Monday, August 30, 2010

Some of the faces of the Save the Children orphanage

I wanted to send pictures of some of the kids at Kaziba.  They all just had their heads shaved, so I added their sex and age.  :)

Sweet boy Janvier (giving me a shy smile), age 18 months

Sweet girl, Cito Wambili, age 18 months

Sweet boy, Musiwa, age 20 months

Sweet girl Nsimire, age 2 1/2

Lovely girl Sandrine, almost 3 years 

Cutie Christian, age 2y 2m

Sweet girl Muholeza, almost 4 years old

Sweet girl Ziruka, two years in two weeks

Big boy Safari, age 4 1/2

Sweet baby boy, Gloire, age 17 months

Moise....age 13 months...

Sweet boy, Bertin, age 21 months 

Chikuru Kenga, sweet girl, age 2 1/2

Sweet girl Antoinette, almost 4

Sweet boy, Chereba, Almost 3 yr.

Happy girl, Sifa, age 4 years

Happy boy, LeBlanc (with Sandrine poking her head in), age 4

Thursday, August 26, 2010

fundraising update part 2-needs

So, I was able to meet with the missionary who currently raises funds for the orphanage and discuss the needs for the upcoming year (starting in September) and what areas she wasn't able to meet with the funding that she is anticipating from Norway.

Immediate needs:

$1000/month (ongoing)---There is the monthly immediate need to continue purchasing formula and milk powder as well as salaries for the 4 additional women we have hired.

$5000/year (one-time for school year)--Over 80 school children who have aged out of the orphanage are given school fees for the school year from the orphanage funds.  The family who in the past has raised this money (from Norway) was not able to raise the money this year.  There is an immediate need to help raise money for these kids school fees (primary and secondary school).  This amount also includes uniforms, notebooks, and pens for the children.  (This amount also includes $1000 towards 60 other orphaned children that are not given funds by the orphanage, but instead are sent to school by local donors in Kaziba, which I am trying to help out with some of the gaps in their funding).  I'm interested in trying to grow this into a more detailed sponsorship project, but at this point it's not ready to get that detailed.  However, I believe I could take photos of many of the kids and get ages and brief histories if people are interested in knowing about some of the kids they are supporting.

$2000 (one time)--This is the amount needed to finish the wall.

Our Family Adoptions (OFA) is a humanitarian organization that is helping us by letting us send raised funds through them for tax purposes.  100% of the money raised will be given to Kaziba.  The contact info is below.  It is important that all money is clearly marked for Kaziba.

Thank you to all the people who have been supporting this project with prayer and who have raised funds to support the beautiful children of Kaziba.  I have been up there 12 times now and I have SEEN the difference that your help has made.  I am praying that we can continue to support them as they are seeing their funding decrease this next year.

With a grateful heart,

Our Family Adoptions
P.O. Box 626
Camas, WA 98607
(360) 903-3648

fundraising update part 1-so far since February

We've been able to raise $3200 (of an estimated $5000 needed) towards the wall.  I'll add some pictures though it's a bit hard to see exactly what it will look like as it was partially finished at the time I took them last week, but two full sides are almost done.  When they stretched out the fencing they were able to complete about half of the third side which was encouraging.  The third side is along the front of the orphanage, it is an important side to build a wall, as this is where the cars drive by and people come in and out freely.  The concern (and why it has been important to build this wall) is that the kids start to chase the cars (thankfully they are driving slowly) and because they are little they may not be seen by the drivers.  Also, there is no way to prevent the children from wandering off or anyone from entering the compound.

We've also raised about $7000 that has paid for formula and powdered milk for the last six months, as well as the salaries for four women.  It has also paid for clothing for the children, blankets, new mattresses for beds, sheets, and trainings for the mamas.

In addition, we have received donations of cloth diapers and covers, formula, and crib toys.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


Impunity is...

Yesterday an older man was crossing the street.  He was hit by a speeding motorcycle and severely  injured.  The motorcycle was driven by a man in the military.  The police witnessed the accident as did civilians on the crowded street.  The police and the rest of the people stood still, let him pass, and watched him drive away.

