3 July 2013
Today we headed out to Amani Baby Cottage, an orphanage here in Jinja. When we arrived we were blown away by their beautiful facility and property. Amani just relocated to their new facility, and although they are still putting the final touches on the building, they plan to be 100% up and going by September when they celebrate their 10 year anniversary. Some of the children of Amani have lost both parents, and some have lost one but the surviving parent can not take care of the child. Amani’s goal is to reunite the children and their families once their families can show that they can take care of them. There are some children who are not reunited and are adopted either internationally or domestically.
We met with Auntie Charlie who showed us around. They have the baby room, birth – 1 year old, with a beautiful indoor treehouse for the children to play in. The sweet faces of the babies stole all our hearts. She also showed us their clinic, which is manned full time by a nurse. We visited the preschool classrooms where the older children go to school.
Then we went to the other building which they call the cottage. There are 3 rooms – 1 girl and 2 boy rooms ages 1 – 5. We entered the first room and we were quickly greeted with “Auntie”. We sat and played with the boys for a bit, and Mali gave out the teddy bears that we brought for them. Then it was time for their morning snack of porridge. We laughed as one of the boys wore more porridge then he drank.
After snack we headed to the girls room where we met Mama Lucy, a sweet, wonderful Ugandan woman who is in charge of that room. Again we played with the girls and gave out bears. Then it was time to go outside, where the children play on a beautiful wooden playground that was built by a team who visited Amani, and dedicated to the memory of the children from Sandy Hook.
Of course Mali quickly found favorites, and she was busy pushing them on the swings, running around and playing with them. I took one of the little girls and pushed her on the swing, when I took her out she fell fast asleep in my arms. We sat outside getting to know Mama Lucy, and listening to one of the volunteers play music for the children.
Then it was time to say good bye, tears from some of the babies, and Mali too. We met back up with Auntie Charlie and she showed us around the area that is being built for the volunteer quarters. It is a wonderful, loving facility and we can not wait to visit again.
After our time at Amani, we headed into town for some lunch and relax a bit before heading to Ekisa for the afternoon.
Once we arrived at Ekisa we fell into our routine of playing with the kids, school time and dinner time. Ekisa and the children and staff there will always be a very special place to us. Its a place we feel at home with the children, love the staff and always have fun.
After getting the kids to dinner, we left to have dinner with our friend Brad. We drove out to Bujagali Falls (which aren’t falls anymore thanks to the dam) and had dinner overlooking the Nile. It was a good night of catching up with a friend.