Hey guys, reporting live from Jinja. Fergie here. I’ve had the incredible opportunity to serve as a short term intern, long term intern, and am currently leading a team here at the James Place. The last time I was here in Jinja was three years ago and wow, how it has progressed. Walking through the gates felt like home, but I am still constantly blow away by all the positive change.
Being here a week, I have already witnessed the tangible differences HEAL is making in this community. One of my favorite changes from last time I was here is seeing how many women from the artisan program have become James Place staff members. Being able to see their commitment to this community and willingness to work hard is a testament to the morals HEAL is instilling in each woman that walks through the gates.
Another beautiful example of the power of a mother’s love is getting to see the moms and children from three years ago continuing living a sustainable, love-filled life together. The numbers are constantly increasing each day of women that enter the program and spend their days working towards providing for their family. These women have entered into a community of love and acceptance, and each one is an equally important part to the success of it. The James Place is all about cultivating relationships between women, volunteers, staff members, and the children, and it is a beautiful thing to be able to see the difference these relationships are making in the lives of people here. Jesus most certainly has laid his hand over this place.
The James Place simply exudes Jesus. People walk by these gates and know that something different is happening inside. It’s an honor to be a small, small part of it because my experiences here truly transformed the way I think, live, and love.
Morale is at an all time high.
Over and out,
- Fergie, Team Leader
“This is my home, this is my family.”
There is no better way to describe the James Place than these simple words, spoken by my friend Parvin, a young mother who works in the Artisan Department here as a master potter.
Before I came to spend time working with HEAL, I really didn’t know what they did. People would ask me why I was going to Uganda and what I would be doing there, and honestly, I really didn’t know. All I knew is that I trusted the girls who had come here before me. So I packed my bags and flew half way around the world not really knowing what to expect. Upon arriving here in Jinja, I was informed as to what exactly HEAL’s focus is—keeping families together and orphan prevention. What HEAL does to meet this focus and keep it in check is a whole different story. Not only does the James Place run a preschool, but also a child care facility. It employs over 100 women in a variety of artisanal fields, provides a 3-year sewing curriculum and business classes that give single moms the opportunity to provide for themselves and their families. Women are welcome to come and participate in praise and worship and a Bible Study on Fridays, and kids from all of the villages (anywhere between 300-500 weekly) gather in the play yard for Kids Club every Saturday. This place is a well-oiled machine, which, through trial and error over the past 7 years, has become a sanctuary for women and their children to come and build a better life together.
Those who have found themselves within the walls of the James Place know that no matter their situation, they can come and be loved here. It is safe, it is home, it is family.