA!

From all of us at The Giving Circle and our family in Uganda, The Giving Circle Africa, at this time of Thanksgiving celebration our thoughts turn gratefully to you with warm appreciation for your compassion and generosity.  

Together we have accomplished  a great deal this year including the completion of our school in Kagoma Gate village, Uganda's poorest village. This school will feed the minds of Kagoma's children (and adults through adult education). 

We also have an opportunity to feed these young students' bodies. During this Thanksgiving when we celebrate family and all we have through a bountiful meal, please consider helping build a kitchen building for our Kagoma school which will provide a meal of porridge for each student every day. For many children of Kagoma Gate this will be their best, if not their only meal for many days.

The kitchen will also be used to cook for the village after church ( held in the school), for village special events and holidays.

Please take a few minutes to watch this short video about this special little building and feeding program    

We've launched a new "brick site" to help fund this building: pots, plates, cups & a fund to feed the children for a year!

This total is just $8,000 or  1,600 virtual bricks ( $5 each) or since it's Thanksgiving , the cost of 1,600 Pumpkin Pies. 

After your wonderful holiday meal, please visit the Kitchen Brick site at  and sponsor a brick(s) in your families name and know the children of Kagoma Gate will soon know the comfort of a good meal with friends and family every school day.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and thank you for all you do.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Buy-A-Brick for Kagoma Gate KITCHEN

The Giving Circle Africa has completed construction of Kagoma Gate's first school, opening to students in January 2013. Construction of the birthing center is underway. 

The next component will be the community kitchen. It will provide daily meals for the school children and also help prepare communal meals for festivals and Sunday masses.

The Giving Circle needs to raise a total of $8,100 in order to build the kitchen for Kagoma Gate Village. This site raises this amount by selling "virtual bricks" for a donation of $5.00 per brick.

Click on the link to your left under Special Links to Buy-a-Brick for Kagoma Gate (Kitchen).  
You can check out the video about the Kitchen to your right, under Videos.

Thank you for your continued support!

Sunday, November 11, 2012


Hello all,

Moses and Emma have picked up Bull, he is doing very well and going to stay with Emma and Rose for a while until he can walk and rejoin his brothers and sisters at the boarding school. 

Thank you to all who helped and carried so much about our boy and all our children!!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Bull's Surgery Update!

Hi everyone, 

We are all taking a deep breath now the surgery is finished and below are pictures from Moses.  Moses as always has done a great job as has Ben (new Koi Koi house daddy) 

First is an e-mail from Colleen Stevens (Mary's new parents) who are still in Kampala working through Mary's visa, they went to the hospital this morning to be with Bull before the surgery she and her husband are nurses.

Saw Bull and his Mom around 10am. He was still waiting. His blood count was low last night, so they had to transfuse him. The Xrays are quite concerning - I don't suppose they have CT scan capabilities here? It sounds like the docs anticipate finding an abscess type of insult to the bone tissue. Moses was unsure of the actual surgery plans, but I explained they can fill the pocket with antibiotic capsules, they can put in a titanium rod to support the length of the bone, they also have rods that are infused with antibiotics that can slow release the medicine into the tissue. The thing is, I have no idea what their capabilities or resources are here. A bone infection that large - called osteomyelitis - home in the States would require 6 weeks of IV antibiotics. There is a further concern that it might not be an abscess - has the site ever been biopsied? Larry and I spent some time with Moses when he got there, then went back in to see Bull to say good-bye. We will probably visit again tomorrow. There was another person in surgery ahead of Bull, so Moses anticipated him being taken back early afternoon. As soon as I get contact/info from Moses, I will be glad to pass it on!  And the first thing we did was pass on the hugs! Not a lot of English exchanged, but he knew the words Poppa Mark and Mama Koi Koi! He smiled for that!    Colleen Stevens

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Bull - Update

Moses is in Kampala today and has scheduled Bull's surgery for this coming Monday, Nov 5th!  I will keep you all posted...

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Weeraba Ssebo Obituary

This morning we woke to this e-mail from Emma:

Hello all,
It is that old man, ever putting on a mayoral hat, he left his country of origin Rwanda and found a new home in Kagoma gate of Uganda. He had just started enjoying one of the privileges from TGCA, I mean the mud house our Organization donated to him close to a year ago! 

He passed away last night at around 10:00pm in his house. He has been all alone since the time he left Rwanda, save for the friendship he created in his second country.
Burial is today between 3:00- 4:00pm.

May his soul rest in Eternity!    

