We had a lot of fun in Kampala, and got to do some new things as a family.
My sweet friend, Natalie, that arranged travel for us one year ago to the Houston airport used to live in Kampala as a journeyman. She returned with some friends to work on a new project they are starting.
Their project is a children's home for kids who are too old to remain in an orphanage. They found a house-mother, and they have six children right now (5 boys and 1 girl). They have room for 25, so they are really excited about the possibilities.
Kylie and Karis went to the home with the team from America to play with the little girl, since she always has boys around. Doug, Caleb, and I met up with them half way through their time when they went to the mall to buy shoes for their school uniforms. They kids were so excited!
Earlier that day, all of us went to an orphanage for children ages birth to 3. We were not allowed to take pictures, so you will just have to use your imagination.
The reason we went to this particular orphanage is because one of the ladies adopted her daughter from there 9 years ago when conditions were less than satisfactory. She wanted to check on the conditions today.
Thankfully, the place was cleaner, nicer, and there was a lot of good stuff going on. Of course, there is always room for improvement.
When we first arrived, I explained to Caleb what an orphanage was, and he looked at me and said, "Are we taking one home?" Natalie, who had heard our conversation, said, "Caleb, that is an appropriate response after hearing what an orphanage is." And how true that is. There are over 2 million orphans in Uganda that need homes.
All of the infants (and there were WAY too many...although, ONE is too many) were in individual cribs, but we were told not to hold them. I didn't understand, but I didn't ask questions.
(As a side note, we heard of a mother who came to the gate and just threw her newborn on the ground and walked away. I had the pleasure of being with that young girl in the three year old room, and she is a delight to be around. I was told that she is one of the blessed ones. Many women who don't want their children, literally throw them in the garbage. Let's not talk about that anymore...)
Doug was sequestered to haul wood after some time with me and Natalie in the 3-year old room, and my three children preferred the 6-9 month old room.
We stayed for about 4 hours and played with the children. We were not allowed to have them sit in our laps or hold them, and that was difficult for all of us. It was explained that you can do those things when they are out in the yard, but when they have designated "class time," they need to act like "students."
After about 3 hours, the children in the room Kylie was in got baths. They lined up about 12 tubs outside on the sidewalk, filled them with water, waited for them to warm up in the sun, and then 12 of the kids had an adult sit with them and bathe them. Kylie loved this. She had a little girl that was her favorite all day, and I was pretty sure she was going to ask to take her home at the end of the day.
It was something my family needed to do, but it was also very heart-breaking to think about these kids without families.
Thankfully, we get to spend every Sunday with these guys.
They are some of the kids at ORA, in the foster care system in Arua, and we love them. (They even have a "Kathryn" and a "Doug" in the group).
Doug and I had a date night while we were in the "big city," and that was so nice. Jan and Lynn, the friends we went on vacation with over Christmas, kept the kids for us. The kids had so much fun, they didn't want us to come home.
Speaking of "big city," here's a little comparison of things between Kampala and Arua. Many similar things can be seen in both places, but there are a few that can't.
Kampala (big-city stuff)
Kampala (kids going through the trash - although we do have this in Arua, too)
Arua (a different kind of "kid" going through trash - although I'll bet Kampala has this, too)
(Check out the pregnant goat!!)
Kampala traffic jam - cars and motorcycles
Arua traffic jam - people and animals
Or...not much traffic at all.
This last snapshot I took last week in Arua. The amount of dust in the air during hot season is amazing.
My mother just thinks she is a bad house keeper because she rarely dusts.
We live with our doors and windows open, so you can imagine the dust problem in our home.
Mom, if you want to feel good about your house-keeping skills, you are free to come for a visit!