Her life is so fragile… yet she has grown so hard.

A little child… so used to being abused.

She is 11, maybe 12 years old… so tiny, such a child.

Her life so fragile, and yet she has grown so hard… in order to survive.


I look in her eyes, and see survival mode, placed there in order to make it from one day to the next. Abuse has been her constant companion, and threats of murder have been her greatest fear.


Over a year ago, her father sent her away to work as a housemaid for a man that neither she nor her father knew. The man was an evil man, and raped this young precious child the very first night she went to live with him. He told her that he would kill her if she ever told anyone, and would also kill her family, and anyone who tried to help her if she told anyone.

So, scared for her life, and the life of her family and friends, she kept quiet. Day after day. Silent. She spoke not a word, as the man continued to rape her every. single. day.

This evil man had many wives & concubines, and the young child began to believe that this must be normal.

She cried often, hating her life. She tried avoiding and hiding from the man, but he would find her and tackle her to the ground.

She began wishing that she could end her life. Leave this world.

She began believing that her life she was living was not worth living, and made plans to end her life.

She knew how to do it.

Even at such a young age. She knew where the pills and tablets were… surely enough of them would do the job.

But something told her to wait.

Something told her to hang on a little longer. To try to endure just a little bit more.


A year went by, and the man began telling her that she was not working hard enough. Her brothers would come to visit, and the man told them that their sister was becoming a horrible worker: lazy and slow.

The man continued to become more angry, and sent word to the young girl’s father and family that he did not want her anymore if she was not going to work hard.

So, the girl was sent away with her brothers one day, back to where her father lived. There, her father was angry with her as well for not working hard, but she tried telling her brothers & father what the evil man had been doing to her. Then her aunt came to see her, after hearing that she had returned with her brothers.

Upon seeing the girl, her aunt immediately knew that the young child was pregnant. When her aunt told her this news, she looked at her aunt and asked, “What is ‘pregnant’?”

Finally, the young girl told her Aunt all about what the evil man had been doing to her, and also the threats that he had told her since the beginning.

But her Aunt knew the laws of this country, and decided to take action. The laws are simple here in Uganda: if you impregnate a minor, you go to prison. Often times even for life. So the Aunt took the difficult but right road, and although she met much opposition, eventually, the man was put into prison.


Since the young girl’s father cared nothing for her, and had no way to help her, she went to live with her Aunt in the village slums. Her Aunt didn’t have much, and did not know how she would care for the young girl and her baby, but she knew she had to try to help the girl as best she could.


Then one day, someone came and told her Aunt about a place that takes care of young child mothers in desperate situations.

A place where people want to help the helpless, and care for those whom no one wants to care for.

A place where people believe that children & babies are a blessing, not a curse. No matter how the pregnancy came to be.

A place where people truly love young mothers and want to help them become the best that they can be.

The aunt was put in contact with Kupendwa Ministries, and today, the young child is living in peace and comfort.


Her name is Salama, and she desperately needs your prayers.

Salama is one of the newest child mothers brought into our Maternity Home, and she needs your help & support.


Please consider helping Kupendwa continue to save & change lives like hers.

– Deanna Washington


To sponsor Salama, or give to the needs of Kupendwa, please visit http://www.kupendwaministries.org/#!donate/cd93



My birthday, and a girl named Monica

Today is my 25th birthday, I have so much to be thankful for. A birthday always makes me look back on my life and reflect different people, places, and events that have helped shape me into the person I am today. Some of those people who will call me today and wish me a happy birthday, and some of those people who won’t be able to because either they have died, or because I will simply never get to see them again. This morning I woke up and thought of several people whom I have met during my life that I never want to forget. Monica was one of them. As I laid in bed thinking of her and how she impacted my life during the brief weeks that I knew her, I remembered a blog entry that I wrote over a year ago. A blog entry that I never published, but rather wrote for myself, so that I would never forget how I felt. Today I want to share this with whoever may find it on here. Monica had an incredible  impact on my life, and I pray that somehow one day I will meet her again.

