Friday, January 31, 2014

Dealing with Corruption

What ever made us think that corruption wouldn't touch us?  It touches the entire white community here and even though you want to believe that you are exempt from this evilness, it does happen.  We have now been initiated into the reality of Jinja, Uganda.   We come from the free world where we can work as many jobs as we want, where food is given by standing in a line on the street and the government provides programs to help us.  Here, there is only corruption and poverty.  That is why God sends us to places like this… to help the suffering.  Donations such as providing the transport overseas, the container itself and the hundreds of people who gave their time chopping vegetables to provide a high protein soup for the sick are so appreciated.  We are grateful to the organizations who provided us pallets of clean hospital sheets and blankets, pallets of new clothes and schools books, Northview church donating two ovens and new Bibles, all to be distributed to our kids and the people…the people who need it so badly.  Thank you Lord for listening to the many people praying for us…. it arrived.

But before it did, Edwin, his brothers and I were a thorn in their sides for four days as they processed it through the Busia border crossing. We tried to catch every mistake but they are professionals and because of my white skin, they took full advantage.  All we could think about was the food and all the donations you had provided us to make this a better life over here.  We had to continue on and not give up.  But as the taxes and scamming got up over $10,000, we wondered if we were doing the right thing.  Edwin kept fighting and when he got them down a little,  the  next day, up it rose again.  We couldn't win.

On Friday, after many more discussions, they finally brought the container to us.  Just watching it manoeuvring it's way down our dirt road with the people cheering and dancing, bought smiles.  Our children came outside the gate with such joy on their faces. They wanted so badly to be apart of distributing the food and helping the elderly like we had in Alan's village.  The food was finally here.

But to our surprise we still had to keep paying.
The crane set up, the container truck was ahead and when he was signalled to move back to let the crane lift it over the wall,  the man we had hired refused until we paid another $2,000.00.
By this time I was beyond control to think they could just drive away.  This "Jaaja" simply expressed herself and they moved the truck backwards for the crane to hook up.

We were refused paperwork until the last moment and it was then that we discovered the tax problem.
Taxes were calculated on 20 ovens, not 2, on 18 mattresses instead of 3, 54 cartons of toys instead of 4 and 30 hospital chairs which we never had.  The list is too long but that will give you an idea.
The moral to our story is… very sure what you are doing and who you hire when coming into these countries.

They might have hurt us for operating but they did not break our spirit and we are not giving up.

The container trying to manoeuvre the corners.

We ordered a 45T crane to lift it over the wall as it wouldn't fit through the gate.

There were 10 banana trees that had to be cut down for the container to fit but considering the contents, we didn't care.  

Cleared the razor wire but it now will be impossible to turn it on the the concrete pillars we built.  We are using concrete blocks for now.

Just fits and enough room to get things out.

The kids wanted to pray over the container before we opened it up.  Hope lead in prayer and thanked everyone for their kinds hearts to help the poor in Uganda.  She prayed over the hungry people and told God that we were coming with food for them soon.

And then we have our Shaban….our special man that loves everyone, especially the children.  He is now travelling the roads with his new wheelchair and is so happy.  Thanks to whoever donated this chair.  I try to remember everyone but this is a sign of age I think.  Shaban wants you to know he is grateful.

This was such a team effort.  The kids did their very best to help carry everything and what a wonderful job they did.  I am so proud of them and honestly, this is why I will never give up.

Our Joanne….this girl can carry unbelievable weights on her head.  She had her first birthday two days ago and I was so hoping for our new oven to bake her a real cake.  As soon as we get them hooked up, we are going to celebrate.  Joanne would like to thank Trudy and Garry for her first birthday card.

School starts in 3 days so Edwin thought it would be a good idea if we found the box of backpacks and gave them out as a present for doing so much work today.  Alan got his baby chair and the others were elated to get something to carry their books in.  Thanks to Michele, Gina and their team with the Pin Cushion Collective for sending these gifts.

The poor in Uganda have no chance to raise their voice and get out of poverty.  It is our hope to help alleviate some of the hunger and education problems by having our Home of Angels.  We realize that as we receive three to four grandmothers a day begging us to take their grandchildren, the problem is bigger than we realized. We cannot help everyone, but we can do the best with the few we have at the moment.

We would like to thank the Gleaners and ALL our donors for what they have done throughout the past year.  On behalf of the people that go without food in our community, we also send a special thanks in advance.

God bless you all.


  1. Oh Barb, thank you so much for sharing these beautiful pictures. It is so heartwarming to see the smiles and joy on the children's faces. it is exciting to see how God works and how everything came together. Thank you for yours and Edwin's perseverance in seeing this through. Wonderful days ahead sharing the blessings with the community. I know there is much more needed and we will continue to pray and support you.
    Diane Williams

  2. Oh inspire me so much! I know people half your age with ten times the excuses as to why they can't (more like, "won't") do anything to help others in need, and here you are, taking it all on like the champion you are! I know you don't do any of it for praise and you'd be telling me to hush up if I was saying this to you in person. Just know that it was so wonderful to finally meet you, and I got tears in my eyes when I saw Shaban's wheelchair! He has such a precious spirit about him. There's a feeling of peace when you enter your compound there. God is truly all over the place. How wonderful that you have so many supporting you from home! Hope to see you again sometime soon. Blessings to all of you!

  3. God bless Barb,Edwin and the Entire home of Angels"...