The adventures of one day here in Uganda can sometimes erupt like a volcano. I have to say straight out that doing all of this work here is my idea of fun. I don’t receive salary for any of it because one, the income is for the children alone, and two, I’m motivated by a pure desire to help people improve their own lives. And the love in my heart is so great that it too erupts “out of the cage” to use Phiona’s phrase.
Yesterday was happily spent not discussing the court case, but instead planning our future. This is a topic that helps me float through my days. I can spark ideas off each other for hours and it energizes me so much that I forget to eat until a roaring hunger knocks from the inside. That’s when we move our meetings to a restaurant and continue the rapid fire.
The first step forward into our future for Kirabo Seeds, as we endeavor to improve the lives of children who have no one to look out for their wellbeing, is we met at my lawyer’s office to sign the registration of our company here in Uganda. Happily this will be registered by Friday and we’ll be official.
Following that meeting Phiona showed me all of her record keeping procedures for expenses. She’s doing a fantastic job with this. I actually got to see a record of every receipt, and if a receipt wasn’t given then she asks the person to sign a paper against the purpose of the money.(partly why I am in a court battle here with Adams is because I couldn’t get any receipts.) Phiona loves her new apartment and she is only a short walk away from where Abdul lives on Herb and Ellen’s land in Kansenge.
We parted after our meeting, she was tired, but I was still full of “go”, so I requested to meet Abdul’s family. His children greeted me with a big hug (which must really be for Jack because they love their new stash of legos). Abdul’s wife, Saida, greeted me quietly and served me a delicious glass of fresh passionfruit juice. It is the exact same flavor as orange tang that I used to drink as a kid.
We walked for three minutes to go see land that is for sale. I met the old woman who is selling it, though Abdul did not say I was a buyer because the price could double on the spot. It is extremely valuable land in a dreamy location for us. The price will be 23 thousand dollars for one acre. To give perspective when Adams bought land in Luwero in the middle of no where each acre cost 450 dollars. There are good reasons for the expense of this one acre I stood and looked out to see. It is adjacent to the ten acres that Herb and Ellen own, and a short walk from where Abdul lives. It is only one kilometer from where the orphanage exists now, which means when the children are separated from those with parents in the church and those who have no parents, they will be neighbors and we can maintain community. Also, this location will keep the children in the same school system as they currently attend. Finally, a road is being built that will cross close by taking us directly to the airport, and this is the main reason for the value of the land in all of Kampala.
And oh my is it beautiful there. People have small houses dotted around, mama’s carry babies on their backs, children run among the banana trees, and shyly appear to see the mzungu they have never seen come near their home. Smiles greet me, people wave, and there are goats tied to trees, chickens running free and a view of a hill in the distance. It smells fresh in this land, not like the dusty fumigated city areas. And the sounds are of nature and children playing. It made me want to cry I liked it so much.
Sometimes in my life I have God moments. I can pull them out of my mind like finding chocolate hidden in the pantry. I know where they are because I like them so much, I treasure them, they are my favorite memories. Here’s the short list just to illustrate:
- The moment I realized I wanted Jesus to be my Savior and devote my life to serving Him- during my vows at my wedding!
- When it was time to abandon the five year plan and try to get pregnant right away
- A long string of mom moments involving the faces of my children
- When we decided to leave America and live one year in Wales
- When I heard God whisper…you are a writer…write
- When I sat in a baby home on my first trip to Kampala holding an orphan realizing I was being called to adopt from Uganda
- The first encounter at the orphanage where we serve currently. I knew God was saying here is where I want you to begin your life work
- I will just add for fun…the first time I saw the baby horse Sunny and he was being ridden for the first time by the trainer…it was a no turning back moment…I want to give him the last name LaTorre (sorry Craig) and I want to fly over jumps riding on his back until he is too old to mount.
Yesterday I had a God moment when I looked out over that land. I sensed a peace in my soul and knew this is where we need to put our Children’s Home. It will not be an orphanage. This will be Kirabo Seeds Children’s Home. I can see the children playing. Everything about it connects and fits and feels so right. And though there are obstacles, like mobilizing that kind money immediately, and determining the quality of the Land Title to be sure there are no legal barriers to it being sold, I believe this is going to be our new home on this continent. I always thought if we could have a second home it would have an ocean view, but this view of Africa might be a whole lot more satisfying. I’m all the way in, that’s all I can say. So I will just wait to see when and how God is going to move us into this beautiful location. Or, he could say “that’s the right vision, but not on this piece of land.” I’m flexible and remain humble to follow him.
We sat down and made a simple list, and drew a rough picture of the vision I have for using this land. I shared with Abdul that my intentions are to keep the children African which means they will live like most Africans so it is a lifestyle that they can comfortably transition to when their education is complete. I see a boys dorm and a girl’s dorm each having their own outside latrine. There is a care taker’s quarter where Julie and Phiona will have the modern conveniences like toilets, showers and a kitchen, and privacy of their own rooms. There will be a recreation building with a room for technology that they can earn time in there with good chores, good behavior, and good marks in school. There will be a well pump that moves water to the caretaker’s quarters, and a faucet in the center of the area where water can be drawn. There will be a playground, a vegetable garden, and a fish pond with the chicken coop over it. Our goats can roam. I hear the birds singing already. We can seriously fit all of that on one acre. We relish in keeping our project small so we are not spread out so thin, but able to go deep into the care of these precious ones.
All this dreaming will take some time to realize, so we also looked at a rental house where we can begin working with the children until our dream becomes reality.
Our future looks prettier than any sunrise I ever saw while living in the Arizona desert. We are all going to have to work hard, sacrifice, be bold in our faith, and overcome many obstacles, but it will be worth it all on the day we watch the children graduate school, attend university, get their first jobs, fall in love, get married, and become excellent parents themselves, breaking the cycle of their beginnings and making a new story for their generations to come. Best of all they will grow up knowing Jesus has given this new life to them, and he has a perfect plan for each of them to follow with their own lives.
I had this vision the first day I saw the original orphanage, but as it turns out it is not an orphanage. It is a church with their own children and a few extra strays invited to stay because James and Rebecca love children. We have endured trials, figuratively and now literally, but the vision remains the same, and God has shown us in His own timing it will become a beautiful reality.
Have I mentioned how much I love my job? I just want to fall to my face, turn on the worship music and celebrate with Him because he has shown us favor and He keeps His promises. He said He will be a father to the fatherless, and He is. I think I’ll go have that worship now.