May 5th, 2012:

“…I’ll never forget the sound of her yelling, crying, in my ears. Her fists gripping so tightly to my shirt on my back, pulling me down to her. As I try to comfort her, and tell her it will be ok, she continues to cry out “Mama!” in immense, unfathomable pain. I know she is not calling for her actual mother, but instead, she is calling me “mama” – begging, pleading for me to take the pain away. As the nurses cleanse her severely infected and gaping wound from her cesarean section preformed 8 weeks earlier, there was little that I could do to stop the pain. My photojournalistic mind was telling me to turn on my camera, and capture this all on film, and yet this human broken heart of mine knew I could not let go of her embrace. As the nurses poured hydrogen peroxide directly into a hole 8 inches in diameter in her abdomen, I could not in anyway imagine what her pain must be like. Being an American, I knew that in the States, she would be on pain killers and drugs to help numb the pain. However here in Uganda, there is no such luxury. I often look back on the few pictures I have of Monica, and remember all of the hours I spent with her, trying to help nurse her back to health. Sick, malnourished, and unable to keep food down, she was too weak to stand or walk on her own. I walk into the huge room filled with over 50 women, and go to her bedside. Only 16 years old, and lying in her own filth & urine. My entire world was put into a new perspective every time. As clearly as I can still hear her voice in my ear as she clung to me that night, I can also see the tears in her eyes when I had to tell her goodbye. As I looked into her face and told her that I was leaving – on an airplane to return to a country full of material wealth, greed, and selfishness, I could hardly speak. Tears streaming down my face, I said goodbye quickly, and told her that she was going to be okay. Only days after I left, I learned that her biological mother has discharged her from the hospital without any doctors’ or nurses’ approvals. No one knows where she went or what happened to her. And so, I often look back on those pictures and memories and wonder. Wonder where she is, if she ever healed and  is still alive, and if I will ever get to see her again.”

IMG_6274_flt_FBMonica, March 27th, 2012

“Thank God you have someone.”

One afternoon a couple weeks ago, my sister, Amy, her adopted Ugandan daughter, Amina, and I were sitting outside a local icecream store eating icecream.

As we were sitting there, two older African-American men came walking past us, and said “Good afternoon ladies” to us. As we exchanged smiles with them, and a quick wave, they continued walking past. Then, I noticed that one of the older men kept turning around looking back at us- no doubtingly looking at the very dark-skinned Ugandan little girl sitting with two mid-twenties white girls. I could tell he was curious, and so it did not surprise me when he walked back over to where we were. He smiled at us and asked, “Whose that child is?” My sister smiled and told him that she was her little girl, and asked Amina to say hello. Amina- being the sweet and very friendly little 4year old that she is- looked up and said hello with her big snaggle-tooth smile. The man put his hands on his knees and leaned down on her level, looking at all of us, taking it in. I could tell he had many thoughts running through his head, but was unable to utter any of them. Then after several moments had passed, he looked Amina in the eyes and said, “Thank God you have someone.” Then without another word he turned and walked away.

I don’t know his name, but I don’t ever want to forget what he said. “Thank God you have someone.” As I sat there and watched him & his friend walk away, I wondered all of the other many thoughts and memories had run through that man’s mind. His face and eyes told of more words and thoughts that he could utter, but I assure you- the words he chose were perfect. This man, a complete stranger, had never been told of this little girl’s story. Her story of abandonment, rejection, and being left unwanted that was changed by the grace & mighty hand of God into a story of hope, faithfulness, and unconditional eternal love. And although he meant those words, “Thank God you have someone” for my precious niece, it reminded me how blessed I am as well. I have someone. I have more than just one someone that I know loves me, but more importantly then that… I know I have Someone who will always be there for me. Someone who will never abandon me, reject me, or turn His back on me. I know Someone who will always love me unconditionally, always forgive, always heal, always rescue, always protect, always comfort… always be there for me.

May God bless that man, wherever he may be, for reminding me of that truth. I don’t know his story, his background, or his past… but I know Someone who does. And I pray that he knows Him too.

Late Night Thoughts, Early Morning Journals.

may 1, 2012

FAIRNESS. Living in the USA – Hard or Easy?

Sometimes, a lot of times,  I wonder why people don’t understand. Why I can’t understand how people don’t care. How people can hear of needs – needs for water and food in order to save lives, and they seem to be untouched, unmoved.

One of my favorite people in this earth spoke about this almost 1 and ½ years ago, and I still remember it to this day. She gave an example of 10 teenagers going to eat lunch one day. There were 10 of them. They were given 10 hamburgers. Simple, right? One for each person is what you would think. It would be an easy solution to how the hamburgers should be divided up. Instead, 2 of the teens took 8 of the hamburgers for themselves, and the other 8 teens were left with 2 to divide up amongst themselves. Is that fair? Does that seem right? NO. It doesn’t . AND YET this is what we LIVE IN.  20% of the WORLD’S population, lives on 80% of the world’s WEALTH – while 80% of the WORLD’S population if LEFT to live on 20% of the world’s wealth. FAIR? NO. It is NOT.

