Sunday, December 11, 2011

History of Home Again Orphanage construction projects


Before her December trip to Uganda, Alecia Hanson created a funding proposal to Saint Matthew Lutheran Church to help with several Home Again Orphanage construction projects necessary to deal with serious sanitation and safety problems presented by the establishment's current conditions. She partnered with Katie and Chris Sasser, Faith Kunihira of Bringing Hope to the Family and the Kaihura village engineers in designing and actualizing the projects. 

“Growing up in St. Matthew is similar to being raised in a village," Alecia stated in the proposal. "Walking through the doors on Sunday, inevitable I will run into several people I have known my entire life, many people I consider an extension of my family. Truly, I have been blessed. The love from this community and my famiy has ignited a fire for Christ and a passion to share this love tangibly through service by the Holy Spirit. Twenty six years later, St. Matthew is still a community that I turn to first for support both in prayer and financially to help equip me to serve the most vulnerable chidren and women..."

  • Building a bathroom and kitchen in the younger children's building
  • Installing a ceiling in the older children's building 

The sanitation and safety of both the staff and children in the Home Again Orphanage is a huge concern. The kitchen is a safety hazard for the children because of the open fire located on the ground. One time, Alecia recounts, a young child accidentally bumped into a pot of boiling water in the orphanage's kitchen. He came in to the medical clinic with his extremities and backside severely burnt.

It is also a hazard for the orphanage staff, who have been affected by ongoing respiratory infections and asthma for several years due to heavy smoke intake from the uncovered fire. 

The orphanage has also seen continuous instances of bed wetting among the children--the latrine is currently located outside of the building and the children are scared to leave their rooms in the night. In addition, in September 4 out of 12 children tested positive for typhoid--a disease arising from not washing hands after using the bathroom because of the lack of sinks. 

The costs for treating these infections and diseases among the children and staff are out of their reach.


By the beginning of January, depending on funding allowances, Alecia, Global Support Mission and BHTTF hope to have the projects completed.
  • Improve sanitation to prevent typhoid outreaks and various diarrheal diseases
  • Decrease bed wetting
  • Reduce time spent cooking over fire and giving children bucket showers
  • Increase food output for the children
  • Decrease occurrence of respiratory infections and accidental burns 
  • Relieve staff of health care costs and increase quality time spent with staff and children
Projected Timetable

Description of Work
Start and End Dates
Dec. 1 – Dec. 5
Structure of roof
Dec. 7 – Dec. 23
Dec. 23 – Dec. 31
Plumbing and sewage 
Jan. 1 – Jan. 7


Total needed: $13,500 
Raised: $8,700 

Scott Walker's work

Scott installing joists

One of Scott's local helpers

The local team working on the bathroom/kitchen foundation

Scott and his team installing the ceiling paneling

A group of girls from the orphanage

Two girls from the orphanage--the girl on the left is HIV+

Scott's Update: 


"In the older children’s dormitory we are adding ceilings to all of the rooms for the 2,000 sq. ft. building. This will aid in the effort to keep mosquitos and vermin out of the sleeping areas and generally give a more home-like environment for the children.

The first step is to add ceiling joists [or grids] and add the 4 x 8 masonite sheet ceiling panels. As of Saturday Dec. 10th we have completed the joists in 3 of the 10 rooms and installed the panels in 1.

We are using some of the older boys as helpers to give them some hands-on experience and training. When the building materials arrive the kids provide the unloading help to get the materials in the building. We always have extra hands available for small tasks and the kids are interested and observing us all the time. The kids also do all the cleanup at the end of each day.

Kitchen/bathroom addition:

We are making good progress on the Home Again building additions. It will be a 180 sq. ft. bathroom with 3 toilets and 2 bathing showers. The showers will have hot water supplied by a water heater instead of bringing hot water from the fire. The bathroom will be connected to the younger kids’ building so the kids who are learning to be potty trained won’t have to go outside in the night to use the latrines, which will hopefully decrease bedwetting. It will also have a hand-washing sink to aid cleaning up and sanitation, which is a significant concern here. The kichen will have a fridge, stove, sink and laundry machines. The fridge will mostly be used for keeping baby formula and medicine cold.

Steps of Construction:

Layout – completed

Foundation  - mostly completed

Slab floor – will be adding drain lines for plumbing for 2 systems: sewer lines to connect toilets to a new sewer pit and drain lines to connect the plumbing fixtures to the water storm drain which is used to irrigate the adjacent filed.

Plumbing – will be bringing water from the foreside of the dorm (about 80 ft. away) to the addition. This will be the first indoor water in the Home Again complex! In the same trench we’ll run the grey water drain to connect to the storm drain. Interior plumbing will be galvanized piping attached to the brick walls. My hope is that we can get the walls completed to plastering so that pumbing and toilets will be installed before my departure at Christmas.

Roof/ceiling – probably won't be completed until after Christmas

If additional funding is raised they will be able to add the kitchen cabinets and counters, tile for the bathroom walls and refrigeration. (The stove and washing machines have already been donated/purchased.)

The work on the addition is being done by a local contractor. All of the work is being done with manual labor. My interaction is mainly in oversight of the project--I'm kind of the “owner’s rep.” I'm hopefully getting the interior plumbing up and running as that expertise is not locally available. Another one of my responsibilities is to try to keep the project moving forward as quickly as possible!

  • Power for the skilsaw (the only other power tool is the battery-powered drill when the power goes out, which it does everyday)
  • We're working in occupied dorm rooms, and have to move bunk beds to get all the ceiling in
  • We only have 2 4-foot ladders. The ceiling is at 9 feet so we’re always needing to be on the top step...
  • Balancing the desire to instruct the boys/let them help and the desire to get the job done
  • Building materials/tools are not readily available. 
    • E.g. 1: the lumber for the ceiling joists is rough hewn eucalyptus wood and the straight pieces are the exception. It had to be specially ordered for the job.
    • E.g. 2: would’ve preferred sheet rock ceiling to masonite fibre board panels but the nearest supply would be four hours away and much more expensive
    • E.g. 3: sheetrock screws are not for sale in the two nearest cities so the ceiling panels are being installed with nails and the one 5 lb. box of screws I brought with me from the U.S. 


The improvement to the rooms is visually very significant. The kids are interested, always glad to help and very gracious. The boys we are training are eating up the attention and the chance to work with the men. They are getting chances to work with tools, learning to read a tape measure and being an integral part of the improvement to their new home."

Uganda Support Mission would like to give a huge thanks to Saint Matthew Lutheran Church and its families for their generous donations to these important efforts in Uganda.

To help BHTTF's Home Again Orphanage raise the $5,800 still needed to complete these projects, click here.

No comments:

Post a Comment