Saturday – day 3:
Met Jennifer, a young Ugandan (26) who is heading up an orphanage of ex-child-soldiers from Uganda’s North together with her husband Cameron. We asked to have a look at the orphanage.
Jennifer herself watched her parents beheaded and then cut into pieces before her eyes. Then she was abducted by the rebels and lived in the bush for 1 year until she got saved by World Vision. She has undergone tremendous healing since then and finished a University degree, thanks to sponsors from the USA. She’s AMAZiNG and got a HUGE heart for these traumatized children that she can relate to very well and she is able to help them in their journey to wholeness. There are 62 children. Long story…
BEAUTIFUL children, living in very crammed quarters, just sitting around, content, nothing to do, some braiding other’s hair, some singing worship songs – some you can tell they’re still struggling, others seem very free. What those young people (many are now teenagers) have gone through is indescribable! Yet, while they are receiving beautiful ministry they are already being taught to constantly reach out to others in the community. They go out and share the Gospel, minister, help other orphanages take care of little ones and share food with those who have none – IF they’ve got extra. They themselves struggle for their daily food. They had access to water but it was turned off because they couldn’t pay the bill. Now the boys get water at a near-by church that is partnering with the orphanage. One of the boys (17) was already used by God to raise a person from the dead!
Their motto: “Freely you have received, freely give”
The ministry was given a 35acre property with 8 houses. They now need water and a school before they can move the children – plus take in many more – their vision is big. Maybe more about that another time.
This was just the morning. Both Rich and I were VERY VERY touched and everything inside us is longing to find help for this beautiful beautiful ministry!!!!!!!!!!!
Then, together with Jennifer, who was our driver for the day (to earn some money for the orphanage she drives people places), we picked up our son Richard from his school where he had been sitting an exam in the morning. We went to a market to get some food to bring to his grandmother – also added food for Jennifer’s orphanage. That was an experience!!!!
Indescribable, too! I took some photos – AMAZING experience! Jennifer was such a help, as she was helping us barter and get the right prices for stuff! That was a LOT of fun for both of us, in the midst of the noise, crowd, dirt… just taking it all in – the sights, smells, sounds – and to be able to get food for really hungry people, WOW! We got the staples – rice, beans, a stock of bananas, some tea, sugar and salt.
Couldn't resist to put up this photo - at the market - look at that father/son bonding... awwww!
After also getting a mattress and mosquito net for Richard, we headed off to visit Richard’s grandma.
On the road, we saw an accident and stopped to help. Rich was able to provide first aid for a man who’d gotten hit by a truck. There was much blood, but he only had lacerations on his head and after about 30 minutes police came and took him away. Quite the experience again! The man didn’t want anybody to touch him except Rich. He was afraid people were going to strip him of all he owned (shoes etc) – seems to be common here. I was so proud of Rich and also VERY touched when I saw Rich, Richard (junior) and Jennifer come back to the van, Richard carrying Rich’s medical bag – just like a son – following behind Rich.
I stayed in the van as Jennifer had rushed away to translate for Rich with the van keys and windows down (it was across the street), so I couldn’t leave the van with our precious cargo…
Plus, I didn’t think that this “muzungo” (white person) really needed to be joining into the crowd of people that were on-looking the scene… J And I’m not a blood-kinda-person anyways – preferred to pray instead - hehe.
After a looooong drive through crazy traffic and roads that oftentimes look like what I imagine the surface of the moon – you can NOT imagine the pot holes – we finally saw Richard’s grandmother.
INDISCRIBABLE moment once again! To see the expression on her face and her reaction when she saw us with all the food – PRICELESS!!!! She was over-joyed and kept thanking us over and over again! Conditions are indescribable – the poverty - - - she rushed into her little shack and brought out photos of Richard’s mother (she died 12 years ago, his dad died before). It was SOOOO SPECIAL to look at the photos together!!!! It was quite clear that both really see us as Richard’s adoptive parents! We tried to talk a little but she didn’t speak any English. 3 little children were hanging around where she was – 2 sleeping on the dirt – seems they were somehow related.
FAMILY - reunited at last!!! The building in the background is NOT where the grandma lives, she spends her days in front of the empty house, cooking some things she's then trying to sell on the roadside (hardly anybody passing by)
Sooo precious, too, to feel Richard’s happiness and the pleasure he got out of blessing his grandmother! You just cannot find words to describe what goes on in your heart at these moments… It is soo deep and touching!!!
Even on the way back, my heart just about melted away as I looked back and saw Richard leaning on Rich’s shoulder. This boy was SOOOOOOO savouring every moment with a Daddy – he’d never had one – all these years… He’s turning 20 on Dec.26th.
This is getting long, I know, but WAIT – the day wasn’t finished!
We stopped at a roadside African “restaurant” to have some dinner on our way back home (Jennifer dropped us off there). The menu: Rice, sweet potatoes and a small piece of very tough chicken in some kind of tomato sauce. Believe it or not, we met a New Zealander there, very few white faces in Kampala - he joined us and we had a VERY interesting conversation – learning a lot about Africa and Uganda – he’s been living here for 40+ years… loving it!
While I ate the dinner and just left the chicken – it was way too tough for my taste, tasted like rubber – Richard mentioned that he was HOPING to have a dinner like that for Christmas with his family….
Another arrow straight into my heart – THIS meal? – and he is HOPING to have it for Christmas?!!! Whew!!!
After that, Rich and I were both tired and longing just for a quiet remainder of the evening, but we both picked up that Richard REALLY wanted to spend more time and so he came back with us to our guesthouse and we played UNO (card game) with him – mostly Rich did, cuz I needed to get some ironing done for the next morning (church).
Our time with Richard was so very very very special! We both have totally fallen in love with our new son! He’s a beautiful young man, inside and out! Tender heart, special laugh… we already miss him so much – as well as all of our other children in NZ!!! Love you, kids, if you read this!!! VERY MUCH!!!
got MANY more photos - maybe on facebook soon, just gonna meet a HIV+ widow to hear her story....