Greetings from Father Charles and the Home of the Holy Angels
|Fr Charles Nabwana arrived in the United States for his annual visit in late July. During this time, Fr Charles was the guest at several churches as he shared the message of his mission to the children of Uganda. While he is in the US, Fr Charles appreciates the opportunity to talk with as many benefactors as possible. Since it is not possible to meet in person with all of you, he wanted to make this newsletter like a personal visit with each of you! As you read this Father Charles has arrived safely back home at the Home of the Holy Angels.|
Fr Charles, how was your trip to the US and how long did it take to get to your destination?
It’s quite a long trip from our remote district of Kibale. I started out early in the morning and drove from our campus to Uganda’s capital city of Kampala. It’s approximately 200 miles, and is mostly on paved highway these days. When we opened our home back in 2010, much of this drive was on dirt roads. When I arrive in Kampala, I typically stay overnight before catching a flight the next day. This allows me to complete some business-related items for our school that can only be accomplished in a larger city like Kampala. The next day, my friend and a Board member of KUDU in Uganda, drove me on the Kampala -Entebbe international airport highway and we were at the airport within 30 minutes. To reach my destination in the US, I typically have three flights, but this time I took only two flights. The first was from Entebbe to Amsterdam which took us 8 hours. I had to stay there for 8 hours of waiting after which we boarded for a direct 10-hour flight from Amsterdam to Orlando Florida, where most of my Advisory Committee members reside.
What are the adjustments you go through after you arrive? I imagine the food must be different among other things?
Yes, the food is something you would notice right away if you visited with us. We grow a lot of our food so you see many fresh vegetables, along with beans, bananas, sweet potatoes and cassava. Because we have to feed so many, we often create dishes that work well with large groups, such as stews. When I arrive in the US, I am continually reminded of the tremendous variety of foods that are available. The local grocery store provides endless selections, as do the many restaurants. I also notice a difference in the pace of life. While our children are occupied with their studies and chores for a large part of every day, they do not have the availability of technology with smart phones and electronic tablets. This requires them to do what many of you did decades ago – enjoy the fresh air, play outside or read a book. Technology is wonderful, but we should all have the proper balance.
What’s your typical day like at The Home of the Holy Angels? I imagine you have many responsibilities.
I usually arise at 6 am each day when on our campus. I begin with morning prayer, celebrate Holy Mass then have breakfast with the children and staff around 7 am. The children start class at 8 am, so we have time for meetings with the teachers and staff right before class begins. Once the children are in class, I take care of responsibilities for our school and campus. This involves the physical needs of our campus, gardens, construction, and maintenance such as our generator and lawn mower. It also involves reviewing and maintaining the certifications that are required for our school. During the day, I regularly visit the children as they are in class to assure that the quality of our education remains at a high level. I also participate in some of the classes, particularly those for religious education. I also visit with members of our staff who take care of food provisions to be sure we have enough for such a large group of children. Imagine trying to provide three meals a day to over 200 children! Thanks to your support, we haven’t missed providing a meal since we opened our doors back in 2010. With a group so large, you also have concerns that arise from time to time. These may be physical challenges or sickness, or the loneliness of a child who is new to our campus and lost one or both parents. I work with our staff and Matrons each day to be sure I am aware of what is going on with the children, our staff and our mission. So to your question about multiple roles, yes, there are a few! Another role that I have is sort of like a Project Manager. We were blessed with a grant by one of our donor couples to build a new Secondary School on our campus, the Saints William and Helen Catholic Academy. We now have our main classroom building for the Secondary School under construction. That requires a lot of interaction with the trades people who do the actual construction. I need to be in the middle of all that’s going on to be sure that the funds that were donated to us are being used to the fullest benefit for our children. That means some very long days, but I feel very blessed with where God is leading us. Finally, there is another role I have in Hoima, my home Diocese to serve as an associate priest at St Theresa Parish which is located about half a mile from our school. I help by celebrating Mass and helping the parishioners of our local area. Given the remoteness of our locale in Kibale, our priests need to spread out and visit multiple out-stations, with Chapels where we celebrate different Sacraments in our Parish communities each week. This gives me the opportunity to connect with the local people who are very grateful for all you are helping us to accomplish with our children.
Do the children know about their benefactors?
Yes indeed. The children are aware that God is responsible for the many blessings that they have received. We also teach them that God has inspired many fine people to help us by praying for us and sharing their material wealth with them. Know that we pray for all of you every day!
How important are our benefactors for all that they do?
Each person who contributes to this ministry is very special to us. You’ll recall the story of the widow’s mite in Mark 12:41-44 where Jesus talked about the heart of the gift rather than the size of the gift. I believe that our benefactors give because they believe in what we are doing. They are giving from the heart and I thank God for all they do for us. Some people are blessed with more than others and are able to give larger sums. We have a number of benefactors who have chosen to sponsor one, two or even three children. We have others who prefer to contribute regularly or on an annual basis to help us with operational costs. I am thankful for all our benefactors. Each of you plays an important role in this mission. Thank you for what you do.
What’s the best way people can help you with your mission?
As you might expect, it takes a lot of work to manage food, clothing, lodging and education for over 200 children. To answer your question, the first thing I would ask people to do is to pray for us. It is through God’s providence and direction that we have been able to welcome so many of his little ones and to change the trajectory of their lives for the better. Please ask Him to continue to provide us the wisdom and the resources to continue this journey for Him. After that, people can participate in many different ways. If you’re not already a Sponsor for one of our children, would you consider becoming one? We have a number of children who do not yet have a Sponsor. If you feel called to help us in this way, please get in touch with David and Desiree Eastman who coordinate our Sponsorship programs. Dave and Des can tell you about the children who are available for sponsorship and you can select which child you would like to sponsor.