Doing Justice and Loving Mercy
Last Christmas, we had worked to raise funds for two critical needs that we encountered when we were last on the ground in Uganda. The outpouring from our sponsors, friends and family was overwhelming and we were able to successfully raise the funds needed to make a huge change in the lives of two families. One of those was this gorgeous family. (Read the story behind Peter Pan Here)
Samuel (Peter Pan) is on the right, and his little brother Richard, and Sister Immaculate is on the left. If you recall, the young girl (Age 10) was caring for her two brothers and their dying mother and they had been kicked out of each of their last two homes by relatives, leaving them in an incredibly vulnerable situation.
We are excited to let everyone know that there has been terrific progress in our efforts to support this family. This picture (above) was taken on the 2.5 acre parcel of land that has been purchased for them, and the construction on their new home is well under way despite being slowed by heavy rains in the area.
The home being constructed is a permanent structure (concrete foundation, brick walls, and tin roof), unlike the mud and straw huts that the vast majority of the families in the area reside in. Although this was a more costly option, it will ensure that the children have a secure place to call home for many years without the concern of having to replace the straw roof or mud on the walls in a few seasons.
The 2 acre parcel allowed for a small kitchen (basically just a small outbuilding where the cooking is done over a fire-pit) as well as a pit latrine. The kitchen is pictured below.
I cannot begin to explain the impact that this gesture of generosity is having on the local community, who has been aware of the escalating and worsening situation for these kids. They have been watching as each of the extended family members have kicked these kids (and their dying mother) out of their homes – as burdens to be avoided, rather than people to be loved. They have watched as the situation deteriorated, and have watched the hope drain from this family one day at a time. But today, they are watching with amazement as the CarePoint has rallied behind the lowest of the low in the community, and has provided them the chance of a future, and a chance at life. For those of you that have met this family, you can appreciate the absolute joy we feel in knowing that they have been provided a second chance at life.
Although mom is still alive at this time, the last news we received was that she was bed ridden and still worsening. This battle is not over, and we will be eager to work with the CarePoint staff and community leaders when we are back on the ground in August to discuss how the community can help. Immaculate (10 years old) has been playing mom to these boys for a long time, and we hope to be able to let her have her childhood back soon. Although the journey ahead for this family is still going to be difficult, it is comforting to know that they will have some peace knowing they have a safe place to sleep and some land to sustain themselves.
The second update is regarding the new site for the Ogoloi CarePoint.
You will recall that in January, we finalized the purchase of a piece of land for the Ogoloi CarePoint about 3/4 of a mile from the current site, and immediately next to the school that the majority of the kids attend. This is a huge improvement, allowing the kids to attend the site daily for meals without keeping them from attending school, and allowing the CarePoint to further impact the surrounding community. (You can read about the land purchase here)
Since the purchase, the community has lent it’s help to the CarePoint and its staff, working to clear the land of some serious brush as part of their support and involvement in the project. It is fantastic to see the “ownership role” that they have taken in the CarePoint which is a huge victory for the long term development strategy that we are employing in the region.
Construction (also slightly hampered by rains) has begun and has made terrific progress on the new site. The image to the left is of the Multi Purpose Building that the kids eat and gather in daily and which also houses a small storage room for the food and supplies. The windows are all open, but there is one room with barred windows and a locking metal door. The room is a major need, not only to avoid the African sun for the daily meals, but also for the weekly discipleship classes and ongoing learning that occurs at the Carepoint.
This image is of the kitchen, which is really just a small enclosure in which a small mud oven is constructed for the cooks for work in each day for the meal preparation (around 120 kids are fed from this site each day). There are no appliances or anything to speak of in the “kitchen”, just the large pots and pans and the fires, but it is essential for there to be a covered room for the cooks to work from that is separate from the multi purpose room because of the open fires.
And finally, the pit latrine has been dug and the foundation laid. You can see the bricks being collected for construction of the walls, and when complete the structure will resemble the facilities at the Bukedea CarePoint. Obviously, with up to a couple of hundred children on site each day, it is essential for the site to have toilets. These pit latrines are typically good for up to 10 years before they need to be filled and a new site will need to be dug.
The new CarePoint site for Ogoloi is a game changer, and we will be incredibly excited to return to Ogoloi in August to celebrate with the CarePoint staff and the kids over how God has met their needs through their generous friends and sponsors around the world.
LAZARO, ISAAC, ESTHER AND EUNICE
The final project that we had raised support for in January was for a family that was facing severe threats from their relatives and were in the process of being chased from their land. We had successfully raised enough funds to acquire a small piece of land for this family near the CarePoint and construct a new home for them. (Read about this project here)
Although I don’t have pictures to share at this time, the last updates we received regarding this family is that the land has been purchased and that construction was intended to begin alongside the work being done at the Carepoint. As soon as I get pictures I will post them on the blog and facebook page.
As always, we are deeply grateful for the love and support that all of you have shown these kids through your ongoing sponsorship, as well as your prayers and financial support. For those of you that have traveled with us to visit the kids, you know first hand the impact that this is having both on these otherwise forgotten kids, and on the surrounding community.
For those of you that haven’t….well, you are welcome to join us anytime.
We depart in early August for our next trip, and we are typically on the ground for about 2 weeks every 6 months. In my next blog post (hopefully within a week) I will feature the team travelling with us in just 7 weeks, which consists is my wife, 8 other ladies…my 7 year old son, and I. Bring it on! As always, we will bring back photos and video of all the kids and hope to be able to provide as many of you as possible personal updates on the progress of your kids.
I have been a little slow to blog over the last couple of months because life has been incredibly busy, but we are excited to update everyone on several other exciting developments (shall we say “next chapters”) in our ongoing journey and efforts in Uganda. I can’t wait to fill you all in.
Until then, please consider sponsoring a child (if you don’t already) or another one (if you do).
You can find profiles of the kids at the following links.
Thanks again everyone.
I’ll leave you with this great video from Hope Chest on Micah 6:8. This was the promo video for the fund raising campaign that raised the money to support he projects above. How incredible to know that we are working together to support the “least of these” (Matthew 25)…God’s orphans, widows, and vulnerable children around the world, in response to the great message and hope of the Gospel, and the work of Christ on the cross to give us “life, and life to the fullest” – John 10:10
“And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God”