Emmakulatha’s Testimony
My Testimony My name is Emmakulatha Robert Bujiku.  I was named Emmakulatha after my great grandmother. It is a catholic  name and it means pure (immaculate).  I joined the Bethany family at the age of 6, and this was because I lost my  parents to AIDS when I was about 1 or 2 years old, and this left my grandmother with the responsibility of looking  after me.  I have no memories of my parents at all.  I grew up knowing my grandmother was my mother as she  was the only person who nurtured me and I indeed created a very strong bond with her.  My grandmother could  not afford to provide for me, so when she heard about the Bethany family, she was thrilled and immediately did all  she could to ensure that I went to Bethany.  I remember my first experience at Bethany was having a bed of my  own. Back at my grandmothers’ house I slept on floor, so having to sleep on the bed all by myself was such a joy  to me. I remember saying to myself, I cannot wait to see my grandmother and I am definitely going to brag about  it.   Looking back now, I am so grateful that she took me to the Bethany family, because I am now part of this  amazing big family, with lots of brothers and sisters.  I have met some amazing people who will always be my  family and nothing will ever change that.   I am quite aware that people have always had a stereotypical view  about orphans or orphanages, for most people, the word "orphanage" always conjures up the image of poor little  Oliver Twist pleading for more gruel, overcrowded places, places where children are abused. Personally I come  from a country were orphans are not given the time of the day. Growing up in a society where orphans are seen  as children with no values or are nothing but full of troubles was sometimes a challenge. My personal experience  shows that orphanages are wonderful places. They are full of children who are happy and contented with  whatever is provided for them by their supporters, sponsors and carers.  At Bethany I felt safe and loved, care  workers, supporters or volunteers made me feel I was just like everyone else out there.  This was the same with  my 100+ brothers and sisters in the orphanage.   Consequently this made me into a person who was proud of  what type of family I belonged, and no matter what everyone else thought about it, it did not make me feel  ashamed of where I came from.   Living at Bethany, I had the privilege of growing up around people who contributed a lot towards my faith in Jesus.  I never once doubted that God was the reason why I became part of this amazing family. Looking back at my life, I  see the work of God and sometimes I wonder where I would be today if it was not for God's hand on Bethany. I  have came to realise the important thing in life is not about putting myself first but it is about putting others first,  saving others just like how God has used people to generously provide for me and because of this I have learnt to  put others before myself, give more than I take; and because of this I am well prepared to make a difference in my  community, in my country and Africa as a whole.  Furthermore being part of the Bethany family provided me with great opportunities, for example right after my  secondary school education in Tanzania; I was given this golden opportunity to go to the UK to study. Initially I was  not so thrilled about the idea because as many would describe me I am a home person and always comfortable in  my zone. Therefore going to England made me worry a lot and posed many questions in my head, for example  how am I going to survive in a foreign country with different people, culture, food, weather etc? To put it simply I  was scared and anxious about it.  Anyway after being reassured by people especially Graham and Sheila I  decided to go.  I stayed there for six years, and in that time I managed to do a Diploma course in Child care and  Education, a BA in education studies and PGCE in lifelong learning.  To be honest I have never imagined in a  million years that I will one day study in a foreign country.  I am now a well qualified teacher. Becoming a teacher  is a blessing in itself, it has given me a good opportunity to share my knowledge with others and I cannot imagine  myself doing another job other than teaching. It is always a good feeling to know that the future of the world is in  my classroom today, what a blessing!  Studying in the UK was worthwhile and it was such an eye opening  experience to me as it gave me the opportunity to learn and grow.  I will forever be grateful to Graham and Sheila  who took their time to look after me during the whole time I was in the UK.  They were there through the ups and  downs and never once gave up on me. They have greatly inspired me to definitely make a difference in my own  country.    Living at Bethany, has really changed my life, not only in terms of being able to eat, go to school or sleep, but  Bethany has given me more.  Bethany has shown me what it means to have a place where you can call home and  has unquestionably made me realise that family is not always about the people in your life who are blood related.  It is about the people in your life who want you in theirs. It is about the people in your life who accept you for who  you are, who support you in the things you choose to do and no matter what are there for you. It is about people  who love you. Now to me that's family.  Bethany has given me a home, a place where I have and still receive a lot  of love, care and support.  Sometimes I ask myself, ' where would I be today, if it was not for Bethany?' and the  first things that comes in my mind are probably dead, married with children who I cannot take care of, homeless or  even a prostitute.  I am forever grateful to God, the Bethany family and all who made it possible for me to be  where I am today.  Growing up at Bethany was the best thing that has ever happened to me and I will always  treasure all the memories I have spent there. I sincerely mean every word I say.   I am very grateful to everyone who has played part in my life, because without them I would not be where I am  today. The only way of paying back what I have received from being part of the Bethany is to pay forward to  others.  I pray and hope that I will continue to have the courage and wisdom to never lose the vision of helping  others like how I was generously helped.  If you are reading this now, please do keep me in your prayers as I  clearly know that I still have a long way to go and of course there are going to be a lot of temptations, challenges  and obstacles along the way.  God bless you. 
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