Happy New Year from Home Sweet Orphanage


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Today marks the end of 2012 and tomorrow the dawn of 2013.  It is a special day by all reckonings.  It is special because it asks us to “look both ways” – to the past year and to the year that lies before us. Traditionally, this is a time for New Year’s resolutions (looking ahead) and also a time for reflection on how good God has been to us this past year.

I am so thankful for all the moral, financial and material support that you have been able to give to my apostolates; the youth ministry and Home Sweet Orphanage. Let us resolve to remain open to the graces of God in 2013 and respond even more generously to His endless Love.

During my very first visit to the Orphanage, just weeks after our wedding, in April 2012, I and Sarah stood on faith and made a commitment to be of help to the children, though we did not know how! I have all the reasons to be thankful to you that you partnered with us in this charitable task. Without your support, we would not have done much to bring the situation at the orphanage back to normal. The Orphanage was then in a very dire crisis and here is what we have done:

  • There were no matrons to take care of the children, and with help from one of you, 2 matrons were employed. Each one is paid $35. They have been paid for 7 months now, and there is an advance of their payment for the next 6 months. So for the next 6 months, salary for matrons will not be a crisis. The matrons take care of the daily running of the Orphanage, cleaning, hygiene of the children and cooking.
  • The Orphanage used to use Kerosene lamps for lighting, which were not healthy and safe for the children. With a $500 donation from one of you, we were able to purchase and install a solar system that lights 5 lamps and a device for phone charging. Since its installation in August, the system is still working very well. This has improved the quality of life, and security of the children.
  • In October, with a donation from another person, we are able to buy a new pair of shoes for each of the 37 children that reside at the Orphanage.
  • Most recently, with another donation, we are making new uniforms for the each of the children. I will be able to post you a picture when they are ready.
  • Since the children are majorly fed on Posho and beans every day, I found that they occasionally need to be served with special meals. We have been able to serve 6 of such meals, including one at the Christmas party. Each of such a meal costs $150 on average.
  • And we have provided scholastic and domestic supplies, paid medical bills, and a monthly contribution of at least $100 towards the food for the children.

What are we hoping to do in 2013? We will continue to make one charitable visit to the Orphanage monthly, on the last Saturday of the every month. This means that the next visit will be on 26th January 2013. This will be just a week before the children go back to school. As a clarification, all the children that are in primary school are beneficiaries of the Universal Primary Education, a policy of the government. So as of now, we have only 2 children who need school fees. Angella who is going to Senior 2 pays 250,000($90) every term and Emmanuel who is going to Senior 1 will be paying $90 as well. For the rest of the children, we only need to provide Scholastic materials like books, pens and pencils. Briefly, here is the budget for the end of January visit:

i.            School fees for Angella and Emmanuel              $180

ii.            Scholastic supplies                                                      $100

iii.            Domestic supplies like soap etc                              $100

iv.            Contribution towards food                                       $100

v.            Special meal on that day                                           $100

Total                                                                                                              $580

NB: Not much will change on the subsequent visits. On average, $400 will be needed for the every end of month visit.

The other two special projects I pray that we can embark on through 2013 are new beds and beddings, and construction of new toilets and bathrooms.

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Currently, the Orphanage has only 5 double-decked beds. These should be used by only 10 children, but they are being used by 25. Some share beds while some sleep on the floor. We can make an effort to provide:

  • 6 double-decked beds each at $92       $552
  • 12 mattresses each at $30                    $360
  • 12 Blankets    each at $10                    $120
  • 37 pairs of beds (1 pair for @child)     $185

Total                                                   $1217 approximately $1500 needed

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The latrines and bathrooms that the children use now are in a very sorry state. There was a project to construct flushing toilets and bathrooms, but it was never finished. If God blesses us with funds, we can bring this project to completion. The reservoir tank was started but it is un-complete, and the septic and soak pits were also dug but not finished. According to the architectural plans of this construction work, $2500 more is needed to bring this work to completion.

What methods are we employing to raise the needed funds? This is where I need ideas from you. Currently, money has been raised from donations from individuals, and we help 2 online auctions, though they were not as successful. You could be knowing another creative method we can employ to raise money, kindly share it with us.

