Monday, February 20, 2012


Our formerly sponsored child, Zahara, has had a change of situation. 

Her mother made the decision to return her to Amani because she is too ill to care for her. The Amani staff were so instrumental in showing her the love of Jesus through this tough decision that she started looking into Christianity and made a decision to accept Jesus as her savior! As a reflection of this decision she renamed Zahara Lydia, feeling it was important that she had a Christian name. 
Lydia's mother has signed over her rights to Lydia and we are praying Lydia is able to be placed in a new family very soon. 

If you want to read more about this change please read Danyne (the director of Amani) post on the Amani website. 

Please pray for Lydia and her mother. 

Thursday, January 26, 2012

An Update of Sorts

Sorry the updates have been severely lacking. Our wonderful intern Margaret has left Uganda so it is only our social worker Susan working for Obukuumi. We get updates from her if there is a problem with a child but we don't get any pictures so it's hard to update the blog. Kelsey and I will be heading back to Uganda for three months in May so detailed updates will pick back up then :)

We're also actively blogging at about our future plans.

Here are some exerts from the Christmas letter we sent out to sponsors in case you missed it :)

We started this year off by sending a couple more children home to their families. Kelsey left Uganda in the spring, leaving our social worker, Susan, in charge of the program. In the fall our first intern, Margaret, arrived in Uganda. She was a HUGE help to us- both with keeping Kelsey and I updated and handling some tough situations with a few of our kids.

We are committed to the families currently in our program but over the last few months we have not added any families to the program because Kelsey and I feel called to focus more on prevention. To take a more holistic and preventative approach we have launched Abide Family Center. Please visit our website to learn more. We are in the planning and fundraising stage but in spring 2013 we will both move to Uganda and officially open Abide Family Center.

We are still encouraging our social worker Susan to help Amani find families and encourage parents to take them home, we are just not offering sponsorship money at this time. Amani has graciously offered to assist in any medical emergencies the families might have once taking their child home. We have found this type of situation to be one in which families do desperately need assistance and monetary support.

We are also trying to find better ways to empower our families to be able to transition out of sponsorship, although we believe every family’s situation is unique and no matter what we will do everything to ensure the children and families are taken care of. For this reason, it may be a slow process. We will keep you updated on your sponsored child’s unique situation and the changes at Obukuumi.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Recent Home Visits

I never know what to expect when we go on home visits. Will the child run away screaming, burst into tears, become really shy, or run to greet us? It changes depending on the child, and it also varies month to month with the same child. Never a dull day!
Mebra and Isaac have both been having stomach trouble this month- pray for a quick recovery! Mebra ran away as soon as she saw us coming, but Isaac went inside and sat with us during the home visit. It's very clear that they are comfortable being at home.
Helen sat in her mother's lap throughout the visit holding her doll. Her big sister brought it outside to her, which was so sweet! They seem to have a really strong bond. I saw them running off to play together as we left. Helen has been healthy other than getting a cold.
When we went to visit Josephine in August, she ran away screaming at the sight of us. This month, she followed us inside, but kept her distance. I think her auntie gave her a good talking to after the last episode. :) Josephine recently had malaria but received treatment for it. Her family only has one mosquito net, and they use it to cover up the two month old triplets. The auntie looks well-recovered from her c-section, and seems to be getting into a routine with the three new additions to the family. She is most grateful for the money she now receives to help her care for the babies!
Zahara is doing so well at home. She played hide and seek, hiding behind a curtain and giggling while we talked with her mom. She has been healthy, but her mom has not been feeling well recently. Hopefully, she will start feeling better soon!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

An Update From Recent Home Visits!

Zurita is doing so well with her grandparents! She is always smiling, and so is her grandmother. I love it that she always puts her in "Sunday best" dresses to come visit us. Susan and I both agreed that she felt heavier than last month when we picked her up. Zurita is getting chubby, which we like to see! It made my heart happy to see her wearing the shoes that I bought her last month! (She had lost one on the bota ride over and I bought her a pair with elastic at the market).
Trevor was across the street when we arrived at his house, and he refused to come across the street to greet us. His Auntie Samba had to go and get him, and the closer he got to us, the more he started to squirm. He grows more shy of us every time we visit! I am so glad to see he is bonding with his aunties. Last month his Auntie told us that Trevor's father had harrassed them recently. He was upset that Trevor had been removed from Amani, and said that he wanted him to be adopted. We told her to let us know if this happened again, and to tell the father that if this was what he really desired for Trevor, he must come to Amani to talk with us. Auntie Samba told us they have not heard from him since last month, and we hope it continues to stay that way! Trevor is a happy, healthy boy. He finally consented to giving Susan a half-hearted "bonga," which made him (and us) smile. 
Suzan smiled so big when she first saw us coming- I was so glad that I had my camera out, because she quickly grew shy. She was only enticed to come inside by the sweeties Susan and I had for her- she was handed several, and immediately she turned around and shared them with her cousins. So sweet! Last month when we visited, she was still dealing with the flu and her chest was rattling. We were happy to hear that she has finished her flu treatment, and when I held her I could no longer feel the rattling. She just has a runny nose! Her grandmother accepted the sponsorship money, thanking us over and over for the work we do. Susan's response was spot on: she thanked her for taking care of Suzan, reminding her that she was doing the hard work as care taker from day to day! 
I am sorry to say that I do not have pictures of Zahara, Fazira, Alice, Josephine to update you with, because I was incredibly sick and didn't get to go on those home visits with Susan! I can tell you how they are doing thought!

