Thursday, February 16, 2017

Every Day is a Blessing

When I came home from Uganda a month ago, I was sure I would never forget what I had seen and experienced.  I always knew the unimaginable poverty, the plight of "untouchables", the sight of children rummaging through garbage dumps looking for food and witnessing children so young, so sick.  They were all sights I'd witnessed before, but this time something was very different.  No water and famine was that difference.

Edwin and I want to be sure to thank all of you who helped us put in bore holes for 30,000 people.  All of you are an example of the blessings I'm talking about.  We are currently in the process of drilling two wells and God willing, we pray for huge aquifers.  I'll keep you all updated when they hit water and be sure to show you the excitement of the people having clean water for the first time in  their lives.

The other side of life in Uganda is of course our Home of Angels, a very happy home filled with God's love and His angels of protection inside the compound.  We currently have 25 children.  They have no idea when they were born, let alone know that you would ever celebrate it.  We let each child decide what day they want and celebrate once a year with balloons, streamers and cake.  They sing two different versions of happy birthday, blow candles out, eat cake, play games, sing and have fun for the day.

We'd like to show you these events and also introduce you to our newest staff.




Meet Sarah, our new Aunty.  Sarah is Aunty Joy's daughter and has moved down out of her village to work for us.  She has the best teacher and is proving to have the same work ethics as her mother.




We would like to you meet James, our new guard.  James came from Lira, a town close to the Sudanese border.  He has a wife and a new born baby but he had no chance for work there so he moved to Jinja in hopes that his wife will be able to follow one day.  He teaches English and also teaches the Bible which makes him a huge asset for us.





James has a gentle way with our children.  They listen to him and learn quickly.  The best part is when they actually understand it and can explain to the child who doesn't.  It will be interesting to watch their grades improve and more exciting....for us to communicate in English together.



It's birthday time...a party for everyone.  Thank you Northview for our two ovens because yes, the girls spent the morning baking banana bread and chocolate cakes.  Jaaja spent the afternoon cleaning up.....😊   The other children blew up the balloons and decorated the grass hut with streamers.




As tradition calls.....the water fights start.  




Uncle Edwin was there to cut the cakes to be sure there was enough for everyone.  I must tell you this was a very exciting time as some of these kids had never had cake before.  To get anything sweet is a dream come true for the new children.




Edwin is in charge of washing the floors.  I can't bend like this or might get stuck in that position.  Because of no rain since June 2016, the red dirt still manages to come through the cracks in the windows and everything must be cleaned daily.




This is what I call a real "Blessing" 




Can you imagine kids being so happy doing their chores every morning?




Meet the family, except little Jimmy who was at his brother's funeral in the village.
Derrick passed away in his village due to unknown causes.  That's probably because there are no doctors or medicine there and no one knew what was wrong with him.    R.I.P  Derrick


Thanks again to so many of you who have helped raise these children, put them through school and provided their medical needs.  Thank you also for donating the gift of "Life" to so many people in our community.  We have started drilling the first bore hole and will continue on to the second when that one is finished.  I am hoping to be able to share all this with you in pictures and video.

God bless you all







Wednesday, February 1, 2017

The Gift of Water

How do we respond to those at risk?  What do we do to make a life changing difference to people that are suffering?  One of the things we do in Uganda is look after the widows and orphans in their distress and that's exactly what you've all done to help us by answering our plea for clean water.

You did it....You raised $13,000.00 to drill a bore hole for water in a community that were suffering beyond what you could ever imagine.  How do I know this?....I was there and witnessed the death and suffering of so many due to what we take for granted..... water.

For 15 years this community had been promised to have clean water, but that promise was never fulfilled.  I saw dead chickens, pigs and dogs thrown into the water and watched these wonderful people have to drink and cook with it.  This water is filthy but when the rains come, it will turn black and be full of typhoid and cholera.

Edwin and the community leaders held a meeting with the people before Sunday church.  No one had been informed about this bore hole so it was a complete shock to everyone.  They sang and danced until it was time to discuss business.  Edwin and the officials appointed a treasurer, chairman, and security guard to protect the bore hole from children, animals and provide daily cleanliness.  The management will raise funds from the community members for making repairs in the future with each family paying UGX 500 shillings, equivalent to $2.50.

