Sunday, May 29, 2011

One Goal.....One Dream......To Finish this Home

Jinja, Uganda....a town where children roam everywhere.  The lucky ones have Mom's and Dad's but so many of them are lost souls living on the streets, living with grandmas who cannot take care of them, living in the garbage dumps or in orphanages. 

Edwin and I headed out one morning to find the kids feeding in the garbage dumps in Jinja.  We gathered many of them, took them aside to hear their stories.  We were driven away by the adults, saying that they were not wanted on their property.  It was everything I could do to stay quiet.  They are the unwanted, the rejected children and there are 100's of them...  Little ones as young as 8 and 9 years old and each one has their own story to tell.  Yes, some of them have done wrong, but what kid doesn't do something wrong at age 8?

Lost beautiful children of God who never asked for anything except to be loved.    Well, let me tell you, Edwin and I are now on a mission.  We are going to finish this "Home of Angels" and house kids who just want someone to love and take care of them.  The team of people we are gathering will love them in every way.  Edwin and I would like to share a few of our experiences with you.

First of all....Jaaja Barb's Home of Angels.....Wow, check this out

When I first arrived April 28th, this is what I saw.  I was overwhelmed because of the size, but realized
that many people where going to be living in here, including the doctor with his small clinic.  My room is
sitting overlooking the hillside.

Our crew of 22 men works 13 hour days only to stop for lunch and the odd avacado the women bring.

Edwin with his huge heart, helped these two orphans in the past and when they heard he was building a home for children, they decided to come and volunteer their time watering all the flowers, including the palm trees that we plant for the people who donate to us.  Bless there hearts, they just want to give back. 

Can you imagine...... smashing all this rock in 35 celcius.  All this rock must be made to small pieces and
our guys never stop smashing.  I was amazed at their strength and determination.

I called this guy "Baby Baby"  Everytime I came he was singing the song.  He and his brothers travelled
a long distance to work for us.  They sleep on hard concrete, on a mat at night in the children's home, weeks
at a time.  They eat only beans and porsho every day.

The men worked feverishly until I left and this is the stage as of today.  They are unbeliveable workers and
I am so very proud of them.  They ask for very little, just enough to feed their families but one day when I win the lotto, this is the first obligation I have.  Pay the men what they are worth.......

Unloading the truck with your head.  Go figure...By the time 100 bags were unloaded, his neck was
severely hurting, but never would you hear a complaint.   So grateful for work.

22 men putting the malum into the rooms so the rock could be put on top before the concrete.  What a
different procedure than we would ever do but it works and that is all that counts. 

These are part of the 22 man crew.  I will never forget these men.  I will never stop hearing their singing
as they work and their stories.  Wow, I was so blessed to witness this event....We owe them so much for
doing what they did out of love.  Grateful that this home was going to help their kids in their country.

Even the boss works, in fact you cannot stop Edwin.  He is continually helping the men and is good
at what he does.  I always wondered where he learned to do this kind of work.  Amazing to me

This little boy was on the street by our house.  Edwin spotted him and called him over as his shorts and
shirt were ripping off his body.  Edwin has a good way with kids and this little guy explained his situation.
I went into the house and found an outfit in one of the two suitcases containing clothing and found his size.

Transition ....Wow, nice looking kid and so happy to have some new clothes.  This is what happens.
They get an outfit and they wear it until it falls off their body.  They sleep in it, they wear it 24/7 and by
the Grace of God, they might find another one some day.  This boy was one of the lucky ones

This was a village Edwin took me too that had nothing.  Very poor people and one girl with 3 children, had a hut with a huge ant hill inside.  The baby slept in that room with the ants.  We gave all of them clothes and the
Mom a new outfit too.  She was so overjoyed.

Edwin and the kids after we had given them all clothing.  This was a very poor village.  We decided
to give them 2 goats from our goat collection and they were overwhelmed.  We are hoping this will keep
them going for awhile with milk and cheese.

Our little Jowana....This precious little one will come with us when we open.  She is only 9 and living
in an orphanage at the moment but we really want this child with us if possible. Also, her sister who was
shunned because of a situation.  We would like them to be together.

Jowana in her new dress

We have a huge group of kids at our project.  Edwin has taken to these two (as he takes to all kids)
and we had to go and find some new clothes for them too.  Eventually we did clothe them with new things
but didn't have the picture.  They were so happy

 These are the neighborhood kids that live beside us.  Very poor but we managed to find enough new
clothes for them too.  Oh my goodness, I wish we had a container.  Too many kid with no clothes.

