Welcome to the Fruits of Hope page, with information about the Kampala, Uganda-based charity and its founder, Mutagubya Abubaker. The page was created in January 2019 by one of the charity’s donors, Stephen K. Peeples, a California-based journalist and website developer, who also wrote the text below.
In mid-2017, I saw a few Facebook posts by a young guy who was taking donated food packages to hungry people in Gomba District villages near his home in Kampala, Uganda, central east Africa.
Of course, I was also very skeptical. It just seemed too pure for the world — ours and his — and the time in which we live.
But after a few months, it became clear he’s a deeply religious guy who’s on a personal mission to help his poorest neighbors. He has a job but it doesn’t pay much. He doesn’t have a car, but gets around by bicycle. Yet with what little he had, he was also paying for and delivering these staple foods to others who have nothing. Unlike most who claim to be Christians, he was actually walking the walk.
So I made contact with Mutagubya and as a test mailed $50 to him to buy water bottles and mosquito nets for kids in the village. It was cash I could spare, so worst case scenario, I’d be out $50.
Kampala Street View
After I mailed the cash, I traveled via Google Earth to Kampala, and down to the street view in the city, because I needed a visual.
In the city’s center, life looks pretty cush for those in power. But radiating out from the center, you see the extreme poverty most powerless Kampalans endure.
Kampala street life is primitive by US standards: ramshackle hovels and storefronts; pedestrians, bicycles, cars and motorbikes all competing for pavement on narrow streets lined with huge and very dangerous drainage ditches on either side.
Then I headed out beyond the city, west into the villages where many people live in tiny houses with mud walls and dirt floors, as in the photo above.
Think you’re having it rough financially? I sure got the perspective I was after.
Meanwhile, a few weeks went by, and Mutagubya still hadn’t received my envelope. Then one day I got a Facebook message note thanking me profusely. Next, he posted pics of the water bottles and mosquito nets he’d bought with the money, and a couple days later, pics of him giving them to the kids, and one with the envelope I’d sent.
A few more small donation experiments like that went well, and because he can’t set up a PayPal account, I offered mine as a way for him to receive donations from FB people here in the US and worldwide. That’s worked fine for more than a year now, and donations have increased.
The Fruits of (Y)our Donations
MG has always posted pics and videos and thanked donors directly for providing water bottles, mosquito nets, food packages, flip-flops (amazing how important those are), Christmas dinner, Easter dinner, school supplies, school tuition sponsorships because there is no free public education there.
My wife Nadine and I are hardly wealthy, but we have found ways to donate small amounts, from $20 to $100; others have also donated small amounts up to $200. To people to have nothing, the value is way beyond what it is to us.
(For Christmas 2018, instead of giving each other a gift, Nadine and I donated our gift budget toward the Fruits of Hope Christmas dinner. From the photos Mutagubya posted, we saw how much it meant to the dozens of kids and their families, and that was priceless to us.)
I looked into buying that stuff here and shipping it there, but the shipping is so expensive it kills any advantage.
Yeah, donating to this one guy is like throwing a drop of water at the desert. The upside, and what attracted me in the first place, was the direct, hands-on help he was providing on a strictly voluntary basis, not asking for anyone’s permission, just DOING it.
Uganda’s political and economic corruption leave little hope for a brighter future there, however. I once asked MG why he doesn’t just get the hell out, follow his dream, get his college degree, maybe return and be able to help on another level. No, he said; he’d rather not stop what he’s doing now. There would be no one to replace him.
Yeah, it’s all totally informal; nobody’s keeping any books that I know of. We’ve just seen proof repeatedly that the funds we donated and were donated by others through my PayPal account to Fruits of Hope were indeed spent as promised. No middleman taking a cut, no administrative bureaucracy, no overhead expenses, no graft.
Sure, we have an extreme need here in our own backyards. Nadine and I both encourage you to reach out to people in need in your area if you’d rather. (We do that, too, supporting the homeless services provider Bridge to Home in our neighborhood.)
But we also welcome you to join us and a few of our personal friends and a bunch of our Facebook friends in the growing group of donors helping Mutagubya and the Fruits of Hope charity carry on with their mission.
Easy to Donate to Fruits of Hope
Just go to PayPal and use the “Send to a Friend” option and the email address firstname.lastname@example.org. That’s one of my addresses. When enough donations accumulate, I forward the cash to MG via MoneyGram.
Mutagubya can get effusive in his gratitude, maybe some would think too much so. I try to put myself in his shoes: How would I feel, what would I do? Probably the same. So I just say, “You’re all very welcome,” and don’t trip out on it.
Here’s a note I received from Mutagubya after he delivered school supplies to kids in January 2019:
“Happy Wednesday to you, brother Stephen! How are you today, our lovely friend? Hope all is well! Want to take this opportunity to thank you for the great prayers, greatest support that you have given to us all the time! Thank you so much for loving us. Really we feel so happy feel so blessed having you on our team of changing lives of the poor! All of us don’t have but we believe that the little that we can afford at least we can share it with those who cannot afford. Thanks for praying for our different drives of Food packages, Mosquito nets, school supplies, life-saving of my Mom, charity dinners and others! Thank you! May God reward you abundantly in all that you do! Peace and love to you!”