I thank you so much for your love and support. You are always in our prayers, and may the year 2013 be good for you.

To send us your donation, Click HERE.  Once you are on the YOU TURNS donate page,  you will need to comment that ” Donation to Home Sweet Orphanage”

May God bless you.

Steven Beingana

Founder Uganda Youth Ministry Association/ Associate Home Sweet Orphanage

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Joe and Lance in Uganda for youth concert and Christmas party at Orphanage


It all started in October while I read the internet for an article to post on my facebook “TODAY’S MARIAN POST” series. This particular morning I was reading this site that had words like, Rosary Rap and God Swagg. And I recalled how so many youth/teenagers in Uganda are fans of rap music, but much that they are offered in this line is music that comes with so many secular messages. And the word “SWAGG” is very common in the youthful language here in Uganda, but still in a secular sense. So here I was reading a site that associates rap music with the Rosary, and Swagg with God! Wow…..I felt the difference our youth needed to know.

I can now say Joe Melendrez, the Rosary Rapper, is a man who loves Jesus and His Mother Mary. He is such a great transforming catholic youth minister.

I invited Joe to come to Uganda, give a concert and be part of the Christmas party at Home Sweet Orphanage. He was later to tell me that he and Lance(his great friend) had booked their tickets and they will be coming to Uganda. The joy started then!

The two disciples started their mission trip on Wednesday,12th December, 2:50pm at Los Angeles airport and flew to Frankfurt in Germany. Here they were supposed to take another flight to Ethiopia. This flight was delayed for several hours due to a snow storm.  We were united in praying the Rosary, and they later made it to Ethiopia, in time to take their next flight to Uganda. Saturday,15th December, 1:05am, they landed at Entebbe airport in Uganda. Lance already had his visa, but Joe had to get his here. They later get to learn that out of their 4 bags, they would only get 1, which was full of items they were to donate to the Orphanage. They could not tell how soon they will get their bags and be able to at least change clothes! I can imagine it was terrible for them, but God was with them.

They were supposed to remain at the airport until 6am in the morning when I would be able to pick them. They narrated to me that very soon after they were cleared by customs, there was a downpour, and all over a sudden a blackout. The airport was now in darkness, and very unsafe for them. They were unable to access internet or get in touch with me. Thank God, they were able to hire an airport taxi which took them to a nearby Inn where they checked-in for a few hours until morning when I was able to miraculously locate them.

It was a joyous moment when I met them and we drove home,where they rested for a few hours and we headed back to the airport to try and look for their bags. I remember we sat down on the floor at the airport praying the Rosary as we waited for someone to tell us about the bags. We then were able to recover 2 of the bags and 1 was still morning. Lance would not change clothes for the next several hours, but at least Joe would change clothes and get all that he had packed for the UGANDA on FIRE for JESUS concert that was taking place the next day.

On our way back home, we stopped by Ssese Gateway Beach, where my visitors were able to have some food. They must have been hungry by now.

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We then headed to Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Parish, where Trinity Worship Team, a local youth choir, was presenting its annual Christmas Carols. Joe was supposed to perform at this event, but we arrived late and he could not. All the same, we had fun for the evening.

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We were back at home early in the night for dinner. Sarah had prepared a special African treat for them! Of course most of what we had at table, they were tasting for their very first time. I thank God that they were able to fast adjust with the food and conditions . They did not have any complications.

The next day, Sunday 16th December was the concert day, and we attend morning Mass at Our Lady of Africa- Mbuya parish, which is only a few kms from the concert venue. Mass was in English, and they were able to follow all throughout. It was Gaudete Sunday….and yes, we were to Rejoice.

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The UGANDA on FIRE for Jesus concert started at around 3pm and Onama Robert one of the youth who attended says it all. I read this on Joe’s facebook page this morning:

“Joe, thank for coming to Uganda. The performance was so inspirational to us. I realized and discovered another genre of praising. Actually, a lot of youths did not know that one could pray through hiphop.
Uganda being dominated by youthful sons and daughters of Mother Mary, if you come next time, it will be more successful. This is because you lit the candle and we have to keep it burning.”

