Fun Weekend for the Children

All those wonderful people over there at Eagles Wings worked hard to put together a fun camp style weekend for the children.  Scroll through the pictures and soak up all the joy that was in that place.  All these kids, they were reminded in those few days how to find joy in the everyday moments.

 

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America and Arabia

On that particular day I was reminded that boys will be boys.  It doesn’t seem to matter what corner of the world you’re in. I was inside working on a computer document when I heard the boys making a ruckus outside. I went to investigate and found them in the middle of a wild game. I asked them what they were doing and I got laughter in response. Six of them looking back at me and laughing with wide open joy. When they finally managed to choke out some words I was told they were in the middle of America and Arabia. From what I could tell there were two teams (America and Arabia?) and the game consisted of running wild and attempting to slap any and all of your brothers with rags. Wild and crazy these boys are, they know what it means to have fun.  “Auntie, it is fun!” was the response that I got.

Meanwhile I looked over to where I could hear feminine giggles coming from the other end of the compound. Perhaps they were playing something more my style. A Ugandan hop scotch style game was what they were in the middle of.  Equally joyful, yet somehow not as wild, I decided I wanted them to teach me. I was met with 6 simultaneous “Auntie I will show you” while they all tried to explain at once. Perhaps I wasn’t very good, but I was encouraged to know that they love me anyway.

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The Gift of Life

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Water is the gift of life. That’s what I’ve been told. And that’s what I’ve seen as I’ve travelled the world. I’ve seen the type of water sources people draw their water from simply because they have no choice. I’ve seen the fluorescent glow of e-coli in a sample bottle and felt the weight of knowing that people are drinking it.

This here, that’s not what we want for the children at Eagles Wings. The well they have on the property doesn’t yield enough capacity to supply the needs during dry season. As such the children are forced to trade their time doing homework to pump a hand well that yields only a trickle or when that fails, walk long distances carrying heavy jerry cans from the community well.

We have plans to drill a new well and to partner with an organization called Living Water International that can provide technical expertise and reliable drilling staff and equipment. The new well they drill for us will provide enough capacity to supply the sites needs and provide a sustainable and long term solution so the children can focus on what is important.

Before we can do this, we need to raise funding.  Will you join us? Click the donate tab at the top of the page and write “Well Project” in the special instructions box if you are donating on-line (occurs after you hit continue in PayPal) or in the cheque memo if you are donating by mail.

A Special Happy Birthday

I entered the chapel and I saw him there. Sitting on the edge of the plastic seat and swinging his legs in anticipation. All by himself he waited. All day, maybe even all year he had waited. Because today was the day his birthday would be celebrated. Little Ibra had patiently waited through an entire church service, gone home for lunch and was out the door before his house mother could even get him to change into his party clothes. One of the older boys had to go and fetch him so he would be wearing the right thing for his special day.

When he had the proper clothes on, he took off, running towards the chapel. And that is where he waited for the party to start. It is tradition at Eagles Wings to sing Happy Birthday to each child individually at the monthly birthday celebration, and while the crowd sings, the birthday boy or girl dances. Have you ever sung Happy Birthday 21 times in a row? I have and I wish I could do it all over again. 21 times we celebrated each of these special children whose birthday it was. And when we got to Little Ibra, he danced like there was no tomorrow. There was no stopping that boy in his unencumbered performance. He knows joy and reminded me where to find it.

Getting there to that moment did not come without some comic relief. Making 6 cakes in a Ugandan oven is an all day affair, a joyous affair if you love to bake. When it came time to ice the cakes, the power went out, so there we sat at midnight in pitch black, icing 6 cakes by the light of a headlamp. Perhaps all that was the easy part. The next day, we piled into the car, each with a cake on our lap, trying to make it out to the Eagles Wings property on those bumpy African roads without a cake disaster. Half way there, the car broke down. We waited for Dr. Macris, the Eagles Wings doctor to come to our rescue, more importantly to the cake’s rescue, when he called to say they had a flat tire. A while later, flat tire fixed, half of us loaded into the Macris vehicle, transferred the cakes and made it there without a culinary disaster. Is it just me or is this comic relief in action? This is Africa and I love it. I got to sit there at Eagles Wings and watch those children enjoy that cake and all the celebration it represented. And I sat there and wondered how I could possibly be so lucky to be there right in the middle of all that. Coming home from all that joy involved trying to wave down a boda boda (motorcycle) for half an hour to get from the property to the highway, and then finally getting to the highway and finding a taxi, promptly to have it break down. From there we stood on the side of the highway in the middle of Uganda for another 45 minutes to wave down another taxi which finally got us home, and all that only makes me laugh wild, because it reminds me that life is always full of these surprises and sometimes they just make for one heck of a story.

 

Broken down on the side of the road with all those cakes

Broken down on the side of the road with all those cakes

Ibra waits patiently before everyone arrives to the party

Ibra waits patiently before everyone arrives to the party

Ibra dances with some wild joy

Ibra dances with some wild joy

Trust enjoys the birthday cake in her pretty party dress.

Trust enjoys the birthday cake in her pretty party dress.

Fred helps baby Triumph eat her birthday cake.  Such a loving boy he is.

Fred helps baby Triumph eat her birthday cake. Such a loving boy he is.

The light of a smile

 

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The first time I set my feet on the red dirt roads of Uganda, I thought I was prepared for what lay ahead of me. It wasn’t my first time in the developing world, but it was my first in Uganda. Perhaps my other travels had prepared me for some aspects of this place I love, but what I wasn’t prepared for was the long standing love affair I would have with this country and the people that I met. One of the first people I met upon my arrival at Eagles Wings Children’s Village was Peter. The first thing I noticed about this young teenager was his brilliant smile. It seemed to hold the light of a thousand stars. I wanted to capture all that and take it home with me because it seemed like something rare and treasured.

One day I was in the kitchen while Peter and his friend made pancakes and he came over to me and asked me “if he could have a snap (picture) with me, so that I would never forget my friend Peter.” In the months after my return I would look at that picture and remember the light of his smile and the naughty grin on his face as he used the letters from my Scrabble game to spell a silly word.

As I’ve returned to Uganda over the past few years, I’ve always relished the way Peter’s face lights up when he sees me for the first time. To see the way he’s grown and matured over the years and to hear his hopes and dreams for the future. Peter has recently completed high school and is hoping to study to be a lawyer at University. As Peter runs the race of life set before him, I want to be up there in the stands cheering.

 

the journey

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. - Lao-tzu

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. – Lao-tzu

Welcome to the Eagles Wings Children’s Village Blog. Hi, my name is Jaimee. You and I? We probably have a lot in common. We both get out of bed everyday and try and figure out what it means to be human. We are knee deep in the trenches as we struggle with purpose and restlessness. I won’t pretend to understand all the battles you fight, but I ask, will you join me? Join me on the journey of these children that run the race set before them at Eagles Wings Children’s Village. We want to use this blog as a way to connect you with these precious little people all the way across the ocean. To use it as a means to be part of their lives, to enter into their story. You can subscribe to receive our blog posts by e-mail over on the right hand side, or you can simply check back for updates when you have a few minutes. Either way, we’re looking forward to having you join us in on this journey, to be part of these children’s future in some small way. Although these blog posts may have a few different people holding the pen, this story, it’s theirs to tell.