The family: Back from left: Robert, Joseph, Charles.
Front from left: Reuben, Charles (yes, there’s two Charles’), James.
On this day, Charles, James and their brothers have a place to sleep. All six boys share a house together, and Charles does his best to look after them, after their parents died from complications due to HIV. But after receiving support from TASO and a few folks back home, the boys are all smiles.
Last night we were taken by a TASO vehicle, with Charles’ and James’ TASO counselor Martha Okweny, to purchase three mattresses and two bed frames so all the boys have a comfortable place to sleep. Some of the six boys have been sleeping on old worn mattresses, and some on the floor. These boys are bound with cables of love that are unbreakable, so sharing mattresses together isn’t unusual.
When we arrived at their house, Charles was plowing the land for planting crops. The other boys were scattered around and James was sleeping – on an old, beat-up mattress on the floor.
James is in his glory — in front of a camera, where he belongs.
The boys have had many hardships as a family of orphans trying to survive. But they have received plenty of help, and their lives are improving.
Charles has truly assumed a parental role in James life, and loves him as much as any parent could. Raising a younger brother is struggle enough, but James also has HIV. Their brotherly love has captivated many people’s hearts, including my own.
After Kelly’s visit last year, a few miracles have given these kids some hope. With help from our families in the US, Kelly built the boys a home; the boys built a chicken coop for themselves for the poultry project; a woman from the US (we can’t find out her name) hired a maid for the family to look after James and cook and clean for them; the executive director of TASO Uganda donated clothes; Martha and Kelly set up a bank account for the family; and now the boys can sleep easier because they also have beds, thanks to the caring and generous people in the USA.
Robert and Charles assist TASO counselor Martha with unloading one of the boys’ new beds.
Martha said she feels full of joy.
“God is great,” she said as were driving with bouncing beds on the roof. “Just a few years ago these boys were helpless. They were wearing tattered clothes, they had nothing to eat and their house was falling apart. They were hopeless.”
Martha was there when the boys’ mother died, one week before she was set to begin her ARV treatment. She swore she wouldn’t abandon these children. For these counselors, it’s not a job, it’s a passion.
James curled himself up on his new bed frame and mattress and smiled.
Some people in Uganda have difficulty showing emotion at times, but Martha assures us that the boys are truly happy. This support helps to give them confidence.
The boys will continue to grow and become strong men – strong for each other with brotherly love that inspires us all.
Happy birthday Scott
June 8th, 2007