Newsletter – January, 2007

Christmas Day at Eagles Wings Children’s Village with Family #1.

This first month into the new year 2007 is going by quickly, but we indeed send greetings from Eagles Wings Children’s Village in Masaka , Uganda .

We are so thankful for the many blessings for EWCV during 2006.   It was a wonderful Christmas seeing the joy and delight on the faces of the children on

Christmas Day when they received their gifts and had their pictures taken in front of a Christmas tree.  The staff prepared a fine feast for everyone.  Besides celebrating the birth of our Saviour Jesus Christ, we celebrated Ann’s birthday and had her blow out candles on the cake.

School Programs

Prior to that day, we had a special time ending up the school year with the EWCV children and their teacher.   They presented some Christmas songs, shared in a reading from the Bible, and acted out a play depicting the birth of Jesus.   Children all over Uganda take their big two month break from school when they finish their grade and prepare to enter the next level.   They will return to classes on February 5th, 2007.  The Ugandan Government is making it compulsory when school begins for teachers at Primary levels one to three to teach in their local language which in our case is “Luganda” language rather than in English.   Teaching in English will begin at level or grade four and up.

Visitation Day at Eagles Wings Children’s Village

On December 27th, we had a Visitation Day whereby the former care givers of our children were invited to come to EWCV property to have a tour, be entertained by the children, and a chance to ask questions about how we are raising the children.  After a fine lunch, the visitors went back to their homes with our children so they could have a visit for a couple of weeks.  It was also a chance for staff to have a break for a couple of weeks holidays and time to rejuvenate before getting back into the full responsibility of caring for the children.

The children have now all been returned to the property after the holidays.

Construction for Family #1 nearing completion and Truck Purchased

All the five huts are now thatched and we are trying to finish some small construction jobs which we hadn’t been able to complete.   A 4×4 double cabin pickup truck has been purchased for EWCV this past week and we are in the process of having the final papers completed tomorrow in Kampala for transferring the truck from the ownership of a veterinary doctor to EWCV.   We give the glory to God for this answered prayer of being able to purchase this vehicle.  Up to this point we have been hiring a truck to transport children for medical treatment and for purchasing bulky food items, beds, mattresses, etc.   We are very thankful for the generosity of donors from abroad who have made it possible also to complete the construction of the homes for the children, for the motorcycle given to EWCV by an anonymous donor, and for the truck purchase.   The installation of the solar energy system has been completed and is working fine thanks to the GTZ German Company which provided the funds for most of the system.   We now don’t need to be concerned about electric bills for the property.

Seven Children from Northern Uganda

It is now final that the seven children from two of the IDP Camps in Northern Uganda will not be allowed to be brought here for us to raise at EWCV.   We had invited members of several of the head offices which are responsible for children in the north to come here at our expense to have a tour of our facilities.   They had told us that a visit by their representatives was a necessary condition for us to be allowed to bring any children this way.  We were told several times that they were coming here to be our guests in our home. We set up a meeting for them with our local Masaka representatives including the Probation Department.   We had finally sent them letters giving them the deadline for coming here by the 15th of January, after which we would believe that they were indeed saying “No” to coming.  Our friend and contact in Gulu had several meetings with them in Gulu to make arrangements, but was given a run around.   We finally agreed that their answer was “No”.   This has been going on now since last April 2006.   We had seen the condition of the children in the IDP camps and we now feel badly that the seven chosen children will not benefit from what we could have offered them.   It also seems that the “Peace Talks” in Juba, Southern Sudan, are still struggling without success.   The people crowded into the IDP Camps feel no security to be able to return to their villages and land.  The children will continue to suffer along with everybody else.

Japanese Embassy

We received a letter from the Japanese Embassy last week saying that they had not given approval to our application for them to build us a Primary School at the property for the orphaned children of Eagles Wings Children’s Village as well as for the needy children of the surrounding villages.    After two tries at applying, we now need to move forward to try to raise the money to build at least three classrooms plus staff quarters.  This needs to be done soon as our children will continue to move up one grade each year.  This will be our next challenge along with bringing in more children into our care.

Family #2

Our new House Parents as well as the new cook to begin Family #2 of the next 24 orphaned children have arrived and settled in this past week.  Tomorrow our Social Worker, Allan Kisakye, will begin to bring in the first of the next 24 children to our home here in Masaka from their villages.   It will be a busy day for all of us as we bring home beds for the children and food supplies to feed them.   Most of the other supplies were purchased by Allan last week, so things should be in good shape for the arrival of the children.   Most of the children have received sponsors, but we still have some on the website needing sponsors.   Allan will be placing some further children on the website this coming week.   These new 24 children will live with us in Masaka until we begin and complete the construction of the huts, kitchen, Parent’s House, and latrine for Family #2.  We have had a donation towards building the latrine for this family so far.

Ann Needs Surgery

Six weeks ago Ann had a bad fall when she fell on her side.   This resulted in a broken leg bone at the ball which fits into the socket of the hip.  The ball is right out of the socket and means that she will need a hip replacement surgery as soon as possible.  We are still waiting for our medical insurance company in Canada to complete the plans.   We were told a couple of days ago that she would need to return to Manitoba , Canada for this surgery.   We just received a phone call saying that Ann would be flying business class so that she can stretch out when needed, but that they will not cover the cost of somebody to escort her.   I will be going with her as she can’t travel alone.   I will be seeing Ann’s Ugandan Orthopedic Surgeon tomorrow as the insurance company lost the letter he had drafted for the needed reporting.   He claims that indeed she needs somebody to accompany her during travel.

During our Absense from Uganda

During our absence from Uganda , our Ugandan friend who is the Deputy Director of Eagles Wings Children’s Village, Rev. Christopher Muwonge and his wife, Harriet, will take over directing the organization.  We will leave EWCV in good hands.  They will be moving into our house here in Masaka and will oversee the operation here at our home with the new children in Family #2 as well as with Family #1 at the EWCV property.

Our Family in Canada

We have had some great emails and phone calls from our grandchildren and children keeping us updated with the events in their lives.   We are so proud of them all and love them dearly.   Our daughter, Linda, continues nursing part time at the Health Sciences Centre in Winnipeg .  Her husband Ken Vandenakker is working as a computer machinist at Standard Aero near the airport.  Our son, Mike, is working for EDS (Electronic Data Systems) in Winnipeg .   EDS sent him to Chicago recently and he will be going in a couple of weeks to Mombai , India to assist with a project for some three weeks.  Sister Gloria and husband Lloyd Bassett are now spending six weeks in the warmer climate of Mexico .  Sister Vicki and husband Jack McTaggart are heading out to Vancouver Island near Nanaimo for some milder climate.