all about watoto

What is Watoto?

Rescue. Raise. Rebuild. Rescue orphans. Raise them up to be Godly leaders. Rebuild Uganda THROUGH them. This is a God-sized mission. A mission that can't be done without God stepping in and showing His glory.  It requires living by faith. And to hear their stories, to see the hope they have, is enough to rattle you and remind you, there is more to life than just 'me.'

Watoto is an orphanage but unlike any that I know of. Watoto is home. The children aren't adopted.  They live in a home with a mum (mom) and other orphans. They become a family. They learn what love is, what it means to be cared for. They go to school. They have responsibilities. They attend church. They are poured into, encouraged, prepared. This is the Watoto model.

The Watoto Choir just came to our church and it was so amazing to see how God has used this orphanage to turn their lives around. To hear of such broken pasts and see how God has restored them, all in their youth, humbles you (and ruins any makeup you may have been wearing that day). They are on fire for the Lord and know that it is only through Jesus. They know the power of grace.

Where is Watoto?

Watoto villages are located in Kampala and Gulu, Uganda. Uganda is located in East Africa, landlocked by Kenya, Tanzania, Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Map of Uganda

Random factoid: Uganda was named one of National Geographics Best Trips for 2013

What will we be doing?

The women (that's me) are going to be visiting all three Watoto villages. We will spend two days in each village and serve the mums of the village. These women come from painful backgrounds and have overcome the darkness with the light, Jesus Christ. They've lost husbands, children, parents, siblings. They were left with nothing and were given a chance, a purpose. At Watoto they are there to build up this next generation of leaders. WOW! I freak out with the responsibility I feel over the group of girls I lead each week. And these women are leading a household of children to Christ and teaching them God's word. How amazing to see God use something so broken to make something so beautiful. We get the honor of showing them Christ's love, their worth, their beauty. We'll be there to encourage them, pamper them and make them feel like the beautiful brides of Christ that they are!

As far as the husbands, they will be in Gulu building housing the whole time. I have to admit, this is the biggest fear I have. It makes me so nervous to be apart while we are over there. Totally freaks me out. I worry about his safety above all else. I guess I think if I can see him, I can keep him safe? But not only that,  Mike makes me feel safe, secure, confident. If I'm with a bunch of strangers, in a new place, doing something new, having Mike around makes it so much easier. I feel at peace. He's definitely like my security blanket.  It will be a huge me trusting God thing - being confident, secure and safe in Him... not something I am good at. I can already tell this trip is going to stretch me and teach me far beyond what I can imagine.

What to pray for this week?

a peaceful heart
no anxiety
not to worry
safety while we are there
the leadership putting the final details together
for me to feel secure in Christ alone

... if you can't tell, anxiety and worry are my biggest enemies currently

What's next?

Our next meeting is Jan 30. After that, we only have two more meetings before our trip. As we get more details, I'll be sure to share them with you guys. As we get closer to the date, I'll post the day-by-day itinerary so that you guys can be praying for us each day.

In the next two weeks we have to get all our shots. Any recommendations on whether or not to go to our regular doctors or just the basic health clinic? If there is a cheaper route, I prefer that one! I don't even know where to find my shot records.... I've never had to get shots to go out of country so any tips you have would be dandy!

We also have to finish raising support. Our total cost (for both of us) is $4,400. We hope to have all of this raised by 2/15. We've currently raised $400 and know that God will provide the rest. Anything that we raise over will still go the trip and help cover any other costs or allow us to do even more for them while we are over there! If you feel God leading you to support us financially for this trip, you can contribute here. Just make sure to check the "In memory/honor of" checkbox and in the First Name field, enter the traveler's FULL name (Celeste or Mike Arrigo). In the Last Name field, enter trip location and travel month (exe: Uganda, April 2013). You can also send checks to us if you have our address (just put in the memo that its for the trip so that we don't think you love us so much that you sent money for a shopping spree ;)... totally jk!)

We are so excited to have you guys be a part of our trip! As we prepare and get ready for the trip, it helps to know that we have a team behind us praying for us and supporting us. We can't wait to see what God has in store! Join us on our wild African journey! Oo.. I need some corny picture of us Photoshopped safari style (mom... this one's for you!)

Kwaheri (let's hope that appropriate)

My grace is sufficient for you, my power is made perfect in weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9)


  1. Anonymous22.1.13

    Ahhh, they have been to our church twice and it was just as inspiring and amazing as the first time!


  2. You and Mike are going to be so amazing in Africa!!! I totally understand your nervousness...a foreign country, Mike not being with you, the unknown... I'll pray for your trip, safety and nerves. You have so much to offer these woman and children. You're going to change lives!! :)

  3. OK, so somehow I am just now reading this! Congrats and now exciting!! The hubs and I did some mission work in Kenya in 2011...I'm happy to offer any advice, or answer random questions you might have! You can email or call anytime. Keep the updates coming--can't wait to hear all about it! I can honestly say that it was the absolute coolest thing I have EVER done. Like ever.

  4. You will have an amazing time!! My husband and I went to Gulu and helped build a classroom block with Watoto last March!! It was an experience we will never forget!! Do not be worried about your husband in Gulu, it was actually a lot more peaceful there than in Kampala. Enjoy your time in Uganda:)


I love hearing from you :)!