From John and Jill Bills report June 2008 Uganda –
St. Ameria Orphanage
John Mark, a Ugandan who is a student in the YWAM DTS I taught in for that week, escorted me to the St. Ameria orphanage. John Mark has a remarkable story. Both of his parents died from AIDS and he was left at the age of 13 to care for two brothers and a sister. As a young adult now, he has worked hard to care for his siblings to give them food, clothing and an education. He now works in another orphanage of 200 orphans. He wants them to receive what he did. He is a young man who displays a humility and dependency on Jesus in every area of his life and those he cares for.
As I walked onto the property of the St. Ameria orphanage, I was greeted with squeals of excitement, not only from the children, but also the staff. Edith especially came running up to me yelling and laughing as she gave me the biggest hug. It was one of those emotional moments where tears are way out of control.
I stood in amazement of all of the construction work that they have done on the orphanage since I was there last year. I have had the privilege of seeing money raised for the much needed building additions for the children in this orphanage. Edith was so proud to show me the work that has been done on the orphanage. They took me from room to room to show me the new improvements. What I saw was amazing.
They have put a nice seating area outside under a new roof to greet guests. The girl’s dorm is complete where they are housing 27 girls. They have bunks three high, two girls to each bed or mattress. The new boys dorm is partially constructed.
Doreen is 12 years old and has been at St. Ameria for 4 years. She loss both parents to AIDS. She has HIV as a result. She had two brothers and two sisters who all died from AIDS when she was very young. Doreen was staying with a guardian when Edith found her and brought her to the orphanage. She was very ill at the time and was in the hospital for an extended time in order for her to be treated for the AIDS virus. Doreen wants to be a doctor when she grows up. Because of the faith in Jesus that all of the staff have shown her, Doreen has hope and trust in a loving Father to care for her in every way. Edith, like many of her staff, are orphans themselves, so they know what life is like having no parents and some having died from AIDS.