This old man, Ssebo Galveri, worked all his life cutting sugarcane (considered the worlds worst job) unable to work any longer and unable to return to Rwanda due to the genocide. He settled on a plot of land we now call Kagoma Gate. He lived his whole life without a mate and he was cared for late in his life by other villagers, but lived in a horrific "shelter" open to the weather. ( picture below)

Through the love of all of you, The Giving Circle/ The Giving Circle Africa build him what was his dream home where he lived out the remainder of his life in a far better condition; but more importantly, he lived knowing he and his life mattered and someone cared about him.  NO act of compassion is too small to change a life.

                           Weeraba Ssebo (Farewell sir) 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Kigongo (Bull) Update

As many of you know, Kigongo (Bull)  has suffered from many things since birth. He has scoliosis, one leg shorter than the other which caused great pain: which we helped by having his special shoe made.  The real problem is with his longer leg, which for all of you who know him, know is covered with scars.  This leg was often infected when he was very little living on the island in Lake Victoria. The scars are from the machete which was used to drain the infections. This leg has always been a great source of much of his pain for which we feared may be bone cancer.  Moses took him to Kampala yesterday to have it looked at.

An appointment was made and we traveled yesterday. The examination and an x-ray reveled that an infection was eroding the born with an accumulated puss (boil) with in the bone hence the acute pain he is experience of late despite interventions. He recommended that a solution to the problem, would be a surgery if he is to be relieved of the pain and mitigation of further complications.
Unfortunately they didn't give me any write up( medical notes) save for the X-ray film and the payment receipts  but the rest are kept on file with in the hospital.
The doctor suggested that the hospital charges would be to a tune of 3,000,000= (an average of $1200.) he did said, its an expensive operation.So he advised that when raise the said money then we can make an appointment and after the operation then we should allow a minimum of a weeks' time while at hospital which could be the extra cost we could incur as up keep.  {MOSES}

We will keep you all updated on his progress as we are trying to get him scheduled for surgery.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Uniforms, Uniforms, Uniforms!

This is why we work so hard to raise funds and do the work we do!

Uganda's poorest people/village now has a school opening this January, a play ground, new construction has started on the Soroptimist birthing center, shortly thereafter, the pit latrines for the school, and a 200+ fruit tree plantation providing a long term sustainable food source for the village. 

We have to date 79 trees funded. Please consider sponsoring a tree(s) for just $5/one brick buys a tree.

PLEASE Enjoy the pictures of the school uniforms of The Giving Circle Africa's Friendship School @ Kagoma Gate!!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Meet Mary Teresa Stevens!

Little Mary, who we have all come to love, has been adopted by the Stevens family in the US. Mary's young life was filled with great suffering and abuse.  Moses and Cecelia took her in 2 years ago to remove her from her horrible situation.  

She now will know the joy of a loving family. Congrats to the Stevens family and Moses' GREAT work on all he and his family has done for Mary. We will miss her on trips to Uganda but just found out that we will be able to see her occasionally in the US as they have family nearby where we live in NY!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012


Kagoma Gate:

Birthing Center
Incubator blankets . We've been talking with this organization: , This is an incredible product, perfect for the birthing center in Kagoma!  Can also be utilized when we build our 2nd one in Wairaka. 

The land
Moses has done a great job in negotiating with Nileply with the help of our government friend, the Honorable Daudi Migereko, the current Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development. 

Construction will start on the 5-stall latrine block that will serve the school and the whole village. This is thanks to our friends in the UK.

Fruit trees
We will plant 200 fruit trees in the village giving them a long term food source used for the school and village.  You can donate a tree for $5, that is 1 brick = 1 tree. 

Our 2 special boys
1. Regan, the mal-nutritioned baby, is doing very well. Moses reports he looks great and healthy.
2. Iyan, boy with the jaw infection, is taking one step forward and 2 steps back. We have had him on meds now for several months. The meds seem to help the infection then it rages back with the wound still open, wet and draining. We will keep pushing hard. When Mark is back in Uganda in November,  they will take him back to the Jinja hospital or perhaps to Kampala to the British hospital.

Keep checking back for more updates!  Thank you all for your support!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Kagoma Gate Ground Breaking with Government Officials!

All: check out this link where the Kagoma Gate groundbreaking features the high government officials.  

We send a VERY SPECIAL THANK YOU to the Saratoga County Soroptimist for helping to make this happen.  

The final agreements are being worked out which will give TGCA and the village the land adjacent to the village. Here we will will build the birthing center, the latrines and the fruit tree plantation. Construction starts within the next 2 weeks, after the standing trees are removed.   

