What’s fun when you have a family of fifteen children is to sit around as adults and talk about them. I think all parents do that. Craig and I take a date every Friday night, and what do we talk about? The kids. And now our date conversations include our fifteen children in Uganda. Phiona, Robert, Julie and Kiah work with the children every single day and they know them better than anyone. I love how devoted they are to these children and committed to teaching, training, encouraging and loving them. I learn so much sitting around with them listening to them compare experiences they have with the children.
Dickson is one boy everyone agrees that he has it all together. He doesn’t cause waves, he’s not insecure, he’s always happy, he loves to learn, he’s obedient, helpful and considerate. Whoa! That’s quite a collection of good qualities. Someone in his life, somewhere invested in developing his character and helped him become who he is today.
I was very interested in visiting the home where he is from. As is true for all the children in our home his parents died from AIDS. Two years ago Dickson went to live with his father’s sister. She has two children of her own and he was a helper for her. Dickson has three other younger siblings who went to the village to live with his Aunt’s sister there. He hasn’t seen them in two years. I didn’t know he had siblings.
Sitting with his Aunt I watched them together and it was beautiful to see they have the same smile. She is peaceful and happy and so thankful that we are helping her with Dickson, but she misses his help with her younger children.
Dickson seemed a little shy when he was with her and not too much involved with the children. I am not sure if it was uncomfortable for him or if he was sad because he missed them. I sensed he was hiding his feelings. When his uncle came around to see him they hugged tightly and I was happy to see they are close.
Last summer we were in Uganda with the team and that is when I first met the children. They had only been in our home for six weeks at that time. Dickson got a terrible case of malaria the first week we were there. Erica, my friend, Phiona and I took him to the clinic, and we had him tested for Malaria. The parasite counts were so high they wanted to keep him in the hospital. In America, that’s a good thing, in Uganda not so good. We convinced them to teach Erica how to do his IV drip and when to add more medicine to it so we could take him home with us.
The doctor traveled with us to our home and got Dickson settled in his bed with his IV drip hanging from the bunk bed. Miss Erica spent the night nursing his 104 degree temperature. There was a panic as he began hallucinating that there was something in the room so Erica and Julie called everyone they could think of to help us get the doctor to come to the house even though it was 2 a.m. There actually was very little help available and those we called were mostly annoyed to be disturbed. That was when we decided we had to buy our own van.
Dickson convulsed, hallucinated and shivered while Erica applied cold clothes to his forehead and held him in her arms all night. By the end of the next day the medicine had worked and he was well again. But the truth is we almost lost him. The scary truth is if he had been at his Aunt’s he most definitely would have died from malaria because she wouldn’t have been able to afford to get him to the doctor.
I am so thankful to all the generous people who have given us support, organized fundraisers for us, and bought our goods so that we were able to purchase our own van for the children. We never again want a child in the middle of the night to be sick and need a doctor without our ability to provide the care.
To this day Dickson and Auntie Erica have a special love because they survived the worst night of his young life. Today he loves to kick the soccer ball, read books, eat rice and chicken, and go to church to learn new songs. He is a boy who always greets us with his beautiful smile and happy disposition. He is not fully sponsored yet if anyone is interested in helping him reach his goals. Some day when we have ability to add children to our home I will be very interested in finding his three siblings who are out in the village and bringing them to the family. I grieve at the thought of siblings being separated.
Before we can do that we need to find more people we can trust to help us with the children…that’s the hardest part! And we need to raise more funds so we can get a bigger house. But we trust God to provide and grow our ministry at the rate that suits Him. I am not one to hurry God! I am content to go at his pace. We are all so thankful for the ability and opportunity to help these fifteen orphaned children have opportunities, love, education, health care, and a family. If you feel moved to join the family of sponsors who are making this possible, I would love to hear from you!!