Our lawyer in Uganda has given us permission to resume feeding the group at Pastor Jame’s church. During the investigation we discovered James was working with Adams to extract funds. This was disappointing to find out. When our year commitment to feed his group ended the investigating officer said we should remove ourselves from that place. We discovered only fifteen of the fifty children were actually orphans. The others were children of the people in James’s church, who appear to all be related to one another.
It took a long walk in the woods to grasp being lied to on that level by a Christian Pastor. When I put aside the lies and looked at the situation with objective eyes this is what I saw.
When “Mama Tonya” was coming to visit at the orphanage frantic preparations had to be made. I couldn’t just drop by, there were layers of people sending messages ahead so what I would find there matched what I was told. They were always required to attend a meeting with Adams before I arrived. The children were warned not to tell if they had parents. And the parents there would disappear when I arrived. I always wondered why the mama’s who were doing the cooking always acted so on edge, nervous, eyes darting, confused looks in their faces, searching for someone to show them what to do next. They were scared.
The women worked hard. Doing laundry with water brought up from the spring at the bottom of the hill, cooking over a fire, and looking after fifty children is constant tiring care. I have never actually seen the men do anything but sit around. No one tried to get a job or earn income to help with costs. Kirabo Seeds offered to invest in a small business so they could begin earning for themselves, and none of the men took initiative with this offer. They were only interested in receiving the handout. The expectations for firewood, and food deliveries became demands. Phiona was constantly answering her phone and it was James telling her what he wanted her to bring them.
When the food storage was full it disappeared so quickly that we had suspicions it was being sold. The children there confided to Phiona that they were not receiving all that was meant to be given to them. For example, I bought kilos of peanuts so they would get some energy after school to fuel their chores of carrying water up the hill, caring for the goats, cows and chickens and helping with the laundry and cleaning. But the adults ate the peanuts during the day and refused to give them to the children after school. The children’s needs were always put last. They were shooed away like squirrels.
I didn’t much like what I saw in these people. But my heart is for the children. And that’s a big sticking point for me, and they all know this and use it to their advantage. I don’t want anyone to suffer hunger, but to some degree everyone in Uganda wakes up with the first thought of making sure they have a way to eat that day. We can’t feed all of Uganda! We have to set our boundary somewhere, and we placed it on the orphans and elderly widows.
Our gift of feeding everyone had a year expiration date because that year was meant to be spent working towards establishing their own abilities to provide. That’s not what they were interested in at all. They expect someone to donate to meet their needs so they can relax all day and have their bellies filled for them.
Kirabo Seeds was established to help orphans and widows. This is a group of able bodied people who could work together to take care of themselves. But they have shown us this year they are not interested in putting effort into their own cause.
When we finished our commitment, they called me several times, wrote emails, and complained to Phiona. We had given them enough food to last all of December, but mid month it was gone. I was told by our lawyer that they should take their complaints directly to his office. So James paid a visit to our lawyer and then stated that all of the children who had relatives were sent back to the villages. James’s way of providing for the group is to seek a handout. We are offering a help up. We don’t want them to go hungry, but we do want to see them trying to help themselves. We decided to offer them some food as a gift, and they are expected to try to put some effort into helping themselves. We requested they do not make demands for more.
School will begin in February and we are hopeful that our Sponsors will remain interested in continuing support so the children can continue their education. We are hopeful that the child welfare of Uganda will see that orphaned children at that place should not be living in such conditions. Kirabo Seeds is preparing to receive custody of documented, legal orphans. The authorities are interested in helping us help their needy children and have offered to work with us to obtain legal custody of orphaned children. So we are looking at property to rent that will be acceptable with bathrooms and kitchens. We have a woman I know personally who is in training to cook, clean and manage this house for us. Phiona is going for training in bookkeeping so we can have crystal clear financial records. We want to be able to prove how every dollar or shilling is being used. We hope to receive a missionary couple who is interested serving long term as parents to the home. Kirabo Seeds is interested in helping orphans without middle men who are interested in lining their pockets with our hard earned finances.
It’s going to be a very exciting year for Kirabo Seeds! This is what we live by: Psalm 68:5-6 “A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. God sets the lonely in families…”
And Kirabo Seeds will: “Trust in the Lord with all our hearts and lean not on our own understanding but in all our ways acknowledge him and He will make our paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6
Jesus said, in John 14:18 “I will not leave you as orphans. I will come to you.”
So how can we fail?