Sunday, March 25, 2012

Love and Caring with a Purpose

Edwin and I are lost for words when we speak about how this project evolved and how many people have supported us along this journey.  We believe it is all God and that He put you in our lives for a purpose.  To help His children....and that is exactly what you have done.  PLUS.....the odd Grandma and Grandpa.

We have not completed the entire project, but we know that one day it will happen and it will be in His timing.   Thanks to all of you for putting your hearts and trust in us.  Without that, we could never have accomplished so much in so little time.    Yes, we have a ways to go to make it a safe environment with the wall and it is the biggest part of the cost, but we know in time it will happen.  Our little ones who will be coming in are already learning English, learning how to smile and feel compassion towards others and we can see a future in their lives.  They have hope for the first time.  We have to share with you that we told a few of them because of their circumstances.  We can see a difference in their every day life but the most rewarding part is the "smile".  They know they have HIV, they know they are sick but something has changed.  They have HOPE.   Without your help, this would never have happened.  We hope you will continue to follow our journey as we make this dream a reality for 32 little angels...we are so close.

This is Mr. Peter.  He is the man who made a decision to sell us his land which joins alongside ours.  Land values have increased in our area of Mpumudde, but because we were given a donation of $8,000, we were able to barter with him.  Today he agreed to terms with the local leader present.  It is culture to
do business buying land this way and makes it official on paper.  We must come up with $7,000 by
the end of April and the remainder when we can.  Edwin convinced him to drop his price down $3,000  and we are now blessed with a piece of property that will accommodate a Technical school and land for the animals.  I tell you....Edwin you are the best "barterer ever".  You have saved us a lot of money....

This is the most amazing thing that has happened to us.  I said to Edwin one morning, "Why did you buy the men uniforms to dig?"  He said "I didn't".  These are prisoners from the prison in Jinja.  Normally they would never do this but again....Edwin pulled it off.  His friend works at the prison and
volunteered the men to help us dig the 1 1/2 acre trench for the 8' wall.  It took them 3 days instead of  3 weeks.  The neighbours are just shaking their heads....first the electricity goes in, in 5 days and now this.

We were able to pay them very little but Edwin and his brother, Dr. Isaac are going to the prison tomorrow with medicine to treat them for the many things wrong with them such as ringworm, jiggers and fungal disease.   We have two wonderful followers, Carolyn and Warren who donate money for his medicine to help the people.  It has mainly been for the children, but these men truly deserve help after what they did for us.  Thanks again for helping Dr. Isaac.

These are the stumps they had to dig out with a hoe and an axe...

The men are cleaning out the trenches in preparation for the foundation.  It is only because
of the people in the dairy community in British Columbia that any of this is possible.
They have raised a lot of the money to make it happen and we will never forget them for their huge hearts.
The BC Holstein News, edited by Gary and Karen Booy have made a big impact by sharing the
story in the News... Thanks to all of you who helped protect the kids with this wall.
You can read the story at

And we begin the construction of the foundation.

Edwin is reading the BC Holstein News.  The article is about Laury and Tom DeGroot donating the sale of "Faithful" the cow to put in all the water, tanks and septic tank.  See story at

The tanks are in place and lines installed into each apartment.  The one on the ground that you
see is for the community.  The gutters will go up next week and the rainwater will go only
into that 5000 litre tank.  A line will be put into the ground extending to the outside of the wall
for the people to pump water.  As it is now, they travel a distance with their jerry cans and it is so
often the little ones doing the fetching.  Maybe we can give them some extra playing time.
Once again...thanks to Tom and Laury DeGroot for helping hundreds of people have water.
We all love you for this great gift and I know if everyone could speak, they would be yelling it
across the oceans.  Edwin hears every day how grateful they are, so God bless you both.

This is what I call "Barb's Treasure"..... sorry, but I am not a good squatter and I love my toilet.

