Saturday, August 31, 2013

Pouring Down Blessings

Edwin and I have always said, we could never have completed this massive project alone.  Because of the Grace of God and all the people He put in our path, we have created a warm loving home for kids.  Thanks to all of you who donated or sent messages of encouragement to help us grow.

When we listen to the kids prayers at night and watch them march off to church holding hands with each other, we know that our dream has come true.  These children have flourished in just a short time. It has been a month of learning and adjustments but as they grow, we know they will be moulded into good citizens of Uganda.

Our latest little one to arrive was Alan, age 2 1/2.  Alan was raised by his grandmother in a poor village north of us.  She has 8 other little grandchildren to look after so was very grateful to us for raising him.  We brought him home to find that he was very sick and undernourished.  He had bed bugs, lice, fungal disease, jiggers and Dr. Isaac had to deworm him.  The jiggers were the worst....a total of 24 of those nasty things in his fingers and toes. And then to top it off, a few days after arrival, he contracted malaria.  The life of a child in the African bush.

We are waiting for three more children to arrive from the north.  Once they are here, we will be enrolling all the children into Victoria Junior Academy, a 5 minute walk from us.  We have chosen this school because of it's strength in academics and class sizes.  A normal class here consists of 116 children.  Victoria Junior Academy averages 32 students and much more individual attention is given.

We would like to share the last month with you......

The grass hut where all meals are eaten and meetings held.

The kids playing in the yard.

The 8' wall has been built for the sustainability program but still must be plastered.  Once it is, we can start planting our vegetable gardens and raising the chickens.

Thank you Warren and Carolyn for setting up Dr. Isaac in his clinic.  The reception office is almost complete along with his cabinets for medicine.  We have had an ultra-sound machine donated from the USA which will be set up in a medical examination room.

Aunty Aidha and Aunty Aidha cooking food for the children

The children on their way to church.  Sam and Joseph are such boys....walking ahead

Barbara has now moved in with us and is teaching the kids how to make thank you cards for all the people who have helped us.  She has helped me so much with the techniques to teach English in the  Ugandan way.  We even have little Alan counting to 10 already.

Each child will start planting their own garden.  They are in the process of clearing the land.

Aunty Aidha is teaching the girls how to wash clothes properly.

Our English lessons on the back stairs

Edwin and Joseph

We opened the well to the community last week.  Hundreds of people came due to lack of rains.  We are blessed to have so much clean water to share with the poor and as long as we have it, we will continue to do this.

The Abbotsford Gleaners sent me off with 1,200 meals.  We took 100 of those meals to Alan's
village to feed them before we brought him home with us.  Everyone enjoyed it, as it had been prepared in the traditional Ugandan way.

Both Aunties prepared it a special way for Ugandan taste bud.

We will be judged by "I was hungry and you gave me to eat, I was naked and you clothed me, I was homeless and you took me in.  "Hungry not only for bread, but hungry for love.....Mother Theresa

I will be departing for Vancouver on September 11th in order to raise money to put towards running our Home of Angels.  We have decided that in order to do a good job in raising these children, we will have to lower the count from 57 to 20 and put the money towards wages, food and finishing the sustainability program of gardens and chickens.  Once we can establish an income from the Ugandan side, we will be in a much better position.  In order to do this, we thought we could start a bakery in our community as there is none.  With our donated ultra-sound machine, Dr. Isaac is thinking he could charge the well-off people but will continue to help the poor at no cost.   With the wall going up, we would be able to raise money by growing maize, ground nuts and beans, all common staples in Uganda.  Then, with the chickens, we could sell the eggs at a profit and chickens for meat.  If we can build up a profit, we could then go to the deep villages for rice and beans to feed the children.

These are all things we would like to achieve but we know that in God's timing, they will happen.


Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Becoming a Family

The day we've all  been dreaming about has finally arrived.  The workers finish their last minute preparations, the floors and beds are washed and off to the market we go for last minute items.    
Excitement is in the air as everyone participates in making our Home of Angels comfortable for our 10 very special little people.  It's just the start but until we can provide for the rest, find sponsors and complete the building, we will do this in God's timing.  He has taken us this far....He will not abandon us now.

This is Abby.  To give you an example of dedication and determination, he would walk 4 hours to our project every day.  At 5pm he would walk back home and again walk to fetch the water for his family.  He is the oldest and must provide.....but......because he never gave up, he now has a permanent job with us and can afford a ride back and forth each day.  He didn't give up and that is the example we want to teach these children moving in.

Sula and Derek cleaning the beds

Thank you Kerrie for working so hard to provide all the bedding.  We were also able to weld more beds for the children to follow and purchase mattresses, sheets and pillows for them also.

A hand painted and laminated name tag was made for each child by April.  Thank you for creating a big smile for each of these children.  That was really special for them.

A huge thanks to the Pin Cushion Collective women who worked tirelessly to make every child a special quilt for their bed.  We were able to bring many more this trip thanks to friends donating the costs of extra baggage.

Beds are made with a special chest at the foot of each bed to hold their valuables. This is a place for their personal things and I am noticing letters from sponsors being tucked away here for safekeeping.

I can't begin to imagine what it would be like to stand outside a gate with a single bag of  possessions knowing you are entering a place you will be able to call home.  A home where you don't need to be scared of the dangers in the night, a leaky roof where when raining, you are soaked sleeping.  You are entering a place that you are welcomed with love and with others you will now call your new family. A place where two wonderful women both named Sister Aida, will tuck you in at night and make sure you have food in your tummies before school.  But most importantly to know that our Father said    "No, I will not abandon you as orphans -- I will come to you." John 14:18 

Many people provide new outfits for these kids, but once given, it seems never to be seen again.  
I found out that they are only to be worn for church, funerals and very special occasions.  This was
a very special day as you can see by the beautiful dresses. 

Meet our Sam.  He was the only boy to arrive on this day due to complications with medicine to be provided for the other boys.  With Dr. Isaac's help, we will be bringing them in next week.  Everything is waiting for them.

This is Maryanne.  She is so happy to have her very own box for her personal things.  Her single bag of possessions are transferred into it and sponsor pictures and letters are put away safely.

The is Jowan with my daughter Kim.  Probably the first time I have seen her smile this big.  We are waiting for her brother and sister to come as soon as their school year finishes up north and they will live together for the first time.

This picture says it all

These men are the backbone of Jaaja Barb's Home of Angels.  Without you helping us and they working so hard, we could not have opened this soon.  Kim presented them all with a t-shirt and Edwin and I  had a thank you card with a token of our appreciation for all the hard work they have done to make it possible.

It's been 3 years and 2 months since we started this project.  We have come a long way in such a short time and we attribute it all to God.  He has miraculously placed each one of you in this journey with us, whether it's financial support, encouragement, or donating items for the home.  We need so many sponsors and thank you also for coming forward and offering.  That will always be an on-going necessity as the children come and Edwin and I are really grateful for your caring hearts.

I would also like to show you a campaign that "Cause Shirts Fundraising" is doing for us.  This will go thru August 11th, so if anyone would like to participate, that would be wonderful.  Be sure to watch us in the video.

God bless you all