Please Forgive My Mistake

Ogoloi Day 2
We kicked off Sunday morning at the usual time….late….which is approximately “on time” in African time. I say approximately because no one really knows, and nobody really cares. There is a famous saying here that “Americans have watches, but Africans have time” which anyone who has spent time in Africa can attest to.
Our arrival in the Ogoloi village was unusually quiet, due to the fact that the church had already gathered in the church building for the 4-5 hour long (nobody knows exactly) service. In case you ever would like to join us at a Sunday service you should show up at the time locally known as “when da peepool come” which is exactly when it sounds like it is. To the minute.
As always, the praise, worship and celebration at the Ogoloi church was incredibly spirited with a lot of jumping, dancing, and joy. The sound of these peoples voices is hard to describe, and the joy and praise is infectious. It was a great time.

Several of the team members took a few minutes to share in front of the congregation, placing them as far from their comfort zones as they are from their homes, but they came through like champs. Joe, Mark, Jordan and Matt all shared a brief message with the church, and it was all very well received.

I jumped out of the church service half way through to plan the home visits with Julias (one of the disciplers) and Joseph Elotu (the “big man” here who runs the Uganda Hope Chest team). Afterwards, while the church congregation continued their marathon meeting, the kids were broken up into 3 groups by age and gathered under various mango trees to have some Q&A with the team members.

As always, there were colorful questions, about whether we have the same sun and moon in America, whether we whip our children at school, what we cultivate in our gardens, how we wash our clothes, and finally, whether there were very many people left in America ’cause they have seen so many get gunned down in the very few movies that they have seen when visiting the city. (must have been one of the Rambo movies). I’ve said this before….I don’t make this stuff up.

The kids also asked me why I had brought so few sponsors (the word for sponsors in aTeso is loosely translated “freinds”) with me this time. When the kids speak of their sponsors they use the word “friend”. I had to tell them that it is very costly to fly all this way to visit but that their sponsors loved them very much and would be excited to see their pictures. I also promised them that I would work my hardest to encourage more sponsors to come with us in August. So…. 🙂

It’s a lot of fun to interact with the kids on this level, and we learn as much about ourselves and American idiosyncrasies as they do about us. There is something enlightening about having to explain to these kids what a washing machine is, or how Jordan is able to determine that his pregnant wife is going to have a son before it is even born. We take more for granted than we realize.

Jordan was bold enough to lead his own group and even acted out some bible verses together including the story of Zacheus and David killing Goliath. They loved that Jordan derived his name from the same river that the Israelites crossed when entering Canaan. Jordan (the guy, not the river) had an interpreter who asked about Dowry as well, and had fun explaining how marriage works on our side of the pond.

Mark and Matt had a blast showing the kids videos of themselves on their Ipad’s. This is always a hit.

Matt helped prepare lunch with the tata’s

And Jordan, Tyra and Gina headed out for home visits. We always make it a priority to have the sponsors who join us for the trips take a brief visit to the homes of the kids they sponsor to get a feel for their home situation and family.

Jordan visited Isaac’s home and told the team that the visit drastically changed Isaac’s level of affection for Jordan. He put his head on Jordan’s shoulder on the way back. These visits are incredibly meaningful to the kids and it is a great honor to have your “friend” pay a visit to your “ore” (home)

Gina was able to go meet her child, Patricia Apio, at her home. Their mother has 6 kids in their home. Dad was killed by the Lord’s Resistance Army a few years back.

Tyra visited Rick and  Marsha Swenson’s little girl, Josephine, who had given birth to Okutui (which means bush) a couple of months ago. Jared and Steph van Cleave’s kid, Sam Omoding is Josephine’s brother (in blue shirt), and William Ocom (in red) is also sponsored by Rick and Marsha. The family has 12 children in total and has a lot of hardship.

At the meeting, Josephine, when asked what she would want to share with her sponsor, asked if her sponsor would forgive her and continue to love her for the “mistake” that she had made. (getting pregnant by 20 year old who disappeared for fear of imprisonment)

When she saw the blankets and baby clothing from her sponsors she expressed how grateful she was for the support. CarePoint policy is that pregnant girls cannot continue in the program (in order to discourage promiscuity), however Josephine is continuing to receive provision and support through the CarePoint given her situation.

Sam Omoding is struggling with school and asked Jared and Steph to pray for him to progress as he was unable to progress from P5 and will be repeating the year. He also asked if they would ever come and visit him.

Elizabeth (Sponsored by Beth and Drew Gilligan) at her home

Tyra also had a meeting at a home of 6 of the kids home (there are actually 9 kids living in the home but only 6 are in the program).

Norah Aisu (sponsored by Bonnie Deutsch)
Regina Aluka (Kelly Cram)
Elizabeth Ayama (Beth and Drew Gilligan)
Agnes Adiochi (Megan Olson)
and Anna Anyero all live with their mother in a small compound with 3 other younger siblings

Their father was killed by the LRA (he was asleep and drunk at the time). The family escaped during the attack. The mom told Tyra that with the kids in the program, she is now able to sell their small crop in order to buy supplies and pay for exams for the kids and expressed that the kids would never have been able to attend school without their sponsorships.

Community Meeting
While the home visits were wrapping up, the remainder of us (Myself, Matt, Mark, Gina, Joe, Alissa) met with with community under the mango tree while the kids ate. The community meeting was requested by the local tata’s (grandmothers) and Guardians of the orphans. The discussion was colorful, with requests that we would consider taking on more kids into the program, questions about medical needs for kids in the program, and some political discussion about the future location of the CarePoint. These are always fantastic meetings, with our goals and objectives to make progress in, and through, the local community, and always with its involvement.

Our day wrapped up with some fun and games, and the team is now closing out the evening with some discussions on what was learned during the jam packed day.

Tomorrow we focus on more home visits and profiling of the 20 new kids we are adding to the program. I have met a couple of them already, including a couple of gorgeous little girls with their mom who is really sick and HIV +.

I am very excited to get these kids in the system and to return to find sponsors for them.

I have posted an album for Day 2 in Ogoloi in the Facebook Page.
You can access the album directly here.

Here are a few kids that I managed to track down during the day that you guys sponsor.

One Comment on “Please Forgive My Mistake

  1. Dylan and Team:

    What an experience you all must be having! I want to extend a warm hello to the whole camp your team is involved with there and it brings this heart some joy to stay tuned in through these blogs. If you get the opportunity to see Emmanuel, please tell him hello and did he receive his small gift?


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