Josephine- Susan said that she wasn't as shy this time, and even sat in her lap for the entire visit! Her cold is gone, which is good news. The triplets are still having health complications, but have gained weight. Obukuumi is now giving Josephine's aunt 30,000 extra shillings per month that will allow her to hire a house girl, to help with the triplets. She is so relieved! Auntie Sarah has pretty much healed from her C-section, and did not seem tired like last visit.

Alice- Alice got so excited when she saw Susan coming that she started dancing! Because the sponsorship money was two weeks late in coming, Alice had had to miss two weeks of school. Both auntie and niece were thrilled that she could go back to school now.

Fazira- Susan reported that she was happy and healthy when she visited. In her words, "Fazira is a jolly, stubborn girl." I have not gotten to meet this sweet girl yet, so I am very much looking forward to next month's visit!

Zahara- When Susan went to go visit her, Zahara was at home alone. Her mother had gone to look for money to pay for her own ARV's. Susan (the mom) came to Amani the following day. Since last visit, the two had moved to the apartment they showed us. She told Susan (our social worker) that a family next door who happen to have a child at Amani had been harassing her. They believe that she has moved next door so that she can report them to the police, and told her if this happened, she would be arrested too. Susan consulted with Mama Agatha (the head social worker at Amani) and both agreed that it was best for Zahara and her mom to move again. Hopefully she will do so as soon as possible. We will check on this at next month's visit.


Thursday, September 15, 2011

Some Updated Pictures :)

Isaac and Mebra
Since I last posted, Susan and I have visited Trevor, Zurita, Mebra & Isaac, & Helen. I am happy to say that they are all doing well at home!

Monday, September 12, 2011


Those big brown chocolate eyes.

Those smiles that are rare but oh so much more special when they do appear.

The way she sucks in her lower lip.

Without a doubt Susan is a cutie pie.

Susan came to Amani as a young baby when her mother died giving birth to her. Her father visited her from time to time and said his intent was to bring her home when he re-married. However his promise that this would be soon didn’t seem to be coming true so we encouraged him to find another solution for Susan. The decision was made that Susan would go home to her grandparents within a few weeks. Next we entered what we called the war of the grandparents as the maternal and paternal grandparents argued over who would take Susan home.

Although the war delayed Susan’s return home we love that she is so loved that everyone wanted herJ. The maternal grandparents won and Susan went home last spring. When we visited she was very happy and well-adjusted. Her grandmother and aunts spoke of how she was such a special reminder of her mother to them. They showed us a photo of Susan’s mother and we could definitely see the resemblance.

Susan’s family has proved they are capable of caring for Susan in every way. We are very excited for Susan to finally know the love of her family!

Please continue to keep Susan in your prayers as she has some health concerns Obukuumi and her family is working through. 

Monday, August 29, 2011

Spotlight on Trevor!

I can’t write about Trevor without writing about this beautiful lady.

Trevor arrived at Amani a year and a half ago- just a few weeks after Kelsey and I arrived to volunteer for the first time. He was malnourished and terrified of his new surroundings. His mother was dead and his dad not in the picture. His grandmother was trying to care for Trevor and her dying husband but it all became too much for her. Trevor fell into a sickly state until his family brought him to Amani. The workers at Amani were so very loving and gentle with him but his condition was begging for some one on one care. My fellow volunteer, Alisa, met that need for Trevor.

Alisa poured out all her love for Trevor. She gave him cuddles each morning, knew exactly how to feed him so he didn’t throw it all up again, and taught him how to scoot around the floor. She was the Trevor expert and she and the workers quickly transformed him into a happy and healthy little boy.

And then she did the hardest thing. She left him. She was engaged to be married the following fall and knew Trevor was not meant to be hers- so she trusted God and went home. The months went by- months of sleepless nights missing and thinking about Trevor. When you love a child with your whole heart it isn’t easy to let go.

Today Alisa sponsors Trevor. Trevor’s grandfather passed away and now he is his grandmother’s only charge. He is very attached to her and his aunts- wanting NOTHING to do with us when we visit J He has remained happy and healthy and adjusted home beautifully.

We love this cute spunky little boy and we love how God has used such a variety of people to work in his life. We just know he is destined for some pretty amazing stuff!

Thank you Alisa for listening to God’s call and making a difference is this precious boy’s life.