• Araphat's Story - A Street Boy from Uganda
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    uganda {araphat’s story}

    Araphat’s mom couldn’t afford to feed both him and his sister so he decided to go live on the streets of Kabale so that his sister could eat. He was only 7 years old.

    This boy is smart -he was often used as a translator at Humura and all his English he picked up on the street. It makes me wonder what his life would be like if he had been born here instead.

    Here’s his story:

     

    Linking up with Titus2Minutes.

  • Gilver's Story - A Street Boy from Uganda
    TRAVEL

    uganda {gilver}

    Child sponsorship has been a part of my life for years. When I was younger my parents sponsored a girl from Bangladesh through World Vision. Then after I graduated from high school I sponsored two kids through Compassion (a boy from the Dominican Republic and a girl from Indonesia). And a few months ago we started to sponsor a boy from Uganda through Victory Community Care Services -Gilver.

    While in Uganda we heard Gilver’s story and I wanted to share it with you: He was caught stealing at a young age so his dad decided to beat him. Not only that, but he got everyone in their village to join in on the beating. One of the other boys that lives at Humura, his name is Araphat, is from the same village and said he was there when this happened to Gilver, and that they had beat him pretty bad. After this Gilver ran away to live on the streets.

    Araphat and Gilver are about the same age and I know that Araphat left for the streets around the age of 7 so I would have to guess that this happened to Gilver some time before that. I know some 7-year olds here and I can’t imagine any of them surviving on the street at that age, and yet this is so common in Uganda.

    One thing that Gilver said to us is that he wants to learn to read and write -I am so glad that is happening for him now.

    Apparently he actually likes washing clothes?!? I can’t say that for too many teenage boys!

    Rae & Gilver:

    He had this awesome pair of sunglasses with both the lenses popped out (lost them somehow), he thought they were so cool. 🙂 Wish I would have gotten a photo of it.

    Always smiling . . . (oh, and the guy on the right of photo is Araphat -he’s got an incredible story I’ve got to share yet)

    with love,
    Chantel

    P.S. They are hoping to open up the other home at Humura soon so that means more boys will need sponsors -if you are interested in sponsoring a boy let me know and I can get you some information!

  • Akanyijuka - School for Orphaned Children in Uganda
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    uganda {akanyijuka}

    The word “Akanyijuka” (pronounced ahh-can-jew-kah) is Ruchiga and means He remembered me. I absolutely love that meaning. Akanyijuka Children’s Home is a home in Bubaare, Uganda (pronounced boo-ball-eh, or if you are from the UK boo-bar-eh, which actually makes more sense based on the spelling but in Uganda their r’s and l’s are all messed up). Akanyijuka was opened up in 2007 and now has about 50 orphans and 6 house mothers. If I remember correctly they take kids in as young as 3 up to 8 or 9 years old but then I believe they can stay there indefinitely.

    Akanyijuka is another division of Victory Community Care Services (I hear the website is almost ready to go live, I’ll update once it does with a link, it’s live! Check it out here!), they are in partnership with Destinations, a ministry based out of Australia.

    We were never able to go into the Akanyijuka homes but we were able to see the kids in school a number of times. Since there are so many kids from the home they have built their own school, the boys from Humura attend here as well.

    The school is currently running out of temporary wooden buildings that you can see in the photo below, at the bottom of the photo you can kind of see some digging that has been done, that is for the permanent, two-story school they are hoping to build. I believe it has actually been like that for some time now but they are waiting for all the funding before they build the school.

    Break time and I guess everyone had to use the outhouse at once:

    Recess:

    This little cutie pops up in so many of my photos (something I didn’t notice until I got home), I was joking to Jared that it’s kind of like Where’s Waldo, except it’s Where’s Sam and instead of looking for the red and white hat you just look for this huge smile. I totally would have taken him home with me if I could have. The last Sunday that we were there, he may have been making paper airplanes in church, which reminded me so much of what Jared would have done at that age (who am I kidding, he still makes them at this age, just not usually during church).

    John, one of the boys from Humura, he always has a smile.

    Where’s Sam? This one is a little hard, but he’s there!

    Where’s Sam, okay, so this one is obvious. This is one of my top 2 favorite photos from the trip (and Jared took both of them).

    Every time we would walk into one of their classes they would all stand up and say: “Welcome to our visitors, we love visitors . . . ” They had this whole long speech which I don’t remember, but it was really sweet.

    The boys from the special class. They are boys from Humura that are older (15 & 16) and so mainly the goal is to get them to be able to read, write and speak English and then enroll them in a vocational school.

    This sweetheart is Gilver, he is the boy that Jared and I sponsor, I’ll do a full post on just him yet. He’s another one of those guys that you just can’t get a bad photo of.