I have a hard time coming back to the States after living in Uganda for the past 4 months. It is hard to live here. No, not because I have a dishwasher to wash my dirty dishes, a washing machine to wash my clothes, a car to drive in, a warm bed to sleep in, food to eat, clean running water to drink, indoor plumbing, and more chairs, couches, pillows, and blankets than I need. It isn’t hard living here in those aspects. But it’s hard to relate back to this life. I do NOT want to ever go back to seeing this “American” life as “normal”. It will never be normal for me again. I want it to always hit me like a brick wall how it is all so extremely extravagant. Unnecessary. Indulging. Glutinous. Excessive.

No… living here is America is EASY. TOO easy. Too easy to switch the channel and forget about the dying children in Haiti. The homeless in Uganda. The outcast in Romania. The abandoned in Nepal. The starving in Guinea. The dying in this world. It’s easy to get caught up this this selfish, self-indulging culture that says “it’s all about you”, “you deserve it”, “relax”, “you’ve worked for it”. It’s all just too too easy.

But I’ll tell you what’s not easy. Is coming back to this country and trying to find someone who understands me. Someone to talk to who feels the same way that I do. Who would rather go spend their night with the homeless, smelly people under the overpass than to go see a movie and go eat food. THAT is what’s hard. It’s hard to find other Jesus-seekers who strive to daily put other’s needs in front of their own. Who want to change others lives for the better – even at the cost of their own. That is why coming back and living in this country, America, is hard.

I miss it all.

Wow, after 4 months living in Uganda, Africa, I am now back on American soil. It feels… weird. I can’t describe how odd it feels to be back in the States. It many ways, it’s as if I never left – friends are still the same, still in school, or working their jobs, and want to hang-out. But in many ways, I have a hard time fitting back into this culture. I can’t forget the starving, dying, homeless faces I love and hold so dear to my heart that are back in Uganda. I thank God that my sister, Amy who lives permanently in Uganda is now in the states with me – even though she is only here for 6 short weeks… and then she will be going back “home” to Uganda to her 6 children, and ministry and life there. It is such a comfort to have her here though. It’s the first time our family’s been all together in a year! Still, I miss Uganda and the faces, friends, and family there.

I miss the sights, the smells, and the time. But most of all, I miss everyone there. The life I had there. I miss all the little screaming voices waking me up, yelling “Aunt DeDe” outside my room at 6am. I miss sitting in the kitchen with Amy & Betty while we joke around about goons and donkeys and talk about all of the kids, and their quirky little selves. I miss Uganda time, a world in and of it’s own. I miss standing in the tub washing my clothes in a bucket, and seeing a rather large rat run out from under the tub…. and then just scaring him back under, because I have no energy to even care about him! haha! Oh, how I miss  it all. I miss it all so much!! I miss little kids running around the house constantly, and constantly seeing Patrick follow me to be held. I miss them all so much. I miss Betty, and her contagious laugh and smile. I miss having 4 teenage pregnant girls in the house with me to keep me laughing, and also amazed by their thought-less-ness sometimes!

I miss it all so so much. I can not wait to be back… whenever that may be.

For my sister, Amy

So, this is a poem that I wrote about my sister, Amy, several weeks ago. She lives here in Uganda with her 6 adopted orphaned children – all under the age of 4, and she runs a ministry in and out of her home here in Jinja, Uganda. She is amazing, and I wrote this about her one night when I couldn’t sleep.

TO: My sister, Amy. I love you so much, and you amaze me by all that you do. 

You are strong on your own though you fall on your knees,
You trust God to hold you and provide all your needs.

As you lean on Jesus to hold you up,
You give all you are to those tiny hands around your cup. 

You’re a hero to many and a wonder to all,
Picking up the forgotten- lest one of them should fall.

You are not stranger to many sleepless nights,
And other may ask why you give up what they call your rights.

But you are incredible, and everyone knows –
The ones like you are few – who are willing to go – 

Beyond all limits for the least of these -
To beg mercy for these lives on your bended knees.

To say thanks just won’t say enough.
You deserve to be given much more then just this stuff.

But thank you thank you from the bottom of my soul,
And from all the lives whom you’ve once consoled.

For to list the lives that you’ve blessed by your own
Or to count all the seeds that you’ve sewn –

Would take far too long to count or write,
But remember not one has escaped God’s sight.

He loves you dearly and stands proud and tall
To give Gabriel a nudge- and say “This one’s giving it her all.”

So when you fall and want to stay down – 
Remember He’s there, and then look around.

For many are standing in awe of you,
Not knowing how you do what you do.
I love you, Amy.



Meet my new best friend, Rasta! I just love him! He loved sticking his face right in the lens and also loved finishing off my Red Bull! ;P

He loved it – although he kinda missed his mouth! (below)