This is a beautiful story.  I have tears every time I look at this picture, but everyone knows me...I am an
emotional train wreck when it comes to starvation.

Malaina and Ron from Alberta heard about this story.  Grandma raised Jimmy and Simon as their
parents died of HIV when they were little.  Grandma is blind and has no way to feed them.  Jimmy and Simon are at our compound every day working so hard, never asking for a thing.  Lottie bought them a pig to see if they could start a little business and soon after, Malaina asked "what about the food?"  She and her husband Ron decided to send enough money to feed them for a month and this is a picture of them receiving it.  Jaaja (Grandma) has her hand on it to feel it and Jimmy said it was the most food they had ever seen.
These boys are so special to us and I don't know how they ended up so good with what they have lived with.  They are always there for us and work harder than most.  I watched both of them working for 9 hours, only to take a lunch break.  Edwin makes sure they get food daily with the crew.
I have been asked to say thanks to each of you who made their life a little easier.

Do you all recognize this little one?  This is our Joseph and he is feeling so much better. He has
been through a lot, in and out of the children's hospital needing bags of blood to survive.  He has
now had 3 and is holding his own.  He is a perfect example why we are trying to make this all
happen so quickly.  Joseph has never had a real home...Joseph has never had real love from people
who truly care what happens to him.  He now has Simone and Olivia sponsoring him from England and knows they love him.  He has a bed waiting and he knows that God is going to help him get through
this HIV a little longer until we can get the medication to help prolong his life.  I wanted to share this picture with all of you because we almost lost him more than once and now.....look  "another smile".

You know, they say I rattle on... I admit it.... I do.

But when you are there and you see the situations that are going on, you can't help but rattle on.  You can't show pictures about everything, so you try to explain it all.  So much is happening there, as it is all over the world, but in Mpumudde, we are really trying to make a difference to 32 little ones.  I guess what I am seeing that is so inspiring to me is, each child that knows they are coming into our home, is changing.  They are trying to learn, trying to please and prove they can be productive kids.  They have such potential and we see it.  Now that we have this new acreage, we can put up a Technical school, teach them a trade to survive and they will grow to teach others.  God is really with us on this project and we want to show the world that no matter what it takes, a loaf of banana bread or a fund raising project...just do it...You can make anything happen if your dream is big enough.

Thank you for all your love and your donations.  Thanks for your encouraging words and your contribution of everything to help us help our project.  Helping me to bake the banana bread and just your heart.  Some people tell me they have no time but have the money and send donations because they can and know that 100% goes to these kids.  Thanks for trusting Edwin and I.  We will never disappoint you.

We are now a Society

If you would like to help us with a donation, please send it to:

Jaaja's Home of Angels Society
PO Box 734, Stn A
Abbotsford, B.C.  V2T 7A1

God bless you all...

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Leaving a Footprint.....

Leaving Mpumudde, Uganda was difficult for me.  I watched the project grow daily, watched 17 wonderful men working so hard to complete it to the point where I could show the world.  They are as proud as Edwin and I are and ask for so little.  How is it possible in a world so desperate that the people give of themselves out of love?  They do.  The community was shocked even when the poles for electricity were delivered.  They were installed immediately and we must have had 50 phone calls to find out how much we bribed them.  Then, 5 day later, on a Sunday, the wires were installed as a surprise.  I will never forget this.  They wanted to help us.

I came home to Canada to find so many people wanting to become involved...sending money, helping Grandma's and the biggest gift was put a down payment on the 2 acres of land beside us.  They have asked to be anonymous, but they have provided us the dream we prayed for.  Land for a technical school plus land for our sustainability program.  WOW.....I had to make this blog now to tell the world that we are so blessed and the children are going to have a place soon. Praise God.

This is Simon, Jimmy and Sula.  They have worked at the project every day for months and until I came to Uganda, I never knew of them.  They give of themselves, never asking for anything.  Well, that is about to change....these boys deserve a metal and so....because of a wonderful woman in Canada named Lottie...who wanted to donate to a it is.  The parents of these boys died when they were babies and the women who raised them was a blind Grandma....They are still with her but they have no way of survival, until now.  Lottie changed that.

