That new-home feeling is fantastic no matter where you live. But when your previous home was infested by rats, flooded by rain or swept away by storms, it's even better. Meet three mums who can't stop smiling at the thought of moving day.
07 Jan, 2019
In July 2017, Compassion donors from all over the world generously donated to help build a home for single mum Annet and her toddler triplets, plus seven other families in her community of Businya, Uganda. Meet Evelyn, Eunice and Nafula: three of the incredible mums.
“I won’t be able to stop grinning”: Mama Eunice
Mama Eunice, 25, lives with her children Briton, David, Elvis, Patricia, and Sandra.
My husband told me he was going to look for a job. He never came back. He’s never sent assistance. I was abandoned with five children aged two to 10 years old.
By the time he left, our house was in a bad state; there was no grass on top [of our roof]. The rains came and destroyed our house, so I didn’t have anywhere to sleep with the children. I was so troubled. I had a lot of sorrow in me.
I didn’t even have a place to sleep that night with our five children, so we were forced to sleep in our neighbour’s home. In the morning, I went straight to the Compassion project to tell them that I have nowhere to sleep with the children. The project came and assessed the situation. Since there was already a proposal in to build our family a new home but the money had not come through yet, they said they would mobilise resources and put this house up for me. It was made in one week. It is very basic and was made quickly, but it is a placeholder until the proposal from Compassion is approved to build our family a new home.
Compassion joined hands with the church and they helped me. I felt there were people who understood what I was going through; people who could support me. I felt a lot of joy. I can’t wait for our family’s new home. My home will look so cute; I won’t be able to stop grinning! I’ll be sleeping in a house that I never expected. As a single mother, I will have a home to myself; we will be secure. We won’t have to pay rent [we cannot afford].
“I will no longer have rats defecating on me in the night”: Mama Evelyn
Mama Evelyn, 35, lives with her husband Peter and their six children.
I’ve lived in this home for approximately 20 years with my husband and our six children. All of them were born in this village and have grown up in this house. Now they are a bit older, it’s just my husband and I who sleep in this hut and the kids sleep in another hut nearby. The oldest is 18 years and the youngest is six years old. There are three boys and three girls. My second-born child, Yona, is 15 years old and has been a member of the Compassion project since he was five years old.
When I turned 30, I began feeling pain in my stomach, so I went to the hospital. I found out I had cervical cancer. At that point, I went to the Compassion office to tell them that I needed help. We could not have afforded treatment. Compassion began paying for all the medical bills. It was a shock to find out I had cancer at such a young age.
I felt pain all over. My heart would pump unevenly. When I went for my operation, my children knew I would die. They had lost hope. But I had confidence in God. The operation was successful; they removed the cancer. I no longer feel any pain. If it was not for Compassion, I would be dead because of cancer.
My husband digs for people in their gardens to earn some money. Right now, I can’t because I am still weak.
This home is one that I have ‘mudded’ many times. But the rain destroys the roof and the grasses. The biggest problem with our home is that it leaks. Rats move up there in the grass so when I am sleeping during the night, grass and rat poo drops on you. My two smallest children sleep in here, but it is very small for us. Grass for the roof is expensive so we use the mosquito net to prevent the rain from entering a little bit.
I could never afford to build another home for our family. That’s why I am so appreciative. We will all be able to sleep under the same roof for the first time. I am excited to sleep well. I will no longer have rats defecating on me in the night. I will be able to organise my clean clothes. In my whole life, I have always lived in a traditional African mud hut. This will be my first cement floor. I can’t believe that in the new home all of us will be able to sleep under the same roof!
“I think about the new house every day”: Mama Nafula
Mama Nafula, 31, lives with her husband Peter and three children: Rosemary, 10, Irene, 6, and two-year-old Peninah.
My mother died when I was still young. My father didn’t want me to be taken for vaccinations. When I was around 10 years old, I began feeling slowly worse and worse: I had polio. My family never took me to the hospital because there was no money. As I grew older, I had difficulty walking as the strength it took to put weight on my legs was too much. I would sometimes fall when I felt pain in my knee bone. The hospital told me I needed crutches, so I started using a stick.
Compassion saw what I was using and said they didn’t want me to fall and injure myself. They gave me two crutches. At the survival project, I was trained in tailoring and making necklaces. I even learnt how to make liquid soap.
Our current home leaks; grass thatching is so expensive. From the outside, it looks like we have smeared it well with mud but when the rain comes, it washes off. Five of us live in this home.
When we get a new home, we will no longer have the challenges of the leaking roof and the outside of my home washing away. The children will have a spacious room to sleep, better than where we have been sleeping.
The thing that makes me the most excited about having my own home is that when people pass by and see me in this new house, they will not believe that I am the one owning that good house. I will no longer have worries because of the leaking roof.
Ever since I got married, I’ve never had a kitchen. I’ve always cooked outside. But I have constructed a kitchen just outside where my new house will be. I have also never had a plate stand to dry my dishes. But after the health education at the Compassion project, I have built a plate stand and dry my saucepans on it. I even have a rubbish pit at our new site. I have been preparing for the new house. I think about it every day.
I am very grateful for the support. I am praying that the other remaining families [who need new homes] will also get the opportunity.
Thank you so much for making these families’ joy possible! One-off gifts to Compassion’s Infrastructure Critical Need help provide safety, dignity and stability for other children in desperate situations.
Photos and interviews by Helen Manson
Words by Zoe Noakes
Share the Joy this Christmas!
You can help give children living in poverty their own gift by donating to the Christmas Gift Fund. Learn more.
Sign up for stories
The best stories of the month, delivered to your inbox.