We'd also like to send out a very special THANK YOU to part of our UK family, Rosemary & Ken Burdass & family.  In addition to, Helen, Roger and Lucinda Taylor who raised the funds to build the first 5-stall latrine building in the village which will vastly improve sanitation. 

COMING SOON: Please look for our upcoming Fruit tree drive: We will start planting fruit trees in Kagoma Gate!!!  These trees will provide food for generations of villagers. just ONE brick ($5) will provide a fruit tree feeding these villagers for many, many generations.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Ground Breaking Event!!


The date is set for this Friday, August 31st!!  This will be attended by both national and local political figures including the Minister and our member of Parliament friend, hon Daudi Migereko. The press will also be there.  

HOW GREAT IS THIS?  Thank you all for your continued support and love for our Ugandan Villages!


Mama and Papa Koi Koi & Azurah

Friday, August 24, 2012

Kagoma Update

Latrine & Birthing Center: We will be starting the ground-breaking for the Soroptimist Birthing Center and the latrines at the same time.

School Desks: These (both teacher and student) are all sponsored and funded!  YAY! 

School Uniforms: These are all sponsored and funded! YAY!  The uniform colors will be red shorts, blue tops/blue dresses with red collars. The patch that we posted previously will be on these uniforms.

Books: We are short on the books. Still need donations, please click on buy-a-brick to finish these out.

Dedication Wall in Kagoma Gate Friendship School: These are currently being designed.  I will share the design once confirmed.

Fruit Trees: We are getting ready to start a fruit tree planting so that the Kagoma families can live off their land.  You may also buy-a-brick to buy a tree ($5/tree).  Make sure to put in the dedication that you want to buy a fruit tree!

Thank you all so very much for your continued support. Spread the word so we can finish the wonderful things we are doing in Kagoma Gate!

Note: Mark is returning to Uganda in October to finalize the court hearings. Once we are done, we can continue our work in Wairaka!    We will be starting the greenhouse project and livestock as a beginning to our very important projects in our village!

Mama & Papa Koi Koi

Saturday, August 18, 2012

First Day Of School Is Coming

The first day of a new school year is right around the corner, for you, your child or grandchild we all know someone about to return to school days, and all education gives to us.

In Kagoma Gate Village Uganda, for the FIRST time in this villages history and thanks to so many of you, this November they will have their truly first day of school!

On that first day  Each child will have on their uniforms the newly completed patch above.

The School Building construction is complete!  LINK -  The desks are now funded and will be built and ready very soon! 

ALL we need now is the Text Books and Uniforms. 

For just $5 ( one brick) you can sponsor a text book(s) which will open the world to countless children for many years.

For just $5 ( one brick) you can sponsor a Uniform for  a village child eager to learn.

Please visit our site today Each virtual brick you buy will give the school a text book or outfit a child in a school uniform. For many children in Kagoma this uniform will be the best outfit they have, their pride and joy.

1 book or uniform or 5, 10 or 100, every single one matters and no act of compassion is too small. We need just 225 more "virtual bricks" to open this school.

Thank you!!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Desks, books and uniforms and our school is READY!

Hello friends of The Giving Circle / Giving Circle Africa  and Kagoma Gate Village,

The construction of the school complete!  We're almost ready to open the school and start educating these wonderful people, but we need just a little more help

Please consider  visiting our "virtual brick" site and sponsoring from the following needs list. or Click on Buy-A-Brick for Kagoma Gate above.

Desks: We need only 10 more for the children. These sit 3-4 children and are $50 each ( 10  bricks) . Each desk will display the name of it's sponsor. Consider your name, children or family name, Church, club, company or business name.

Uniforms:  You can sponsor a uniform(s) for just $7 each ( 1.5 bricks) 

Books: for just $5 (1 brick) you can sponsor a world opening school.

Please consider  visiting our "virtual brick" site and sponsoring from the following needs list.  or Click on Buy-A-Brick for Kagoma Gate above.                                                                                                                                                                                    

In the dedication text area simply make clear your dedication is for a desk (s) - books  or uniforms or a combination of any.

If you have not watched the video of the school, please do at:   

Other news: We will soon be breaking ground on the Saratoga Soroptimist birthing center at Kagoma Gate. We will be working very hard to build this and the 2nd phase which will serve as the full clinic.  Also very soon construction will start on the first pit latrines and fruit tree plantation in Kagoma. 

Thank you for all you do to help us help our Ugandan family. Kagoma Gate Village soon no longer Uganda's poorest people.