They had given up hope until today but their faith has been restored as you can see in the video below.  We are all so grateful to you for providing this water.  The drilling will start next week and I'll be sure to keep you all updated.

As you know, I have always had this dream to do something about "Kids helping Kids"?
This is just another example of two young boys donating the money out of their piggy banks for the children in Uganda so they will have clean water.  This is about nurturing our children in Love and Grace.



 Kids helping Kids










Thanks to all of you that donated to help these people in our community get clean water.  It was a real eye opener to this Canadian grandma and I must tell you.....I am so proud of all of you for caring.
You may not realize it, but you saved many lives.  We just found out tonight that the media will
be arriving to film the beginning of the drilling process.  They want to share with Uganda about the people in Canada who cared about them enough to provide this gift.










Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Death is Preventable

I came back to Canada with a new appreciation for the country I was born and raised in.  

In the past,  I had travelled to our Home of Angels at least a couple of times a year, but this time was different.  I saw people struggling in a way I had never witnessed before.  Not only was there no rain, the crops were dead and the swamps had dried up.  By the time I left to return home, the level of water was so low that the town of Jinja had to turn it off.  

Many are dying daily.  Last week Edwin and I had 6 personal friends pass.

I know I don't have time to bake enough banana bread to cover the cost of this well, so Edwin and I are asking for help.  If any of you could find it in your heart to donate whatever you can, we would be so grateful.  You will help save the lives of the poorest of the poor... our neighbours.

We have set up an account on Go Fund Me in hopes of raising enough money to drill a bore hole.  Please go to the following link.

https://www.gofundme.com/emergency-water-well


Thank you for taking the time to read this.

Barb and Edwin

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Turning Desperation Into Hope

These are sobering times we live in today and the cries for help are frequently inaudible.  Here in Jinja, we are witnessing severe draught causing famine with many deaths weekly.  The suffering is not only severe in our community but around the world.  What can we do when our backs are up against the wall and we have no where to turn when in trouble?  Can we call on God?  Yes, we can and that is what we are all presently doing.....calling on our Father to watch over and help the suffering.

As I write this, we have just had information that Derrick, one of our children has passed away.  We had a request that he spend Christmas with his dying Grandmother in their village one hour away.  She passed Boxing Day.  Jimmy, his brother returned but Derrick became ill and was unable to be moved.  Causes are unknown but we know that little Derrick has gone to be with Jesus.  It's a sad day at Home of Angels.

Water is becoming a severe problem.  The city of Jinja is currently providing water at a cost to the people around us but once the water levels go down, they will also turn it off and everyone will suffer.  We have been blessed with water at our home but the crisis we have on our hands is trying to help the others that will have none.  Desperation leads to panic and we will have a stampede on our hands if we open our well to them.  It's a helpless feeling.

Even though situations might be difficult at the moment, we wanted to show you the amazing Christmas we had celebrating the birth of Jesus.  This part of the blog was the "Hope" side of the story and we want to share it with you all.




Due to famine, we watched 3 different groups of children climb the same tree in hopes of finding a mango to eat.  A few lucked out with mangos infected with bugs and others went home with nothing.  It broke our hearts to see the disappointment so Edwin and I gave a few shillings to purchase a chapati instead.  I will never forget how they skipped home with such excitement.




Our Christmas tree was a little different than ours would be in Canada but the decorating was just as fun.  We had no tree so Paul cut down some branches and put them into a pot.  We had no decorations so the children learned to string popcorn and make hand made chains.  There was a lot of laughter and excitement in the grass hut that day.




The Gleaner's soup is now known as a delicacy here at our Home of Angels.  It's all in the love of preparing it with everyone in the family participating.  Not sure how I was chosen to cut the 5 kilos of onions but I didn't shed a tear.  Good training Elaine!




A surprise visitor from the community arrived before the dinner was cooked and donated 10 kilos of meat.  Brady, a Muslim and Chairman of the Youth in our community was very proud that he could partake in our Christmas party.




Thank you Lottie for donating the soda for the Christmas dinner.  It always is the highlight as these children would never have the opportunity of having such a wonderful treat.




