Barker’s Uganda Visit - Sept 10

06 Oct 2010

In September 2010, Chris and Jan Barker, the ORA New Zealand Co-Ordinators headed over to Uganda for a visit. Jan writes about their time with our ORA Uganda partners.

“We must not be painting the mouths of orphans with porridge!”

There is always a new saying to be learnt, a new concept to pick up, when you visit a place such as the ORA base in West Nile, Uganda. This time the Lugbara parable told was about a widow woman who has both her own children and orphans in her care. She does not have enough food for them all, so she feeds her own children millet porridge, but just paints the porridge around the mouths of the orphans. 
 
The heart cry of the ORA Uganda team is, “We must not be painting the mouths of orphans with porridge!” That is the vulnerable children under their care must get the best education, the best medical care and the best counselling and guidance possible. 
 
Part of our trip involved assessing individual staff members and the team as a whole. As part of these assessments we asked sponsored children to fill out questionnaires, and the results of these were very positive. Here are a few of their comments;
 
“I want to thank a lot for ORA for choosing me from a humble family background.” “The ORA workers help me, they tell me not to loose hope as an orphan.” “ORA was able to help me with school fees and solve my problem of sickness.” “Since ORA helped me in paying school fees I concentrated on studies and passed exams.” “ORA staff have a good relationship with my guardians through welcoming them to the ORA Office and giving them advice. But one bad thing is that others were given goats but I was not given. For that I was not happy.” “Thank you for my sponsors for putting me in their hearts all the time. And the staff for the well work they are doing and also their caring behaviour to us.” 
 
Seeing the Borehole that was drilled last December in operation was so exciting. The difference that this is making to many lives in the surrounding communities was obvious. Drinking and washing water was being collected, clothes were being washed, along with bicycles!
 
 
 
We hosted some volunteers of Conservation Trust, Kampala; Dina, Michael and fellow Kiwi Rachael. See their website to find out more about the work they do with the children of Uganda. We look forward to being able to network with this organisation in the future; initially ORA sponsored children will attend a ConTrust peace camp in December this year. 
 
Let’s not forget what our work is all about – the children! 
 
Cuddles - singing and dancing - playing games - reading a book to them in the last light of the day… 
 
Then a light party and the delight of revealing a glow stick to them for the first time ever!
 
They have so many needs, yet they are so happy and always have a smile. 
 
How the youngest respond to a caring touch… 
 
How the older children respond to words of encouragement and understanding… 
 
It’s all about hope – giving them hope. Hope through education, hope through example and encouragement, hope through kindness.
 
“If you can give a child only one gift let it be enthusiasm” Bruce Barton
 
 
 
 
 
For more pictures vist www.facebook.com/oranewzealand

# luku yesuni project, trenwith, arua, jan barker, chris barker

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