My first visit to St. Jude was amazing- I had a lot of trouble leaving. Because it was a weekend, school was not in session, but I had the opportunity to tour the orphanage and the consolation home, a home for children with special needs, and see all the exciting changes taking place. In the orphanage, there are “mothers” who care for the children and each mother is responsible for 10 children. In the past, these groups of children and several mothers stayed in homes together. Presently, new homes are being constructed so that each mother and her children will live together in their own house. The new facilities are gorgeous- clean, bright and filled with books given to the children by you,our donors. Additionally, each family has a plot in the garden on the grounds that the mothers care for. As soon as these homes are completed, similar homes will hopefully be built for the Consolation Home.
I met the director, Julius Peter Oola , and he seems like a wonderful person with a very big heart. It was important for us to speak with him and learn about the current needs of the home and how we can help in the future. Julius expressed much gratitude for all of our donor support that allowed him to send young girls to secondary school. Sharon had to take over the meeting as I was too distracted by all the cute little faces to concentrate. There were little children running around that wanted to be played with, and I was more than happy to oblige. One of their favorite things to do is have their pictures taken and then look at them through the viewfinder of the camera. They have no mirrors, so they never see themselves!
The children each have different stories as to what brought them to the orphanage, but they all desire the same things- love and attention. And from what I saw in my visit, they are receiving just that. I had the pleasure of meeting many of the mothers who care tirelessly for these kids, and they are all lovely. Julius even allowed five bouncing, energetic little ones into his office as I tried to meet with him and play at the same time. And aside from your standard pushing and fighting, the kids appear to care for each other. This was heart warming to see.
Julius told Sharon of his need for epileptic medicine for the children living in Consolation Home. The drug is expensive, and the children are suffering tremendously without it. In brighter news, the primary school has become self-sufficient and is now covering the money necessary for operating costs from tuition payments. This has led Social Promise to question whether or not it is time to think bout building a secondary school on the premises. The benefits would be many including no longer needing to pay for transportation for the students to attend secondary school, and having the children at the home will allow them to help care for the children in the orphanage. Julius was thrilled with the suggestion! More to come on this soon…