Who are the Abayudaya?
The Abayudaya, (the Jews of eastern Uganda), who number about 2,000 souls, are concentrated in a few towns and villages with their cultural center near the city of Mbale. Devout in practice, keeping kosher and observing Shabbat and holy days, the Abayudaya (which means "People of Judah" in Luganda) have been recognized as legitimately Jewish by the Reform, Reconstructionist, Conservative and Renewal movements of Judaism.
The Abayudaya of the village of Namutumba subsist on small farming and raising goats for sale. Most villages, including Namutumba, do not have electricity or running water and depend on their water supply from rain water collected in local wells.
The village of Namutumba, about 60 kilometers from Mbale, has about 400 Abayudaya Jews who currently live on the brink of starvation since drought and famine have plagued eastern Uganda for some time now.
For further reading about the history of the Abayudaya, see:
Abayudaya: The Jews of Uganda by Richard Sobol and Jeffrey Summit
"We Are the Jews of Uganda" by Mugoya Shadrach Levi and Edward Rensin
"In First, a Ugandan-Jewish Wedding in Israel" by Judy Maltz
"Uganda's Jews Finally Have Their Day at the Mikveh" by Rachel Pomerantz
"Abayudaya Health and Development Project," Be'chol Lashon