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Uganda | Chayah House

While in Uganda last January (2013), my heart and eyes experienced things I will attempt to relay here.  Upon arrival, dehydrated after the near 36 hour trip from Los Angeles to Kampala, I found myself immediately heartbroken as our van pulled to a stop light where a small boy stepped forward, he couldn’t have been more than 3 years old, holding a can of some kind waiting for the passersby to give him change.  Had this been in the middle of the afternoon, the sadness would’ve been there but the fact that we arrived close to 2am this being my initial experience of Uganda, I began to unravel inside.

After a several hour drive to Jinja, where we would be staying for the next couple weeks, we arrived at a hotel, similar to what us living in Los Angeles would view a church retreat campground facility.  The beds were glorified twin sized cots with mosquito nets above, because as rumor has it, the primary mosquitos carrying malara are out at night… creatures of the darkness.  Since I’ve never had a mosquito bit in my life, and yes, I grew up in Oklahoma, this wasn’t a concern for me, but definitely something I saw the ill effects of first hand just hours later.

Meet Caroline, she and her sister Nevis are pictured below.  As one of my traveling partners Nicole and I stepped from the gate of the soon to be opened Chayah Children’s home, we were greeted by a little girl standing in the middle of the road, beckoning us into her world.  As we walked through the mud-dirt pathway, hedged about with tall green grass and made our way to a building similar to that of a storage space, Nevis called to her sister who came through a heavy metal door, with a deep cough.  As we sat with the girls on the concrete porch, communicating with the little bit of English that they knew, we discovered Caroline had been sick for quite some time, as we sat together, the tears mixed with dirt to leaves marks of pain on Carolines face and we knew the cough was more than a cold.


The following morning as sat drinking my coffee, looking out over the Nile, the tears wouldn’t cease or let up, the pain of this little girl, the conditions she was living in, how uncomfortable her little body must be with no big soft bed to craw into and mosquitos and flies constantly making their presence known.  Any Los Angeles child who was sick would surely know the comfort of a soft bed, or at least I imagined.  Over the next couple days we met with the girls mom, we loaded Caroline in the van with us and took her to the nearby clinic, finding out that she not only had malaria but the worst level.

Los Angeles Photographer Katee Grace

Not only was God’s intentionality in the location of the Chayah Home purposeful but our introduction to her friendly and joyful sister Nevis in the saving of sweet Caroline’s life.  As I sat along with a couple others from our group, in the clinic treatment room with Nevis, the tenderness of the care that we had each received throughout our lifetimes seem to well up and overflow with each stroke, each prayer, each song… I have found yet again, that there is nothing more painful that not just watching someone in pain but watching a child in pain.

Los Angeles Photographer Katee Grace in Uganda

Los Angeles Photographer Katee Grace in Uganda

By the end of our trip, Caroline’s energy was restored, her strength regained, and her zest for life evident as we shared star princess crowns and tickles.

Thankful for the resources (finances) we as westerners, and especially those living in Los Angeles, have from which we can choose to share with the world.  Again reminded of the beauty and power of using our privilege for good.

hugs + love,

katee grace

los angeles photographer | world traveler | lover of love + justice 

as seen in: LA Times, Bridal Guide, Coastal Parent & People Magazine

capturing + loving life  |  your moments + my camera = your unforgettable memories

tele.     805•637•7412

As you probably know, photography is a highly referral based business and I am honored anytime my name or information is passed along. I love the opportunity to capture memories for new families.

Los Angeles Photographer Katee Grace in Uganda

Los Angeles Photographer Katee Grace in Uganda

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