Back in 2002 Sam and Eva were given funds to purchase about 40 acres of undeveloped rural bush land about 50 miles east of the town of Jinja, by the source of the Nile at Lake Victoria. This was a district they knew well, where the familiar story of the devastating consequences of AIDS had left large numbers of orphans with no family to support them – and family in this instance, is defined in the widest sense, not merely immediate. Sam, a Christian pastor, and his wife Eva both felt very strongly that this was the place for them to begin the Bushfire journey.
Over the next few years, with help, funding and practical support from various sources, Sam and Eva were able to construct a number of buildings which provided the basic infrastructure for being able to take in the kids – living accommodation, water tanks to harvest the rain water, and a large central building to act as church, school, and general meeting place. There was also a limited amount of agricultural activity, in the form of some basic crops and a few head of livestock.
By 2004 there were 60 children plus staff on site, the vast majority of the kids being AIDS orphans, with no living family (including aunts, uncles, and physically able grandparents) to look after them. And the Bushfire Children’s Home was well established within the wider community. It was in late 2004 that we heard about Sam and Eva’s inspiring story and decided to set up Bushfire Family UK.