This little fellow melted my heart.  He came up to Aunty Joy after he was finished and thanked her for cooking a meal for him.  She was very moved because he was one of the really hungry children in the neighbourhood.




Our Aunty Joy really deserves this oven.  She ended up cooking the entire Christmas meal without outside help and did an amazing job.  We are blessed to have this wonderful woman taking care of the children.  She loves them as her own.





The goats in Malindi village are doing well and the tribe is up to 208 in number.  Thanks again to Thomas for donating the funds for purchasing them and patiently waiting for a picture.  It hasn't been easy getting to the village through the dust.




Meet Juliet, the proud receiver of a sewing machine and Bible.  Juliet was one of the women that lost her livelihood in the market fire.  With 8 children to feed, she has been blessed by a thoughtful donor to receive this gift and very grateful for it.



The children going to church on Christmas day


We's like to show you a short video of our new little ones learning English.  You will be amazed.  The teacher is 4 years old.




Thanks to all of you who supported us through 2016 and made it possible to grow the way we have.

May God bless you all and your families with good health and happiness in the New Year 2017.













Sunday, December 18, 2016

Merry Christmas from Uganda

Christmas time is almost upon us and we hope that you're all preparing your hearts for the amazing gift of Christ's birth and all that it means.  Whether we celebrate in a country blessed with everything or in an impoverished nation, we must never forget that we have received a priceless gift and remember all that He has done for us.

2016 has been a very productive year and we couldn't have done it without all of you.  We currently have over 200 goats being raised in Malindi village, 280 chickens, 200,000 conifer seedlings ready to be transplanted on a donated 40 acres of land and 26 beautiful children adjusting to life as a real family.

Thank you for changing lives from so far away by sponsoring a child or by donating towards projects to be completed.  Six new little ones have arrived and yes, there is still trauma involved but we can see the healing already taking place.

These pictures will give you some idea how happy they all are.





Leaving for Sunday school




Just to give you an idea of what's happening at our Home of Angels, we were donated 40 acres of land on which to plant 200,000 conifer seedlings supplied by the government.  Since all our crops had died due to no rain, we now have the land to start these seedlings.  Edwin, James and Paul went to work planting while the children water them daily.  It won't be long before we can take them to the village for transplanting.  In the future will have a forest of trees to sell to help with our operating costs.





1 month later




Sam and Ivan are in charge of making sure the little boys are washed every evening.  They're teaching them life skills at their young ages and also to help the Aunties with the work load   





Washing the soap off with a good excuse to have some fun at the same time.





We have had a compassionate donor come into the lives of the people suffering in our community.  As I told you in the previous blog, we had a fire that destroyed 2,700 people's livelihoods.  Many of them were seamstresses.  This donor wanted to help by replacing some of the machines lost.  We have had the privilege of presenting these gifts quietly within our compound to the most needy in the community.  With each machine, a Bible is given in their Luganda language and that's when we see the big tears.  They all know that God is behind this great gift and He's using simple people like ourselves to distribute them.




It's the culture to present a chicken when showing gratitude to someone.  This rooster was originally Jessica's Christmas dinner but she thought it was more important to say thank you to her donor instead.  






The Aunties are getting a new stove inside the cookhouse.  It will have complete ventilation and be fuelled only by wood.  They won't have to stand outside in the rain to cook anymore and the food will stay warm for a longer period of time.




Every year we have one big birthday party.  This year the entire party was arranged by the children, right down to forming an organizing committee.  Mariam and Joanne baked 4 large cakes and frosted them, the little people cleaned the grass hut and the other children blew balloons and decorated. Before the singing, tradition calls for everyone to be sprayed with water. 



The biggest present of all.......chocolate cake
   


All of us here at Home of Angels would like to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and thank you for continuing to pray for us here in this unbelievable heat with very little rain since June.  For the first time in my life I'm personally watching the full effect of famine on these people and it's a helpless feeling not being able to help them.  To watch a small child climb a huge mango tree in hopes of finding just one mango to eat breaks my heart, but I know it's the reality of famine.  We would be so happy if you would pray for rain with us.