Empowering HIV/AIDS orphaned children in Africa to a self sustainable future

Catherine Koch

Catherine Koch

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

CCDO Housing for Orphaned Children, Parts One & Two



Wow, we’re really coming ’round the bend now, and it’s about as exciting a ride as could be.. this one, all about the journey of building a new home for 80 orphaned children in Buyobo, Uganda. By October 31st, the day children of all ages will be dressing up for Hallowe’en in Canada, etc, for an day/evening of fun and fantasy with pumpkins, spiders and super scary haunted houses, the plan is we’ll have just finished putting the final touches on this simple, joyful housing project of peace and Love.

In this continuing photo essay (please scroll down to see Part One) we last left off at the floor level of the two buildings we are helping the community based organization to construct.. let us take you all the way to the roof now, with Love and Gratitude to all ~

After the concrete floor was left to settle for a few days (..thank you to the rain that fell intermittently and assisted in the process) brick work began on all four corners and the end walls of each building.
Within a very short few days, “window level” was reached (to the bottom of the windows) .. and the process of putting up scaffolding began.
Next milestone was the reaching of “ring beam level” (to the top of the doors and windows) on both buildings.
Standing in one of the boy’s bedrooms, our pair of dedicated, hard working and all together very wonderful Dan’s.. on the left, the founder and director of CCDO shoulder to shoulder with our fantastic foreman.. great partners in this empowering project for the children and community.
Ring beam complete and beyond to “roof line”..
Foreman Daniel standing in the doorway of the two centre rooms in one of the dorms. In addition to a large room for sleeping at each end of the dorms, both buildings have two rooms in the centre that will likely end up being used as an office in each, with a library in one and a health and well being room in the other.
On to the roofing.. trusses were constructed and hoisted (.. not a power tool in sight.. but lots of strength, and extreme proficiency and accuracy with machetes, splitting 2 x 8’s into 2 x 4’s..). And then, rafters were added for nailing iron sheets to..
And, voila.. two new homes for 80 children, under the beautiful blue sky, nestled among the trees, all ready for the 12 metal doors and 20 windows that are being fabricated as I write.. (this is the backside of the boy’s building.. the secondary road running to the left of it.)
The center entrance of the buildings.. that’s the girl’s home on the left, and the boy’s on the right. We’re all pretty excited to think it’s not long now until we can say “Welcome home, children”.

Thanks so much to everyone.. the contributors, the porters, masons, roofers, suppliers who have helped with their best prices, the neighbours, political and community members who are being so supportive and encouraging, who are sharing in the empowerment opportunities being created here.. the well wishers who are temporarily caring for the orphaned children who will live here soon, the children for their patience and joy and courage.. there is so much gratitude and Love to you all, for you all, from us all………

Blessings in Love, Catherine


The reason for my short stay of three months in Canada following my last journey in Uganda (Sept 2012 to March 2013) was because we were all ready to break ground on our 2nd building project for orphaned children in a neighboring community to Mutufu. It was there, in Mutufu, that we completed housing for 40 kids in full time care with ACIO – Aids Concern Integrated Organization, in March 2013.

As you may recall, CCDO – Community Child Development Orphanage – is another local community based orgainzation LITA is ‘partnering’ with as they develop along the path to self sustainability. CCDO assists orphaned children and caregivers/guardians of orphaned children in the sub county of Buyobo in eastern Uganda. Further to work we have already undertaken and completed in the Buyobo community in support of caregivers who have ‘adopted’ orphans into their home, CCDO, under their care umbrella, has long identified close to 80 orphaned children who require the support of full time care. Presently those children are, for the most part, staying temporarily with “well wishers” in the community, and CCDO is providing for all their basic needs, including food, with proceeds from the school they are running. There, in addition to the 80 orphaned children in care, somewhere in the neighborhood of 400 other children from the community are also enrolled.

