Garden of the Lost and Abandoned: The Extraordinary Story of One Ordinary Woman and the Children She Saves

Garden of the Lost and Abandoned: The Extraordinary Story of One Ordinary Woman and the Children She Saves

The problem by most lights is overwhelming: at least 5,000 children live on the streets of Uganda’s capital city of Kampala. Some forget the names of their villages. The youngest may not know the names of their parents. But Gladys Kalibbala—part journalist, part detective, part Good Samaritan—does not hesitate to dive into difficult or even dangerous situations to aid a ch...

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Title:Garden of the Lost and Abandoned: The Extraordinary Story of One Ordinary Woman and the Children She Saves
Author:Jessica Yu
Rating:

Garden of the Lost and Abandoned: The Extraordinary Story of One Ordinary Woman and the Children She Saves Reviews

  • M.

    A very hard to read story of the children of Uganda.

  • Amy Morgan

    I am giving this book 4 stars mainly because of the story itself. I am not sure if this was translated but the writing for me was not superb so perhaps if it was translated it just did not come over as well as it should have. Having said that, the story of Gladys was many things. It was heroic, heartbreaking, courageous, inspiring, frustrating and thought provoking. This woman, a poor reporter from Uganda with nothing to gain for herself champions these poor lost, abandoned and/or unwanted child

    I am giving this book 4 stars mainly because of the story itself. I am not sure if this was translated but the writing for me was not superb so perhaps if it was translated it just did not come over as well as it should have. Having said that, the story of Gladys was many things. It was heroic, heartbreaking, courageous, inspiring, frustrating and thought provoking. This woman, a poor reporter from Uganda with nothing to gain for herself champions these poor lost, abandoned and/or unwanted children. Even when it costs her more than she has physically, emotionally and monetarily she does not give up on these children because she believes they deserve more.

    The story begins with a newspaper column highlighting these lost and abandoned children, trying to reunite them with their families. The fight that Gladys puts up for her "kids" is a miracle and a blessing that they never could have expected and one that some of them don't deserve. But she never loses faith and never gives up. The lengths Gladys goes to for her children, and often their families after they are reunited is awe inspiring. This is a story of one incredible and unique human being that the world could only be so lucky to have more people like her.

  • Alison

    Gladys Kalibbala a woman who does not have a lot of formal education, but has a big heart, and has a drive to keep going, like no other.

    The author, after having spent time with Gladys, relays these stories about the children that Gladys has help and we get to see the love Gladys has for the children of her country.

    Gladys works for a local paper, in Uganda as a reporter writing an article called “Lost and Abandoned,” She is different from other reporters there as she makes and effort even though

    Gladys Kalibbala a woman who does not have a lot of formal education, but has a big heart, and has a drive to keep going, like no other.

    The author, after having spent time with Gladys, relays these stories about the children that Gladys has help and we get to see the love Gladys has for the children of her country.

    Gladys works for a local paper, in Uganda as a reporter writing an article called “Lost and Abandoned,” She is different from other reporters there as she makes and effort even though she hardly has money of her own to try and find the families of the children that she writes about and whom no one has come to claim. Until she is able to find out more about these children and why they were abandoned, or ran away in the first place, she finds a nurturing environment where they can stay. She is always calling in favors, for the little bit of donations she receives, which doesn't go a long way when you never give up on a child and through the years are trying to give each one a sense of purpose, or a ride back home to find out what got them here in the first place. She is loved by all of the children, and they all call her Mamma.

    Even though some of the stories are sad, we see how these children are resourceful and in want of a better life and education.

    Well worth a read.

    I would like to thank NetGalley and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

  • Anna

    There are so many painful stories told in this book that it took me a long, long time to get through it. Ultimately though one is left with a feeling of hope. Gladys is a marvelous person.

    Received this book in a goodreads giveaway.

    Popsugar 2018: a book by an author of a different ethnicity than you

  • Ruth Woodman York

    I received this book in a giveaway on Goodreads. It was interesting, heartbreaking, humbling and enjoyable, all rolled into one book. The stories of what one woman, of little means, has done to aid those she doesn't even know, are amazing. The dangers those in other countries face, in just day to day living, is astonishing. This book will definitely make you feel fortunate for your circumstances.

  • Reem Mohsen

    Gladys Kalibbala is an amazing woman, using the opportunity to begin writing for a newspaper to begin rescuing lost and abandoned children by seeking out their families or others who will again be able to give these children loving homes. Jessica Yu's account of her years shadowing Gladys and learning both her story and those of some of the many children she has helped is riveting and human. As others have mentioned, there are times when the stories seem like they could have come from the pages

    Gladys Kalibbala is an amazing woman, using the opportunity to begin writing for a newspaper to begin rescuing lost and abandoned children by seeking out their families or others who will again be able to give these children loving homes. Jessica Yu's account of her years shadowing Gladys and learning both her story and those of some of the many children she has helped is riveting and human. As others have mentioned, there are times when the stories seem like they could have come from the pages of one of the Ladies Number 1 Detective Agency stories.

