First things first – well sort of – is that Chayah is in fact pronounced Kayah. You know it’s important to get the name right isn’t it! My brain now each time is going Kayah not Chayah each time hopefully getting it clear in my head.
Our first meeting with Chayah was over dinner at Namirembe Guest House. Sitting aloft above the bustle of Kampala feels familiar as this is the Hotel we stay at for the majority of my trip in 2009. However, it’s different people and a different trip. Something else that I keep on reminding myself. Though of course it is wonderful to be back I want to come at this project with fresh eyes, and the perspective of more life experience. Volunteering with eMi is new, and meeting Chayah is exciting.
There are four people from Southern Califorian who have flown out for Chayah, and then Janet who is the Ugandan House Mum currently overseeing Chayah in country. The four American’s are – Jodi, Evan, Debbie and Jeff. Jodi essentially began Chayah, sort of, as she was the first to visit Uganda and asked Janet to find a young girl so Jodi could pay her school fees. Janet was already supporting a few children, including her own son, and after finding the girl Jodi had met – Olivia – ended up taking in Olivia and her sister as well. When Jodi returned with her husband and daughter that was when her daughter Kirsten asked Janet if they could start a children’s home. Enter Chayah stage right.
Evan is Kirsten’s husband, Jodi’s son-in-law. Debbie and Jeff are married, are Evan’s Aunt and Uncle, and support one of the Chayah girls. It’s a close-knit grassroots organisation, and is already a functioning children’s home of about 20 kids.
Being able to meet and chat with these guys over the evening and dinner is great – it’s great because we’re launching straight in and reading between the lines. Looking for the heart, desires, intentions and dreams for Chayah and in their pursuit of God, and looking to get to know them, not just interact only as a business transaction.
I enjoyed being able to sit in the midst of our team and Chayah’s and to begin getting to know some of these people. I tend to find launching into small talk and things a bit hard – so although it might be a challenge I want to have conversations and get to know the people I’m serving and working alongside and it’s great to be doing that over some dinner in a beautiful country!
Oh also, importantly, for more information on Chayah please check out these links —