‘Sanyu‘ means ‘Happiness‘ or ‘Happy‘ in the Luganda language (so I’m told, but of course, open to correction), spoken by about 2 million people in Uganda. It is also a name that can be given to either a boy or a girl. Today, it took on a new, unofficial meaning in the life of this writer… ‘Humbling‘…
Even before we took off from London for this adventure, we had it in mind to visit an orphanage to provide a donation of clothing.
As our Uber pulled into the gated compounded of the Sanyu Babies’ Home, none of our group of 8 people knew exactly what to expect. Sure, we knew there were going to young people ages 1 day-5 years, and that it may make a few of us sad, encouraged and even broody, but the experience itself was something that could not be quantified.
Indeed, it was overwhelming for many of us.
For reasons of privacy, we were not permitted to take photos of the children (and quite right, too) but we were able to capture the home itself. Below is just a couple of those taken:
After the donated items were deposited with the staff and accounted for, we were sat in an area of benches and given a brief talk about the home, and its history. Of note:
-The home was founded in 1929 by Milnes Winifred Walker, a nurse, in response to the high number of children being left at the hospital she worked out.
-It houses up to 350 children aged 1 day to 4 years old.
-Those who do not find a new home by that age are moved to other homes for older children.
-It is a non-profit organisation.
Once that was completed, we cleansed our hands and was taken into the home… and it all hit us.
We were blessed to see babies, toddlers and young children, some crying, some unsure how to react to this group of 20 to 30-something’s and some were actually excited to see us. One particular young man is going to make a real impact when he is older, such was his outgoing nature.
What I didn’t perceive, however, was a sense of abandonment or profound sadness in the children, mainly because most of them have only known that existence. And it has been a well-run, organised and loving environment. That is encouraging in a way, because should they be blessed to find a family home, I can only hope they feel an increased sense of love and being wanted.
I cannot praise the establishment enough for what they do, and I have an elevated appreciation for them and the volunteers who drop by daily.
If you want to know more about the home or even make a donation, please see visit their site at:
(Or if you wish to do so local to you, please make those enquiries)
This post is not a comment on the reasons the children come to be in orphanages (as they are unknown and likely complex) or on the David Lammy/Stacey Dooley debate earlier this year, but just a personal experience.
One thing is for sure, which that I bemoaned before today means virtually nothing after this humbling visit.
Thank you for reading.