     

    Special class and Jeremiah:

    Where’s Sam?

    Because I’m a teacher I was very interested in how they had their classrooms set up and the limited resources they had to work with:

    Where’s Sam? (He’s such a little poser!)

    Okay, now I have to leave you with one of my favorite videos from the trip, the class in the photo above sang us a song, Sock it to the devil, first of all, very strange title, but I just love their energy. And, not sure if I’ve mentioned this but I totally wanted to take Sam home with me. 🙂

    Linking up here!

    with love,
    Chantel

  • Arnold's Story - A Ugandan Street Boy
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    uganda {arnold’s story}

    One of the things Jared was doing while we were in Uganda was interviewing the boys from Humura. Hearing their stories as to why they went on the street, what the street was like and what it is like to be living in a home now. Each boy has a story, this is Arnold’s.

  • Humura - Home for Ugandan Street Boys
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    uganda {humura – part one}

    The ministry we went to help out with in Uganda was Humura Homes, which is under Victory Community Care Services.

    On November 5, 2011 two homes were opened in Bubaare, Uganda. They were created for teen boys who were living on the streets of Kabale as place to live, go to school and most importantly, learn about Jesus. These boys were on the streets for a variety of different reasons, I will be sharing many of their stories over the next few weeks.

    The homes were nameless until a couple of days after we arrived. Pastor Edward came over to Tyler and Michelle’s house one evening and started going over words in Ruchiga (the local language) with good meanings. He came up with Humura which means lifted up and dusted off, which is exactly what has been done for these boys and really, what Jesus has done for all of us.

    Humura is currently running with 14 boys and two house parents. They have two duplexes, one is being used for the homes and the other one is being used for a school and library. Once they have the boys settled they plan on bringing more boys in, they have room for up to 32.

    This one is currently used for the homes:

    And this one is the school & library:

    As of right now most of the boys are attending school with the children from the Akanyijuka homes (more on that to come) but there were a couple of the boys that were being taught at the home because they had been caught smoking marijuana too many times and there was a fear that if they were to go to school they would just run to town and get in trouble instead.

    The funny thing is, these boys would play with Raeca and were so nice to us, it was almost hard to imagine the lives they came from.

    The view looking out into the valley from Humura, just a glimpse into the beauty of Uganda:

    with love,
    Chantel

  • TRAVEL

    uganda {victory community care services}

    I think the best place to start when talking about our trip is the organization we worked with, Victory Community Care Services (website to come as soon as Jared has it up and running). Victory Community Care Services is a non-profit organization based out of Kabale, Uganda and was started by Pastor Edward -an amazing man of God that reminded me so much of my own father, if they ever met they would be great friends.

    The goal of VCCS is:

    To further provide Christ centered services for the relief of poverty, sickness, suffering, distress, misfortune, destitution particularly with both vulnerable children and youth, working proactively and collaboratively with all stakeholders to enhance the physical, social, emotional and spiritual well-being of people.

    VCCS aim to further impact and improve the status of those living in poverty through income generating activities and social development activities. Income generating activities therefore, are not an end in itself, but a means to achieve the overall goal of improving the status of the impoverished. This implies that the project supports those income generating activities which contribute considerably to improving sustainable socio economic outcomes within the communities.

    Victory works in the community in a couple of different ways, they run a home and school called Akanyijuka for orphans (more on that later), a home for boys that used to live on the street called Humura (lots more on this to come), loans for people who need vocational training, they are in the process of starting up community gardens and also have visions of opening up a Christian leadership college.

    It really is a great organization and God is doing so many wonderful things through it.

    And just some random snapshots from the drive from Entebbe down to Kabale, like a highway worker catching a nap:

    Chickens tied to a trunk:

    with love,
    Chantel

  • TRAVEL

    uganda {some stats}

    One of the first thing that hit me about Uganda were all the people. They are everywhere. People walking, people on bicycles, people on motorbikes, people standing outside their shops, people selling things, people sitting around . . .

    Uganda is 1/3 of the size of Saskatchewan and yet the population is 34 million (with Saskatchewan coming in with a measly 1 million). Out of that 34 million 2.5 million are orphans.

    One in every ten children in Uganda will die before their 5th birthday.

    35% of Ugandans live below the poverty line ($1.25 US per day). I think the bears repeating: 35% of people in Uganda live on less than $1.25 a day. And that number is rising.

    While we were there I was reminded of how rich I am, I can’t even begin to comprehend the struggle many people go through each and every day. It made me think of this print, it really puts things into perspective:

    source

    I am rich. Because of this fact God wants requires more from me.

    Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required.
    Luke 12:48 

    with love,
    Chantel

  • TRAVEL

    our itinerary – ebb->yxe

    Well, we’ve made it back to Entebbe Airport Guest House. We just said goodbye to Tyler and Edward. It is very humid in Entebbe.

    I think it is going to take me a few days to process our whole trip and then I will start blogging about it. Here is our itinerary for the way home (in Saskatchewan time):

    Thursday, February 23 – Friday, February 24

    1) Leaving Entebbe at 2:59pm (midnight Uganda time) and arriving in Brussels at 11:20pm.
    2) Leaving Brussels at 1:25am and arriving in Frankfurt at 2:35am.
    3) Leaving Frankfurt at 6:45am and arriving in Calgary at 4:35pm.
    4) Leaving Calgary at 7:05pm and arriving in Saskatoon at 8:14pm on Friday, February 24.

    Approximately 28 hours travel time, not counting arriving at the airport two hours early.

    We’ll see if that goes according to plan. Once again, you can follow us along via twitter.

    We would love your prayers.

    with love,
    Chantel

    P.S. Tomorrow is the first day of Lent, what are you giving up?

  • TRAVEL

    Uganda {February 3-6}

    Well, our flights went pretty much according to plan, we had a couple of delays but only ended up being 2 hours later than expected -not too bad considering all the travel. We did make a couple more stops than expected, after Toronto we stopped in at Montreal and after Brussels we stopped in at Kigali, Rwanda.

    Raeca did really well with the flying, better than I ever expected. Within five minutes of taking off on the first flight she was asleep. She slept for about an hour from Saskatoon-Toronto and then 3 hours from Montreal to Brussels, 2-3 hours from Brussels to Kigali and then the whole 35 minute flight from Kigali to Entebbe.

    We arrived safely in Entebbe at 1:10am local time on Sunday (which would have been 4:10pm on Saturday in Saskatchewan). As soon as we stepped of the plane we were welcomed by heat and humidity -it reminded me so much of stepping off the plane in Grenada.

    Once we got our visitors visas we were greeted by Tyler who brought us to a hotel for the night. Despite being really tired we didn’t get a whole lot of sleep, maybe because Raeca refused to sleep in the playpen and so she ‘slept’ with us -more like poked, jabbed and flailed.

    On Sunday we switched hotels in the morning and went to Nicky’s Pizza for lunch. The pizza was baked in the fire -so delicious.

    In the afternoon we went to a pool for a little while. Raeca decided she wasn’t very daring and Jared ended up getting more wet than she did.

    For supper the hotel made a huge meal on an open fire and we ate at tables outside. After we were done eating we put the kids to bed and stayed out at the tables talking, and the staff brought out lanterns for light.

    Monday morning we had breakfast at the hotel (banana pancakes for me and Rae), loaded up the car and began the drive down to Kabale. The roads/traffic here are incredible. The roads are so narrow with so many people, cars, bikes, motorbikes, taxis, cows, etc and they have no traffic lights, you just go when you can and honk if someone is in your way.

    For lunch we stopped at Igongo Cultural Centre in Mbarara -our total bill was 66,500 shillings, the currency here has me so confused.

    We arrived at Tyler and Michelle’s house in Kabale at about 6:00pm.

    It looks like my pictures might be too big to share without waiting forever so I will try to take some more with my phone that I can use.

    with love,
    Chantel

  • TRAVEL

    our itinerary – yxe->ebb

    I have been researching ways to keep a toddler entertained for weeks and now that the big day is almost here I hope I am prepared.

    I wanted to share our flight schedule on here for those interested, I guess only time will tell if things actually go according to plan. I am hoping to post a few updates via twitter as we hop along from airport to airport so if you want to check those out you can do that here.

    I have converted all times into Saskatchewan time unless otherwise specified (-6:00 CST for those not in SK).

    Friday, February 3 – Saturday, February 4

    1) Leave Saskatoon at 11:35am and arrive in Toronto at 2:46pm.
    2) Leave Toronto at 4:00pm and arrive in Brussels at 1:45am.
    3) Leave Brussels at 3:50am and arrive in Entebbe at 1:55pm, which will be 10:55pm there in Uganda on Saturday, February 4.

    Total time is about 26 hours, not including the fact that we need to arrive at the airport 2 hours early.

    Once in Entebbe I believe we will be staying in a hotel for 2 days and then taking the 8 hour drive to Kabale.

    I hope to have a couple of blog posts while we are in Uganda so feel free to check back here or if you would like to get an email when there is a new blog post you can enter your email address on the left side where it says subscribe.

    We would appreciate your prayers over the next few weeks!

    with love,
    Chantel 

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