Her Dreams Called Her to Africa

October 8, 2009 by Barb Scala  
Filed under Making a Difference, Who's Blooming

martha-hoffman-2For many years, Martha Hoffman had the same dream. A woman helping children, which she soon realized was herself . But where was this place and what did her dreams mean?

Martha’s questions were soon answered when her grandmother appeared in this recurring dream, holding a bark cloth purse. It was the clue she needed. As a child, Martha received this gift when her grandmother’s friend returned from a mission trip to Uganda. She jumped out of bed and screamed, “It’s Uganda!”

“That’s when the seed was planted, when I was a little girl,” explained Martha. “That’s where it all began.”

A series of other daily “coincidences” followed. Ugandan dancers performed at her daughter’s school and she caught the news reporting about child soldiers in Uganda. Even in the waiting room at her doctor’s office, Martha picked up a magazine with UGANDA on the cover in big bold red letters.

As a rational, grounded person none of this made sense. Martha finally sought counsel at her local church and asked a clergy member if she was being called. He replied, “Yes, I believe you are.”

Accepting the message, she realized that her work lay more than 7000 miles across the globe in Uganda, a country she knew nothing about. With 27 million people condensed in an area approximately the size of Oregon, this impoverished African nation with 4% of the population stricken with HIV/Aids, has a national birth rate of approximately 6.7 children per woman with life expectancies to age 44, and nearly 2 million children orphaned.

“I wasn’t ready to hear a message of that magnitude and was truly afraid. I thought, I don’t want to go there, I don’t even go camping or know where Uganda is on the map. They must have the wrong person. “

Fear of the unknown was Martha’s first “weed” to pull if she was to venture forward with her mission. The other big “weed” to dig out of her path was the unexpected reactions of people she knew who were shocked that she would even entertain the idea of going to Uganda, considered a dangerous country for its rebel activity and civil war. “I can identify with their fear now, but it took me by surprise to hear that they thought I was not being a good mother for wanting to go. And anyway, I was only one person and they wondered what difference I could make.”

But Martha weeded out her fears and negative messages. With the support of her husband, family, priest and a few friends, she planted her seeds to Make It Happen and started Team Uganda at her church. When those projects became too large and involved, Martha struck out and founded a non-profit, Call To Care Uganda. She has traveled twice to Uganda and has been instrumental in installing five water wells (coincidentally Martha’s maiden name is Wells), delivered 140 pairs of Crocs to kids, funded an orange grove and sponsored several children. Call To Care’s largest project in development is a youth community center scheduled to open by 2011, as a place for kids to gather, get a nourishing meal and have routine medical treatment.

Call To Care Uganda is now a thriving organization with an involved board, 25 active volunteers and an upcoming third trip,  headed by Martha who put her dream into action. “It makes no rational sense to do what I’m doing. It inspires me and makes me happy. I just had to Make It Happen!

Don’t miss Call to Care Uganda’s upcoming fundraiser Songs for Uganda on October 24th (6:30 to 8:30pm) in Madison CT featuring Destiny Africa Children’s Choir all the way from Kampala, Uganda, and special guests singer/songwriter Kailin Garrity and “Encore” an award winning A Capella group from Daniel Hand H.S. Call 203.453.4320 for tickets.

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