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From Living in a Termite Mound to Learning to Read and Write

kaka and me

I first met this beautiful little four-year-old girl when I visited one of the orphanages I helped to build in the Nuba Mountains of Sudan. The daily bombings were so severe that we had foxholes strategically placed near our dormitories, school, church, and clinics so that day or night—wherever the children happened to be as we heard the antonovs roaring toward us—they could quickly take cover.

Although the antonovs were originally built for carrying large cargo, the Sudanese government uses them to carry huge shrapnel bombs. As they approach a village, the soldiers open the huge gaping backend of the plane and drop the bomb.

The bombings most often come in the middle of the night. So no one sleeps very soundly as we were always on alert.

One day as I sat in the 120-degree heat updating the records of our more than 400 orphans for their Child Sponsors, I noticed a tiny little girl clinging to the closed gates of our school and holding up an orange piece of construction paper.

When I left for a lunch break, I intentionally walked close by the gate to see if I recognized her. When I returned from my protein bar and instant coffee, she was still there. Her arms must have been so tired holding that piece of paper high into the air.
When the teachers returned from their lunch break, I asked the Head Master if he knew who the little girl was.

“Of course, Mama, that is Kaka. She is one of our own, but the bombing grew so serious that he mother ran carrying Kaka’s infant sibling with Kaka in tow running behind her mother all the way to the refugee camp of Yida.

“It took them seven days to get there—only to find there was no food for them there either. No schools. No shelter. So Kaka slept in a huge termite mound until she was so bitten up that her mother decided they must return here to Nuba.”

I asked, “So why is Kaka holding up that piece of orange construction paper?”
The Head Master informed me, “We operate on a budget for a set number of children. So, if one leaves, we allow in another orphan. When Kaka returned, we had already filled her spot and did not have room for her.

“That piece of orange paper is like her passport, proving she is one of ours and she clings to the hope it will get her back in. The termites ate holes all through her paper—‘passport’. The paper is from her child sponsor and so it is proof that she belongs here, but what can we do without the funds to care for her?”

“I asked him to please bring Kaka in immediately and we will find her a new sponsor.” Which we were able to do by writing one blog and telling the story of Kaka.”

Stories are indeed powerful. Now, Kaka is 12 years old and thriving in school, being fed three meals a day, attending Sunday school and church, and sleeping in good shelter.

Kaka’s “passport” hangs in my kitchen in Alabama, reminding me to pray for all the orphans of war-torn Sudan to be safe, well-fed, and open to Christ.

Please keep Kaka and all the leaders of her orphanage, Our Father’s Cleft, especially the director Ayoub in your prayers—for safety as they continue to be bombed.

To support orphans like Kaka, please go to

Kakas PassportLove, your sister along the journey, +k

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