An 11-year-old Ugandan orphan arrived in Los Angeles this week to undergo reconstructive surgeries to his legs while he stays with a family in Thousand Oaks.
Hosting Adolf Baguma for the Children's Burn Foundation will be Ashley and Scott Wagenseller's first time and they were on pins and needles when he arrived at Los Angeles International Airport on Monday afternoon. Wagenseller is the chief executive officer of Gates Security, also known as Palisades Patrol, which covers Pacific Palisades, Thousand Oaks and parts of Brentwood and Malibu.
According to Carol Horvitz, executive director of the foundation, Baguma came to Bringing Hope family orphanage camp in Kampala, Uganda about one year ago. The director of the orphanage was in a neighboring village when she saw him scavenging for food. When Baguma was found, he was extremely malnourished. He was burned when his aunt caught him trying to get some food, and as punishment, she threw hot wet banana leaves that she was using for cooking onto his legs. The leaves badly burned his legs. They eventually healed together and are at a 90 degree angle, so he cannot stand up or walk straight.
"When we hear of children outside of U.S., we decide where we might find the best treatment for them," she said. "Sometimes we pay for a local hospital close to their home, or bring them here or to burn centers in other states."
A Los Angeles-based attorney Laine Wagenseller, Scott's brother, who was on a mission in Uganda with his church found Adolf at orphanage. The orphanage now has custody of Adolf and he lives there. He is doing very well, gets along with everyone and is attending school, learning at a kindergarten level.
Scott said his brother approached Ashley about making the decision during the next six to eight months.
"It’s a no brainer," said Wagenseller, noting it's tough for the foundation to find host families for the children. "With four kids, what’s another one? This is an exciting experience for us."
The Wagensllers will coordinate all of Baguma's medical and surgical appointments in conjunction with Children's Burn Foundation.
Horvitz added they always need donations. For more information, visit their website.