Joy comes in the morning


May has been a challenging month for many at Touch the Slum. We’ve had:

  • Multiple incidents of flooding in the area where the Congolese refugees live, including last night with Neema’s family, who wasn’t effected in the floods last week.
  • A 14-year-old girl in our Literacy class being sexually abused by a relative.
  • Our managing director, Ronald had a systemic rash of some kind, plus two days of migraine. (He’s fine now!)
  • Both of our large charcoal stoves quit working properly and needed repairs at the same time, so Charity and Mama Santa had to start cooking lunch at 4am to feed everyone.

That’s not just TIA (This Is Africa) – life just comes at us all sometimes, and getting through every day is a big achievement.

But what is essential — and one of the most noticeable things about our program — is the JOY. Visitors universally comment on it. In the midst of lives that are at best challenging and at worst dangerous and terrifying, our girls laugh and dance and dive into creativity and hug enthusiastically.

Never underestimate the power of joy!

Thank you so much for your ongoing support and encouragement of our work at Touch the Slum. We couldn’t do it without you!

Mwebele nnyo!


PS. We are spending some of the funds that have some in for the flood victims’ project (on and off the DonorSee platform) in the morning for another round of food, adding Neema’s family to our list of recipients after last night’s flooding. (Fortunately, they were able to move their mattresses and personal items higher, but unfortunately lost all their food.) To help these families, please click the button.


Joy comes in the morning Read More »

Fun Times, Strong Minds


What’s your idea of fun? Everyone’s is different, of course, but for most of us it involves joy, laughter, maybe being scared (if you’re one of those haunted house/scary movie people), maybe the excitement of a big game, maybe a family outing for bumper boats… (One of our funniest family stories involves that last one!)

When life is hard, we often look for something fun, even if it’s just a 2 minute video we can watch on our phone for a laugh.

The girls at Touch the Slum live in a desperate place full of desperate people who are just barely hanging on. Caregivers are stressed beyond the breaking point, siblings are hungry or sick, the only ways to make money are dangerous or degrading.

There’s no laugh track in the slum.

But at Touch the Slum, one of our most fundamental beliefs is in the healing power of fun, of laughter, of dancing, of joy. It doesn’t matter if you have shoes or not when you’re dancing. It doesn’t matter if you didn’t had dinner or breakfast. It doesn’t matter — in those moments — that your father has died or your mother is sick.

I just found this quote on a quick internet search. This is universal among humans; you can find a lot of quotes saying the same thing:

Find a place inside where there’s joy, and the joy will burn out the pain.

Joseph Campbell

We can’t change the girls’ circumstances. Coming to class day in and day out to learn to read or sew a gomezi or braid hair isn’t a quick fix. A father killed in the war in the Congo or an auntie dying with HIV/AIDS can’t be forgotten.

But joy — laughter and hugs and dancing and a face turned towards the sunshine — helps our girls weather the pain they live in, and see that there is something worth working for, even in their hard world.

Anyone who has visited our compound — or Wells of Hope and Hopeland Schools, where they are beginning to understand the profound power of fun — will tell you first hand: the joy helps burn out the pain.

We thank you for all you do to keep the laughter and healing going!

Mwebele nnyo!


PS We are in need of diapers for all our (many!) babies. This project just needs $175 to be fully funded. We’d so appreciate your support!


Fun Times, Strong Minds Read More »

Bringing Joy Never Gets Old


This picture may be our Photo of the Year for 2023 – Monica captured the unadulterated, absolute joy in this family when we surprised them with food, mattresses, household goods, and shoes.

14-year-old Rachelle, one of the students in our Literacy program, lives with her aunt and 7 cousins in a pretty bad part of the slum. (Yes, there are bad parts even in the slum!) While it’s nicer in dry season because they have a little bit of space, it floods in rainy season, and the house is mud-and-stick and not secure or made to last.

The family has virtually nothing to their name. (You can see some videos on Instagram – click the icon below.)

But thanks to a quickly-funded project on DonorSee, we were able to get them things they need – NEED, not just want – and able to surprise them after Rachelle got home from Touch the Slum.

This project was only $375 – to bring food, mattresses, household goods, and shoes for 9 people.

And to bring JOY.

Tears. Running to the team with open arms, shouting thanksgiving, children dancing and crying and laughing all at the same time.

This is what you all do. I know you can’t feel it like my team, or see or smell or experience it. (I so wish you could!) But this is the WHY that you share with us, the simple yet profound ways we can join together to change lives.

Mwebele nnyo,


PS We have a large project up for another irrigation tank at the farm. With large projects, they have to be 10% funded to show to the wider DonorSee platform. We’re at 5% — the project total is only $1274 total, so small for a “large” project! Can you help? $65 will get us full exposure so we can get the tank in to help with this dry season.

Bring the water!

Bringing Joy Never Gets Old Read More »

Scroll to Top