Mzungu Memoirs

Seeds for Uganda’s Future

Kevin Kalibbala grew up in a typical Ugandan family with three siblings in a family struggling to provide food, educate children and keep everyone healthy.  At the age of six, Kevin’s mother died from a preventable disease because the family could not afford the bribe to the clinic guard to get in to see an actual nurse or doctor, let alone the treatment once they were inside.  About a year later, at the age of seven, Kevin’s father died in the same manner.  $20 USD would have treated either one of his parents.

Completely orphaned, the siblings were passed around to varying extended family and often mistreated.  Kevin ended up being taken care of by an aunt who felt called to pay his school fees through secondary school.  Finding it difficult to cope with the loss of both parents due to a lack of access to simple medical treatment, Kevin found solace in physical running.

Kevin was good at running…and I mean really good.  Coaches realized in secondary school he had a gift for running.  He never lost a 100M race and was the Uganda 100M national champion.  Kevin was offered several track scholarships to universities in the United States, including Florida State University.  He decided to attend Liberty University in Lynchburg, VA, a Christian university.

After college, he stepped (or ran) into the world running arena, competing with names such as the Jamaican Usain Bolt.  Kevin was training and scheduled to represent Uganda in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.  Unfortunately, he tore his ACL just months before the Olympics.

During his short running career, he had also been adopting Ugandan orphans in partnership with his brother, using the house left by his late father.  Using his own personal savings and revenues from competitions and advertisements from his running fame, he felt called to care for Ugandan orphans, having experienced it first-hand.  Kevin thus started the Greenhouse Project.  He and his brother are currently caring for 64 Ugandan orphans.

Taken from their website: “The overall purpose of the Greenhouse Project is to provide a Christian home for orphans in Uganda, Africa, where they can grow in the knowledge and fear of the Lord.  We came upon the name of this project from an analogy of an actual greenhouse. During the winter season, a greenhouse provides a safe, nourishing place for plants to grow.  While most vegetation may be dead outside, the plants within the greenhouse are warm and healthy.  And after the cold has passed, the mature plants can then be planted back into their natural environment—growing and reproducing.  Our goal at the Greenhouse Orphanage is to take these children out of their parentless environments and place them in a type of “greenhouse”—an orphanage conducive to growth.  Being rooted in Christ, we plan to raise these children to be the future of Uganda, giving them hope and a chance for salvation.”

My task in serving this ministry was to assist the site survey, meet with Kevin to discuss ministry vision/architectural program and develop a site master plan.  As designed, the site will provide housing for 100 orphans, a primary school for 400, an open multipurpose assembly space, kitchen, guest house for 50 and housing for house mothers and cooks.  The master plan will maintain the existing residence where Greenhouse Orphanage is currently operating.  Unfortunately, the small site will not allow for other dreams of a vocational school, clinic, agricultural farm and animal husbandry.

A large majority of my work here in Uganda has been serving ministries with these small master plan packages.  These documents help potential supporters see the God-given vision, possible project phasing and rough cost estimates.  Some 3-D images offer even more visualization of the possibilities.

Thanks to all of our prayer, emotional and financial supporters for empowering us to follow our calling to come serve Uganda in such a unique way with the talents God gave us.

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. – James 1:27

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