Bom Dia!

I’m writing from the shores of wow! the Ocean Indien, surrounded by Portuguese speaking people who vary in beautiful and countless shades of skin color, black to olive to white, here in Maputo, the capitol city of Mozambique! Now in the final days of my journey in Africa I prepare to go to Johannesburg, South Africa early next week and fly home to Canada.

I experience a kaleidoscope of emotions, thoughts and feelings these days… mostly, I find I’m once again being reminded of the Gifts of Grace and Strength that are found when I remember to choose Gratitude over all else 🙂

Hearing from you over these months in response to the slices of life I have tried to share about in these postings, I know many of you have formed ‘relationships’ with some of the children and situations I’ve met with here. Here then are some fragments from ‘Project’s Update ~ June 2008’ (Thanks to you Erynn, the complete update will be added to the Project’s page on this site soon) to let you know a little about how things were for Betty, Gideon and their siblings as well as ACIO and a few others we met along the way, when we all parted in May…

‘PROJECT’S’ UPDATE ~ JUNE 2008

…Understanding most of the following as a ‘work in progress’ I will be continuing to apply my energy and focus towards, it feels like a great moment for us all to consider how, by sharing our collective Love in the form of prayers, uplifting thoughts and material support, the lives of some children here have been richly empowered so far…

Building upon the previous updates from March ’08 and November ’07…

TWO ‘CHILD’ FAMILIES

GIDEON’S FAMILY
When bidding Gideon’s family ‘fare well for now’ in May ’08 we had accomplished and/or were continuing to work on the following:

~ Gideon’s school fees for 2’nd term of S4 had been paid
~ Naume and Martha had been supplied with supplementary school text books in Science, Social Studies, Math and English for P6
~ 4 acres had been plowed and planted with maize, beans, g nuts and cassava that the children will be harvesting, eating and storing by July!

~ A new, larger, temporary hut had been built by the family and was being roofed
~ All family members had coats, blankets, sheets and foams
~ The family had been supplied with new bowls, cups, containers for food, cooking pots and wash tubs
~ Helen had been supplied with capitol to start a dried fish business and was earning the needed weekly family income for the purchase of food, etc
~ Gideon had been supplied with capitol to expand his poultry business with the purchase of hens and a rooster

~ We had established a relationship with the nearby clinic ensuring their help for the children in times of malaria and other sickness even in the event that the children do not have the money to pay for such service…I will be notified by email from the clinic over time…
~ We had established a way for the children to get a message to me by them contacting a volunteer in the area from an NGO when need arises who will also visit the children periodically and be able to reach me by email anytime

Longer term plans we are continuing to work on include:

~ The building of a 3 room brick and iron sheet home
~ School fees for Gideon’s final term of S4 as well as fees for S5 and S6
~ Continued expansion of the family poultry business
~ The building, stocking and opening of a small ‘restaurant’ on the well traveled road alongside the families new compound that Helen will run
~ The growing of a cash crop to help raise the funds needed to be saved for Martha and Naume’s senior school fees that will start in 2010.

But… the first thing I’ll be doing for this family after I return home is to send them each a ‘Canada’ hat and a pair of sunglasses cause they sure had tons of fun with mine, along with a photo album of treasured times together!!!

BETTY’S FAMILY
When saying ‘Bye Bye for now and see you soon’ to Betty’s family in May ’08 we had accomplished and/or were continuing to work on the following:

~ Betty, having successfully completed 3 months training in tailoring, received her new ‘Singer’ sewing machine along with 36 meters of start up fabric, lining, thread, elastic, zippers and buttons
~ Rose had been supplied with start up capitol for a dried fish business along side the selling of cabbage and the income resulting was supporting the family in their weekly food needs

~ Moses, Morning and Peter had been supplied with supplementary school text books in Science, Math, Social Studies and English for P5
~ 4 acres had been plowed and planted with maize, beans, g nuts and cassava that the children will be harvesting, eating and storing by July!
~ 10% of the OSB for Stella’s operation to treat hydrocephalus had been paid off and our little darling had joyfully taken her first independent ‘1,2,3…10’ steps!
~ Moses was in the process of building a small hut for his future poultry business
~ All the children had been given coats

~ We had established a relationship with the nearby clinic ensuring their help for the children in times of malaria and other sickness even in the event that the children do not have the money to pay for such service…I will be notified by email from the clinic over time…
~ We had established a way for the children to get a message to me by them contacting a volunteer in the area from an NGO when need arises who will also visit the children periodically and be able to reach me by email anytime.

Longer term plans we are continuing to work on include:

~ The building of a 3 room brick and iron sheet home
~ To pay 80% of the remaining OSB for Stella’s operation
~ To assist Moses with start up capitol to begin a poultry business.
~ To establish a cash crop, probably tomatoes, that will increase the families ability to save for future school fees for Moses, Morning and Peter.

For Betty’s family too, I’ll be sending a care package from Canada once I am home which will include a photo album of some of our many happy moments together as well as a ‘Canada’ t-shirt for each member!