Now we come to the poorest of the poorest.  Nathan and Alex's village.  These kids have nothing.
Edwin and I went home and found enough also for them.  Wait til you see the transformation.  It is
defininitely God at work here.

Check this out.......

The little guys all made out like bandits too.  Even the little one with the huge tape worm at the end.
We found him a large t-shirt to cover that big tummy and hopefully Dr. Isaac will go back there and deworm
him.  Isaac, if you are reading this, this is a big "hint".

Well, what do you think about these  handsome dudes?   And check out our little Nathan in his
Canadian hockey shirt.  Our boy rocks for sure....Love that kid.

Toys.....Some countries have toys and some countries have toys...this is a favourite at Agape Chilrens Home.

Wonder what our kids would ever do with these.....

This is a boat

How about a soccer ball

Now, most of you who have followed this blog know Nathan.  This is our special little boy with HIV/AIDS
and on top of that has many many tumors over his body.  The worst is in his eyes and nose, so I would like for all of you to pray for this little guy.  He doesn't have too much longer.  I wish for him to go to a better place where he will have no more pain.  Edwin and I love you much

This is goodbye for me.  I will never forget this.  Nathan has a Teddy Bear to take with him and Mutesi, the Mom has not much longer either.   Alex will be left but my special grandson Edwin will be watching over him as he will be alone.  The most difficult moment I have ever had was to say goodbye. 

Thanks for standing by Edwin and I.  We really appreciate all of you and are so grateful for your contributions and love.  All we can say is, your money and love is really going to a good place.  We promise never to abuse this care and we will work very hard to make it a place all of you would want to come to.  You can be apart of making a difference if you choose to and we will welcome you with open arms.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

After much searching, we would like you to meet our first "angels"

Hello to our friends and supporters.

It has been a long week trying to choose children that are very sick, neglected and physically challenged.  We have chosen 8 kids in real need of care and love and would like for you all to meet them.  Because of you, Edwin and I are able to go out and make life changing decisions and we will never stop thanking you for helping us.  We consider you "our team".

As you have all read in previous blogs, there are 2 children very close to us.  This is Alex.
Alex is 9 years old.  He was tested positive for HIV/AIDS  and because Edwin immediately put him on medication, he will be allowed to live with us for the time he has left.  Medicine is mandatory to live in the home.

And of course, everyone knows our little Nathan.  This is Alex's brother and he too has HIV/AIDS. Nathan also has eye and head tumors which is a symptom of this wicked disease.   Mutesi, their mom will depart soon to be with our Lord, at which time Edwin will be taking care of both these kids even if we have not opened.  It is one of the reasons we are rushing.

Meet Hope, age 10 and Desire, age 9.  They are blessed to have sponsors in British Columbia that love them unconditionally and help them get through life.  They are not HIV/AIDS.  They have a brother named Sammy (see below).  They lost their father in a car accident and their mom ran away from them.  Two grandmas, ages 58 and 65, both paralyzed and one blind, take care of them but I beg to differ, who takes care of who.  These three kids do everything, from feeding, personal care, including toiletries, shopping and all housework.


And here is Sammy, being taught English by his sisters who received a present from their
sponsors.  Lots of English books and are they ever practicing for 2013 for when they come for a visit.

This is the sweetest little girl you will ever meet. Her name is Johwan. She lost her parents at age 2, at which time her grandmother took over raising herself and 3 siblings.
She could not afford to  look after Johwan so she was given up to Agape Children's Home.  Because she too has HIV/AIDS, she is scorned by her classmates and this has made her very insecure. We want to provide her with self confidence and love.

This is Hadijah.  She is a child who has suffered more than most.  She comes from a family of
18 members, all passed away from HIV/AIDS.  She lives with her 82 year old grandmother but this child has no chance at all of a normal life.  Hadijah suffers from a physical disability and is also mentally challenged.  What a sweet child she is.

You want to see a cute 7 month old baby...well here is Allan.  His story is also sad.  Allan's mommy died when he was 2 weeks old.  Daddy died of HIV/AIDS when mom was pregnant.  Grandma took him in but could not afford milk so she fed him warm water with sugar.  We were not sure until today when we found them, if he was still alive, but praise God, he was...We will be taking little Allen in with us when we open.


