Friday, January 30, 2015

Help never came

As I stood there listening to an uncle explain to a boy why learning how to make dreads and other styles would benefit his family more than selling shoes, my mind drifted to another boy sitting nearby.  I have seen him off and on over the last few years, but he never used to come to the programs or leave the slum he stayed in until recently.

As my mind wandered, I almost cried.  There aren't many things that "shock" me any more about these boys and the things that happen to them.  But as I began to wonder about him, as he struggled to walk, my heart broke.

As I looked at his face that showed way more years than he actually had, I wondered how old he really was.  He looks like a grandfather, but I am sure he is only 22 or 23.  He has struggled on the streets alone for far too many years.  And it shows.  I wondered how youthful and handsome he would look if help would have come for him.

As I watched him shake, from the drugs that have destroyed his body, I wondered how fast he would have run if help would have come for him and he wouldn't have had to dull his pain and despair at the bottom of a bottle.

As I noticed his swollen face and missing teeth, I wondered how painful it must be to eat.  I wondered how beautiful his smile would have been if only help would have came.

As I watched his stiff body struggle to walk, to stand, to sit, pretty much to do anything, I wondered about how many untreated injuries he had.  I wondered how he managed the pain.  Then I remembered he did so at the bottom of a bottle.  But mostly I wondered, how strong his body would be if help would have came.

I wondered how things could be different for him.

I wondered if he still had hope.

I wondered so many ifs.

I wondered if he could ever work, or have a job.  I wondered if he could ever heal from all of the pain.  I wondered if he was angry and bitter.  As my heart broke, and I held back tears, I wondered mostly why help never came for him.  And so many others.

I thought about my boys.  Help came for them.  People wonder about them.  But they wonder what am I feeding them to make them grow so well.   How they were able to change so much. How they have such amazing and kind hearts.  How they look so healthy.  They wonder if they really are the same boys that they knew from before.

Even the boy we were talking to about going to learn hair design.  I can see a day where his beautiful twin girls are able to grow up outside of the slum.  I see him growing strong, full of joy and pride at being able to provide for his daughters.  I see him sleeping easy each night not having to worry about the safety of his beautiful girls because they won't have to pass the men that are already drunk at 8am as they go to school.  I see his life changing and I see his smile coming deep from within.

The difference?

Help came for them.

But others are still waiting.

There are still many boys on the streets that need help.  They are waiting and crying out for help.  Good intentions won't help them.  They need tangible, physical help.  Each time we go to the slums, we help with medical care.  If you want to help us cover those expenses, email me at  Or if you are interested in helping an older boy get training so he can get out of the slums, email me.

There is a boy that I really want to bring home but we can't bring in another boy unless we have sponsors for him.  We already have more boys than we have sponsors.  Are you interested in sponsoring him, or another one?  Email me and I will tell you all about him.

Even the boys in our home still need help.  We lost a major donor at the beginning of the year.  Now,  we need your help to feed these boys, so they keep growing big and strong.  Only $10 a month will feed a boy 30 meals or $30 will feed a boy for a whole month.  Sign up on our website.  All of your donations are tax deductible.

Be our help.

We need you.

They need you.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Things Heard

Here is your weekly dose of things these boys say.

Richard and John were joking around in my room.  Richard was acting like different types of guys and how each one dressed, talked and danced.  We were all laughing and I was telling him he should forget about finding a girlfriend because none of his lines would work.  That is when John came in.

John:  Auntie Amanda, you know what?
Me:  No.
John:  The truth is girls don’t like all of us boys for how we talk to them, they like us for how beautiful we are.
Me:  Almost fell out of my bed laughing.
Richard:  It’s true.

Vincent and I were eating lunch.  I finished my food first.

Vincent:  You are done eating?  What are you a washing machine?
Me:  What?
Vincent:  You ate like a machine!

