August 24, 2018
Dear friends and well-wishers,
I owe you my sincere gratitude. I do really appreciate the support, the care and the efforts that you have accorded to me. Its my prayer that you are rewarded abundantly.
I have enjoyed a lifetime experience which has turned tables; one that has given me hope, joy and happiness thus starting a new life. Being here has raised my hopes, rejuvenated me and whisked away my worries, sadness, stress and depression. I really needed it; it was timely. For little Elke, it opened up her eyes to the real life, and provided her with all the basic necessities.
Many thanks to big Elke.
God bless you.
Little Elke & Carl
July 31, 2018
Our dear friends and family have all been more so much more generous than Björn and I could have imagined when we first shared Carl and little Elke's story - see below. Their generosity has touched us both deeply and will, knowing Carl, completely undo him in all the right ways once he actually learns about your gifts.
All the support received to date has raised my hope that others may go on giving, even though we have now bypassed the original aim of CHF 2500, which would have allowed Carl to buy a small but life-changing piece of land. Going further would create the possibility to actually build a small structure on the land in which Carl and little Elke could live.
So please, support this cause that will truly change the life of two people that are so very dear to us!
With our heartfelt thanks,
Björn & Elke
Geneva, July 9, 2018
You never know beforehand which of the people you meet may change your life, or what they come to mean to you, the role they will play in your life and the presence their life may take in yours.
So it was with Carl, from Kampala, Uganda. Eight years ago, in March 2011, our our paths crossed. We met for less than an hour. Same age, entirely different story, but deep within, so much resonating soul. Carl, nearly fully blind due to optic nerve toxicity secondary to long-term malarial treatment. Trained in finance in India in his twenties, but left to his own device by family and fired by his employer when progressive blindness knocked on his proverbial door. When we met, he was living from handouts and near the end of his rope, as he would tell me much later on. Not once did he ask for anything or shed light on the hopelessness of his situation, neither then or ever since.
Our meeting made a lasting imprint on our life. Whenever possible, we began to support Carl. And from the very beginning, Carl has been supporting us, through his friendship, by being there and by remembering the people and happenings that matter to us. By caring. Slowly, over the years, a friendship blossomed in we have each coloured in a parallel universe in which the life of the other unfolds. Since the birth of his daughter, little Elke Ingrid, four and a half years ago, we have been supporting the family on a monthly basis. Little Elke's mother has sadly found it too challenging to be there for her daughter, as a result of which Carl has been assuming - in his own words - the role of father and mother. Over the years, many friends have chipped in to help out, whether when illness struck or with regular support for Elke’s school fees.
Early this year, ahead of Björn’s 10th birthday, I shared that I wanted to take him somewhere, to a place he has dreamt of visiting. He was quiet for a bit, and then responded he wanted to meet Carl and little Elke. I asked whether he would like to go visit them, or whether we should invite them here. Again he took a moment to consider this and then answered "here, so that we can spoil them in each and every possible way, from enough food to taking a bath, to doing things they have never done before."
And so the work began to first obtain little Elke’s birth certificate, then passports for the two of them, and finally, to apply for their Schengen visas. It has taken five months, many hurdles and an enormous amount of perseverance and courage on the part of Carl, for whom moving around is a daunting task. Last week Friday, June 29th, the Schengen visa was issued and this pas Monday, flights were bought for a visit from August 14th to August 25th. We still can’t quite believe it, but it is going to happen!
Björn and I have made a list of all the things we want to do and share with them, the good meals we will cook and the dinners we will take them out for. We would, however, so love for them to return to a less precarious existence in Uganda after their time with us. To live somewhere other than in the slums, to eat three decent meals a day, and to be able to work. Carl knows how to make this happen, but does not have the means. This involves buying a plot of land, with access to water and electricity, to plant a variety of trees and plants, rear chickens and have a goat. Sell some of the produce and keep the rest for their own consumption.
For now this remains a dream, out of reach, as it requires saving up CHF 2,500 to buy the land and invest in some seeds and tools. But imagine, if this could come true! This is why I have launched this crowdfunding initiative, to collect money that we can offer to Carl to realise his dream to gain independence, to find his way to a dignified life that would allow him to take care of little Elke. I hope you are able to make a contribution, no matter how big or small. It all counts.
If you like to meet Carl and little Elke and are in Geneva, we will organise a get together. Fill in the following doodle to let us know when you would be available: https://doodle.com/poll/9e97gn64ckxeibem
As part of their carry-on baggage, Carl and Elke can bring back nearly 100 kg of clothes and other things they need or could really use. Below you will find their wish list; should you have any of these items and not need them any more, please let us know and we can come by to pick them up - if you are indeed in Geneva:
1. Clothes for little Elke: shirt, trouser, jean, dress, sweater, jacket, night dress & shoes and socks for a 5-year old and older
2. Clothes for Carl: vest, jacket, sweater, suit, pyjama, t-shirt, shirt for someone 170 cm tall, boxers, hat for someone, and shoes, snickers, socks seize 42
4. Bed Sheets
7. Bed Covers
8. Laptop bag
9. Rack Sack
10. Little exercise equipment
11. Geometry set
12. Pencils and pens
13. Toys & English books for little Elke
14. Old suit cases and backlogs, big and small
15. An old smart phone
Your contribution, in any way, shape or form, will be so appreciated.
Much love and light,
July 20 2018