• sarah@healingeyes.org

Africa

Cuteness

A child showing off a cute little dress made by our students at Sisiyi Falls. WE started a pilot program for 3 months in this remote village to see if the community would accept the opportunity to learn how to sew. We took on 7 ladies who paid a reduced school fee to learn the basics of tailoring. We’ve been blessed with a great teacher who teaches in English and came prepared to class. Our manager got his first exposure to how to manage the project and to work as a team with others in our main village an hour away. Electricity isn’t reliable in the village and communication wasn’t always good but God turned it all around and made a difference. We hope to continue the class but need to see if it is something needed in the community long term. Prayers as we consider next steps on keeping this class open another 3 months and if more sewing machines should be invested into the small project.

For now these ladies have showed their commitment and interest in the program which speaks loudly to if it can continue to work.

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Tailoring graduates

We haven’t always had a smooth transition into different programs we try in the village but after some bumps we have been blessed with 5 young ladies to complete the 6 month program. They learned the basics of peddling the sewing machine, hand sewing, shirt, pants, dresses, uniform design. It’s our hope that these ladies will not have some skills to take farther into life at a future job or more advanced classes at a technical institute. Keep them in your prayers as we also begin to welcome more ladies into the tailoring program.

 

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What’s been happening?

We have slowed down in Africa because of health issues back in the USA but the local team in Uganda is still moving on with the projects we started. The 26 sponsored kids in boarding schools were visited and we saw to their medical needs. Kids in Uganda get dewormed every 3 months. It sounds strange but it’s a simple tablet that can really improve quality of life with all of the bacteria in food and water that causes stomach issues. This inexpensive tablet isn’t given regularly in the villages but at boarding school it’s a must. If you ever see sores on legs and arms that look kind of like blisters that is a sign of an infection/parasites inside the body that often can be treated with a simple deworming tablet.

Our tailoring at Sisiyi falls is in its last month of trials. Prayers are needed on if we have the manpower and ability to continue it. We have 7 students studying and 1 teacher coming 3 days a week. We started it 2 months ago for a trial period of 3 months. So far it’s very promising and we will soon have to decide if we continue a second term or not. What would cause us to not? Well, it comes down to the community involvement and interest in the project, finances, and staffing. It seems this village is more perceptive to the tailoring school but as we have learned in the past it takes time and patience to see what really can be sustainable in the villages. We have 2 sewing machines being shared amongst 7 ladies and as they begin to move to using fabric instead of cement papers we will really need to make a decision on buying more machines.

Back in the USA, I have had surgery for my cancer reoccurrence and should be starting my radiation treatments soon. It’s pretty straightforward treatment plan but in life it seems not everything goes as plans. Prayers needed for patience during this time and also guidance on what the future of Healing Eyes will look like in the coming months of 2019.  We have been blessed with people to help from Africa with our children in boarding schools and young ladies in the tailoring classes. You have to start somewhere and right now we are getting our bearings and learning patience:)

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The battle is over!

After a year long battle, God worked a miracle this past June and the contested land title we thought was lost was safely recovered, with the help of the local government and police station. As some of you may remember we ran into some troubles after purchasing 4 acres of land for the organization and someone we had trusted had turned on us. God used that difficulty to show us how to rally the community and local government to help us reclaim the land title. If we hadn’t had this battle we never would have met the governor, mayor, and so many community members that stood up for us this past year. We learned many lessons and understand how to navigate the political arena a bit more, as well as how to stay safe in the future.

Thank you for all the prayers and support during this difficult year of struggle. Now that we have survived the battle what do we do next? First thing is to breathe and let the dust settle to allow for a peaceful way forward.

The mud house on the land got a makeover and has 2 rooms now and a beautiful new roof and brick walls. We hope this will allow the community to see us as continuing on but also allow for a slow transition into a bigger facility we someday want to move towards. We planted several mango trees for shade in the future and to bring life to a barren land. We are very thankful to be where we are and following God’s timing amidst it all.

Lastly and most important, our 24 kids are studying in nearby boarding schools that we have partnered with in mbale and tororo. These kids have grown over the past 2 years and their smiling faces remind us why we do what we do. Each time I visit I am surprised by the all the hugs and smiles that greet me.

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It takes a village

PRAISES All around today as Healing Eyes made progress in the community. Children are studying and widows are learning new skills. It’s just a blessing to see and warms the heart for what’s to come. At times it is too difficult to continue (well most of the time) but when we start to see the parents and community leaders joining us in our efforts here it does bring hope. I don’t know what the future holds or how I’ll manage to go on in this country but God has a plan…  It just will take  A LOT of patience to follow it and to have faith in God’s direction.

It’s lonely in Africa and I miss my husband and my home with less bugs and food that isn’t just potatoes… But tomorrow is another day and I never know what to expect:)

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Isaiah 54

On my refrigerator are magnets of each of the 23 kids we have sponsored through Healing Eyes and families in Michigan. When I look back at how we started and that this website was actually used be an Adoption Story blog and later a Cancer blog that it seems fitting that today it’s full of children’s smiles. It’s not what my heart wanted or desired but God wanted these children to have a chance in life and to bless our lives in the process. I wanted a traditional family with 1 or 2 kids, drop them off at school and picking them up, going to concerts and sport events cheering on my child. But sometimes in life we don’t get what we want but we get what God wants. I have to smile when I see these kids of mine on my refrigerator every day, knowing that they are a part of my life and there joys and sadness are a part of my life now.

