Mikayla Andrushko sharing a hug with a child in Uganda – her ‘home’.

Mikayla Andrushko sharing a hug with a child in Uganda – her ‘home’.

Little hands, little feet and great big smiles have captured my heart: Andrushko

I will never forget the day we went to the orphanage and saw those beautiful kids for the first time.

BY MIKAYLA ANDRUSHKO

My name is Mikayla and my home is in Uganda, Africa. No, I wasn’t born there nor did I grow up there but my heart is there.

I have been to Uganda twice and I absolutely love it there. My church built an orphanage in Ogooma, Uganda. The organization is called “T.O.U.C.H. Ministries” which stands for “The Ogooma, Uganda Children’s Home”.

In 2011 my church did a walk-a-thon and then whoever raised the most money won a free trip to the orphanage. Money raised went towards building a church. After we walked, it was announced that I won the free trip. I had raised over $15,000!

I was so excited that I was finally going to go to the orphanage. Ever since the beginning of T.O.U.C.H. Ministries, I have been a huge supporter. I had lots of fundraisers and the money went towards the kids that were in the orphanage. I made them all Christmas presents a few years ago.

In 2013, I had the chance to finally go to the orphanage! There were 18 of us and our team was called “The Impact Team” because we wanted to make an impact on their lives but not only did we make an impact on the kids but they made an impact on us.

I will never forget the day we went to the orphanage and saw those beautiful kids for the first time. They all had stolen my heart and my heart still remains there. I got the privilege to meet my sponsor girl. That moment I will cherish forever. I was changed and I knew that I was going to go back again.

Sure enough I went January 24th, 2014! We have more kids in the orphanage now and so I got to meet the new kids. They call me Aunty Mikayla. All of those kids hold a special place in my heart. I constantly think of them and how I can’t wait to go back.

T.O.U.C.H. Ministries has grown so much. We have an orphanage, a second dormitory, a water well, a church a bakery and a school block. We opened up a playground at the church on the last day we were there and honestly it doesn’t look like a playground anymore. The kids loved it so much! T.O.U.C.H. Ministries keeps growing and it will continue to grow with love.

This latest trip, I went with 16 other people and our team was called “The Amina Team”. Amina means love in Teso. Teso is the language that they speak at the orphanage. We did hut and village visits as well as went to a school to hand out sanitary packs to the girls because if they don’t have anything then they can’t go to school.

We had the privilege of hosting four weddings in our church and wow it was amazing. Lots of people, dancing and singing! The weather was really hot, the temperature was almost at +50C!

Coming back was very difficult. It was very hard to come back, coming back is such a culture shock because in Africa there is no time, nothing starts on time and it’s not go, go, go all the time whereas here we have a schedule and we have to arrive on time because if we are late, we get in trouble.

We are so blessed here, we have so much and we’re not happy with what we have and we wish we had more stuff whereas there they hardly have anything and they are so happy!

Those little hands, little feet and their great big smiles have captured my heart. I can hear them laughing and I can hear the women yelling in happiness and joy.  I miss the red dirt between my toes, the smell of food over the pots outside, the warmth of the sun and the kids holding my hand. Uganda is my home and I can’t wait to go back.

I am planning on going back in the fall for a month. If you would like to sponsor me, you may email me at mikylovessoccer@hotmail.com and we can set up a date to get together and I can give you more info about T.O.U.C.H. Ministries.