Glowing little eyes in the dark

posted in Africa

Glowing little eyes in the dark

During my stay in Eastern-Uganda I had the chance to visit a small, rural orphanage.

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The St Kizito Babies home is in Mbale district and currently houses about 40 children between 0 and 5 year-old. The institution was established in 1968 by the Mill Hill missionaries.

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Children are looked after by nuns and social workers who work very long hours every day to make sure each and every child receive the same amount of care and love.

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As a parent (father of a beautiful 2 year-old girl) I had very strong and mixed feelings during those hours spent in the orphanage. On one hand it was heart-breaking to meet and see those little kids, some of them even fatally sick (AIDS), but all very warm-hearted living day-by-day without parents and a home.

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On the other hand it was amazing to see the huge amount of effort the nuns put in there day-by-day to make sure everything goes smooth. Well, at least smooth for local standards.

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Although the workers do their best to keep the place tidy but that’s not all these little kids need. They would need more food (milk powder for the smallest ones), more clothes, matresses, sheets, toys.

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Things we take for granted in our world, but for them, these are blessings. These make their lives better, more enjoyable, make it possible to survive.

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Talking to the nuns shed more and more details on the lives of these babies. Some were simply left alone by their parents because they didn’t care, couldn’t afford bringing up another child or for many other reasons.

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Reasons I can’t and don’t want to accept. But maybe it’s not fair (?) to judge someone from a very different situation, background and angle. Is there a situation, are there conditions when a decision like this can be justified?  Some children don’t have any parents, some have a single parent who is severely ill mentally and/or physically and so on. There are many dark details that cast shadow on the smile of these young and innocent souls.

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We gave clothes and toys to the orphanage but I couldn’t help fighting the feeling that it’s just a temporary, a momentary solution. It still helps though. On the long run, however, regular donation would be the key. The donation system will be set up soon and I’ll write an update as soon as it’s up and running so we can all help. For us, a very small amount (30-40 USD per month) can cover a full accommodation, clothing, food for a child monthly. I will definitely do my best to help them. Will you?

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