It’s a holiday break right now in Uganda and our kids are back in the villages and perhaps some of them are changed after being away for 3 months. I hope they have learned something in school and can now see life in the village with more opportunities than before. That our little orphan ‘Mary’ will now smile more, and have more confidence because she can go to school now.

“Oh that You would bless me indeed and enlarge my border, and that Your hand might be with me, and that You would keep me from harm that it may not pain me!” And God granted him what he requested.” (1 Chronicles 4:10)

“Sing, barren woman,
    you who never bore a child;
burst into song, shout for joy,
    you who were never in labor;
because more are the children of the desolate woman
    than of her who has a husband,”
says the Lord.
 “Enlarge the place of your tent,
    stretch your tent curtains wide,
    do not hold back;
lengthen your cords,
    strengthen your stakes.
 For you will spread out to the right and to the left;
    your descendants will dispossess nations
    and settle in their desolate cities.

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Proud of our Widows

There is nothing more reassuring than seeing these smiling faces succeed on their own. We planted an idea, a skill, into the minds of a few ladies and then stood back to watch if it would take hold. So far both the tailoring and now even the knitting has grown momentum. This is one of our ladies showing off the knitted caps she finished with no other help than the initial training she received back in February. We left her with the tools and the rest was up to her.

Next we have some crops that needed weeding and our very own students are helping with the work. These widows and young ladies are strong and dedicated.

The tailoring alongside the hair dressing classes are moving along at a great pace, all thanks to the team on the ground in Uganda working hard to continue our efforts. Who is this team? It’s local people from the country that understand the culture and knows how to get things done. God is great and has blessed us with a small group of men and woman we can partner with to impact lives for Christ. It’s more than handing out bibles and walking away, or even trips back and forth, it’s about these long term partnerships that will truly make a difference in the lives of orphans and widows. Time moves slower in Uganda but sometimes I think we move too fast in America and stress over every plan before just ‘doing’ something. If we can do this thousands of miles away than there is hope that through patience, endurance, and sticking to it God will continue to move mountains for us in the villages and in the hearts of people.

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Faith

With success of our tailoring project we are trying to build up a community of widows and young girls in Uganda. With just 7 sewing machines we have been able to begin teaching several woman how to sew shirts, skirts, pants, and uniforms. Using just brown cement papers at first and later as they advance we are using local fabrics. How did we ever end up in the business of tailoring though when we first had our sights set on a children’s school?

Our hopes have always been to help widows and the tailoring classes have allowed us a way forward in doing that. In the mean time we do hope to someday build a school for kids but that’s on hold because it’s just not God’s time yet. As we keep waiting to move forward at least we have so many good things happening. Over 20 kids in boarding schools are getting an education, around 10 ladies are studying tailoring, and we have 10 new baby piglets born.

I think we tend to see big ideas and want to make those happen immediately but often we have to slow down and wait out the storms before making those big ideas happen. The school is a big idea and an overwhelming task that needs a whole lot of prayers and key people to come together to make it happen. Often it seems like this journey is a lot of drama and unreal events that take place, from good to bad.

We have seen strangers step up to help us in unlikely ways, such as, planting a new fence and plowing our fields. Woman coming every day to learn and children studying hard at boarding schools. We’ll get there some day with faith and perseverance.

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Healing the Earth

The rains are here and we are busy planting crops and bushes in the village. This is the time of year when the land is green and the red dust has blown away revealing a ripe soil ready for growth. Thank you for helping us grow over the years. It’s amazing that it’s been 4.5 years since the journey began!

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I’ll never understand

Maybe someone can explain why it’s so difficult to have parents pickup their kids from boarding school? This is one area about Uganda I’ll just never completely understand because it’s such a small request. In Uganda it all comes down to transport…the cost of public transportation. In my mind it’s such a small cost to pay for a child to study at boarding school and when it comes to holiday breaks it’s our hope parents will pick their kids up. Some of them will but the ones you expect to do it because they seem so close to their children and loving, just won’t pay the taxi fee to pick their kids up. Why?

Of the culture clashes with America this one isn’t talked about much. Usually we think of languages, food, weather, education, and so on. But the cost of public taxi, also called transport, has got to be the most frustrating difference between cultures when it comes to the children. Even when it comes to working with the government because everyone wants their transport expense paid for otherwise no business will happen.

It’s Easter break tomorrow and children are free to go home for 4 days to visit with their family and friends. Now here in America parents will pick their kids up daily from school or we are blessed to have public buses drop kids off too. In Uganda kids in boarding school are gone 3 months at a time and live at school, the school becomes their second home. So when you get a chance for a 4 day holiday break in my mind I would want to get my kids bright and early and spend time with them. Some parents do this but the majority never seem to go, giving the excuse of transport.

On the flip side the taxis over these holidays will charge more and take advantage of the increase in travelers. We do the same here in America over the 4th of July when gas prices go up.

Definitely one of the more frustrating obstacles in Africa when working with the parents and children who are sponsored.

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