Hope Made Real

So much for my big plan.

To start I rented a house for the girls and I to live in. Being known as Urukundo Home for Children meant we needed to have boys in our home too.

Retirement volunteering

We needed a house to be a home for young boys. That house was found and rented on the same road as the house for girls and across the road from the house for boys we rented a guesthouse. It was 2007 and we were paying rent for three houses.

By this time our population had increased so much that I felt hemmed in by children and needed some breathing space so we rented another little house on the same road for me to live in. It seemed strange at first to be in a house with no children but that didn’t last long. Seems as though each child found a reason to come across the road to talk to Mama. The only time I was alone was when I decided it was time for me to sleep. The children would coax to sleep with me but I stood firm. No children in my bed. They would go home in tears and I would go to bed with a guilty feeling. Loved those kids but needed my sleep more.

Retirement volunteering

Becoming a property owner crept up on me when I least expected it and for a rather dumb reason. When we rented the house for boys there were chickens that came along with the deal. Now believe me chickens were the last animals I wanted in my life. Sounds ridiculous but from early childhood I have been afraid of chickens. Only a person with a like phobia would understand such a silly thing. The chickens were there and I needed them out of there. I was not happy having chickens doing their business where our boys played. Scraping chicken dirt from shoes of little boys is a stinking job and I mean that literally. I bought the first piece of land to have a place to move the chickens. Yep, that was my reason for buying land .

In January 2008 we broke ground for the Boy’s House and by December that year not only was the boys house finished but we had built a house for the girls. We were all together in one place. . Urukundo Village grew from that first piece of land and those first two buildings to what it is today. It now consists of about 10 or more acres on a mountain in the Center of Rwanda where 54 kids have a home and a staff of 52 make a living. I wear many hats and am proudest of all to be the mama.

As I write this so much has changed in my world. I am now director of an on going Foundation. This coal miner’s daughter has done well but life for me began a new chapter after age 65. To tell it all would take a book. Hey, that’s a thought. May be I should write a book. Who would read such a book and believe so much can happen after retirement.

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  1. Arlene,
    I can relate to your disliking of chickens! As a child I encountered two nasty ones that chased me around pecking at the backs of my legs! They are far down my list of pets. I much prefer eating them!

    May your family continue to be well blessed!

    Nancy Jacobs

  2. Mama Arlene, my husband, Jeremy met you and your wonderful children when he was in Rwanda in 2010 I think and he could not sing your praises enough. Well done and bless your heart

  3. What an inspiring story! As I am just entering the retirement phase of life I’m looking for a something to do that is a service to others. Bless you for stepping out of your comfort zone and helping those needy children. I’m praying you have many more years of good health to do your important work of blessing these children with your love!

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