When I visited the orphanage on Christmas Eve 2010 for the first time it hurt my heart to know how cramped they were to sleep, play and eat. The small bit of space where they had room to run and play games was not part of their land, and several times it has become necessary for them to get permission to play there. Even so the owner put up a fence made of barbed wire running the length of it directly at chest height to a child, and set directly behind the church entrance.
When I found out this barbed wire was a boundary line I was furious. I was ready to stomp into someone’s presence and demand they take it down. Children should not play around barbed wire! I never found that person. The wire is still there. Thank goodness we gave them all tetanus shots in June.
There are more problems with where they live. The community church is separate from the orphanage, and yet they share the same church building. The church has scheduled four hour prayer meetings every night in the church, but the children need two of those hours for their homework. Meanwhile, the church is enjoying the solar lights we installed for the kids to do their homework. It’s a tension filled situation and we need to get the children out of there quickly.
Finally, the surrounding neighbors are not friendly about having so many children running through their property. And trust me the neighbors are so close it would be thought they were part of the family.
So when I met Adams and Elitia at Christmas last year and they gave us the tour and I felt my stomach sink heavy with repulsion, Adams was hopeful we could purchase this land for them so that they wouldn’t have to rent any longer. If we weren’t renting, we could make improvements to the buildings and living conditions. However, if we made improvements while renting and the owner sniffed mzungu behind it, and happened to like the new conditions he could and would say, “all of you out! I’ll take this for myself now.” Or he could double the rent.
Once Craig and I committed to partnering with Adams and Elitia to help these children and provide them with food, education and healthy and safe living conditions we realized it couldn’t happen where they live currently. All year long Adams has been searching for land where we can build them a new home. A place where they can drill for water, grow crops, keep cattle, chickens and goats. It has been quite an ordeal for them to find a suitable location, but this week, we can celebrate that the children now have twenty acres they can call home!
This is all possible not because of Adams and Elitia’s tenacious search, or because we provided the funding, but because we were all obedient to God’s direction in our hearts to assist the destitute and fatherless. God has made this all possible and it is critically important that He get all the credit and praise. We are all just worker bees, and none of it belongs to us. I hope we never forget who we are working for!