Hello again to all my friends and supporters,
I often have been asked such questions as, “what do you do on a daily basis?” and “How is all the money you receive spent?”
The first question is hard to answer because there are so many different aspects and directions of our program. With close to 300 kids there will always be issues and challenges that come up. It also takes a fair amount of time just staying ahead of emails and correspondences as well as getting pictures of kids and scanning reports and letters and such. The kid’s who are not in the Rescue Home are scattered as far as 25 kilometers in any direction on roads that are often not in good condition. My country director, Tumwiine David does most of the traveling and I spend most of my time in the office overseeing the work and talking with kids with occasional meetings both at the home office as well as in the Manna Rescue Home.
The money is spent in many different ways. Of course, there are the salaries of my staff and running costs of the program but there are also ongoing medical costs of the kids at the rescue home. Another expense is uniforms and school lunches. All schools require uniforms and closed toe black shoes and all our kids get a school lunch because otherwise they would eat only once a day in the late evening.
We are teaching kids at the Rescue Home basic skills in sewing and knitting so we invest in supplies and tools to help them learn.
Most families in the program care for their own home needs but we do have some child headed homes or families with sick caregivers that are in desperate shape and we try to assist them.
The Manna Rescue Home has 30 kids all born HIV+. That home is fairly costly to run as our staff are nurses and we need to be sure the kids get good nutritious food as well as daily medicine.
And one of the largest expenses is school fees. We pay school fees three times a year and we have about 280 kids that we assist with their tuition. 62 children have individual sponsors and the other 218 are covered by all of the generous donations that come in.
I also run a 56 bed hostel which generates income for the Rescue Home.
Our student of the month is Basaija Steven. He is a very courageous young man who has continued to struggle through very hard times. He was born in 1993 in a village with several sisters and brothers. In 1998 his father committed suicide and his mother died 2 months later of AIDS. The kids were left with a grandmother who really tried hard to manage the kids. In 1999 she came to me for help and I started assisting the family through the program. By 2002 the grandmother could no longer manage and we searched for people to foster the kids. That was hard, especially with one of his sisters who suffered with convulsions.
Steven continued school and finished his primary 7 with high results. From there we put him into boarding schools where he continued doing well in academics. Some visitors, Peter Rothe and Linda Carroll from Canada met him and decided to sponsor him. He finished secondary school well and continued to a good university to study law. He is now in his 5th year and continues being at the top of his class. The Canadian organization HEAL continues to sponsor him. Steven has proven that a strong attitude and faith as well as hard work can take someone from nowhere to someone with a chance at a good life here in Uganda.
Steven and many others like him are what make this work so rewarding and worth all the struggles. Without all of you all over the world this would not have been possible. I continue to thank all of you and to thank God for these miracles in this small part of the world.
To my American friends I wish you good elections and to the rest a wonderful autumn season.