Central Oregon Daily▶️ Tumalo man who founded Uganda orphanage with wife chronicles journey in...

▶️ Tumalo man who founded Uganda orphanage with wife chronicles journey in book

▶️ Tumalo man who founded Uganda orphanage with wife chronicles journey in book

▶️ Tumalo man who founded Uganda orphanage with wife chronicles journey in book

What are your plans for retirement? Volunteer? Work on your golf game?

How about move to East Africa and start an orphanage?

A Tumalo couple did just that, and their work chronicled in a new book.

“Carol was the writer. I wasn’t the writer,” Bob Higgins remembers thinking.

But to tell their story, Bob had to be the writer.

“My wife died three years ago. Some friends urged me ‘You’re the only one that knows this whole story. You should write it down.’”

So he put pen to paper to document he and his late wife Carol’s 14 years of mission work in Uganda.

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“We actually had to look at a map to see where is it we’re proposing to go. Where is Uganda?” said Higgins

Bob and Carol were retired from teaching and were pastoring at a church in Alfalfa when the heard the call for overseas mission work. After shorter trips to the East African country, they relocated there in 1999 to run schools of ministry.

“That was our focus. That’s all we thought we’d be doing in Uganda was training these pastors with this curriculum,” said Higgins.

They’d soon add a few more job duties to their international missionary work, like starting a mobile medical clinic and opening an orphanage.

“We’re in Northern Uganda. This is where this rebel activity was going on,” Higgins recalled, citing the tensions in the region.

A chance meeting with a local pastor who was protecting orphans from a militant warlord led to turning point in their work. But first, Bob needed a little spiritual prodding.

“We don’t have any infrastructure for this and I turned to Carol and said, ‘We don’t do orphans!’ and hence the title,” said Higgins.

It turns out, they did.

Higgins was worried about funding and logistics to care for the children, but Carol challenged him with a passages of scripture.

“My wife presented me with a scripture and in the New Testament. There’s a book of James and in that first chapter at the end of the chapter it says something like true religion is caring for orphans and widows in their distress. And she said something like ‘What do you think about that?’ and I thought ‘No fair. How am I supposed to argue against the scripture like that?’”

Otino-Waa was born. A successful orphanage led to a school and community development projects like improving sources of drinking water.

“So Otino-Waa in Luo is our children, so this became our children’s village,” explained Higgins.

Their work supported hundreds of children in a region prone to conflict.

“It’s still going strong. They’re dong well. It’s carrying on without us,” said Higgins.

They retired, again, and moved back to Central Oregon in 2013.

Carol’s passing left Bob to pen their story.

“We had 54 years of married life together and found that we still liked each other, still loved each other,” Higgins says with a smile.

Love — the very thing they shared with people 9,000 miles away.

“We had a few experiences that’s for sure,” Higgins said.

The book “We Don’t Do Orphans” is available from Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

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