    But these are real occurrences and Garden of the Lost and Abandoned gives us a glimpse of the too often hard lives of children lost and wondering city streets with no one, other than Gladys and some of the kindly officers at local police precincts, to even see them.

    Engagingly written, full of a narrative that reminds us of how even one person can make a difference in the lives of so many, this is a book I highly recommend.

  • BMR, MSW, LSW

    This is the story of a woman who dedicates her life to the lost and abandoned children in her area of Uganda. Amazing, heartbreaking, and sobering to see how marginally some people exist (because they can't afford to really "live"). Children are lost or abandoned for many reasons, all of them desperate and sad.

    I would have liked for the author to include contact information for some of the orphanages and homes mentioned in the book. I'm sure people would like to send necessities like soap, shoes

    This is the story of a woman who dedicates her life to the lost and abandoned children in her area of Uganda. Amazing, heartbreaking, and sobering to see how marginally some people exist (because they can't afford to really "live"). Children are lost or abandoned for many reasons, all of them desperate and sad.

    I would have liked for the author to include contact information for some of the orphanages and homes mentioned in the book. I'm sure people would like to send necessities like soap, shoes, socks, underwear, and toiletries to the kids (especially the girls who

    need supplies for their monthly menses).

    Recommended for anyone who cares about the fate of children.

  • Hayley

    I thought this book was interesting, although the garden-as-central-unifying-line connecting the various braids of different children's story was less-than-effective to me, perhaps in part because we never quite see it come to completion. We get a glimmer, though, so I suppose that's something.

    I felt like the book lacked an overarching focus -- what is the book about, after all? Is it about the nature of generosity? Lost and abandoned children and the lack of social safety net in Uganda, and the

    I thought this book was interesting, although the garden-as-central-unifying-line connecting the various braids of different children's story was less-than-effective to me, perhaps in part because we never quite see it come to completion. We get a glimmer, though, so I suppose that's something.

    I felt like the book lacked an overarching focus -- what is the book about, after all? Is it about the nature of generosity? Lost and abandoned children and the lack of social safety net in Uganda, and the business of child trafficking that masquerades as orphan care? Is it about the lengths we go to to help people, even when they cannot or will not help themselves (thinking of Trevor, and of Douglas).

    I agree the story of Gladys is extraordinary, but I wish I got something more out of this story, and that it was less about Gladys and these particular children, and more about the care that Ugandan society as a whole deems worthy of those without means. Is Gladys extraordinary because she helps the helpless beyond what an ordinary person would and should do, or is she extraordinary in ways we should all strive to be extraordinary?

    I wish more than anything that this book had a more central theme than Gladys herself.

  • Jennifer

    this is a worthwhile read, and i am glad jessica yu has been able to share gladys kalibbala's wonderful story with readers.

    kalibbala is a journalist in kampala, uganda. in her weekly column for a national newspaper, her focus is on stories of homeless children - in an effort to reunite these kids with family members, if at all possible. kalibbala seems like a very altruistic person. she is not even remotely well off, yet becomes personally involved in many of these children's lives - securing m

    this is a worthwhile read, and i am glad jessica yu has been able to share gladys kalibbala's wonderful story with readers.

    kalibbala is a journalist in kampala, uganda. in her weekly column for a national newspaper, her focus is on stories of homeless children - in an effort to reunite these kids with family members, if at all possible. kalibbala seems like a very altruistic person. she is not even remotely well off, yet becomes personally involved in many of these children's lives - securing medical care, housing, schooling, families... and often takes children in herself. kalibbala works long hours and travels great distances, all in huge-hearted service to the children. (seriously... because of her financial situation, she lives a couple of hours away from kampala, so makes that commute each day, and often has to travel (ruggedly) to remote villages hundreds of kilometres away during the course of one working day. sometimes, if she's lucky, she manages a 2 or 3 of hours of sleep at home in a night.) a

    said this of kalibbala,

    and it is absolutely true.

    in this same review, it is noted

    and i very much agree here. while i did appreciate this book very much, i constantly felt like something was missing, and wanted more depth to the issues the city and country are experiencing. there is a root to the abandoned and homeless children of kampala and i feel an exploration of these concerns would have really complemented the narrative.

    my quibbles aside, i am very glad to have learned about gladys kalibbala, and the incredible work she is doing in uganda.

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