Lottie provide a pig and that male pig has a girlfriend pig who hopefully will produce a baby pig.
Thanks Lottie....we have this huge plan to make it a large family and they will have enough to
make dinner on the table.

You know, I hate the word "anonymous".   BUT,  I have to respect this word.  A certain person who 
has this huge heart donated money to put a roof on this wonderful 92 year old man's home.  This man
had a wife who died just after his daughter did, less then one month ago, is in trouble..  All gone now, he is responsible for 3 little girls.
Hadeeja, Maryanne and a 3 year old.  Our anonymous friend could not stand the idea of having
a roof with a huge hole in it in the rainy season and replaced it.  Wow, he was over the top grateful and she also put the two older ones in school.  This is a huge success story...

Roof is on and no more sleepless nights

OK, now for the EXCITING news.  We have another donor who wishes not to be known that has 
donated a large portion of the 2 acres of land beside us.  We will own land title in the next week and can continue our dream.  Thank you so much .........., we are so very grateful to
be able to build a technical school to provide a trade for the future.   This land will also provide enough space for the sustainability program that is in the plans at the moment.

You can see a portion of the land we are talking about.

The rains are incredible.  We decided to put gutters on the roof of the main house.  They will
have a pipe that will go into the 5000 litre tank and a line from that, under the wall to
the community will be installed.  We need to provide water to our neighbours as well as
ourselves.  We are pumping 5000 litres and hour and the rest must be shared.
Love his boy...Hi Edwin

These are two of our kids.  I decided to start teaching English and you would not believe how
fast they are learning.  I am excited and have so many lessons prepared already.  They learned the
alphabet in less than an hour.  Can you imagine how fast they will learn the language with a 
little encouragement?   Alex and Hadeeja, you are going to be role models for the rest of them.

When I looked around the property before I left,  I discovered an area where someone had
planted green peppers and egg plant.  I saw other areas all sectioned off with other vegetables and
guess who had been making it beautiful for us????   JAMES.  Thank you James for your hard work, your silence to do good and your never asking for anything..  We know you love your home and 
you will always be there to protect and take care of it.  We love you James.  

We are really making this a dream come true..  This home not only will have character but will be full of love for kids that never had any such thing.  They will be encouraged, they will be loved and they will succeed.  Honestly, I know this for a fact.  Edwin and I want to thank all of you for your caring and wanting us to succeed. and never letting us down.  You send emails every day that keep our spirits high and we know you will  never stop believing in us.

I also want to say a word of thanks to David and Dr. Isaac.  Without them, we could not be who we are.  David is our main man with supplies and knows where all the best deals are.  Dr. Isaac is becoming known in Canada and many people are wanting to help him with medical supplies and medicine.  He goes about the villages just making sure his people are not suffering.  I watched him and he is very good with the little ones especially.  Thanks to all of you who donated money, equipment and medicine to him.  I know he would want me to say thanks.   

Thank you all of you....we are so grateful....

God bless you all
Edwin, Dr. Isaac, David  and Barb

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Persistance Pays Off.....

It finally happened.

Edwin and I decided to walk to the project before the evening rains came to check on the homes and we discovered that today, a Sunday, the power people had quietly put up our electrical wires.  We are thinking it was done as a surprise as no one called us.  People in Uganda wait months between the time the poles come and the electricity is hooked up.  When the poles came, they immediately put them into the ground and we had so many phone calls wanting to know how much we bribed them..  Less than 5 days later, we have power.  No bribes...just blessed.

The rains have come and with a vengeance.  Mud huts are ripped apart by the force of the wind and rain and so many have their iron sheets blow away leaving them exposed to the elements while they sleep.  As fast as they come, they leave and again, bright sunny hot days.  We had our own incident at the project.  The rain is certainly helping the grass grow but coming down so hard, we decided to get a 5000 litre tank, install gutters and provide water to the community.  Water is the most valuable commodity here and we need to be helping our neighbours.

