Arriving in Entebbe from Johannesburg, my driver, John, greeted me outside with a board bearing my name. John had arrived early to bags the best spot amongst the swelling crowd of drivers, some wielding signs with their tourist’s name or others, without a sign, shouting and waving manically as they vie for the attention of the bleary-eyed new arrivals.
I spent the ride to Kampala with my face glued to the window – absorbing my strange new surroundings and trying to process the unusual sights, smells and sounds of this chaotic city that is to become my temporary home. John, a devout Christian like many Ugandans, took advantage of his captive audience and spent the journey berating me about my lack of church attendance, gently trying to persuade me to join him for a Sunday service. But I was completely distracted by the hive of activity outside – boda boda drivers darting fearlessly in and out of traffic, lorries laden with everything imaginable (from people to pineapples) and street vendors buzzing around the constant stream of vehicles, people and livestock. I was transfixed.
Suddenly the traffic subsided and I realised we had arrived at Malaika babies home. We were confronted by an enormous metal gate and high walls topped with barbed wire. A small peep-hole swung open and the armed security guard solemnly beckoned us in. In the darkness, it certainly didn’t look the most inviting place for babies to live but it did seem secure. As I was soon to discover, behind the Fort Knox security lies a haven of safety, love and hope. There’s a good reason why the walls are so high and the entrance so fiercely-guarded because inside a team of people devote themselves day and night to protecting and nurturing Ugandan’s most vulnerable little tots. And I am privileged enough to be joining them for a short while and documenting the amazing work they do in ensuring that children end up with families here in Uganda, not in orphanages.
Just to clarify, I’m not here to ‘baby hug’ and fill my Facebook page with endless photos of me and hoards of adorable African orphans. This isn’t volunteer-tourism and I’m not aspiring to be the next Mother Teresa. I’m here to do what I do in London, which is shoot, producer and direct films, but I’m doing it for a rather special little charity called Childs i Foundation. From success stories to awareness films, I have the humbling job of documenting what this awe-inspiring charity are up to. The charity, led by the formidable founder and all-round good egg, Lucy Buck, run a transitional babies home called Malaika where babies are cared for until a they can be found a family here in Uganda. Here’s what they do:[embed width=”640″ height=”360″]http://youtu.be/qYF9G8orFhI[/embed]
To keep tabs on what they’re up to now or make a donation, visit www.childsifoundation.org