I’m back from Uganda – Early!

I ended up having to return from Uganda early due to some pressing business issues (not Ten Eighteen). That was really a bummer… I hated missing the visit to Jinja, Bukaleba, and the party yesterday at Ray of Hope. Fortunately my son is still there, so he’s carried out Ten Eighteen’s commitments and done a great job.

While I was there, I had a great time and great visits with many of our ladies. The weather was great — not nearly as hot as the February visit, thank goodness! — and we had many great conversations in the community. Here are some of the highlights, followed by photos of the party at Ray of Hope.

*  LAULA. We helped Laula’s mother last visit with a micro-business grant for selling chapati and cooked goods. She did pretty well until she had Laula, who was born with a club foot. Since then, she’s traveled around the vicinity, looking for a hospital that would perform the surgery. One in Mukono said they would do it free, but the wait was at least until January. With this type of surgery, the earlier you do the procedure, the better the outcome, so she was hoping for something sooner. Entebbe Hospital could do it quickly, but the cost was 100,000 shillings, out of her reach. We were able to leave the fee for the procedure, plus money for transport and food for the family during the three weeks they’d be in hospital, and are eagerly anticipating the good news of a successful surgery.

I had to adjust the exposure so Laula's foot was visible in the dim light.

I had to adjust the exposure so Laula’s foot was visible in the dim light.

* OLIVER. Last visit, we gave a grant to a hard-working woman named Oliver. She has a business selling scrap, and was doing okay — well enough to have a small stall — but she wasn’t making enough for a decent home. She was renting a place that was quite literally over the sewer ditch, and it was terribly hot and dark on top of the smell and health hazards. With a grant, she expanded her stock and has now been able to purchase land and a house not very far from her business. She is so, so happy! And the house is two large rooms, with a barred glass door and plastered walls. Amazing!

IMG_9702

* ROSE. Rose is new to Ray of Hope, but what a lovely spirit she has! It is now rainy season in Kampala, and the Sunday I got there saw torrential rains. Rose and her family had been living in the lower side of Namuwongo, where the buildings all flood with rain water, sewage, and other terrible filth. We saw Rose on Monday; on Sunday she’d moved to a new home because the waters had gotten so high inside her former one, and it was making them all sick (not to mention that their belongings were flooded). That had taken the capital she had for her maize-roasting business, plus she’d borrowed more. (In the slums, you have to pay at least three months rent in advance, which can be 120,000 or more — a ton of money for these families!) After our visit, I left the money for capital for her with Ray of Hope, and we ended up delivering it to her the following day. She was ecstatic!

IMG_9727

We didn’t have the funds this trip to do more grants, but we visited new and old friends and saw how well they are doing. Sometimes, it’s just about relationship, and that’s more than enough!

IMG_9695 IMG_9703 IMG_9730 IMG_9732 IMG_9740

My son did the Jinja trip, and spent the night at the babies home in Bukaleba. He has always loved it there, and has such a heart for the kids. These two are among our sponsored children. Marvin, on the left, is more than twice as old as Matthew, but was severely malnourished as a baby and has struggled with developmental delays and illnesses. He’s doing really well now, though, for which we are so thankful! Matthew was found in a trash can on the day of his birth, covered with trash to make him invisible. He weighed about 5lb. We were in Jinja that day, and another newborn, Jacob, was also found, abandoned in the market. He’s doing well, but he’s a very solemn little guy!

Zeke with Marvin and Matthew

Yesterday was the Ray of Hope/Project Friendship party. Pictures are starting to trickle in, so I’ll share the few I have so far. My son said the party went really well, and several of the young men that we sponsor who chat with me on Facebook have already let me know how much fun it was. I HATED to miss it!!

Aisha ROH party Emily Agnes ROH party Caroline Doreen ROH party little ones ROH party Edmond Francis ROH party Christine ROH party Keren ROH party Zeke at ROH party Edmond birthday ROH party

I’ll have some more pictures of the party, at least when my son gets home. A photographer friend was there and took tons of photos. I can’t wait to see them!

So that’s the trip! If you would like to contribute to Ten Eighteen by becoming a sponsor or making a one-time gift, please go to our GoFundMe site. We would love to have you partner with us!

What’s happening in Kampala these days

My son has been in Uganda for about three weeks now. On Saturdays, he and a friend have been going down to Ray of Hope in Namuwongo and hanging out with the kids there. They’ve been having a great time, and I’ve had several Facebook messages from kids who have spent time with him. I leave on Thursday and will arrive Friday night (UG time, afternoon US time). I hope to be able to post – there has been internet most of the time he’s been there, which is amazing! If not, I’ll catch you up when I get back.

Edmond! Love this guy!

zeke basketball 4 Zeke basketball ROH 3 zeke basketball ROH 2 zeke basketball ROH Haven boys game

ROH gate 3 ROH gate Haven and Edmond

View from the balcony out over the slums

View from the balcony out over the slums

View from the balcony at Ray of Hope

View from the balcony at Ray of Hope

Zeke at ROH 2