ACIO CHILD CARE CENTER ~ SIRONKO
As of May 2008 we had accomplished and/or were continuing to work on the following:

~ We had helped with costs for the completion of the girl’s temp dorm
~ We had supplied iron sheets for the completion of the temp kitchen
~ We had supplied 2 weeks of food for the 60 orphans in care
~ We had supplied 5 soccer balls, 2 decks of cards, a board game, 7 pkgs of felt pens, 500 sheets of paper along with 14 dz school scribblers, 6 dz pens, 12 dz pencils and 2 dz math sets for the children in care.

Longer term plans we are continuing to work on:

Many of the ‘Immediate Requests’ and most of the ‘Long Term Goals’ noted in the March’08 update below continue to require our attention with special mention at present of the following:

~ Help with the purchase of fabric for school uniforms, backpacks and shoes is requested.
~ Help with the purchase of sheets, blankets, foams and mosquito nets is requested
~ Help with the purchase of kitchen equipment is requested
~ Help with the purchase of a motorcycle for Vincent is requested
~ Help with the completion of the temp nursery/day care center
~ Help with 2 IGA schemes to support the ongoing expenses of caring for the children in full time care… 1) A Secretary/Office Supply Business in Sironko town… 2) A Micro Finance Scheme supporting small business for local guardians and caregivers of OVC’s

Please accept my most heartfelt thanks for helping to bring about all of the positive changes noted here and on the entire ‘Project’s’ page throughout my journey. Whatever form your contribution has been, be it your interest, your encouragement, compassion, your prayers, uplifting thoughts and/or financial support…however you have given of yourself to these children it has added very valuable energy to a ripple of Love that I know, and hope you do too, will be felt in countless ways through out their entire lives.

That we care, that we told them and showed them they are not alone, they are special and so Loved… this is the stuff ‘beyond’ Miracles for these children and we wish you to know that your involvement will be forever treasured by them and me. With so much gratitude and Love they are praying for us all!

Now, a little about a few others we met along the way…

You may recall our BeLoved orphaned boy, HIV+ with rare untreatable cancer using one crutch to get around… you know, the one with the incredible strength and that smile (‘Re-membering Step By Step’) … when I saw him the day before I left Mbale, he was at the small hospital near his village.

Two days earlier he had fallen shattering both his left arm and leg in numerous places. Being unable to repair the breaks the Dr’s were doing what they could to assist him to live and to keep him as pain free as possible. We left a fund to help cover medication and transportation costs to a larger hospital if it becomes best for him to be moved as well as some warm clothing for him to wear while at the village hospital. He was able to speak when I visited him and offered gratitude along with his beautiful and gentle smile numerous times, while holding my hand the entire time I was at his side. I have heard recently that he continues to remain at the village hospital and while very weak ‘does not forget to thank (us) for what (we) have done for him…’

Do you remember little Sebi in ‘Continued Blessings’ who was recovering from malnutrition at the hospital in Mbale? When I last heard, he was continuing to grow stronger as he navigates this first year of his life… And our little ‘Be Loved Josephine’ is enjoying her early months of life receiving lots of nurturing and Love from her very proud mother.

The man I met on ‘My First Outreach Day’ who was lying on the ground, seemingly very close to leaving his body due to untreated HIV/AIDS received care, medicine and food aid starting that day and, I am told by my friend Doka pictured with him, happily continues to grow stronger week by week regaining his health as he learns to live positively with HIV.

I never heard or read about what happened to the man who was ‘rescued’ by the police I wrote about in ‘Illusion ~ Realty’ but I feel quite confident that the real message was to be found in the Light and Love that followed the experience that day on the street.

It was a very fun ‘surprise visit’ with the first family I stayed with in ‘Love from Uganda’ when I saw them just before leaving the country in May. Darlings Sandra and Denis came running with squeals of joy and huge hugs as did all family members who were home that day! I join my ‘sister’ in prayer for her complete and speedy recovery from an illness that has recently come up for her.

And how about my boys ‘Sunrise and Moonlight’…? Well, over time my family grew and was balanced perfectly by my two girls‘ Autumn and April’ both of whom were gifts from Betty’s family. Now I know you will understand when I say ‘ we can’t hold on to our little ones forever… they grow up so fast… you turn around and ha! they’re ready to fly the coop! So… I gave Sunrise and Autumn to Tom (remember his sister’s 5 orphan children…) to help him expand his poultry business and Moonlight and April were a gift of thanks to remain in the flock of the family whose compound I shared during my many months in Mbale. (I get all misty eyed to imagine how I must be a Grandmother many, many times over by now…!!!)

So hmmm…this being my 51st posting (one of the surprise gifts…I discovered a new depth of understanding on this journey about how much I enjoy and how healing it is for me to share by writing..!) and me being 51, and this being the final week of (this part of) my journey AND this posting being a recap and all… it’s kind of feeling like our get togethers here are soon to end or shift or change or…?!

For now, let’s leave things the way I started with my first posting back in September… which is to say ‘I will write again once I am in’… Canada! Maybe after I’ve logged the miles between here and there I will have found some way to express just what this journey, these children and being able to share about it all with you has meant to me…

At this moment all I seem able to say is …

‘THIS IS AFRICA’… with humility and deep gratitude I hold you tenderly in my heart whispering ‘I THANK YOU, I LOVE YOU’ as we prepare to part for now…

Blessings One And All!
In Love,
Catherine

About Catherine Koch

Founder and President of Love Is The Answer, a Canadian registered charity serving orphaned children in Africa.
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