Tag Archives: children

Weekly Photo Challenge: Solitary

Children's Remand Facility in Uganda Africa

A teenager watches others play at a children’s remand facility in Uganda

As soon as I read the topic for this week’s photo challenge I immediately thought about several images I took at these so-called remand homes in Uganda (to read more details and see more photos go to these two posts They are Hidden but Not Forgotten and The Challenge of Being Salt and Light in the Darkness). These two images presented here for this week’s post were taken 24 hours apart from each other at two completely different areas in Uganda hours away from each other, at a place defined by solitary from the rest of the world. The desperation for children who sometimes get stuck in here for years ranges from joy in just being alive to actually dying from malnutrition.

There is a missional group called Sixty Feet who have a team on the ground there 24/7, and they do some fantastic work over there with these kids. Since these images were taken, Cornerstone Church has sent several teams to visit these facilities to try to provide a little hope to those who find themselves in this situation. We have another team leaving this coming Tuesday (see updates on this blog) with plans for several more teams over the next six months.

As a part of the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge on Solitary I would challenge everyone to take a look at Sixty Feet and just see what they are doing in Uganda. Even if you have no intention of partnering with this group at all, just check out what they are doing in Uganda and make yourself aware of what life is like for some of these children. They are in a desperate situation, but many had more joy than I’ve seen anywhere else in the world within the most unimaginable situations.

Children's Remand Facility in Uganda Africa

Child looks on at a children’s remand facility in Uganda

One Boy’s Plea for Eternity Etched in Concrete

Outside the Cell Inside the Walls

Outside the Cell Inside the Walls

Never Forget God's Children

Never Forget God’s Children

This second photo above with the writing on the wall might not seem like much at first, especially without bringing out the contrast in the image, the writing on the wall is almost unseen. The boy in the first image at the top is sitting right in front of the window where I took this second shot (farthest window to the left). Etched and scratched into a concrete wall, in an almost morbid sense of humanity for a child, are written these words:

Never forget Masaba Derick from Mbale Town good boy from Kampiringisa

This boy’s home town, Mbale, is a tiny little village hours and hours away from where I photographed this image in the Kampiringisa Rehabilitation Centre, so there is no telling how he ended up in this Children’s facility, or if or when he left. These facilities exist all over Uganda, and some, like this one, were not staffed with adults, but yet it housed hundreds of kids who had to just fend for themselves. No electricity, no water, and in many ways, no hope. This image, taken in October 2011, just stuck with me over the last several months.

By the point I took this image above, this particular building was no longer being used to actively house anyone, but obviously it did at some point. One thing I do know, God has not forgotten these children, whether they know it yet or not. To see more images from this particular day, see They are Hidden but Not Forgotten or go to my Stories section to see others.

Written on the Walls Behind Bars, Part 3

Written on the Walls Behind Bars

This is Part 3 of 3 in the “Written on the Walls Behind Bars” posts (see Part 1 and Part 2 to see the progression). The transition to the bars and then with “Love” written on the face of the father is pretty incredible to me. These shots were part of a larger shoot that day from these facilities in Uganda. To see more images from those days click here to see They are Hidden but Not Forgotten and The Challenge of Being Salt and Light in the Darkness.

Deb’s Hand Made Smocked Dresses for the Girls

Hand Made Smocked Dresses by Deborah Fillmer

I am continually amazed at the ability and care Deborah puts into each of her handmade dresses and other creations (see also her Etsy Store). If you are looking for some incredible heirloom quality dresses, or just a casual dress to wear to the Auburn football games (or insert your school name and logo here), I don’t know where you could find a better seamstress (she even creates christening gowns and the like).

Anyway, the above photo was just her latest creation for two of our nieces. Deb worked on these gems for about 3 weeks for a birthday present for Abby and Martha above. I can’t wait to see what she makes next. If you have any thought about getting something for football season don’t wait, there might be a waiting list.

Written on the Walls Behind Bars, Part 2

In Front of the Bars at a Children's Prison in Africa

A continuation shot of Part 1, this shot is Part 2 of 3 and was taken just on the other side of the window bars and shows the extent of the mural on the wall. The wall depicts a family, possibly their witch-doctor, and the love they have for their missing child.

Written on the Walls Behind Bars, Part 1

Behind Bars at a Children's Prison in Africa

An abandon building that holds children in prison for various delinquencies, many of whom are spending and have spent years there. While this building wasn’t being used, the overall facility was still quite active with over 150 children housed on the property. The photo of the father has L-O-V-E written across his face, which will be shown in subsequent photos.

