Watoto Church, which we attend here in Kampala, runs several Children’s Villages in Uganda. We went on a tour of a couple of them on Saturday and it was amazing. There was so much to see and we learned so much about the incredible work that they are doing, that I think I will be dividing our tour into two separate posts. Even then I’m not sure I can do it justice. But bear with me.
Today I’m going to tell you about the Babies Homes.
The first one we visited was called Bulrushes, and it is here in the city of Kampala.
It is in the city because the sick infants as well as the premies live here so that they can quickly get medical attention if needed. The child to adult ratio is amazing. There are two babies for every nanny. The facility itself is just beautiful. The exterior was so clean and beautifully landscaped. The inside was also clean, well-maintained, and spacious. It was also gorgeously painted. We all want their decorator to come and paint our babies’ nurseries one day. Or maybe just the walls of our homes. We were delighted that we got to hold babies and even feed them while we were there. Melvin, our tour guide had to drag us away. We just wanted to stay there all day. This facility was amazingly nice in Uganda, and we think it would be considered really nice in the United States as well.
There was a cozy four season porch with babies napping and a verandah overlooking a small toddler playground area. Just like the babies home we would visit in the afternoon, it had a calm, beautiful, and serene atmosphere.
At the end we learned that it is called Bulrushes because the first baby was named Moses, and so Bulrushes is a reference to in Exodus 2, when Pharaoh’s daughter found Moses floating in a basket among the reeds (which are apparently sometimes called bulrushes) so that was pretty cool!
We visited a second babies home that was much further away from the city. It is located at Suubi Children’s village, and it was also just gorgeous. Unfortunately we arrived during nap time, so there was no baby holding for us here. We got an in depth tour though, and were once again amazed at what we saw.
The nanny to baby ratio was a little bit higher here, since these babies don’t have pressing health concerns, but it was still a really good ratio. There are typical children here and children with special needs. Children can live at the Baby Home until they are around 2 years old. They are then transitioned into living at a Children’s Village. I thought it was really cool though that they have a time period in between the two homes where they are transitioned into not having a nanny by their side all the time and learn to be a little bit more independent.
Another really cool thing is that the vision of the ministry as a whole is to raise of leaders for the next generation. One girl who recently graduated college and actually just got married is a great example of this. As you can imagine, formula for so so so many babies is really expensive. This girl did research on a solution to this, and learned that goat’s milk is similar to breast milk, and she created a plan for the village to have a goat farm and in this way provide milk for the babies. She presented it to the leadership of the Watoto Children’s villages, and they decided to put it into practice. They now have a goat farm, and since the babies have started drinking goat milk, not only have costs gone down, but less babies are getting sick.