Banana loaves help to build orphanage

Barb Giraud spends countless hours every week baking dozens of banana loaves. It’s all for a project called Jaaja Barb’s House of Angels.

Barb Giraud prepares another of her fund-raising banana loaves.

Barb Giraud prepares another of her fund-raising banana loaves.

Barb Giraud spends countless hours every week baking dozens of banana loaves.It’s all for a project called Jaaja Barb’s House of Angels. During a visit to Uganda last year, Giraud fell in love with the people there. She was particularly inspired by a 23-year-old man named Edwin, who is helping children who live on the street in Jinja, Uganda and spend their days scavenging for food in local dumps. His goal is to build a home for  youngsters, on land donated to him by a family member. All he needed was a sponsor.“You get a dream and you just go for it and fight,” said Giraud. Over the last nine months, she’s made about 1,500 loaves and raised $5,000. All the money she earns through her banana bread sales goes into a joint account with Edwin. Every night he calls Giraud, who he calls Jaaja, which is Luganden for grandmother, on Skype. He gives her daily updates on the project. Edwin and his friends are putting the finishing touches on the four-room facility that will house 32 orphans. However, bunk beds still need to be purchased and a well drilled. Children currently walk six kilometres to a swamp where they fill jerry cans with water. Another building also needs to be constructed for the aunties who will care for the children, and humanitarian aid groups that travel overseas. The facility will have a wing for visitors that is equipped with a small kitchen, shower and flush toilet. After Giraud’s story recently received TV media coverage, donations and letters of support from across the country have been pouring in. She currently has a back order for 450 of the $10 loaves. “It unbelievable,” she said. “People’s hearts are huge. It motivates me to the point that I will never give up.” Giraud works full-time and teaches English at night, making it difficult to keep up with the demand. Trinity Memorial United Church in Abbotsford has offered her the use of its commercial-size kitchen, but Giraud said she could use more help. She needs ingredients for the banana bread as well as assistance delivering loaves.  Giraud is travelling to Uganda in April to see the orphanage for the first time. For information or to donate, contact Giraud at jaajabarbshomeofangels@gmail.com.