At church on Sunday, they were talking about all of the plans they had to grow their women’s outreaches.  The programs are already really large and helping many women.  I was talking about it with Richard and asking for his opinion.  I always wonder how Ugandans see the projects that are started and sometimes these boys are so invcredibly insightful and thoughtful to what will work and not.

Me:  What did you think about the church’s plans?
Richard:  Some were fine, but some I didn’t like.
Me:  What didn’t you like?

Richard:  Well, I think that they are just using them to make money.  They are saying that they are helping them, but they are making them pay.  How is that helping?  When you really help someone, you just help them and don’t expect anything in return.  For them, they are just trying to get money and I think they have a lot of it already.

One day Jimmy had spent the whole day helping me do things so I let him go to the swimming pool that is near our house.  When he got back he came into my room.

Jimmy:  Thank you.
Me:  For what? (I expected him to say swimming, but I asked because it isn't common here to say what you are really thankful for or for what you are really sorry for.  The common response is everything or what I/you did.  I am trying to teach the boys to use their words better and really express themselves.)
Jimmy:  Loving me.
Me:  Heart melted.

Many of the boys were sitting in my room and helping to organise the paper that I had just gotten for the beads.  I got a beige colour and was asking one of the boys to get it.  I had also been in the sun all day and forgot to put on sunscreen before I left home, so I got burnt.

Me:  Get the beige paper?
Vincent:  Which one?
Me:  The one that is the colour of my skin.
Vincent holding it up:  This one?
Me:  Yes.  It's like the colour of my skin, isn't it?
Jimmy and Vincent laughing:  No.
Jimmy:  Your skin is red.
Me:  Yes, because the sun burned me.
Jimmy:  The sun burned me too, a lot.

Richard was sitting in my room making beads while I was on my computer answering emails.

Me:  Do you want to listen to music or talk?
Richard:  Music please.
Me:  Gee, thanks a lot.
Richard:  laughing

Monday, January 26, 2015

The last two weeks

Here are some photos from the last two weeks.  For one of the weeks one of our board members was visiting us.  We had lots of fun while she was here and was able to take a special trip to Jinja with some of the boys.  One of the boys, Willy, said that the day was like heaven.  She also took us all to the beach and we had a great time.

at the Gandhi statue in Jinja

on the Nile

the boys heading out to where the Nile River starts and Lake Victoria ends



John and Richard

Richard.  I think I heard the donkey cry when he sat down.

Jacob.  The donkey was definitely tortured that day.

Paul with his favourite food, whole fried tilapia.

Apparently, Courtney and I play soccer and Vincent is our coach.  Who knew?

The basket was a gift from Vincent's mom.  So was the popcorn.


At the beach

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Kids say the funniest things

Here is your weekly dose of things these boys say.

One of our board members, Courtney, is here visiting.  We were listening to music in Luganda(the local language.)

Richard:  What is the use of a tailor?
Me:  To fix clothes.
Richard:  So they sew?
Courtney:  Yes.
Richard:  So the song says, "Sew me."  Did you get that?
Courtney:  No.
Richard:  Of course not.

Richard and Courtney were writing a letter.

Courtney:  What do you want to say?
Richard:  That I am becoming a doctor these days and if they know of any hospitals that need a doctor my number is 077777777.
Courtney writes that and Richard discovers it.
Richard:  That's not my real number.  I am not going to get the job because they are going to say I am not serious.  Why did you write that?

One of the boy's uncles came to visit the house.

The uncle:  How are you?
Me:  I'm good.  You?
Him:  I'm good.  Then looking down and seeing that my feet were really dusty from walking he says, I see you are so busy.
Me:  Um.  I just got home?

I was searching the music on my computer and was looking for a song to play.  I was going to choose a song that I play a lot.

Me: My favorite?
David:  What?

Our life in photos

Paul, Jacob, Ronald


Add caption 
Jimmy waiting at the airport 

Jimmy and Paul

Dunkan and David

John and Jimmy

waiting at the airport for Courtney

me and Jimmy

Paul and Moses after church