Friday, January 17, 2014

The Calm before the Storm

Hello from Uganda

My trip from Vancouver to Entebbe was one of the best so far.  I arrived to our Home of Angels to be greeted by the children, aunties and workers who had made this a special event.  It was hard to hold back the tears.  The home has been beautifully taken care by Edwin and his staff and to come into such lush vegetation from below zero temperatures felt so good.

The children are doing well but we have had some failures along with successes.  Our little 5 year old Dan is not going to be living with us.  His brother Saika is feeling at home here with his new family but it has been a difficult adjustment.  It will get easier for him as the weeks go by.  He told me in English class last week that Jesus loves him and that He won't abandon him.  For Saika to say these words meant a lot.

Thanks to so many of you who helped us fund the chicken project. We are already working in full gear.  We decided to do one project at a time and since there is such a good profit in chickens and eggs, that is where we began.  Three days ago, 600 chicks arrived from Germany.  Since we are blessed with professional chicken farmers advising us both in Canada and Uganda, we have not lost one to date.  These birds will go to market in 5 weeks and again we will bring in another 600, slowly building it to 1000 chicks as we gain experience.  We are clearing the land now for the 2nd house which will eventually hold 1000 layers.

The container will be arriving into Mombasa at the end of January.  Our clearing agent, Moses will be there waiting for it and break the seal as it crosses over into Uganda.  From there it will be transported to our compound where it will be unloaded and later used as a storage area and office.

Our contractor John has built concrete pillars for the container to rest on.   Because the container is so large and won't fit through the gate, the crane will be lifting it over the wall and placing it onto these  structures.

This is our broiler chicken house.  It is equipped to hold up to 1000 birds for the 5 weeks prior to being sold at the market.  A year ago, we set David, Edwin's brother, up in a agriculture/produce business and we are so happy now that we did.  He is flourishing and is the one who is helping us with our food for the children.  David has approached the local restaurants in Jinja to purchase our birds and many have said yes.  He also is selling  them to the local boarding schools for the meals programs.

Edwin is in the brooder pen feeding the chicks and making sure they have water. 

The children have been helping aunty make matoke which is a fruit that looks like a green banana but is 90% water and very tasty.  Before they built the slab for the container, we had to cut
2 matoke trees down so we are taking advantage of a good meal. We still have many more trees left.
In the 5 months since we opened, I see these smiles just getting bigger.

The children bathe twice a day but sometimes little Alan needs a third….I get to have that privilege and we end up with a splash fight.  This little one has learned English so quickly and every morning I get a
"Good Morning Jaaja Barb" which starts my day off with a smile.

We wake at 6:30am and our day starts with chores.  Roads are swept and scrubbed, clothes are washed and hung and rooms cleaned.  Never an argument.

In order to build a 2nd chicken house, we cleared the land of dried up maize.  The children are picking the maize corn to further dry it and the crew will dig the plants and remove them.  We figure we will have 25 kg to eat when packaged.  If we can plant all this again next year and harvest it along with other vegetables, plus have eggs, it will help us to provide our own healthy food for these children.

Meet Saban, our newest employee.  Saban is physically challenged from polio and has no working legs.  He calls his stick his legs.  As you can see below, our grounds are beautiful.  He washes the floors, he sits up at night with the chickens, he teaches the children culture, he makes charcoal for us so the baby chicks can stay warm…..We cannot say enough about this young man.  He is 3 years short of finishing school because of giving up his school fees for his little brother who is left behind parentless in the village.  No one hired Saban because of his affliction but now with God's help, he found his place.  In other communities, this disability leads to job rejection but at our Home of Angels, we welcome people with all physical challenges.

Welcome Saban!

Thanks to two wonderful people in Langley, we have shears to trim the hedges.  Saban works those shears
like magic and everyone stops for a look.

You have seen what has happened in the past two weeks.  We really do feel like it is the "Calm before the Storm" because as of February 1st,  life will be busy here.  The kids start school, we have friends arriving to help us distribute food and to help teach the local women to sew kits for their young daughters.  Our wonderful friend Thomas from Hong Kong has sent his solar lights for us to distribute only to the poor and with the medicine donated, we are also able to help people in the deep villages.  God is at work and it is really evident by the changes happening daily.

Below is the last Global TV story before I left home.  Thanks Linda and Carl for doing such a good job on this story.  We all love you from Uganda.

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