Stories from Uganda…

More about African Hearts…

In my last post I introduced you to the African Hearts organization and its leaders, Lutaaya, Junior, and Kenny. I mostly talked about the home for the younger boys but I would like to share more about the older boys…

This is the home where the older boys live. It is a nice home but it is only being rented at this time. Once all of these boys are older and out of the home on their own then they will no longer rent it anymore. In the future, the plan is to add another home on the land they own in the Ssenge village (where the younger boys’ home is located) to have all of African Hearts in one centralized location. But, for the present they do not want to uproot these boys and put them in a different school and village. Many of the boys are still in secondary school, some are at boarding school during the term, a few are receiving vocational training, and some have gone off to University. They live in the home as a family just as the younger boys do. Kenny and Junior, two of the leaders, also live in the home with the boys. African Hearts was born out of an idea to start a boys band to provide musical training, an income, and direction to young boys. Today this is still one of the primary functions of African Hearts. The boys have learned to play instruments (by ear) and they have a band that performs at functions, parades, and more. They earn money to help with housing costs, education fees, and living expenses. Along with their band they have an acrobatics team. Not only does this provide an income for the home but it gives the boys a sense of accomplishment and teaches them a great skill. They work together as a team and it is amazing how much they learn without any formal music training. The first night we were in Uganda they put on an amazing show for us!

We brought shirts and hats for the boys and the immediately put them on…

Right before dinner they played some more music and we all joined in the dancing…

They ended the evening with a very moving song written by one of the boys. It is a song about AIDS and the effect it has on their daily lives. Every one of the boys in this picture has been affected by AIDS…they have lost a parent, sibling, or other family member…

I can hopefully get the video of this from someone else on the trip and share it with you soon…it is heartbreaking to hear their plea for help. Being there with the boys and hearing their stories opened my eyes to the very real problem of AIDS. Here in the US we hear of the AIDS epidemic often but meeting person after person that had been directly impacted by the devastating wake that the disease leaves makes it a much more real problem.

This only proves all the more how important a ministry like African Hearts is to this community. Many of these boys literally have no place else to go. They have been given another chance, a home to live in, a family to be a part of, and most importantly, the gift of hope that Christ offers.

Here are four of the African Hearts boys that are now attending a nearby boarding school…

The two boys on the left are brother and of course, that is Mum Yvonne in the middle. Not that long ago these boys didn’t have homes and here they are doing great at school. God is good!

I can’t say enough wonderful things about the work African Hearts is able to do in Kampala. One of the things Lutaaya said about his vision is that he doesn’t want to run an orphanage or an adoption service…his hopes are that all of these boys can stay right in their own city and grow up to be leaders and continue the cycle of change. He wants them to serve as together as a family and provide role models for the younger boys. By keeping these boys in Kampala and not offering them up for adoption helps foster a new generation of young men that can rise up and lead their community as Lutaaya himself is doing. To sustain this living environment it takes money, but believe me, it is working. It is a successful plan. I have seen these boys first hand, what they have come from, where they are now, and where they are headed. To learn more I invite you to visit the African Hearts website.

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