Monday, January 23, 2012

God's children

Day 3 in Uganda
I woke up to the laughter of children that were playing right outside my window.  The sounds of a goat and chickens reminded me where I was. I heard the people up and working since early morning and people singing at the church. This place is so amazing. I got up and told Christie I wanted to go to church. She brushed her hair and we were off. How great it is to wake up, not have to bathe, and walk up to church. They were bringing the Word in Luganda. George’s mother is a pastor there. Later Moses came in to translate. They sang songs and I swayed with Josiah. Those people dance and praise the Lord like none I have ever seen. No shame, just loving the Lord. Brian, one of Christie and George’s children, and a little girl named Alice, got up and sang Glory to God in English. When it came time for the offering, someone had no money, but gave a bag of beans. I was so humbled. These people have nothing, yet they give. 
During church we saw a baby girl with orange hair. Christie asked Moses to translate and tell the people if they have a baby with orange hair to bring him/her to the house so we could give them formula. Lack of nutrients causes the hair to turn orange. Formula provides nutrients for the children and their hair will turn back black. Momma Sylvia (parents here are not called by their names, they are called momma and one of their children’s names) brought the baby we saw in church with orange hair and gave her formula and a bottle.  So many people bring formula into places like this but they give no instructions on how to use it.  Because a lot of people still practice Witchcraft here, they believe that all kinds of things are because someone is bewitched.  Children with disabilities.  Children with orange hair.  You name it.  So they often end up not using the things people donate to them unless they’re shown how to use them and educated as to why they are needed.  So we explained why her baby girl’s hair was orange and taught her how to correctly mix the formula with water to make bottles. 

Later I started reading a fantastic book called Red Letters by Tom Davis. This book talks about how Christians used to live, by the red letters in the bible (Jesus’ words) and how most modern Christians have forgotten what being a Christian is all about - helping the poor, sick, vulnerable, orphaned, and widowed. And I am almost finished with the book.
I wanted to go see one of my sponsored children, Gideon, so Moses and I sat out on an adventure. Gideon and his family hold a special place in my heart. Land rights are very different here compared to the States.  If a man dies and does not “own” the land he is squatting on, his neighbor can take it from the family by force.  Gideon’s neighbor hired some thugs to kill Gideon’s father, Elisha (pronounced with a long i).  Shortly after Christie arrived in the village to live, these thugs began watching Elisha.  They would watch him walk to his garden, work, and go home.  In January 2011, after the sun had set, they ambushed their home.  Elisha managed to tell his wife and the children to run, but not before they witnessed the thugs slaughter all their cows, goats, and chickens.  Then they tied Elisha up by his neck and arm, hung him by the rafters in their home, stole everything they didn’t kill, demolished their home (it was a mud home) and left him for dead.  His wife and children hid out until it was safe, and then they went for help.   He went to George and Christie for help and, long story short, he is now able to use his arm again.  

As we were making our way up the mountain, we came upon a shrine where they practice witchcraft. Half way up the mountain, Moses looked down at my feet and told me to be still. I thought I had stepped on something and I stepped back.  Big mistake. I felt horrible stinging on my foot, and then more. I looked down and my feet were covered in black bugs.  Ants!!!! I have never in my life felt an ant bite so hard. They were so huge.  I kicked my shoe off. I got the ones off my feet but they were attacking my flip flop. Moses got my shoe while I hopped on one foot. He pulled them off and I could hear them being ripped from my shoe. Then Moses told me they are dangerous, so I began to worry that I might die.  I asked why.  He said, “You don’t realize you have them on you and you can end up in the congregation.  They start biting and they can make you naked and the people will think you have become bewitched.” Ok, what a relief . After I got up the mountain and under the barbed wire, I felt another bite right above my under wear. I turned my skirt down and there was another ant. I thumped it through the air.  We passed the cow and a dog tied on a rope was about to kill us. It kept barking and jumping at us. Momma Gideon hugged me so sweetly and welcomed me. I gave the shirts from Karen Carr to the kids. I didn’t see Gideon, but I did see his sweet sisters Hope and Miriam. They hugged me and Hope told me she loved me.  They called for Gideon and he came running.  He was so out of breath. He hugged and kissed me on the cheek. Gideon raised a hen for a year, and knowing that I would be back, he told his mother when I came back he was gonna give me some eggs. We sat and they brought us eggs. They really love me and I love them. On the way out, I saw some sweet puppies and I grabbed one. Elisha picked up a puppy and wanted to take a picture with me. How I love this family. They walked us a little further and we said our goodbyes. We saw some cows and I told Moses about the time that Matt and I got chased by a bunch of cows and our half grown German Shepherd stopped the cows full stop. 

