Sunday, April 22, 2012

Strength in Weakness

I really believe in this "Strength in Weakness" phrase.  God's greatest power can be displayed in our biggest weakness.  Here I am, a Grandma, retired because I am sort of old and have no real skills at business, but I can bake banana bread.  That is where I have found my strength.  
Proof that if you have a dream....follow it and go with your weakest strength.  It works.

One of the other advantages of getting on in years (I hate the word "old") is, we have learned to be patient when we cannot snap our fingers and things are done instantly.  Jaaja Barb's Home of Angels is at a point now where patience is going to be needed.  It's human nature to leave the most expensive items to the end...We sure did....the wall.  I have to explain to you all that we never intended it to be this way. We shot ourselves in the foot...we built a wonderful compound in a destitute area and what happened?? Prices skyrocketed everywhere, from land values to the cost of bricks.  Everyone wants to move here now because we are the growing and influential area.  All people in Uganda look for a way to grow and they found us..  
We were able to wheel and deal on the land price by reducing it down $4,000 but we have no hope of changing the price of the wall.  We still need $13,000.00 to complete the entire 8' concrete structure that encases our 1 1/2 acre compound.  It seems to have skyrocketed overnight and not uncommon in these areas I am finding out.

In the meantime, we have people on both sides of the world helping and eventually the Home of Angels will become a reality.  Here are some of the most recent events that have taken place and Edwin and I would like to share them with you all.

This is the land we recently purchased and since telling you about it, the price has come down $4,000.00. There is no rhyme or reason as to why it is "up" of "down".  As we told you before, an anonymous donor gave $8,000.00.  We have now had a donation of $7,000.00 which has almost covered it.  This land will house our sustainability program of chickens and goats plus a Technical school to be built in the future.  It is situated alongside our property which makes it convenient for the children to learn a trade for their future.   It also gives the locals a chance for jobs when it comes time to train them in a trade.  That's our roof in the distance.

This is the start of the construction for the wall.  Thanks to people such as Karen and Gary Booy for getting the word out to the dairy farmers to help raise money for construction.  We have a good portion already built thanks to the donations received, but because of  the costs raising so quickly we have a ways to go.  This wall will be 8' high with rolled wire along the top and with an iron gate at the entrance.  Thanks for writing our story and also to the dairy farmers for caring and giving their hearts to this cause  throughout British Columbia.  We are very grateful.

The entire story can be seen here:

BCHNews-Spring2012-LoRes-PageSuite 33.pdf
1180K   View   Download  

The grass hut is almost finished.  The only part remaining is the floor, chairs and the mosquito screens. The chairs have already been donated by Chloe and her sister Angie and the mosquito screens by Peter and MaryLou May.  Thanks to all of you for helping us make this a very special place. It will be our "community" hut for many different events.

Our gutters are now being installed around the main house. As we explained before, our desire is to give back to the community.  The best way to do this is to provide water in some way, so we decided to install gutters on the roof, buy a 5000 litre tank and run a line under the wall to a pumping station.  The gutters will be completed by next week and as soon as the wall is built, we can run the lines to provide this treasured commodity for them. Check out the sky........beautiful 

And here is Simon planting grass...Ugandan style.  He takes a tuft of grass, digs a hole perfectly spaced and inch by inch he plants each piece.  Wow, what we take for granted.  Simon is one of the boys who was raised by his blind Grandma and thanks to Marlaina and Ron in Alberta, they have been blessed with food.  Also, thanks to Sheila for the pig to start a business.  That pig is now going to have piglets.... Because of their gratitude,  Simon, Jimmy and Sula are working every day on the property to make it beautiful.  It's the only way they can say thank you to people who are making life bearable for them.   These boys are special to my heart for sure......

Another "special to my heart" person....Dr. Isaac.  Here, wearing his Jaaja Barb's Home of Angels t-shirt, he displays what is left of the medicine that was donated to him from Carolyn and Warren.  They are two committed people who never fail this doctor.  Remember, in Uganda, statistics are that there are 4 nurses and 1 doctor to every 100,000 people.  Isaac never charges the poor so when he can get medicine for the children, it makes his heart smile.  Thanks to the both of you for being so kind and helping him provide such a valuable tool for the hurting. Then, on top of that, he is getting good use out of the medical equipment that he received in February from another anonymous donor.  Wow, people are so unbelievable with their hearts.

Celeste Matthews, Claire Huang, Emiko Newman and Amber Chong are all grade 12 students from Heritage Woods Secondary School in Port Moody. They have been raising money since last year by baking banana bread and selling to parents and teachers and also at local events such as fashion shows, concerts, dance shows, and their school music department's Dessert Jazz Night . Last year they raised nearly $800, and this year they plan to raise $1000. The girls and their friends: Janelle Lee, Fred Chang, Clara Tsang, and Felix Chung, have been baking banana bread and only yesterday, they baked 25 loaves! 
You all are amazing to us and we thank you for your hard work and caring hearts.  Edwin and I really hope that one day you will be visiting us.  

Look at these beautiful pillow cases.  Joanne Akkerman made them for our little angels and each one is out of fabric with colorful animals or cartoons.  Can you just visualize these kids hopping up into their first new bed with a pillow like this?  We have been donated stuffed animals and an "angel" for the wall.  So much poured into making them feel loved.  Those are the blogs I am going to have the most fun with....showing you the expressions on their faces.

Meet the first team to ever arrive for a visit to Jaaja Barb's Home of Angels.

The most amazing part of this is that they are from my hometown, Abbotsford.  These are Grade 12 students from MEI and they came to see what we had built in the short period of a little over a year. They were already in Kampala, but took the trip north to visit Edwin.   I had just missed them by a week as I had to return to Canada, but the fact that they came is so wonderful.  Edwin and I often speak about the teams to come and how much they will be an impact on the children.    We hope you will come back one day MEI students.

Thanks to all of you who emailed me on the last blog to say I do not "rattle on".  It always seem that I have so much to tell you.  On behalf of Edwin and myself, I want you to know how much you are appreciated by us.  Not only us, but by our Board of Directors in both countries.  We have two teams of people, in Uganda and in Canada who give from their hearts.  We have been so blessed to walk this walk and see the results in such a short period of time and all of us want to say thanks for your prayers, your love and your encouragement.

Global TV has again put us on the news and we feel blessed by the media coverage.  We would also like to share the newscast with you as it is not only with me this time but with Marian and Laury who came with me and witnessed the true stories of  "Life in Eastern Uganda".

Until next time...