A lot like the bank robbery a couple months ago that left people dead.  The uniformed men walked out, after shooting people and taking money, in broad daylight as well.

And of course, there is the daily story of women and girls (and now more and more men and boys) raped everyday...

a friend's story

Yesterday, we heard a friend of ours here, lost his younger brother.  He had hung himself.  That is tragic in and of itself but the story behind it is also tragic.  Our friend works for an ngo here as a guard.  He has been working for 'mzungus' (white people, rich people) for two years. This brother has been putting a lot of pressure on him for the past year to give him $500 since he works for mzungus.  He probably made less than $150/month for the past year, and less right now as his work is part time.  The brother simply cannot believe he isn't rich.  The whole family had a meeting to put pressure on our friend to give the younger $500.  He simply didn't have that money, he really barely made enough every month as it was.  No one would believe he didn't make huge amounts of money.  The younger brother told him, "you give me the money or I will kill you or myself!"   He chose himself.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

just when...

Today, just when I was getting really really whiney (in my head) about the (lack of) water situation here and the power problems and the dust (dirt) EVERYWHERE, one of the ladies who works in my house started casually telling me about HER situation.  She lives in a small (really really small) two bedroom house (shack).  She doesn't have water (or electric) into her house and she has a hole outside for her toilet.  The house is about the size of my bedroom.  This house is bigger than her last house.  When you don't have water into your house (like most of the people in this overcrowded city that has no infrastructure) you get water from your neighborhood well or spring (usually a faucet or two coming out of the hillside).  When it's dry season, some of these neighborhood wells/springs don't have ANY water for the thousands of people who live in these neighborhoods.  The city becomes full of 1000s of children wandering the dusty streets with yellow jerry cans looking for water.  This means you have to do one of two things, usually both.  The first is that you sleep very lightly or not at all, so that you wake up quickly in the middle of the night (usually around 1 am) when someone in the neighborhood puts out the signal that the water is ON!!  EVERYONE runs with all their containers in the middle of the night to these measly faucets.  Mostly the kids are sent running.  Then there is fighting and arguing.  Then the water stops.  You are lucky if you get any water.  The next morning, (again, if you are lucky) your mom goes to work (like the woman telling this story). While your mom goes to work, you and your brothers and sisters and cousins (all 7 of you in this case) go hiking far away to the next neighborhood where you have heard there is water.  Well, everyone has heard there is water here.  You wait in line with 100s and 100s of people (mostly kids) for your chance at the faucet.  It might come.  It might not.  There are police guarding the faucets.  If someone with a car and some money comes, they pay off that police officer and fill all their many containers.  If you are lucky, you make it home with 10 Liters of water for the 9 people in your house for one cook, to clean, to drink.  Meanwhile, back in my "house" I am whining because I might have to go to my HUGE outdoor cistern that is FULL of water and lug a bucket of water in the house.  But what is a bit disgusting to me about it all is the reality is that I won't even do the lugging!!  This lady will!!  Sometimes, it is hard to live with myself here, uggghhh!!!   May I NEVER forget these days!!!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

aging out

So, I'm tired tonight and should be in bed.  But I wanted to briefly share about what happens when the kids turn 5 or 6 at the Kaziba orphanage since 3 children have done so since I have been visiting there.  The director really loves the kids, but the orphanage is small so once the kids get to be school age he tries his hardest to find loving foster families for them.  The orphanage is still in charge of them, but they don't live there anymore.  The orphanage tries to pay the school fees and help the foster families but it is getting harder and harder as the funding is decreasing this fall.  Sometimes foster families can't be found and the children are forced to go back to their fathers.  I say forced because this is the case for the most part.  Most of the fathers don't want their children, that is why they are there.  The ones that do want them try to take them back in the first 2 years of life, once they are off formula.  One little girl wasn't wanted at all.  Her father was told to come get her and he took off for six months.  Finally he came and got her.  He didn't want her.  He keeps trying to give her to other people.  He keeps asking the director to take her back.  I love this little girl.  She was one of the kids who always came up to me, held my hand and stuck close.  It breaks my heart that this is her life now, she is unwanted and unloved.  She doesn't belong.  She is not fed or cared for.  It is heartbreaking.  