With the very kind and generous support of donors in Canada who are making it all possible, LITA is now involved in duplicating the building we completed in Mutufu last March, only this time, times two. We’re feeling grateful and inspired to be able to assist CCDO as they assist and care for a number of orphaned children in their community.

Here then is the start up of the building process that’s taking place right now. We’re building the two dorms concurrently, one for girls, one for boys, and so far, that’s proving to be a good decision. We are able to be saving on transport costs as we can double up on the delivery of materials, AND, we’re thrilled to be able to be employing many local men at the site from both Buyobo and neighboring Mutufu, as well as five students on break between terms from school.

We’ll be posting photos in Parts 1, 2 and 3 as we carry on the process, showing all the phases of building. Thanks so much for following along, and thanks even more for all your kind wishes and very Loving support.

Our very kindly and professional pair of Dan’s at the site.. Daniel (L) is foreman on the project, and Dan is the Director of CCDO. With quantity estimates of materials and labor agreed upon, quality materials and lowest prices negotiated and secured, a work plan calendar created, the site plan figured and measurements all taken.. let the digging begin!
The two rectangular dorms will face one another with a small strip of land in between.. here we’re looking down the center strip with the exterior wall trenches dug down to ‘clay’.. the boy’s dorm on the left, and the girl’s on the right..
The view from the roadway that runs parallel along the length of the dorms, looking at the back side of the boy’s dorm.. the road way is a secondary road in pretty decent shape and even though rainy season is upon us, the dirt road is making it fairly easy to deliver materials to the site..
The intensive foundation begins.. first hardcore: large rocks line the excavated wall trenches, followed by a mixture of sand and aggregates (gravel) pounded on top, followed by a layer of cement.. (Thank you, Doug, for this photo..)
Cement poured, just in time for the end of week one, to let it cure over the weekend…. (another one of Doug’s photos… thanks so much!)
String guidelines in place, brick work begins on top of the foundation…
Seven rounds of bricks are completed..
The interior ‘floor’ is leveled and the excess dirt is back filled around the brickwork exterior..
The interior ‘floor’ is leveled and the excess dirt is back filled around the brickwork exterior..
Once the marram has been shoveled round the floor it is pounded.. rain also can help pound it down.. shortly after this photo and in perfect time it poured down and assisted with the process… (Pssst.. see that blue truck in the background.. well we’ve got an awesome  surprise to share next posting..)
Standing atop the pounded marram, our Ugandan rep Bonny Mark (L) and I are visited, welcomed and thanked at the site by the local Sub County Chairman. He shares with us that the surrounding community is very happy, very grateful and proud of this project and he sends sincere thanks to all who are making it possible for the children and community.
The very labor intensive job of placing hardcore on top of the pounded marram begins.
The hardcore is eventually covered by wheel barrel loads of aggregates mixed with sand.. then just sand.. then pounded, again..
Separated by the beginnings of an interior brick wall for the office/library rooms down the ‘centre of this photo’, the picture shows a few layers of the floor process.. on the left: the hardcore; on the upper right: polythene paper and metal reinforcement; on the lower right: the pounded aggregates and sand followed by a final layer of sand that are under the paper/metal..
Timber is affixed to the exterior of both structures in preparation for the concrete floor to be poured.. we’ll use these same boards when we reach “ring beam level” on the walls.. that’s to the top of the doors and windows.. and then again for the school that’s planned to be built following completion of this housing for the children.. first a safe, warm, dry place to live, then, wow, a place to learn right next door. Wonderful.
Wheel barrel load after wheel barrel load, cement mixed with sand, aggregates and water is delivered and then leveled in the final phase of pouring the foundation..
Masters with their 2 x 4 rigged with handles, two of the masons level off the floor sinking the aggregates beneath the surface.. and then again in perfect timing, the rain that held off during the process finally fell and helped with the process of allowing the cement to cure slowly over the weekend..

More very soon.. thank you, thank you for sharing in this very exciting project with us all…. thank you to all those who are making it possible.

With Love, Catherine

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