Update from Bukesa…
Hello from the boys at the Bukesa home in Kampala, Uganda and happy belated Mother’s Day!
Otua, a 12-year old boy in Bukesa home wrote a very nice poem honoring mothers on their special day and HALO would love to share it with you:
What can I say about a mother on this day?
Where do I begin and where do I end?
The more I talk the less I mean.
The less I talk the more I mean.
I mean to say that I am her flesh and blood.
Her desire, her ambitions, her all wishes come true.
I am what I am because of her
and I am not all that which she did not want.
Then I am not all her reflection, her replica, herself.
I am her creation, her dream and the best.
And on this day as I reminiscent the past
I reflect on her care, the warmth and the bond.
Those unconditional love that she showered on me.
Those long patient hours that she spent on me.
I thank the Almighty for giving me her.
And I am sure she would thank you for giving her me.
This heartwarming poem is even more touching within the context of Otua’s background. Otua never had a relationship with his mother. His father died when he was two and his auntie took him away from his mother after she tried to kill him because she could no longer care for Otua after his father passed away. Seeing that Otua’s heart knows deep down how great a mother can be despite knowing these cold facts about his own mother is a testament to this boy and to the care that he receives in our home.
The Bukesa boys joined other homes in Kampala to clean the streets around a university for a community service project earlier this month. They enjoyed sodas and chapatis, thick tortilla-like snacks, and joined a discussion on the importance of service in the community.
After a three-week break, the boys are just returning to school for their second term of the year. Many of the boys who went to visit their remaining family returned to the home and everything is getting back to normal. To get them started in their new term, a group of 9 students from Lipscomb University came to spend time with the boys and establish a relationship with the Bukesa home.
The boys are doing very well and are all in good health. They had a fumigator visit the homes to help with lessening the prevalence of mosquitos, which will also lessen the cases of malaria in the home.
Update from Portland…
This month, we were able to partner with Southeast Works
to provide an art therapy project for their youth program.
Southeast works is an amazing organization that provides employment resources, education completion, and resume building to the southeast Portland community.
Their youth programs helps 16-20 year old’s finish their GED, build their resume, and find employment.
Together, with one of their groups, we found a big work area outside and laid out a 8×16 ft canvas for spray paint art, and 2×3 ft canvass to make a collage.
Chalk, spray paint, hundreds of magazines, glue sticks, scissors, and poster boards were available, and everyone spread out to different work stations. It took awhile to decide on a theme everyone could focus on, but eventually the group decided on creating art that would focus on what they wanted in the future.
Some used chalk to create big sidewalk murals. Others drew and cut out stencils from poster board to create the words DREAM for the canvas. A picnic table provided a good place for collage work, and many of the kids spent the morning canvassing through magazines to find words and pictures expressing what they were ready to leave behind, and progressed to cutting out images to show what they dreamed of for their futures.
It was a warm, sunny morning and the perfect weather for outdoor art.
As we worked, some of the kids shared their stories. Although each of their backgrounds included difficult experiences (some having spent 5+ years in Juvenile hall) all of them were hopeful. Through Southeast works they volunteer in community organizations for work experience, practice interviews, apply to colleges and work on lessons towards completing their GED. Many of their records will be expunged when they turn 18, allowing them to start over with clean slates. Better than clean slates, because everyday through Southeast Works, they have been developing the experience necessary to find good jobs, enter the military, or be accepted to college. These were the elements of the group canvasses; the directions and plans they were moving towards.
While we spoke and worked, the hours ticked away and suddenly we were out of time. Everyone wanted both canvasses to look really appealing so they could hang on the walls for years to come, and by the time we were scheduled to stop, there was still a lot of work to do.
None of us were too bummed though. It just meant we would need to return soon to continue this work, and see everyone again. And not just once. Both we, and the case workers agreed this would be a great monthly activity!