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.

Have Truck, Will Travel.. Endless Journey, Endless Love.. Introducing DLSF & Blackpool 2013


All mornings are pretty special, but I have to say it was an exceptionally extraordinary one some few weeks ago, when I woke to an unexpected flurry of emails all about a truck for LITA Uganda..

Bonny Mark, our Ugandan Rep, along with Ben, Samson and Silver on our first drive with “Blue” out to the village from Mbale.. 

A few days earlier, inspired by Love and her deep sense of caring for the well being of all, my dear friend, Jeanne, of Divine Love Sanctuary Foundation – DLSF – had written asking me to remind her about what I thought I needed for transportation here and why..

I had replied.. “Thank you, Jeanne, for keeping my transport in your heart/mind.. I’m so grateful. Your timing to me about this is so interesting and seemingly in complete alignment, I’ve just literally been contacted last Friday about a truck that’s available, I’ve seen it today and just received some photos of it by email.. So, why do I need a truck..??

My safety, security, time management and comfort…..  and to transport other people and goods…..

All the kids at ACIO came a-runnin the first time we pulled up at the Child Care Center.. they ringed Blue, hand in hand, and said a heartfelt prayer of gratitude.
The boys working at the building site in Buyobo where two dorms, housing for 80 orphaned children, is now at roofing line.. on the day Blue carried several bags of cement to the site..

I travel to villages, sometimes several times a week, to date most usually by public transport. Long periods of time, up to a few hours, can easily be spent waiting for the public taxi to depart. The taxis are kinda like VW vans with seats for 14, that are usually filled with a minimum of 22 people. They do not leave until they are full. The taxi’s often have mechanical issues or just plain run out of gas along the way which can cause additional long delays and concern depending on time of day. When it comes time to leave what ever village I am in, I need to wait for the next taxi in order to get back home, and

again, passengers wait until it is full before departing. Because roads in some places are so very poor, it can happen that no taxi will be forthcoming because they have stopped running due to weather and road conditions, and then I need to ride on the back of a motorcycle far distances over very potholed roads. In rainy season, the roads can be so bad that the motorcycle will not pass on them either, and then I need to walk until I can find another way home. I am most usually traveling on my own. For safety and security I am advised by everyone here to be back home before dark but because the sun sets early, 7pm-ish, those last couple hours of light can go quickly when I’m trying to get back home.

I have chosen a diesel, 4 door, short box, standard, 4 x 4 truck as the vehicle most suited for me because: the fuel is cheaper that gas, it is a common vehicle here and therefore service and parts are readily available, and I have seen that in all kinds of weather and road conditions, a truck will be the safest and most reliable vehicle to be in, short of a land cruiser or some-such for a mere 75K or so! A 4 door will also be especially useful for transporting others, for instance our senior 1 students need to transport all their goods.. trunks, matresses, jerry cans for water, bathing buckets, books etc at end of every term when they go on school break, and I can assist them with this.. as well, we are building and I can transport materials to the sites saving us ferrying costs.

The price range of used trucks seem to be between around $10,000 to 15K or thereabouts.. this truck I saw today will probably be on the low end of that but it will need new tires and some minor repairs.. I’d prefer to say the budget is between $12,000 and $15,000 for a reliable used truck.

Trudging along the village road at, was it even 5k per hour..? Legs a-dangling, wind on the face, smile on the lips.. and awareness in the heart that dreams do come true.. so awesome!

Thank you dear Jeanne, so grateful for your kindness, thoughtfulness.. thank you for this intention. We’ll see what ever is meant to be. It’s all good!”

On that same first drive to the village.. What..? White knuckles you say?? Hahaha, all good!

Back to the morning of the many messages.. there I was, a bit blurry eyed from sleep, and becoming more so by the moment because of the misty tears of amazement that wanted to flow, as I tried to take in all the content and meaning of the chain of emails I’d been cc’d on that I couldn’t seem to read fast enough..

Seems my email reply to Jeanne had not stayed long in her inbox. She had shared it with others and as I had slept the night on this side of the world, her and others were

bringing a dream to life on the other. By my morning, a kind and generous donor within DLSF had stepped forward and news that a truck was indeed soon to be made possible was to headline my “morning report”!

Caught in a major downpour on the village road.. yeah for your great tires, and for the solid, steady girl you are, Blue.

A. Huge. Moment. Flashing back over at least two years on the ground here, spread over five-plus years of coming to Uganda now, countless boda boda rides in all kinds of weather along with crammed taxi rides almost daily were but history now, as the news landed and I began to understand what such an empowering gift could mean for daily life here.

