Friday, March 29, 2013

Very Exciting Times

Happy Easter to everyone....

The compound is in disarray at the moment with many different projects going on at the same time.
The second house is up to the roofing stage, the paving stones are being placed, the guardhouse has the door and most of the finishing touches done and the verandas have the slate rock on.  The men are finishing the back stairs and the only thing that is not done on the main house is MY painting work.  Yes, I have my very own job and since I didn't finish this past trip, I can now.  The red mud from the
rains were discolouring the rock so we decided to wait until the verandas were completed before I start painting again.

I talk to Edwin on Skype very often and it always excites me to see some of the children that will be moving in just sitting and watching the workers.  I try and imagine what they are thinking.  They are
so excited and I am sure are counting the sleeps before they crawl into their first bed.  I really want to
share this day with you all.

We would like to show you some of the most recent pictures so you can get an idea how
your donations have been used.  We are very grateful to all of you who help and pray for us.  We
know that all of this is done in God's timing and we will conquer all obstacles as they happen.  It's
normal to come to the end of a project and the realization hits.  The kids are are we
going to feed them all?   What Edwin and I realize is, we would never have gotten this far without
Him and He is not going to abandon us now.

The house fits perfectly and still we have lots of land for the kids to be kids.  The roof will be going on this week and soon we will have our girl's house.  We have decided to name the boy's home after our little Nathan that passed last year with cancer and not AIDS like we thought.  "Nathan's Home" will be the first one that we built and the second, for the girls will be named "Lydia's Home" after a very sweet person who loves kids enough to give of herself in a very big way.  Thanks Lydia from all of us.

A year ago I caught Edwin spending the money I was sending him for food on these paving stones.
He wanted to help from his side of the world and thought he would slowly get them made, so that at
this point, when we needed 25,000, he would have a good jump on it.  Bless his heart, how can you
ever get upset with that.  These will eliminate all the red dirt brought in with the rains. I know how
lucky I am to have this boy in my life... 

This is starting to look amazing.

The grass is thick, the hedges are starting to grow and I see my avocado birthday present in the background really flourishing.

In Uganda, a veranda is a 1 1/2' ledge that circles the entire house.  As you can see, the red dirt is
starting to change the colour of my newly painted rock.  Oh Oh, I have to redo it this year.
John our Contractor came up with the idea to put this slate rock on so the rain will wash right off and
cause no discolouration.  He's the's working.

James will be planting flowers all along the back wall.   Our clothes lines will go back here as there
won't be any dryers and the smell of fresh sheets will be a wonderful change.  We still have to 
place the slate around the back to stop the red from staining the rock.  

I would like to introduce Rachel to you.  Rachel and her friend Rebecca have been very involved
in helping us in Uganda.  They attend Heritage Wood Secondary School in Port Moody and
are baking banana bread to raise money for us.  Since Rachel became involved, her family
followed.  Her father, Thomas in Hong Kong has now donated a very powerful solar lantern 
for our home.  No more  darkness when the electricity goes out.  We are so grateful to this family
and Thomas's company who are now "Lighting up Africa". 

Do any of you remember the old transistor radio?  They are run by battery and very popular in 
Uganda.  If anyone has one of these that they would like to donate, we would all be so happy.  The one you are looking at is the one that plays all day at the project when the men are working.  I think it may have had a full life soon and I just wanted to get them one before it crashes but having difficulty to 
locate one. 

Well, lots happening, lots getting done and all of us, including the kids are really getting excited.

Our electrician Dennis is hard at work.  He is installing all the electrical wires throughout the 
main house.  He will also be working on the submersible pump that will be operated by one switch.
The 5000 litre tank that will supply the community will be turned on by a switch when empty and when full, switch will go off.  This way, the community will always have water.  Both from our well and from the rain water running off the  roof into the tank.  A pumping station will be built outside our wall but we need a little more funding for this to happen.

We are going to have a home and we are going to help a huge community....who would have ever dreamt from a loaf of banana bread only 2 1/2 years ago, that we could make this happen.  We have been very blessed by all of you.  Also, by the many workers in Uganda that are so proud of what they are doing, that they ask for little.   There is never going to be enough "Thanks". 

Myself, Edwin, David, Isaac and all the kids wish all of you a very Happy Easter.  Our Lord died on the cross for all of us and His glorious promises of eternal life for all who believe in Him.

