Wednesday, February 29, 2012

No warm blankets and junk food...

While cuddling up in my warm blanket (in the safety of my mosquito net) in the early hours of the morning, I can't help my thoughts drift to 20 adorable orphaned children who don't have that luxury  

- just 2+ hours from here - in a rural area outside of Kampala 

(totally out in the boonies).

They live in an unfinished house with gaps between the walls and roof (obviously no ceiling) and no glass in the window openings.

The boy's room (the bed on the left is for the male teacher and his 2 children, each bed is shared by 2 children)

They freeze at night.

I heard them coughing - sick because of it.

Since moving into the house 1 month ago, most of them (including "Mummy Praise") have had malaria as they don't have enough mosquito-nets to cover all the beds.

And the mosquitoes there are fierce!! 

I put on mozzy spray just before arriving and when I left I noticed quite a few 'juicy" bites on me. 
(Obviously, mozzy spray isn't even heard of there.)

Girl's room - shared with the 2 female teachers
living and dining room (if it rains)

Their water for drinking, cooking and washing dishes and clothes comes from a water hole at quite a distance. The children have to carry the water to the home.
The day I was there it had rained and the water was muddy, I was told.

There's no alternative - THAT's IT! Dirty or not, they have to use it!

No wonder they're getting sick.

where food gets prepared
outhouse with future bathing room on right

He as stolen my heart, for sure!!! SUCH a sweetheart!!!

My little prince Joseph that I fell in love with on my last visit (even on this visit, there was a special connection between to 2 of us.... lots of special smiles back and forth in the crowd of kids),
has lost some weight and Praise told me that he is not doing so well
(along with about 5 other kids) - and she doesn't know why.
I suggested worms?
I'm not a medical person, but wouldn't be surprised...

The kids also have jiggers in their feet that Praise has to dig out at a regular basis.

The daily menu?

Runny porridge made with maize flour for breakfast.

Posho (maize-flour and water) and beans for lunch.

That's it for the day!

These kids know hunger, but at least they have a minimum!

A funny little thing that happened:

Praise told me that the children don't like living in the country.
It's hard for them - compared to when they were in the city.

The only thing they like about living there is the "junk-food" (I understood).

I couldn't hide my surprise when I asked Praise to repeat:


NO - JACK FRUIT! These huge fruits that hang from trees.


The biggest challenge, though, is the isolation and lack of transport.

Hauling food there...

Getting sick children to a doctor and to get medicine.

Imagine having sick children and the only option is to make them walk a long distance

or carry them (if you can) - not sure, but maybe 3km (about 2 miles)

until you finally come to a road with cars and motor-cycles passing.

And even then, there are no boda-bodas (motorcycles - the cheapest transport) to take you to a clinic.
You may have to wait in the scorching heat - or the rain - depending on the day, for quite a while for a "taxi" - public transport van.

Once you finally reach a doctor and there's a prescription, you have to somehow get yourself and the sick children from one pharmacy/clinic to the next, because most often, the needed medicine is not even available.


BUT - and here comes a BIG BUT:

The children are joyful and started singing for me from the moment I came out of the car just about until I left a couple hours later. I have lots of videos - sooo precious, but can't upload them now.

These kids are sooo adorable, lovable (except for their muddy feet and legs...haha) - 
no seriously, they are the sweetest children with such tender spirits!( photos coming below)

I know for fact the their FATHER is sooo desiring to tangibly lavish HIS LOVE on these little ones!!!
HE is right there with them - and wants ME and YOU to help give them more than an existence!
Reach out and buy some blankets, mosquito nets, help finish the house, invest into seeds for farming, a cow for milk.


I was expecting to find 17 children with Praise and maybe 1 or 2 helpers.

When we arrived, I was swarmed by kids from everywhere, couldn't count them.

{By the way, Praise now takes care of 20 orphans, not 17 - and she was told by her spiritual parents, mentors and leaders from the "Orphans kNOw More"- network that she cannot take in any more right now}

Anyways, soooooo - I found out that:

Not only did Praise venture out into this half-finished house, but she also built a school!
And made it available to the children of the village, whose parents were MOST THRILLED that FINALLY, there was going to be a school in the village!

I remember her writing a year ago that her dream was to do exactly this:

the school with 3 classrooms - probably wouldn't meet New Zealand building consent...
So now there are 80 kids going to school (since early Feb)!

They showed off everything they knew - their numbers, alphabet, songs and huddled around me, wanting to hold my hand, checking out my funny white, wrinkly skin with freckles, wanting their picture taken and when I started showing them some photos on the camera display, they almost ran over each other to get a good look.
Oops! I quickly made that camera disappear again -  didn't want anybody to get trampled on.
Even in what they call "Baby Class" (4 year olds) the kids know the alphabet and recite it together with the name of the word next to the letter - see that special look on Josephs' face? He was following me closely with his eyes wherever I went

counting to 100 in English (they don't speak English yet)
singing - and singing some more
one of Praise's treasured princesses
These children are getting LOVED, introduced to JESUS and even an education!

All this just because of one crazy courageous woman whose comment,
when I asked her about the school was,

"I had no choice. They have to go to school."

Praise was very tired... she had even built some of the school and house with her own hands.

You can read  here and here about why she moved to the country.
She's a smart, entrepreneurial young lady, besides being a lover of God and a nurturing, loving mother!

Really, this lady is something else!
She's incredible!!!

This is the house she built

here they live - 20 orphans, Praise, 3 teachers and their 3-4 children (can't remember exactly)

Instead of using the rent-money (read the links above to understand) for all the 3 months (Jan-March)
and starting the children in a school where she'd have to pay for all kinds of supplies, uniform etc. just to pull them out again 2 months later,
She used the remaining rent money to buy doors for the house and what she would've used for school to start a school for many.

She borrowed materials for the roof and some other necessities

and then moved them a month ago.

I was able to have a VERY special and wonderful time with Praise - all because of my lost tooth.

But more about that in the next post.

So - watch this space!

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