We walked into a village and the first thing I see is this writing engraved on a mud hut.  No
other words need to be said.  Edwin and I felt it necessary to find a village where they
were suffering most and this is our story below.  Pictures will say it all.


With arms loaded with clothes we enter one of the poorest places yet seen by these eyes.
It actually is where our little Nathan, Alex and Mutesi live.  Most clothes are ripped off 
the body or nothing.   So.................................







I am passing this over to Edwin, who would like to say a few words to your all.

"Thanks to all those who have contributed towards the changes that have occurred to
these little angels and those who have given us physical support and prayers.  We still ask 
for more prayers as we have a long way to go in the selection process and in the Ministry at
large, such as construction and the water issue".

Just to let you know that most of these kids have been given pretty dresses for the first time, so they are looking pretty good.  Sure makes a difference in their expressions.  Happy.......

Again, a huge "THANKS" to all 

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Reporting from the abandoned side of the world....Uganda Africa

Hello to all our wonderful friends and supporters from Jinja, Uganda

If  you look closely at the side of the hill, you can see our children's home with the red roof
forming in the trees.

The second home is expanding daily with 22 men working in 30 celsius heat, never complaining and proud of the work they are doing.  It is amazing how I am seeing young boys who have been helped by Edwin, coming and watering the plants and palm trees.  These kids are orphans themselves and trying to give back for the little kindness he has shown them in the past.

Meet Mutesi, Nathan and Alex.  When Edwin found this family, they were in a very bad state.  The entire family has HIV and Daddy has just passed.  Mutesi and little Nathan in the middle are very sick at the moment with complications.  As you can see, Nathan has a rug for clothing until this week, where he has a beautiful outfit bought by a very special woman in Canada.

Edwin and I consider this family very special in our lives and have given them food and  new clothes to wear in their last days.  Nathan and Alex will be the first two children to come and live with us.  Even if the home is not open, Edwin has planned to live with them alone in our Jaaja Barb's Home of Angels to be sure they are not alone.   Nathan is six years old but the size of a 4 year old.  He has large tumor  size lumps over his entire head but mostly in the eyes.  He still smiles and is a very brave little guy..  We love this boy......

Edwin and I entered an area that they said I was the first white person to ever visit ...What we saw was unbelieveable.   Contaminated water flowing in a very small creek to supply 3,000 people.  When the rains come, the sewage is washed into this stream and many people are infected with typhoid.  The HIV rate here is 85% and poverty is something I will never forget.  At one point, my feet slipped into the mud.  A small girl of 5 years old, bent down with a dirty rag and washed my feet.  I will never forget her or that experience.  

It is not uncommon to see small children carrying water long distances.  Children as young as 4 years old will  help each other down the street carrying jerry cans full of water fetched 2-3 kilometers away

As we looked around the different villages for children we will choose to live at our home, we came across a village with so many that had no clothes.  Thank goodness Edwin and I had come prepared and supplied many with outfits.  Also, our Jayme in Abbotsford had made many friendship bracelets that we handed out.  These kids had them on one week later and grateful that someone their own age, thousands of miles away, cared about them.  

You sure can't beat the smiles on these kids.. So little makes them so happy. happened.  I just became a senior citizen.  I had the chance to celebrate my 65th, along with Edwin's 23rd.  Almost 100 people came to show me what a real Ugandan birthday party was all about..  Children from Agape Children's Home came to celebrate with us and friends from outside Jinja.  I was treated like a queen and the the cake....brought in all the way from Kampala.  I even had the District Engineer of Jinja buy me a beautiful African dress for my special night.   Thank you Duncan..

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A real African Jaaja

As Edwin and I celebrated our birthdays together, we decided to go for his young years worth of candles instead of the 65.  Each person also held a lit candle and sang Happy Birthday as they waved their candles in the darkness.   

Balloons everywhere........

As this fun ends, reality sets back in.  Tomorrow we have 15 trucks coming with bricks, sand and aggregate and hopefully, by the time I leave, we will be up to the roof.  A long way to go but with God up there smiling down on this beautiful home, how could we ever go wrong.  We are blessed and we know it.  Thank you all who have stood beside us.  Thank you to the team I left behind at home to continue with the work.  Thanks to all the people fundraising and the people still emailing offering help.  All of you know who you are and Edwin and I want you to know
"We Love You".