Friday, August 13, 2010

a good visit

Aside from the wonderful part of bringing home our girls last visit, it was a good visit with the kids too.  Lots of kids walking and playing.  Last time we had gone, we had asked if they could bring in some of the older orphans who had aged out of the orphanage to come play with the babies during summer vacation.  The director arranged that right away and there were 3 big boys (7-8 years old) and 2 big girls (12 years old) holding and playing with kids.  And I could tell it was making a difference.  The kids looked happy!  There were NO babies in beds, except those that were sleeping!  And they are learning my name.  I've always been "mugeni" (visitor) now I am "hawwwllllli".   Let me go find some pictures!

Two big boys acting as big brothers to the little ones at the orphanage.

One of the big girls with little Moise (always reaching out).

Happy Ziruka.



In the past 1 1/2 months, 3 new children have come to Kaziba.  Two babies and one big girl.  Amiable was one of the babies.  He was a little baby who came when he was 7 days old, he was very sickly and had not been fed much at all.  He came from far away.  He died two days after coming.  I never met him.  Amiable is french for genial, or pleasant.  Someone loved him and gave him that name.  One more angel in God's arms.


Tonight I had an unexpected encounter.  It was in regards to the first orphanage I visited here.  And it was also related to Moise, the little baby boy we tried to adopt.  Last fall we felt compelled to stop our adoption proceedings.  We also felt that God gave us the wisdom to make this decision.  I have had moments of doubting our decision.  Maybe I had read the situation wrong, maybe we left our little boy in that orphanage based off of incorrect assumptions...maybe this...maybe that.  Anyway, tonight I received a very very clear confirmation that the adoption of Moise would NEVER have happened.  We did read the situation correctly and we did have wisdom in moving away from adopting him.  I still find it very sad and unjust, especially for his sake as he is an innocent child.  But I know we made the right decision, which gives me peace amidst the sadness.  I don't know how to embed links, but here are a couple of my previous posts about this sweet little boy.

our wonderful crazy

So, there have many posts that I've been wanting to write for awhile now, but I am just too tired at night (big surprise).  This will hopefully be the first of many.  Things are going really well in terms of adjustments.  The girls did surprisingly well when they came home two weeks ago (wow!!).  Contrary to ALL my other encounters with them, they have been very comfortable with me.  The first night they both seemed a bit shell shocked, but now they are really adjusting and happy little girls.  I think back to our drive from the orphanage and I laugh as how placid they really were.  Wow, have they changed!  Ellie is very watchful and happy.  She is very content to sit in front of a basket of toys and explore all of them in depth.  She is very sensitive to when I leave the room and is quick to look for me again.  She is taller and heavier than Mia (they are fraternal).  She has a sweet smile and loves to cuddle.  Mia is full of grit and determination.  She is pretty much crawling, when you hold her hands she runs everywhere and she prefers to stand.  She has so much energy bound up in her little body; she falls asleep in 5 seconds flat!  I have really never had a child like her before.  I can't leave her alone, yesterday she pulled herself up to stand and let go!  She is happy and really is nothing like the little girl who cried whenever she saw me in all my other visits.   They both sleep like champs.  We lay them down awake and they sleep all night...I am VERY thankful for this.  And they take naps the same way.  It makes the rest of our craziness doable.  The other four are adjusting.  Natalie is the happiest.  She is loving all the commotion and spends much of her day playing with babies, dressing up dolls and stuffed animals, and occasionally taking some needed "private time" in her room.  Isla is almost 20 months (!) and still isn't talking much.  She is so frustrated by her lack of communication that a lot of her day is spent grunting or screaming to get her point across.  She loves the babies (right now) because they don't move or take her stuff.  And Mike and I...are very grateful to have them with us.  There are still some important documents we are waiting for in terms of our judgment (that we didn't know about), so we are still a bit stressed about that, but it helps they are here, even if we are still in a limbo of sorts.