Hand Made Smocked Clothes and Gowns for Preemie or Premature Babies

Hand Made Smocked Preemie Premature Clothes

This is slightly off-topic for my blog (hence my need and reason for having a Sidenotes Category), but well worth some publicity to lovingly brag on my wife, Deborah. In case you didn’t know, Deborah is about the best seamstress I know (just check out her blog or her custom made items on the Etsy store), and her work is in the category of heirloom clothes, depending on the particular project she’s working on. She has made, and is making, everything from Easter (see Easter Order) and Christmas gowns (see here), to fun football dresses (here) babies and girls can wear to any worthy SEC game, though she doesn’t discriminate against any school. If you are looking for an incredible dress or gown, get in touch with Deborah for details.

All of this is custom made to order per each individual, and all is hand made one individual stitch at a time. The most amazing work I’ve seen come out of her sewing room lately are these preemie clothes I photographed above. While each ministry is different, specifically because God has gifted each one of us in totally unique ways, this work is over the top awesome. Deborah started making these hand-made smocked (the crinkled stuff around the chest area for the guys reading this post) preemie gowns and clothes for parents who would normally never get the honor of having something special for their own child.

You can’t tell from this photo, but these clothes are teeny-tiny. Deborah even included one for a boy, which most of the time parents never have any clothes for at all. It is just amazing to me to think that somewhere, some as of yet unknown parents, are going to be presented with one of these gowns to put on their baby, probably during a very difficult time in their own lives. For parents to be able to receive something like this (for free), of this quality, hopefully says to them, God loves you, and He loves your child as well, no matter what happens.

This set of preemie clothes was just shipped this week to a large hospital in Miami where the need far exceeded the supply. If you are at all interested in helping with this type of ministry work I am sure Deborah would be more than happy to talk to you about it. For today, it is my Photo of the Day, and quite a challenging photo to take at that.

Our Final Full Day in Buloba Uganda Today

Today was our last full day in Uganda. Tomorrow we will head over to a local market and have lunch before we head for the airport and a long long ride home. Today we went across Lake Victoria to the Bethany Village Orphanage in the morning, and back to Buloba to visit some sponsor children, put up some rain catches, and the woman were able to speak with a group of local woman. It was a very refreshing and uplifting day.

Tonight we had a wonderful last dinner at the guest house with our friends from 60 Feet. It was so great to have the two K’s over for dinner (their first names are Kelsey and Kirby), and I think we all enjoyed some casual discussions, along with African Renewal Ministries who came over as well. There were so many things we experienced on this trip that need to be followed up on, things that God pulled together for our team that became a great start. We understand as a team we probably can’t change the world, but we can continue to take some small steps forward that will collectively make a difference.

Tomorrow we head to the airport for our 11pm flight. Our flight leaves about 2pm Central Time on Thursday, and if our flights are on time, we should be back in Auburn late Friday afternoon. This trip has been incredible to say the least, and God put together a team that had so many different individual gifts and talents that only God could have brought us all together like this. As we head home we have so much to reflect upon, so much to process, but we trust in God to take care of the details and to use this trip to fulfill a purpose that will glorify God.

The Four Fillmer Boys as We Welcome Luke into the World

Well one down and one to go. Today we welcomed baby Luke into the world today at 10:07am in Longmont Colorado. Luke weighed in at 8 pounds and measured 21 inches and seemed to be totally at peace with his own existence within a few minutes, hardly even cried except when various nurses jolted him here and there. The photo above, today’s photo of the day, is the first ever shot of the four Fillmer boys, and also the four people who contributed and helped the very least in bringing baby Luke into the world today. It would be really cool to add the other two Fillmer boys (Larry and Les) to this photo some day, but one is in Germany right now and the other in Alabama.

I think I took about 1200 photos of the baby and all the various participants and visitors from today’s glorious event. There were many great shots of mom and baby but those will come later. Deborah and I were so happy today to be witness to the birth of our second grandson (and we were told our last), can’t wait to share a few more photos down the road so to speak. Next up is my sister who should deliver within a week or so, hopefully she will wait until we get back to Alabama so we can get the first photos of our newest niece.

The Fillmer Birthday Party from October 1953 :: Throwback Thursday

Throwback Thursday today is from October 1955 and would be Larry Fillmer’s 7th birthday party. I just love these old black and whites. Apparently back in the mid-50’s you dressed up for a birthday party since one of them is wearing a suit and bow-tie and I love the card table, which was probably literally used as a card table. I’m not too sure about any of the history behind this photo, and the only reason I am saying the date is 1953 is because there are 7 candles on the cake, otherwise, there was no date or anything else on the photo. I’m sure someone in the family will tell me a little more about the image, but I’m almost 100% sure that’s my dad as the birthday boy from the way he is dressed, watch and all… always a snappy dresser. Pretty sure that is his brother Les Fillmer standing to the right of Larry.

So it seems, I’ve now been told, the photo was taken in Birmingham in an area called Oak Hills in Central Park, the puppets were Howdy Doody Puppets, and yes, they apparently played cards on that card table.