January is a busy time

January was a busy, and very exciting month. There is always much anticipation and preparation when we are planning the arrival of new residents. In January there were 12 new faces with 12 different personalities. Though all taken from Kisenyi, they are from all corners of Uganda….the youngest is 10 (and by far the most stubborn) and the oldest is 14. Some have been to school and some have not. We purchased mattresses and bed sheets and towels and lots of clothes, sandals, and shoes!

Someone asked me the other day what the most difficult aspect of working with street children is. That left me thinking. Surely there are two points…..teaching respect being the front runner. It’s a challenge to instill respect to children who are accustomed to stealing and lying to survive. At first they would all talk at the same time and slap each other if one’s opinion was not well received. Some wanted to eat in the sitting room, clothes and food were stolen. Yes, a huge challenge! Second is learning to obey rules….that a family has rules for the good of the household and that everyone must follow them or be punished (which generally means time out sitting in a corner or being made to do extra chores). But, thankfully, there has been much improvement in both areas. Today we noticed that when passing the treat plates of mandazi (donuts) and samosas (pastries filled with peas), everyone took one of each and passed the plates in an orderly manner. This might not seem important, but they are beginning to exhibit manners, something completely lacking two weeks ago when they would grab as much as they could and hide the treats and lie about taking them. They also are learning to be attentive and participate in our discussions. Everyone has learned John 3:16, a song about Zacchaeus and can say Thank You in 5 languages! Progress, one step at a time!

 

Elijah brought Pius and Henry back to their homes. Pius was always quiet and respectful and Henry was, by far, one of the most appreciative residents we’ve ever had. He always pretended not to understand English, then one day I found him translating my words to another child in Luganda. He had us fooled! We will miss them both.

Hassan ran away and has not been located. I asked the boys why he left. They said he didn’t like the food, but they assured me the food was good and plentiful. Hassan was extremely difficult and refused to follow any rule. Perhaps he will return on his own, or Bakka may find him again in the slums.

Jonah was sick with malaria and James had a bloody cough. He told us it was from a beating on the streets. We’re not sure, but it was successfully treated with antibiotics. All the boys were dewormed.

We bought new cushions for the sofa and chairs, a much-needed addition as the old ones were beyond repair.

Zede and Tib will be returning to school next week and they are SO excited. When I ask them if they are anxious to return, they get huge smiles on their faces and tell me they will be in the Top Class, which is similar to kindergarten, the most “senior” of the nursery school classes.

We are hatching baby chicks! We are all excited about that! Since the chickens have eaten every tomato, pepper, etc plant we have attempted to grow, we now have planted seeds in buckets which are hanging from a wire stretched across the compound. They are doing great, and soon we will have our first “crop” of tomatoes! We are making serious efforts to cut our food expenses
while continuing to

provide nourishing meals…..another challenge with so many mouths to feed. Elijah says that they are eating much more since the deworming. Just to give you an idea, we buy 110 pounds of maize flour, 50 pounds of beans, 20 pounds of rice, 2 pounds of millet flour, 5 pounds of sugar, a bunch of matoke, 20 pounds of sweet potatoes or Irish potatoes, 10 pounds of onions and tomatoes, 4 pounds of pasta, 6 dozen eggs, cooking oil, milk, fruit, etc every week! A few of the boys were dangerously thin when they arrived but are surely beginning to gain weight and strength!

We will be preparing for the arrival of three new residents next week, more mattresses, linens, shoes, clothes etc! The current residents told us they are anxious and excited about new boys arriving. What a great attitude!

Every time we visit, I ask them what they remember from our last visit. Zede surprised me today. When I asked the question, he raised his hand (they have all learned to raise their hands rather than shout out answers) and told me he learned about the sycamore tree. I asked him what he knew about the sycamore tree and he proudly announced “Zacchaeus climbed it because he wanted to see the Lord.” Oh yes, they are listening and learning……Praise God!

Thank you so much for giving us the opportunity to positively impact these young lives. The staff and volunteers love these boys so much, and they are so very grateful. To our donors, your generosity is truly a blessing. Thank you for walking in the light of the Lord! Blessings.

Kathy Houk

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