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.

Saturday, Together Once Again With The ACIO Children


Walking down the path towards the ACIO girl’s dorm on Saturday, I turned the final corner and we all caught sight of one another.. beautiful squeals of joy echoed through all the green surrounding us as we ran to embrace each other!

First stop, the girl’s dorm where the children very proudly showed me their new beds (the bunk beds, built by a local carpenter in the community, were completed and delivered for the children’s use after I returned to Canada last February)!

The ACIO girls and I greet one another as we meet once again after 7 months!
The joys of a bed, a blanket, and a mosquito net!
ACIO children shared their gratitude on Saturday, when I saw for the first time all of the beds LITA donors have helped to provide them, 14 “decker beds” to date! Thank you so very much!

We all eventually reached the child care center site where the boy’s dorm and 3 open walled classrooms are, and here I was greeted by all the children with an enthusiastic and joy filled “Welcome our Mummy, we are happy to receive you, we sure Love you and we shall never, we shall never, never forget you” song!

.. completed by the fun one.. the balloon! The treasure you can play with again and again, the one you hold firm in your little fist or tuck down deep into your pocket for safe keeping, the one you would never tie a knot in (you use a stringy fiber from the banana tree instead) so that you can blow it up again and again!

I brought along some few “treats” for all 32 of the children.. first we began with the nutritious one.. a bogoya (ripe banana) for each child! Yum!

.. followed by the sweet one.. the delicious and most desired lollipop, usually reserved for very special days like Christmas for many children here, or for these kids, maybe once in a few years, on a day like Saturday!

Balloons were sent to me in CA in a wonderfully fun care package for the 32 children at ACIO from our dear friend, Arna Baartz, founder of ‘I AM’ For Kids, in Australia!

Rainy season is upon us, and while it was sunny on my way to the ACIO centre, it rained lots while I was there. So the walk back to the trading center to catch the matatu (a public taxi the size of a VW van that’s licensed to carry 14 but usually carries no less that 22!) was very slippery through gushy mud, and had me doing my best “big foot” impersonation and, as Vincent joked, contributing to soil erosion,

by the amount of mud my keen sandals accumulated! Gumboots are on my shopping list today! The kids kept me vertical, and covered me with a banana leaf when the rain started on the trail until someone came running with an umbrella!

Bernard, a top student in his division at school and one of our ‘photo/essay’ contributors and child photographers, took several of these pix as he learned about LITA’s new camera (it’s even safe to use it in the rain!) I especially like this picture and it’s magical light.. as well as the portion of Bernard’s finger in the corner!

Thanks again to our friend Zach Silverman of Silverman Mortgage Group for the gift of the

camera.. the ripples of all kindnesses go on, and on, and on!

A very full and fun day, my Saturday, together once again with the ACIO Children!

With gratitude, Catherine

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