Our morning started with our team leading the morning worship singing with the kids. Our songs are notably less upbeat than theirs, but the kids always enjoy learning mzungo (white man) songs.
Afterwards we split the kids up into boys and girls and went and sat under the mango trees with the kids to have a discussion – boys with the boys, girls with the girls. These are always fun. The kids ask a million questions about life in America.
You know…the usual stuff like….
- do we also have a sun?
- and how many cows do we pay for our wives?
- or do we cook with coal or firewood?
- and do we all own airplanes to spray our crops?
- and if they moved to America, would their skin turn white?
You can’t make this stuff up. There were serious questions too….like the first one by a little boy named Enoch who is HIV+. He asked if the “project” (meaning the CarePoint) would go away in the future and if there would be meals for the kids then. Heavy stuff when you understand the context of the question. Imagine your 6 year old (who happens to be dying) has to ponder whether there would be food the next day, or week, or year.
Before lunch we headed out to visit a few homes near the CarePoint. The family in the video below are particularly poor and are struggling to survive. Two woman married to the same man who passed away a couple of years ago from HIV, leaving them to earn about $1.50 a week working in other people’s fields. They have a small plot of land that they cultivate themselves but it is nowhere near enough to feed the 9 kids that the one wife has, and the 3 that the other has. Several of their children are being cared for at the CarePoint that sits right next door to their huts.
We also visited the home of 3 gorgeous little girls who are living with their grandmother. Their father died in 2010 of a drug overdose (intentional suicide) and their mom passed away in May of this year from HIV/AIDS.
The girls have been tested and have come up clean so far. They have 3 more siblings all living with them in their small hut and their situation is pretty deplorable. They are, however, being fed and cared for at the CarePoint.
We really would like to find sponsors for these 3 beautiful girls. You can find them on the Bukedea Community Page
under the sponsor a child link.
Their names are Esther, Rose, and Sarah. Or shoot us an email and we can send their profiles your way.
The Widows Offering
At the end of the day, the widows from around the region came to the CarePoint to thank us for caring for the kids. Most of them are either widowed grandmothers (Tata’s) who are caring for kids who are sponsored through HopeChest or impoverished widows whose children are in the program.
One by one the widows came to the front with their gifts of thanks and handed them to us, bowing to their knees as they do so. Although some of us have experienced this act of gratitude before, it is incredibly difficult to comprehend and deal with. We have visited many of these women’s homes, and we know that they sometimes go without food for days and have absolutely nothing to their name. For those that experienced this for the first time, it is an overwhelming event.
As they hand over a bag of corn, or a bag of sweet potatoes, you know that it represents their next several days or even weeks’ meals, and is a gift of incomparable value. The hardest part is knowing that the last thing on earth you can do is NOT accept their gift. And, once again, as the grand finale, we were gifted a chicken, legs neatly tied together.
Receiving gifts like this is literally THE HARDEST THING I have ever done in my life. And yet it is a beautiful picture. After the “ceremony” I asked to address the widows and shared with them the passage from Luke 21 where the impoverished widow gave all she had (2 small copper coins) and that Jesus told his disciples that she had given more than all the wealthy men who had given much from their abundance.
And how true. These woman have given us everything they can, no… more than they can. And their act of faith gives texture to a text in scripture that otherwise has so little meaning to Americans who have so much. And appreciate so little.
Nate and Lucy
A real highlight for me was watching Nate Agrimson (my old college roommate) visit with Lucy at her home about 2km from the CarePoint. It was awesome to watch him sit down with her and walk her through the photo album that he brought for her. They discussed the mountains in Colorado, wildfires etc…..but her face lit up when she saw pictures of Nate’s two beautiful little girls. It was an awesome moment, and I will be excited to share the video we caught in the future to share it with you all.
The moment felt somewhat sacred, so I snuck away to go practice my aTeso with some of the neighbors who were sitting in the shade curious about the mZungus visiting their village. I’m making progress…so long as I have my notebook to peak at.
Tomorrow we wrap up our time at Bukedea. We have purchased school shoes for all of the kids that arrive (hopefully) from Kampala in the morning. We plan to hand those out to the kids along with the photo albums we have from Sponsors in the afternoon before we say goodbye around 3pm (African time – so sometime after 4?)
Then we head north a couple of hours further into the wilderness to Soroti where we will spend the next several nights at the TCON (the Children of the Nile) House and the days at the Ogoloi CarePoint. It will be a sad goodbye, but I am also eager to see the Ogoloi kids.