We are moving along very well by Ugandan standards but we have a ways to go still.  The house is almost finished, the paving stones are made and 10,000 will be laid soon.  The grass hut is finished and has been put to the test for leakage.  We passed with flying colours with these rains.   Now comes the wall.  Everything here is escalating at a rapid rate and bricks are slipping out of reach with cost.  We have decided to build with concrete blocks instead as it is much cheaper and it still will be secure enough for safety.  There have been three white missionary families vandalized recently and all because their wall was not secure enough. Once the wall is finished.....we can open.  Please pray this will happen by the end of this year because some of our kids are really sick and we want to see them really enjoying a small part of their life.

Now this is man power....honestly, when I saw this happening, I was shocked.  No machines to
help, just muscle and singing in unison to raise it.  The holes were hand dug and no standing around.
They gave us one for free and we had to purchase the other two. bribes.

Today, 5 days later we see this as we are walking up the hill.  The phone calls keep pouring
in to find out how we did this....Edwin never gave up calling and for 2 months he telephoned
every day.  Persistence paid off, plus they just love us anyway.   I like to believe that part.

The final stage...the power box.  Edwin ran home to get a sturdy lock so that no one would
take it during the night.  Perfect timing for the floors to be completed.

The first day of the rainy season.  I couldn't walk home because there was so much mud.
I ended up going by car on some horrendous roads that have been destroyed by all the large
trucks coming to bring our supplies.  We made it but many did not.

So, the only thing to do is install a 5000 litre tank, put up the gutters and build a stand for it to sit under.  All this done, we will wait for the wall to be built, sinking a line under it so that  the people will have access to water instead of walking so far each day.  It's the little one's who seem to do most of the fetching.

The rock is being painted and hopefully before I leave here next week, we can finish it.  I
was hesitant how this would work out but actually it is beautiful and many people comment
on the look.

The tile in the kitchens will be completed this next week.  The men are working very hard now
to complete the finishing touches and really doing a beautiful job.  They all deserve a metal for
the work they do and many of them do it out of love for the project.

The beginning stages of the floors in all rooms.  I wish I could explain this procedure but
I am surprised every time I see a new step.  All I know is, at the end, the floor will be well
constructed and the power is needed to cut the slate which will be laid on top.  Promise to
send pictures...

All of us here want to thank (Anonymous) for helping this family.  Grandpa is in his 90's.
His daughter died of HIV a while back and his wife recently passed away.  He is now
responsible for raising Hadeja and Maryanne plus their 3 year old sister.  They live in a mud
hut the size of our tool sheds with a huge hole in the roof that they battle the rains with.
Anonymous is sending both girls to school and out of all the kids we try and help, these two are
the most excited.  I already started teaching English and they seem to grasp it quite quickly.
Grandpa says that he never had anyone help him past Grade 2 and they have to go to school all day
and come home at night and read until dark.  No use telling him to ease up.....He will be a driving force  because he is so grateful.  Thank you Anonymous.

Before we left for Uganda, my wonderful cousin who started "The Dog's Ear" T-shirt company
donated 20 t-shirts with our new logo. We have given them out to the people involved over here and they wear them daily.  I am wondering if they are ever going to change.....joking if any of you are reading this.  Edwin and I are flattered you love them so much.

We have so many people to thank.  So many wonderful people who really give their hearts to this
project and when you walk on the grounds now, you see it forming.  The kids are coming just to
hang out with the workers wanting to do something to help.  Even pulling the weeds is a job they keep
up with and helping us to distribute the water to the people on Saturdays.  Amazing gratitude from everyone and throughout all this construction...we have passed with flying colours with inspections.

God bless all of you for helping to change these little lives.

Barb and Edwin