Down a red dirt road, right off the main streets of Soroti, in Uganda lies a little house hidden behind flowering bushes and a squeaky, burgundy, iron door. This once guesthouse-turned-main-office now serves as the home base of Children’s HopeChest Uganda.
Having traveled on several CarePoint trips, the majority of my time in Uganda has been with the CarePoint field staff at my CarePoint or with Joseph, the Uganda Country Director. After spending a couple of weeks in the office this summer, my eyes were opened to a whole new world of people who work to keep the CarePoints running.
It didn’t take long for me to learn how incredible the office staff is. For these people, no day at work is ever typical. Most days, people arrive around eight in the morning. Immaculate, the Office Assistant, is always among the first to arrive. If you’ve been on a trip, she’s fed your team and left you craving her yummy chapatti. It’s hard not to be a little jealous of the main office because they get to enjoy her food every day.
Morning devotions are simple and authentic. Staff assembles to sing some hymns, listen to a brief message, and pray together. They spend time every morning praying for transformation – for sponsored children, families and communities the CarePoints reach, the country of Uganda, and for all the sponsors and partners at home.
Simon heads up the Sponsorship Division. He and his team including Eve and Harriet, keep track of all the children registered in the Sponsorship Program. If Simon has ever traveled with your team in Uganda, you know his warm presence and his ability to make you feel right at home. This team also goes through every piece of mail that comes from the CarePoints and the United States. They read, organize, and pack every single letter you receive and send. When they’re not working through endless letters, they’re out in the field collecting mail and updating child records and information with the CarePoint field staff.
There’s another Harriet in the office and she is the Program Manager. She’s strong and hard working. When you hear about discipleship, education, tailoring, chicken, goat, bakery, jewelry, farming, woodworking, or any other project the CarePoints are doing, Harriet is the one who has written project proposals, reports, created budgets, and works with the field based CarePoint staff for implementation.
Sam and Helen work in Finance & Accounting. They closely watch each and every sponsorship, program and project dollar given. Sam has the biggest smile and is the go-to guy if anyone in the office is having trouble with technology. Helen is calm and wise.
And then, there’s Joseph, the Country Director. If you’ve been to Uganda with HopeChest, you know him and love him. He’s serious and intimidating at first, but as soon as you get to know him you’ll pick up on his dry sense of humor and huge heart for what he does. He sets the vision and leads this incredible team. Even when he’s not in the office, he’s still working. Right now, he’s spending every free second he has facilitating the HopeChest Uganda Leadership Development Program he started for young-adult CarePoint and community youth.
The first thirty-four students, who were selected from hundreds of applicants, have just completed a month of leadership training. There, they’ve been taught the value of interpersonal skills, lessons on how to be a great employee, ways to continue self-development, and how to be a godly leader within their communities.
I may be a little biased towards Children’s HopeChest in Uganda, but these people get the message and purpose of Children’s HopeChest. They’re not simply maintaining the HopeChest model, they’re going above and beyond to develop and create new sustainable programs that will make an impact in these communities for a lifetime.
Thank you to this incredible staff – Immaculate, Simon, Eve, Harriet, Harriet, Sam, Helen, and Joseph – for achieving the impossible and being a reminder to us all how much can be achieved when you center your work around the Lord.