Sunday, October 25, 2015

Hidden Enemies Strike Cuamba Base at Night

Alex, one of the children we are working with, standing in front of the grass shelter he is currently living in while he waits for us to build facilities at our Cuamba orphanage.

In this part of Africa, when children become orphaned or homeless they often end up becoming a servant in the house of a person who might mistreat them or be well meaning but too poor to actually care for them. Many orphans, no matter how small, end up doing heavy work the entire day – working the land, hauling water, cooking, cleaning, washing clothes, and caring for other children - without getting paid, being allowed to go to school, or getting decent food, clothing, shelter, medical care, or even love. It's a pretty heartbreaking situation to say the least.

When Victor started working with orphans almost 15 years ago, he never intended to build an orphanage. He initially felt that God was calling him to serve orphaned children by caring for them and the people they were living with, without removing them from those places. He held kids clubs where he and his team cooked the kids hearty meals, taught them about God, and gave them clothes, school supplies, and money to pay school fees. This was super exciting until they watched the people the children were living with take the clothes, take the school supplies, refuse to allow the kids to go to school, and continue to mistreat, abuse, and practice witchcraft with them. At this point it seemed that providing the kids with a place to stay was the best way to truly help them and that's when we started to build the first orphanage!

As you know, we are currently constructing a second orphanage in Cuamba, a village located in the province north of Nampula. There are currently no orphanages and a lot of orphans. As we construct the first facilities at our base there, we are working with local orphans using the model we used in Nampula in the very beginning. We have identified the children with the greatest need, then we invited them to little gatherings where we distributed some food, clothing, and school supplies. We met with the adults who they are temporarily living with (in the most rudimentary conditions imaginable) and gave them fees to enroll the kids in school.

Angelo

Angelo cooking.

Certo in front of the bamboo shelter where he currently lives.

This sweet elderly grandma would normally be living with a family who would be caring for her but because of pre-mature deaths,she and her grandchild are left to fend for themselves and do whatever it takes to survive.

Just like in Nampula, this seemed to be going well at first. But our guys who are there running the base soon discovered that children they had started working with were then missing because they had been sent to work in the mines! Now that our team knows and loves these kids, we feel a greater sense of urgency to prepare the facilities needed for them to move in.

We have already constructed our first main building, which will house staff and function as an office and all-purpose area.

This staff and office house still needs the concrete floor poured, the walls plastered and painted, and electrical wiring. We already have the windows, doors, and security bars.


Our staff interns with the kids.

Over the last few months we have had fantastic progress on the second orphanage building and got to the point where it was almost time to put the roof on!

Digging the foundation

Laying the first blocks.

The walls begin to come up.

View from a tall tree.

Over the past decade we have constructed over ten concrete buildings – from one-room rondovals to huge dorms. At first we hired local builders to do the work while our staff and older boys hung around, watched, and assisted. For each building Victor and the other guys on staff learned how to do more and more until now they are able to build on their own. Victor has overseen the entire construction of the first Cuamba building over Facebook video and voice chat with Carlos, one of our staff interns who used to work construction at the Nampula orphanage and is now in charge of the building in Cuamba. Carlos has never been outside of Mozambique and has not quite grasped time-zones so Victor is usually doing Facebook chat with him at midnight or 3am or 5am as we are currently in the U.S.



Outside walls completed and ready for the roof.

And then our guys woke up to find this . . .



During the night someone destroyed most of our building!

This is is immensely discouraging and so sad for the kids who are waiting in such difficult conditions for the orphanage to get up and running. But it is not something completely shocking. We have no idea who did this, but it is something that happens. Our Cuamba base is on a great piece of land that has never been developed. People in the area practice animism and witchcraft and they are superstitious and hold beliefs that will not welcome a Christian orphanage or possibly work that will provide a safe home for the children that are being used to work as servants in houses, in the fields, and in the mines.

Please pray for the children in Cuamba who are currently living in the most terrible situations. Pray for protection, strength, and encouragement for our staff guys, Carlos and Ezekiel, who are living at the base, working with the kids, and constructing these buildings. We sent them there from Nampula to do this work and they have been amazing.

Our guys are now back up, trying to rebuild what was destroyed.



How the front looks now. (This will be a porch in the foreground.)

These are some of the children we are working with in Cuamba (as well as Angelo, pictured above) who we hope will be able to move into our new orphanage once our facilities are built. Please remember them in your prayers!

Our staff interns, Carlos and Ezekiel.

The mud and grass shelter Carlos and Ezekiel have been living in for over 6 months now!

2 comments:

Jamie Bagge said...

God bless you guys, Victor and Christina! You're doing an awesome job for Christ! May the Lord protect the work and keep everyone safe as you build. And may His power overpower the enemy, and bring more to Christ in that area. Love you, Jamie

Jimmy said...

Praying as I used to be ased in Cuamba so sad to hear of these problems..