Oh...and I forgot.  We have a quote on starting a bakery.  We have the opportunity to raise money
to feed the kids by baking and we have a way for distribution.  When my daughter and I go back
in July, we will investigate this.  A very good possibility in the future to raise money.  
Oh Willie...we sure will need you

Monday, March 11, 2013

A Glimpse of "Hope" for more Angels

In 2010 we decided to build our Home of Angels, always saying that we would make it small
to provide a home for children who were truly orphaned suffering with HIV/AIDS.  Well, that has obviously changed.... why should I sit in a country where everything is at our fingertips, when thousands of children are dying every day in a country such as Uganda?  I might be getting on in years but I still have the ability to tell our story to the hundreds of people who want to help, but just don't know how or who to trust in Africa.  When you see these children suffering from starvation and preventable, treatable diseases and know they are dying by the thousands, how can we not do anything?  Edwin and I made the  decision to try and make a small difference and that is why we are now expanding to build for more than 32 kids.  Actually...57 kids now.  We have started construction on the second home.  The  decision was made the last week I was there in January when many little kids came to ask us if they could pick our weeds.  For me, this was unbelievable but they were starving.  Each day they came for weeds until one day we bought rice and tomatoes and made a weed stew.  They were finally full and with the water we continued to provide for them, they left. We decided at that time we were going to build another home to help kids like these.  We don't know where those particular kids are now but we will find the most vulnerable and bring them in to show them there are people in this world who will care about them.  We need to do something and that is exactly what we are going to do with the extra property we have to build on. Edwin and I have no idea what is going to happen, how we are going feed them or treat them medically but we will watch for God's perfect plan for their lives to unfold.  We will not leave them as orphans.

We try and help all children but this was a real eye opener to me being from the Western culture.  Weeds and more weeds and they survive eating them.  I have a lot to learn, but by living there I will experience the devastating circumstances these people live with daily and hopefully with God's help, make a "huge" difference to all the kids we house.  I am so blessed to work with a man like Edwin, a trusting soul who's dream is the same as mine and together, we WILL make it happen.  

The 2nd home will be directly beside the existing children's home.  We have decided to call the first one "Nathan's House" for our little guy that died from cancer a year ago.  He also had HIV/AIDS but the cancer took him with 27 tumours on his head.  The second home which is now being built will be the "Lydia house" in honour of our architect that has given her time to support us. This home will be for the girls.  Thank you Lydia for your wonderful design and hard work.

With the foundation completed, the aggregate, boulders, lake sand and plaster sand has been delivered for the next stage.  

If you look into the distance, you will see a cement mixer.  Our crews have always done this by hand
but now we can mix the aggregate, lake sand and plaster sand to make the mortar in 1 1/2 days.  If the men had done it by hand, it would have taken 6 days and the cost of labour would be that much more. 

And the house goes up.  These men are working on Canadian time now....not Ugandan.
I am so proud of them.

The gatekeepers house is finished except for the door and window.  Beside this house will be the cook's hut where the food for the children will be prepared.  Oh, how I hate to cut more Palm trees down, but necessary.  The land that has been cleared in front will be covered with paving stones for all cars to park entering into the compound.

Black and Gold.....The gate is painted.  Paving stones will also be placed outside this gate.
You can't see by this picture but the spikes at the top are also painted in gold.

And these are some of the 25,000 paving stones to complete the project.  Only 5000 more to go and we are finished.

The crew is preparing the roadway for the installation of the first paving stones.  We have the bags of lime and dirt all in place to start placing these stones this next week.  I watch this work being done many times a week on Skype but this is one job I don't want to see until it is finished.  I know it will bring tears as it is the final step.

Who would have ever thought that I would be invited to the Aviation Leadership Forum to speak about our Home of Angels?  This was the most amazing experience I have ever had because it was about leadership.  I never considered myself a "leader" but after I left this conference, I knew I was.  We are all leaders when we take on a project and make it happen.  Of course I could never have done it without all of you, but we are coming up to the completion and I's because of the children, the Mom's and Dad's, the handicapped and many others who are making our Home of Angels grow.  It takes many and I am proud of all of you.  Thanks for letting me lead you towards something that will make a huge difference in the lives of children.  We are ALL leaders, not just me.

Save on Foods has supported us from the beginning.  We could not have done it without
them as they supply all the ingredients for me to bake the banana bread that provides the funding
to build our Home of Angels.  Global TV has also been there showing the public how we have grown.  Without these two, we would never had made it and I cannot say enough thanks to each one.  I honestly don't think either one knows what they have done until they see it themselves.  They have saved children's lives by making our story real and because of them, we are able to keep fighting.
The last fundraiser was a surprise for us.  We had no idea the Abbotsford firefighters would show up with lights a blazing to help up raise money.  Thanks Station #7 for all your help at the Sumas and Whatcom stores.  What a difference you made.

As I finish this blog, Edwin is still sending me pictures of updates.  I have to leave them all for the next time because I can't keep up with him.  I would never have dreamed that we would get this far so quickly.  I don't know from moment to moment where the funding will come from and when I think of how we are ever going to survive with this many children, I close my eyes and pray.  57 kids now...that's a lot of food, a lot of sponsors and a lot of prayer.

I really want to thank all of you for your encouragement and the emails I receive daily from so many of you.   It's because of you that I don't get discouraged and don't give up, but also because of God as I know He is with us every step of the way and wants to see His children taken care of and be loved.
This is getting really exciting now to see what is happening.  We are so close to the end.

Thanks to all of you.....