Really, it’s geography. But going to Bukaleba and the babies home after Hospice Tororo was a great way to release and process the sadness of the previous day. While babies homes/orphanages obviously have their challenges too, like seeing 54 children who crave love and attention living in an institutional setting — the Arise babies home is a great one, and the aunties are all very loving, but it’s still a babies home — the rewards are immediate and tangible. It’s the leaving that’s hard!

We’ve been trying to build the primary school near the babies home for several years; thanks to the bad US economy we’ve been stalled after the first building. But Arise Africa had some extra funds from another project and have now gotten a great start on most of the second building (4 more classrooms) so I was overjoyed! The dorms, built with donated funds from LoveOrphans.com, are done and furnished, and they are just awaiting the dining hall’s completion before being able to move kids in. This will free up a lot of space in the babies home so that they can receive new younger children.

arise africa primary school bukaleba uganda
In front of the new school building with the headmaster

Right now, P1 and P2 are in the same classroom, so it will be great when this building is done and the kids can spread out somewhat — and they can get P6 and P7 up and running, so there is a seamless process from the babies home to the primary school and then the secondary school on the other side of the property.

Erin and Derick played a high-energy game of football with some of the boys, while the girls played a complicated and puzzling game involving writing things in the dirt, jumping, and a lot of giggly screams. We never figured that one out!

arise africa primary school bukaleba uganda

arise africa primary school bukaleba uganda

We spent the first afternoon just playing with the kids. They sang for us, and looked at photos on our phones, and Erin gave out the books she’d brought — they were a BIG hit!

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Baby Andrew, 4 mos

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Mary, right, one of the triplets, and Jacob, who I got to name on the day he was born
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Eva, another of the triplets
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Reading!

The next morning, we visited the classrooms quickly, just to say hi — we didn’t want to disturb the teachers too much! Then we went back to the babies home, and played with the nursery school kids and the babies. It was HARD to leave, and as always, I wanted to pack away some of them in my suitcase… As nice as the babies home is, these kids need forever homes.

primary school bukaleba uganda

primary school bukaleba uganda

Anyway… some highlights for me personally were, first, seeing Marvin again. I met Marvin for the first time on the visit where Matthew and Jacob came as found newborns (Matthew was found in a trash bin, and Jacob abandoned in the market during the night…). He was about two, but severely malnourished and unable to use his legs at all. Over the years, he’s really struggled, sometimes needing special UN-administered high-calorie/protein mash, sometimes with malaria and other illnesses. He didn’t walk for a long time, or smile, or talk. He’s 6 now (at least), and in the nursery school with younger kids — but he runs, smiles, and talks perfectly normally. I literally cried when I held him… Sarah, the administrator, said, “Don’t cry! He’s fine now!” and I said, “That’s why I’m crying!” I love that boy…………

orphan bukaleba uganda
Marvin when I first saw him
orphans bukaleba uganda
Marvin 2012 – able to stand!
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Marvin 2014 – first time I saw him smile!
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Marvin this trip

Then there were Jacob and Matthew, the triplets, and Geoffrey, who have all stolen my heart over the years.

 

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Matthew

abandoned baby uganda

abandoned babies uganda

abandoned baby uganda
Jacob
Arise Africa Babies Home Jinja Bukaleba Uganda
Triplets – Adrian, Eva and Mary – when they all had malaria, 2013

 

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Hannah with Matthew
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Hannah with Mary and Eva
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Erin with Adrian
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Geoffrey reading about opposites to me
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Adrian, Mary and Jacob at nursery school

We had a huge rainstorm the first day. But then God showed up and reminded us…

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His promises remain!