Our girl Blue has already taken us hundreds of fun filled kilometers (distances are often not far, it just can take so long because the roads being in the shape many are in, one can come to “full stops” often) after having a beauty set of new off road tires replace the former bald and punctured ones, along with new shocks, steering damper, ball joints, tie rods, complete maintenance servicing, wheel balancing and alignment, electrical work so the windows and door locks work and the new alarm we’ve added can do it’s job to protect her when she’s parked..

After a driving lesson – “By the way, you’re not bad..” said he – from the local special hire driver I employed to help me refine some of the ways of the road I’ve observed these past years, I seem to be moving along quite well over extreme potholed and deeply rutted surfaces, blending in for the most part with the flow of the

My neighbors, offloading this season’s harvest of maize

organized chaos on roads here, where size is what matters most and pedestrians are on the bottom end of “road rights”.. a complete contrast to where I hail from as a driver, not to mention how I need to shift gears with my left while sitting on the right, driving on the left.. all good!

“Where are we going today, Jack?” “Kampala, vroom vroom!”
“Where are we going today, Jack?” “Kampala. Close the door. Vroom, vroom!” 

We’ve already been so fortunate to bring materials from Mbale to our site in Buyobo, take children and all their gear back to school, do a highway roadtrip to Jinja, move furniture while there, visit both Mutufu and Bukedea a couple times, even in the rain, assist 18 stranded people (many grandmothers and children) I came upon along the roadway after their (much smaller) truck had broken down on their way back home from a burial, pull over in her and stay dry and safe through blinding monsoon rains, help my neighbour bring home the maize, and take it for grinding.. and take many a pretend trip to “Kampala” with driver ‘Jack’ at the wheel!

18 stranded folks.. plus me! Blue’s record to date..

Loving gratitude flows to you, Jeanne, the DLSF donor who we honor in their chosen preference to remain anonymous, along with all the other members of the organisation, who constantly support LITA with encouragement, generosity, kindness, prayers and endless Love.. from me, all of us at LITA, and so many of our orphaned children here in Uganda who have been praying for this grace to be upon us.. (especially some of the big guys who are now somewhere over the moon with the

thought that maybe, one day, they will actually be able to drive it!) We are all forever grateful for and inspired by for your kind and generous example, your empowering support and Love in action.

For those who are learning of Divine Love Sanctuary Foundation for the first time today, it is my great privilege to introduce you to DLSF now, and to announce their upcoming Retreat in Blackpool, England in a couple weeks time.

The Divine Love Sanctuary Foundation is a registered, not for profit organization founded in 2012 in British Columbia, Canada whose goals are two-fold: to facilitate gatherings that engage others in prayer, healing and learning about the spiritual practice of receiving Divine Love; to put Love-into-action both in our daily lives and in selected projects. For more information you can contact DLSF here.

First day of 3rd term, so grateful for our blue girl who delivered Benard, Silver, Samson and allllll their stuff safely back to school this past Monday, Sept 16th.

This past Monday, Blue and I took the boys and allllllll their stuff safely back to first day of 3rd term. Someone stole her radio, antenna and speakers long before we bought her, so, not having ipods or somesuch, the boys asked to bring along the laptop and some small speakers and we enjoyed music the whole way! 

Through what my ‘late’ Mom and I would call Divine Providence – mystical, magical serendipitous happenings – we have all been brought together and Love Is The Answer is most Blessed to have been selected by DLSF along with a project in Namibia as a project they would like to support that is exemplifying “Love-Into-Action”. It is to join in meditation and learning, and to introduce our Lovework here in Uganda, that I have been invited to attend their upcoming Retreat in Blackpool, England in the beginning of October. I think there may still be a couple spaces available.. perhaps you hear the call.. info is here!

You are a Beautiful Blessing, Blue, and we are beyond grateful for the gift you are.

Please journey to the DLSF website, where you will meet Jeanne, her husband Al, and the rest of their beautiful Board of Directors. There is a great community forum with so many interesting topics and many inviting, engaging and supportive friends waiting to grace those who visit. On the Divine Love Projects page you can learn about Helge and her amazing project for the San children in Namibia. Scrolling down you’ll also be able to view a short LITA slideshow that’s recently been added.

On behalf of myself, all of us at LITA, and the beautiful orphaned children we serve here in Uganda, we are Blessed by the gift of friendship, support and Love shared with the very kind and generous hearts that comprise The Divine Love Sanctuary Foundation. Thank you, thank you, thank you, one and all.

The Board of Directors of The Divine Love Sanctuary Foundation.. (Left to Right)  Al, Terry, Barb, Jane, Leslie, Betty, Jeanne, Andrew and Judy (..and Geoff, who was on another continent the day I took this photo in Gibsons, BC, Canada)

Looking very forward to seeing you all in Blackpool!

Blessings in Love, Cath xox

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