It’s mid-December, and the children at St. Paul and Rose Orphanage in Buwala District near Jinja, Uganda, have just finished their fall term at school. They are looking forward to Christmas as they enjoy their holiday break. This has been a terrific year for everyone at the orphanage where, thanks to the generosity of DIG’s donors, a new pit latrine has been installed to replace the old one. It may not sound glamorous, but it is truly a gift for the health and well-being of all the children as well as the staff, Paul, Rose and visitors. The series of photos Paul sent as the building was being constructed tell the story far better than words can. This new latrine, with its four stalls and two bathing rooms, will serve the home for years to come. There are not thanks enough for making this possible—DIG donors are truly the best.
The DIG garden is flourishing, with beautiful plantings in well-made and carefully tended beds. Site visits by Sarah and Noah, who brought DIG’s garden and nutrition manuals to the orphanage, have continued to help everyone there reap more produce, and learn about healthful eating as well as how to make delicious meals from the garden’s bounty. Paul and Rose are grateful to the DIG donors who supported the original garden installation and to DIG who has continued to provide guidance from the manuals’ informative pages and links to other DIG networks. Direct training coupled with the security of written guides for reference are making the garden at the Buwala children’s home ever more successful.
The orphanage also has a new shelter for its growing goat herd, to protect them from the heavy rains that can cause them to fall ill. The children help care for the animals, and love to hold and feed the new baby goats that are born. This goat herd is the first of what are hoped to be several animal husbandry projects that will provide income for living expenses, as well as yield dairy products and food for the children. In concert with the garden’s produce, the animals will help the orphanage become self-sustaining for the long term. Right now, besides the goats, there are two milk cows, and a few laying hens. The next stage is to get a piggery started, and then over time to increase the herd of cows and to start a large poultry operation. Having milk, meat and eggs for sale will be great income enhancers. Each step is being planned carefully, to make sure that vaccinations, special feed, shelters and other requirements are addressed so that the animals can be maintained in good health.
A deep well is the next major project that DIG hopes to help Paul and Rose install on the orphanage property, by the main road, so the children no longer have to walk a long way to get water for cooking, washing, drinking and tending the garden. Seed money for the well has been contributed, and with the help of additional donors it is hoped that the well can be installed soon. It will save a tremendous amount of time and labor, and it will make caring for more garden beds and more animals possible.
Paul and Rose and the board of directors for the orphanage dream of expanding it to take in up to a hundred children. Currently, there are thirty-six children living there, up from the twenty-seven children DIG supporters met on the first DIG donors’ trip to East Africa in 2010. Some are nearing the end of their secondary schooling and are poised to move on to apprenticeships, post-secondary academic and technical studies if funds can be found, and other endeavors. As these older children move out to the larger community, new youngsters are being taken in. But the orphanage has only one dormitory, built originally for twenty children and now extremely crowded when everyone is home. The hope is for funds to build improved structures to serve more children, including: two new dormitories, one for girls and one for boys; a new kitchen capable of serving many people at one time; a store where garden produce, milk, eggs and other items can be sold; and more solar panels to provide additional lights for evening and night-time study.
Contributions have made it possible for all of the children to attend good schools for the past three years, with new uniforms and shoes each January; there are solar panels that provide light for studying in the evenings; and they have new bedding and other essentials. The basics for healthy living are in place, with the love that Paul and Rose give the children being the foundation for it all. The next chapter is beginning, and that is because of the contributions of DIG donors and others who support this work.
If you would like to contribute through DIG’s website to the orphanage’s fund for the well and other projects, your gift will be appreciated beyond measure.