Uganda Here We Come

We leave with a team of nine for Uganda in just over 2 weeks and I wanted to remind everyone of a few remaining needs we have. But first off, a little about this trip:

We will be leaving August 18th for Uganda and arrive in Entebbe on the 19th before traveling through Kampala and up the treacherous roads to Bukedea. Read more about the team traveling with us in August


Bukedea is a small rural town that serves as a cattle trading point for local villages in eastern Uganda. The CarePoint there serves well over 250 kids. We will spend 4 days at the Bukedea CarePoint with our primary aim being documentation of the 80-something kids that still need sponsors. We hope to bring back some really good video and stories of the kids to help make things real for the current sponsors and also to help find new ones for the kids that are waiting.

When you spend any amount of time with these kids, getting to know their backgrounds, visiting their homes etc, you realize the dire reality of their circumstances. We have been exposed to a lot of “reality” in the last few years, but we are always reminded of just how much these kids need our support when we learn more about their lives.

Our 4 days in Bukedea will also allow us plenty of time to get out into the local villages (where the kids live) and visit their homes. Most live with some distant relative or a grandmother. The kids who do still have living parents mostly have one, and an alarming number of those are HIV+. Bukedea was a large military camp during the war with the LRA (Lords Resistance Army) and the Ugandan soldiers would rape the local woman or exchange food for sex during the war, leaving unusually high levels of HIV – even for this area. Also, many of the fathers from that area were killed in the war. Bukedea was a hard hit community.

Levi & his Grandmother who labors for around $1.50 a week

Our “home visits” are always moving, and it is a great honor for the kids to have us visit their humble homes. It’s sad to even say it, but our visits ensure that the kids are treated better by their caretakers because they see that the child is cared for by Mzungus (white men) and therefore worth their care – what little they can afford the kids. Its quite sad to see how some of the orphaned kids are treated by the family members who take them in, but it is also quite a joy to visit their homes and see the pride on their faces as they announce that we wanted to come to their home. Its a great honor, and quite frankly one of the most humbling experiences of my life.

A few other items on the Bukedea Agenda

  • Celebrate the newly dug well on the CarePoint (thanks to your generous donations for our Noel NoWell campaign last winter). 
  • Hopefully we can bring back a lot of great stories, photos and videos of your sponsored kiddos. 
  • Obviously lots of fun and games with the kids
  • Jess, our nurse team mate will hopefully be able to administer some basic care to kids who have need – this being her second trip to the CarePoints and getting more familiar with the type of care issues they face
  • And we are eager to catch up on Alex who has been in and out of hospital for his bladder issue as well as some of the other folks we were able to help, like Levi’s grandmother who we were able to provide a brand new home (for around $150). Check out the Blog – Smelly, Rejected and Ashamed to learn more about Alex and Levi’s grandmother. 

Our goodbyes are always difficult, but we will be excited to move on to Ogoloi after 4 days in Bukedea.


The small huts that are scattered around the village

The small village of Ogoloi is literally in the middle of nowhere. The 45 minute van drive along bumpy dirt roads (bumpy even for Uganda) and then another 10 minutes of driving through the bush leads us each day into a tiny world all of its own. Ogoloi is nothing more than several dozen groupings of mud huts spread over a few square miles and a mud walled-straw roofed church building that serves as our CarePoint for around 130 kids.

Ogoloi is my home away from home, and having spent the most time there I am absolutely thrilled to get back and see the kids. Especially my 4 boys – Paul, Nathan, Geoffrey and Paul who led me on so many wild excursions and adventures on our last trip in December 2011. Check out the video of the boys leading me into the wilderness here

Paul, Nathan, Geoffrey and Paul – My Boys

Our time in Ogoloi will be similar to our time in Bukedea.

  • Lots of play with the kids. 
  • No doubt an all day African style church celebration service (which I will fight furiously not to preach at, but ultimately will have to succumb to – these guys are unrelenting)
  • Lots of documentation of the more than 120 sponsored kids so that we can bring you back stories of your children, their health and progress along with video and pics. 
  • Home visits to spend time in the community and getting to know the care givers for the orphans – can’t overstate the impact that these visits have on the caregivers perspective on the kids.
In addition, a large objective we have for Ogoloi is the construction of our CarePoint buildings and facilities. We have learned that purchasing the surrounding land is looking like a poor option (uncooperative neighbors have learned that Mzungu money may be involved). So we are instead looking at the option of constructing cheaper and more versatile facilities on the current church site as an alternative. We will spend a lot of time with the local community leaders and CarePoint staff brainstorming plans for this development. 
After 8 days on site at the CarePoints we will officially be spent. Its all day action in the African heat surrounded by hundreds of attention and affection starved kids. I can’t wait. 

How you can help…

There are a few ways that you can help us support and love these kids. Please consider getting involved in any of these ways before we leave: 
Sponsor a Child

We still desperately need sponsors for the remaining 86 kids in Bukedea. You can check out profiles of kids at the Bukedea CarePoint Community Page. Your monthly sponsorship of $34 is tax deductible, and goes directly to the Bukedea CarePoint with absolutely minimal admin overhead to Children’s HopeChest. 
Help us by Sharing
Please consider sharing our Blog – Ramblings of an Alien and keeping up with the daily updates we will be providing while we are on the ground in Uganda. You can also join and share our Facebook Page 
Photos for your Kid
We are asking sponsors of kids to please please please send us photos of you or your family that we can provide the kids. These gifts were absolutely treasured last December and we want desperately to be able to give each and every kid a picture of their sponsors. It means the world to them – seriously. you can email pics to us and we will gladly print them or mail them to us at 12603 Ridgemont Drive, Urbandale IA 50323. 
Donations for Ateso Bibles and Books
We are working to raise enough money to buy bibles in the local language (Ateso) for the kids once on the ground. They are hard to come by but we can make arrangements if we have the funds (as usual all things have a price). We need about $2,000 to be able to provide enough for both Bukedea and Ogoloi so if you know of anyone who might be willing to chip in to this cause please let us know. We will gladly answer any questions you may have about how we plan to get this done. 
Special Needs
And, we could use any donations you would be willing to entrust to us for special needs we encounter once on the ground. Last year these funds were used to help get Alex to the hospital for surgery and to buy some mattresses for some of the kids with the worst living arrangements. The money was also used to buy mosquito nets and school shoes for the kids. Any donation will help, but this money is not tax deductible. We are simply taking extra cash to help with immediate dire needs. If you would like to help us with this please either mail a check to me (Dylan de Bruin) or contact Jen or I if you have questions. I dont usually ask for help on stuff like this but I am rapidly learning to be more humble and just ask openly 🙂
We sincerely appreciate and are deeply grateful for all of your support so far in loving these forgotten and abandoned kids. If you would like to join us to visit the CarePoints, we will be traveling to the region again in January of next year (2013 – just around the corner) with a team of around 14. We would love to have you join us. 
Contact us with questions:
Jen 515 291-1897 
Dylan 515 291-1006 
I leave you with this video, the heart behind our labor for these kids. 
Thanks again

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