Jinja Uganda – May 2010

St. Ameria Orphanage and School
Edith is the Director of St. Ameria
Driving out of Jinja, you turn on a small road into the village of Mbiko.  Everything changes when you make that turn.  The houses become much smaller.  Children in tattered clothes walk the road, and you are in a new world.  Soon, you turn up a rutted gravel road with banana trees on both sides.  This is the Africa of National Geographic. 
St. Ameria
Soon we enter the St. Ameria orphanage and school.  Simple brick buildings line a courtyard, and children come pouring out.  We meet Edith, the director of the orphanage and school.  500 children attend school here.  Almost all of them are orphans.  Others are children from very poor families who cannot afford to attend regular school.  Some live in this simple complex.

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The Children of St. Ameria performing a dance for us
We are greeted in true African fashion, with speeches, food and formal greetings.  Then, the children performed a deeply moving program.  They danced traditional Ugandan dances, and we saw the joyful side of Africa.  


Balloons, Bubbles and Candy

Today was my birthday… what a place to celebrate your birthday.  We broke out the balloons, bubbles and candy, and had a joyous celebration.  It was one of the most fun times of my life.

What a Way To Spend a Birthday!

AIDS, You Have Taken my Father and Mother

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AIDS – Why Have You Killed My Mother And Father?

The atmosphere changed immediately as the children began to sing about Aids.  “AIDS, you have taken my father and my mother”.   The children began to weep, and each of us was so deeply touched as the children sang and wept at the loss of father, mother and many family members.  Every child has lost a family member to AIDS.  Most of them have lost both father and mother to this devastating disease.  Many of us wept as the reality of their grief impacted our hearts.  This is the AIDS epidemic up close and very personal.

How do you put into words the depth of emotion you have experienced at the grief of children living with the devastation of an epidemic like AIDS?  We were all deeply  touched today.

This is a video taken a couple of years ago of these children singing this song about the devastation of the AIDS epidemic on their lives:


by Wick Nease