I stopped to take a picture of the beautiful sunset and an elderly man stopped me and wanted me to take his picture. He asked Moses when to expect his copy of his photo. I told Moses to tell him I would bring him one when I come back in the summer. Moses told me he has probably never seen himself and he would love to have the photo. As we walked down the main dirt road I ministered to the kids. Moses snapped some pictures. I told some kids that we would be bringing clothes back to. One of the older kids had a pair of shorts on that was missing the whole front seam. They don’t wear underwear here so he had nothing really covering himself.  I was heartbroken. We will get him some clothes this week for sure.

Day 4 in Uganda
We had hot tea for breakfast. I heard the choir practicing at the church, so Christie and I loaded up our cameras and Josiah and walked there. The children were so proud to have us there. They were extraordinary. We played around with different settings on our cameras. We got some videos of the kids dancing and the choir director had the two smallest boys sit down for a eating contest. They were eating chapati (similar to a tortilla). Then he had the smallest girls sit down for the eating contest. Ritah and Mayi were up against one another. Mayi was shoving her face full of chapati. She put so much that she began to gag and spit it all out. We all busted out in laughter. We came back home for lunch. I read some more of my book. Some kids were peeping in the front door so I went outside for a while. I helped some kids pump some water. Christie and I passed out some clothes, vitamins and candy to the kids that were here on the compound.

Yesterday, I told Moses I wanted to see Mastula. This is a girl Matt fell in love with on our trip here in June 2011. He told me to give her a hug for him. This is also Katie Lawson’s sponsored child and she sent a doll for her. Christie, Moses, Josiah and I all headed out for Mustula’s house on foot. We visited with Mathias’ grandmother. She is a precious woman. As we were leaving the compound some young kids were loading a huge bike with jerry cans full of water (they don’t ride the bike, they just use it to transport water), and we met up with them after visiting with Mathias’ grandmother. They were have problems pushing up the hill with the bike loaded down with jerry cans, so I helped them push it up. These kids have my heart wrapped around their fingers. Along the way Christie and I were taking pictures. She noticed a tree stump that looked like a statue. We saw some kids carrying bundles of sticks. We brought along candy to give to the kids, so Moses asked the kids if they wanted any candy. The kids that were carrying the sticks dropped them and, along with the rest of the kids, came running. 

We finally reached Mustula’s home and many children awaited us. Mustula has a face you can never forget. I love her with all of my heart. Not that I don’t love them all, but she holds a special place. When Matt met her, I think his heart melted. His heart melted for Uganda. If he never wanted to be here, he did then. He gave her the bracelet off his wrist. It was too small so he put it on her ankle. I looked at her feet and I cried. Her toe nail had fallen off and her feet were full of jiggers. My heart hurts for her. When you look into her eyes you can see her soul. We gave her the doll and she loved on it like it was a real baby. 

We gave the other kids candy and told the parents we would be back to clothe them later this week. Then a girl with a small infant walked up. She was so tiny. We asked the age and she told us she was 2 months. Christie held her as I took their picture. Then I held her. Christie said “she is pooping on you.” I thought she was just playing, but she was not and babies don’t wear diapers around here or anything for that matter. So I wiped my arm on my shirt and kept on holding her. 

We carried on towards the house.  On the way we ran into Hussein, a little boy that had fallen into a fire and it deformed his hand. His finger fused to the back of his hand. He had surgery to have the finger cut free, but it still doesn’t function properly. His head is burned so badly. I touched the top of his head and the skin was so tight. I can’t imagine the issues he might face as his head grows, because he is only around 5. 

We walked further and we heard the sound of drums. As we approached the next home, we saw that is was not drums at all, but kids pounding on jerry cans and a girl was dancing. I asked Christie if she was part of the choir, because by her dancing I could tell she was not as good as the choir. Christie said “no”. My heart melted. This girl wanted to be part of the choir. She was practicing and the boys were practicing their drum skills. They watch the choir practicing outside looking through the windows of the church and go home and practice what they see. How sweet!  

We got close to home and I saw the power is on. The power here goes on and off when ever it pleases. It can be off for days.  Even months. Right as we hit the front door it went off. I had planned on heating some water for my basin so I could bathe, but it looks like I won’t tonight. I ate my supper of rice, some tasty sauce and beans. It was delicious. Then Christie and I came into my room for some girl time. I love our time together. God has made a beautiful friendship between us. She is the sister I never had.



  1. loving your blogs while you are there...even though it makes me more anxious for my next trip there!! give them my love! If you see my Brian, tell him we said we love him!

  2. Stormy, when I saw Mastulah's pictures in Christie's list to be sponsored last year, she broke my heart. I'm glad you were able to take her the doll I sent, and that it brought her some happiness. Thanks for sharing this!