In the US, when we need something, we typically just go and buy it. Whether that involves hopping in the car and making a quick trip to the store, or looking up the desired item online and clicking a few tabs, we can usually have exactly what we need, in our possession, in a matter of days, hours, or even minutes.
When something needs fixing, we often pay to get it fixed, or (more and more frequently) we simply replace it with a new and improved version. Of course, there are exceptions. But this is the norm.
In Uganda, we can’t rely on Target, Amazon, Best Buy, and Home Depot to provide us with the best model of anything and everything, with the click of our mouse or the swipe of our screen. Home-based ingenuity and innovation are essential if we want the best for our kids. And we do. But constantly having to design, build, create, install, fix, and improve takes its toll…especially when there are dozens of young ones in need of “things” all the time.
Fortunately, times are changing. Our kids are growing, and our role as innovators is becoming less and less time consuming, as they take over the responsibility. With seemingly-endless energy and enthusiasm, impressively-honed vocational skills, and a desire to help each other and create the best possible environment for their siblings and themselves, our kids can innovate at a level unlike anything we’ve encountered before.
In our kids, we see a rainbow of intelligence, every form under the sun: emotional, mathematical, spatial, creative, intuitive, linguistic. They are future diplomats, engineers, artists, lawyers, social workers, writers, and scientists. When something breaks, or a need is realized, they rarely even come to us anymore; they take the problem into their own hands, solving it better than we ever could. Case in point, in the picture above, you see the new rabbit house built by our very own Big Cheche. The old structure was falling apart; in addition to looking ugly, it created extra work for those who tended the rabbits. As Lucas is primarily responsible for caring for the rabbits, he is particularly happy with this new system, which makes it significantly easier to feed them and collect their waste in buckets.
When you grow up in an orphanage home with 50 brothers and sisters, things break a lot. Systems fail. Shiny, new “things” are few and far between. You can sit back and feel sorry for yourself, or you can take your life into your own hands and say, “There is absolutely nothing in this world that I cannot do,” and make your own reality. Whether that means traveling the world as a rugby star, graduating from university, writing poetry, or building a rabbit coop (just a few of our kids’ many accomplishments), our kids know that they can do whatever they set out to do.
Because they are surrounded by love. Because they are part of a tight-knit family with unbreakable bonds. Because they are as sweet as they are tough, as bright as they are humble and as ambitious as they are content.