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These young girls below made the day on stage with Joe

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Monday morning, we drove back to the airport to look for the other bag (Lance’s). We called there on phone and we were told that the bag was no where. Standing on faith, we drove there to do all it takes to find it.Lance talked to the security personnel who gave him a pass to the luggage lounge where started the search for his bag. Meanwhile, I and Joe were sitting outside reciting the Rosary. You can imagine how wonderful it was to see him come out with his bag only minutes later. Thank you Mother Mary. At last, he could also have to change clothes.

Later that day in the evening, we visited the Uganda Martyrs Shrine. Do you know anything about the Uganda Martyrs? Click HERE to read more about them. Below are some pictures from the shrine.

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Tuesday morning we were on the road heading to Home Sweet Orphanage for the Children’s Christmas party. We traveled the 4 of us, myself and Sarah, Joe and Lance. I know it could have been the longest journey they have taken on road. Our first stop over was at the Equator. Did you know that the Equator closes Uganda? Yes it does! Wonderful.

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We arrived at the Orphanage a few minutes to 11am,  and the children welcomed us warmly with the jumping, dancing and singing.

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I am very grateful that Joe and Lance had carried so many gifts for the children. Each child was able to get a new bag (backpack), 3 new tshits and Christmas card. Wow…a lasting joy for the children.

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And lastly, we had a very delicious lunch with the children before we could head back to Kampala.

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Joe and Lance left Uganda yesterday and we already miss them. We thank God for their lives, for their kindness and generosity. We cannot take for granted the fact that they sacrificed much to take on this mission trip. May God bless them abundantly.

I want to thank all of you friends of Uganda Youth Ministry Association, and Home Sweet Orphanage. We had big budgets for the two events, and I am so grateful to those of you who generously donated. Without your support, all this would not have been successful. I am always humbled by your love and continued support.

I wish you all a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

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I will be writing another post after Christmas, before the New Year, with a detailed report of what we have been able to do this year, and what we can pray and hope for in the next year.I am glad to know that some of you have already received the Christmas parcels we sent to you. So great! If you have not received yours yet, it is on its way.

God bless you.

 

Angella’s Confirmation, and greetings from all the children at the Orphanage


Angella, one of our kids at the Orphanage got confirmed into the Catholic faith yesterday. The confirmation Mass was at Butende Parish, which is about 30km from the Orphanage, and Mass was led by the Vicar of Masaka Diocese who represented the Bishop. The Mass was celebrated by several priests and the faithful.

I was early enough to make it to the Church several minutes before the start of Mass, though the journey was a bit tough and dusty due to the major road works being done on that route from Kampala.DSCF3665 DSCF3668

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After Mass,

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She got a Confirmation Certificate. This was something we did not get during our days 🙂

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Back at the Orphanage, all the children were happy for her, and yes, we had lots of eats; our favorite Rice and beef, and this time, a safi juice instead of Soda, and a piece of ice-cream uuh, the kids enjoyed everything and they were like, “Next time, its me getting confirmed” hahaha…was every confirmation will come with a party.

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And, finally, I got time to look at the school reports of all the children and got to reward the best performers. This time, they all improved. They are now at the Orphanage 24/7 for the next 2 months of the holidays. This means, they will be having all meals at the Orphanage, and our stores have to get ready for that. Think about us as you celebrate your Christmas. Your donation will be most appreciated.

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My next visit to the Orphanage is in two weeks time, 18th December, for the Christmas party. You have read about this in my previous posts.  We humbly ask for your donation towards the Christmas party, and if you can, also donate to the youth ministry since we will be hosting Joe, a youth minister and Catholic artist from the US. Joe will be in the country to boost youth ministry work and he will also be with us for the Children’s Christmas party.

YOU TURNS will be forwarding all your gifts that come in on 7th December. Click HERE  and send us the best you can.

Those of you who responded and sent me your postal addresses, our Christmas gifts are on the way. We hope you can have them before the 25th December!

Thank you all for the love and support, and may the God Lord keep you all.