I wanted to share a bit more about the end of our day in Nakabango on Tuesday. We had spent a physically exhausting day, especially working with the sponsorship children. As usual, there were several kids who weren’t there, and we always put their packets together in a bag so that they can be handed out when the child returns to school. I was sad to see that the packet for Richard, a boy that is sponsored by my parents, was still lying on the table.
I asked Ronald about him and he said that Richard wasn’t there, but we were going to his house as we left to see where he lived and to deliver the bedding kit he was receiving. I was so happy to hear that he was on the list created by Nakabango leadership to be a recipient of these gifts from Messiah Lutheran!
When we left, we turned off the main road and bounced along for almost 10 minutes before we stopped in front of a rectangular mud structure that had holes so large, you could see through to the other side. Ronald explained to us that this is where Richard had lived until a few weeks ago when they had relocated to a house next door that was in somewhat better shape.
We got off the bus and we were met by Richard’s grandmother. She cares for Richard and his 3 siblings and his mother, who is mentally disabled. Ronald explained that the children each had a different father and the mother was incapable of caring for the children and quite possibly, had been taken advantage of by the men. The story of one of the children’s birth is something to be shared later.
As I attempted to explain to him who these people were, I was flooded with emotions I still can’t explain entirely.
I think a huge part of it was the disparity between that family in the picture and
the one standing in front of me at that time. It was a physical hurt that I didn’t
understand and I was broken by the small gifts we were giving him that we hoped
made him feel loved and noticed.
Ronald helped me give Richard his bedding kit as the grandmother continued her “thank you’s”. James, one of the Ugandan pastors, suggested we gather around this family and pray for them. His words were beautiful to me and I know even more beautiful to God’s ears. Surely this family felt the love poured out on them that
I was again blessed by a reminder of why we do what we do – and that being here DOES make a difference.
Grateful for that.
We woke up this morning to rainy skies but had beautiful weather for most of the day. Tonight it's jacket weather!
We left the hotel around 10:30 this morning (our intention was to leave by 9:00 but the rain postponed our departure a bit). First stop was Nakabango, the partner of Messiah Lutheran Church in Weldon Spring, MO. We met with the teaching staff and the leadership of the church and school, explaining in greater detail to mission and vision of Hearts and Hope and announcing some of our plans for expansion.
We met with the sponsored children inside the church building and had a great time working on a super secret special project! (Sponsors - you will find out what we accomplished later this year!)
I had the chance to visit the land Messiah helped the disabled ministry in Nakabango purchase and see the crops they are growing - Bananas, beans, and passion fruit. Very impressive! I was really pleased with the progress they have made. It is always good to visit with Alex Bakaki, who leads the program.
Andy toured some land that Nakabango is interested in purchasing to have a dormitory that can be used as a home for street kids from Jinja, as well as for some other projects.
We had the chance to spend some quality time with a lot of kids - my best day!
I never can put into words how much I want these kids to reach their full potential. They are precious and every story I hear from them tugs at my heart more. Their joy-filled little faces are a blessing to behold. Moral of this story: there is much work to be done!
Late in the day, we headed to Kainagoga. Sadly, a lot of the kids had already left, since we were running so late, but many were still waiting for us! We repeated our sponsorship activities and played football (both the Ugandan and the American versions) and I must have taken over 300 pictures of kids who were more than willing to pose. Always amazing how easy it is make them laugh!
Kainagoga's school is still growing, despite the deplorable conditions of the building. The well put in last year has changed their lives for the better, but I continue to pray that there is an organization looking for a partnership that can change their lives as well! Those precious kids need a partner organization to love!
We are waiting on dinner now; it is 8:20 in the evening. Updates are not likely tomorrow as we will spend the night in Kamuli where there is no wireless service available. Looking forward to our visit to Kamuli and nearby Mbulamuti!
Woke up this morning to a storm and the rains are now obscuring my view of the other bank of the Nile river. Since Uganda is near the equator, there is no winter or summer, just an alternation between rainy and dry seasons.
Despite the rain, we have a full day's agenda ahead and I hope that the weather doesn't slow us down. Today we are going to visit Nakabango, which is a short drive north from Jinja. The relationship between Messiah and Nakabango has been strong over the years and was the inspiration for starting Hearts & Hope. Through this partnership, where there was once just green fields there is now a community with a borehole well, an operational primary school, and a sewing & carpentry center.
I can't wait to return and see the friends that I've come to know over the past few years. I also hope that I'll be able to see Patience, the little girl that my family sponsors in Nakabango.
Have a great day and check back for an update later this evening!
Hearts & Hope is a nonprofit organization focused on unlocking the potential of people in Uganda through relationships with people in the US.