Monday, February 28, 2011

New Kids Are In

This will be very brief (haven't had power for the last week and still don't), but 14 of the 16 new kids arrived in the village yesterday to much excitement -the others will follow soon. A long day in the bus was spent collecting them, and this was followed by a clean-up and the giving out of new clothes, then a fabulous welcome supper of Rice and Beans, followed by sodas and lollypops.

We prayed for the kids and robert gave one of his great welcome speeches, and the whole of the village sang worship songs and prayed together.

It was one of those really, really, special times.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

The week that was

Despite all of the hype surrounding the presidential elections coming up next Friday, which includes more posters than you can imagine posted on any object in sight that either does or doesn't move, and streams of trucks with music and propaganda blaring travelling past the village, we did get some work done this week.

Around the village, the children have been at school for a couple of weeks now and are well settled in their routine. Rose, Shamina and Ibra started their pre-school this week, so the village was very quiet in the mornings. Once the children come home they have lunch and then get stuck into their homework, so it is very different to holiday time.

On the building front, work started on building that is currently being called Mission House. This is a mzungu style house being built on a block about 1 km down the road, which will house teams when they come over and will possibly generate some income at other times. We will move into it as well, freeing up the admin building to do what it is designed for. So far we have dug the foundations in some very hard ground,and as I write, the workers are laying the bricks that will support the concrete slab floor.

If you are wondering about things you could be praying for the village, please consider the new mothers and children that are to come into the village soon, and also for the release of the container of materials sent from Australia which is held up waiting for a document from the finance ministry here that at the moment is more concerned about the election than us.

Setting out is complete and the digging commences.

Digging done, hard core is put into the trenches.

A sugar cane break (smoko) I'm becoming African!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Why we are here

Today I paid my second visit in a week to a village called Masese III or Kikaramoja. The purpose of the visit was twofold. Firstly it was to take two of the children, Doreen and Grace, back to visit their Grandmother who had been looking after them before they came to Village of Hope. Both of these girls are quiet, and so it was interesting to watch how they would handle the visit. They were very keen to go, but when they arrived they seemed very uncomfortable and took a long time to warm their grandmother. Neither of them were quick to go off in search of old friends either. Both of these things were in stark contrast to last weeks visit when we took some of the other girls, admittedly slightly older girls, to the same place. Eventually Grace and Doreen managed to break through their reticence and away they went and we had to track them down when it was time to go. These visits are an important part of allowing to keep an understanding of their history and relationship with what family they have. We take some photos that they will be able to keep and to share with their families.

The second part of the visit was to confirm the names and ages of some of the children who will form part of the next intake. I found a lady whom I met last week with a little english and she took me off to locate the children in question. They were not immediately to be found, so after waiting for a while, I managed to meet two of them, the youngest two, and then we gave up and returned to where Anne was waiting with Doreen and Grace’s grandmother.

I went off to find Grace and Doreen so that I could take a photo of them with their friends, and was approached by a man. He pleaded with me to look after two more children, not his he assured me, and introduced them and their mother to me. He was concerned that these kids were about to reach school age and had no hope of getting to school if they were to stay in that village. As sad as that sounds that a mother would be prepared to give up her kids to what they see as an orphanage so that they could be educated, that was a clear measure of the despair that pervades this particular village. If we could, we would love to be able to do something for every child, and adult, who live in that place. I was given an article by one of the ladies last week in which the village was described as “the shame of Jinja”.

Just before we were about to leave, a lady arrived with a whole bunch of kids in tow. She turned out to be the lady, possibly an aunt, who was caring for the 5 children in question. These children lost their father to illness and then their mother was electrocuted. The aunt caring for them has three children of her own and is quite young. She has very limited resources to care for her own children, let alone five more. Two of the children had obviously large bellies, the tell tale sign of malnutrition. We managed to get all of their names and ages, and as we returned to the Village of Hope, we felt a new sense of urgency to get everything needed in place to be ready for the next intake of children so that these new kids that we met could come and find some hope in their lives also.

The scary part is that there are many, many children all over Uganda like this, and we can only scratch the surface. But if you can help or contribute in any way, please do so that we can keep scratching.

Doreen and Grace with their 'Jadja' (grandmother)