My day goes something like this:

Wake up 6 ish.  Quickly start boiling water.
Make 4 botttles.
Isla starts crying for me or Mike.  He rushes in to try to prevent her from waking I, who sleeps in the same room.
I hurridly get dressed, etc. try to check email.
Get babies up.  Give one to Mike to feed bottle too.  Nat cries, wants to get out of bed and get her food.
Feed other baby.  Start to hear the middle two waking up, thankfully not crying, but chattering.
Hand off all kids to super dad.  Get middle two up and dressed.  Give them bottles.
Play with kids, change LOTS of poopy diapers. (3 are in cloth, 2 disposables for about 4 more days when they run out, then 5 in cloth).
Around 8:30 feed babies cereal and bananas, usually I and Nat too.
Play/diapers.  Middle two get cereal 9ish.
Bottles for babies at 10 or so (hopefully I remember to keep thermos full of hot water).  They go down for nap.  Spend a couple hours with Nat and I...laundry, clean toys and random chaos that is everywhere.  Middle two nap too.
Lunch around 1:30, Mike is home for lunch.  Feed us and 6 babies.  Big girls down for nap after lunch.  This is a bit crazy for me right now.  Mike needs to leave for work...I need a "safe" place to put my babies during the time while I put the big girls down...still in process.
Try not to fall asleep putting Nat to bed...happens too often.
Play with babies.  Try to get something done but can't leave them alone right now...they get too worried and Mia tries to climb something impossible.
Isla wakes up at 4, usually Nat has not slept and is up by this time.  I has to cry about 15 minutes after nap time to adjust to the world again.  I've found sticking babies in the stroller and pushing them in the driveway for about 30 minutes (while holding the crying Isla) works best, Nat pushes bike.  I'm learning all the things I can do one-handed.  More bottles and poopy diapers.
Middle babies are played with by a lovely lady that comes to help me with them during the day.
5pm-hit the door running.  Big kids watch show.  Babies play on floor (I hope) or they take a short second nap.  I set table for 8.  Warm up food.  Try to turn on the bath water.  It is dry season, may or may not be water.  Must start it at 5 so it is ready 1 1/2 hours later.  Run around and collect 6 piles of jammies, onesies, cloth diapers (all 5 in cloth at night), and one binky (for the big girl).  Realize that I haven't put away laundry in days, can't find anything.
6pm-Mike home.  Feed kids and us.  VERY loud meal.  Lots of singing.  All kids LOVE to dance.  When the meal starts winding down, Mike puts on music.  All babies dance and dance...esp. middle kids.  We try to clean table a bit.  I make 4 bottles. 6:30 baths.  All six get bathed every night.  It is dry season.  It is REALLY dirty in the house.  The kids are all FILTHY.  Must be bathed.  But not tons of water.  You can imagine what it looks like by the 6th.  All kids bathed, hair done, fed bottles.  Lots of fun bed play time.  Giggling, tackling daddy...good good way to end day!  Middle babies to bed first in their room at 7.  Tiniest babies to bed by 7:30, big girls about 5 minutes after that.
Sit on couch and mutter gibberish:  Mike and I at 7:35pm!!  

It is crazy.  It is wonderful.  I have lots of highs and some lows.  I need lots and lots of patience with so many little ones.  There are times that I feel like I am losing my mind!!  3 years old is NOT an easy age.  But it has it's sweet moments.   I am very very loved.  I miss my family and friends.  I have an awesome husband.  I love our babies.  It has been very fun to get to know them and learn who they are more and more everyday.  I love that they prefer me to others already.  I have NO spare moments during the day.  But I have awesome evening time.  I don't sleep well.  I dream of kids in my room all night.  Am exhausted every morning.  I can't believe our little girls will be one year old in 3 months!  I don't like staying up late or getting up in the middle of the night to do laundry because it is the only time the power is high enough to run the washing machine.  5 babies in diapers.  FIVE babies in CLOTH diapers.  Trusting God for all the strength I need.
Ellie and Mia

Mike with Mia