Sunday, November 14, 2010

This week has been emotionally trying....I am not even sure that I can effectively put into words.  There is so much need here and so little help.  Desperation does something to people.  I guess they figure they have nothing else to lose so why not ask.  It is not a good position to have to be in and I can't even imagine.

When I took Emma to the hospital the other day to have his stitches removed, it was the same nurse as when we brought him in the first time.  After she removed his stitches, she asked to speak to me alone.  When I went to talk to her, she said to me how I take care of orphans and then started telling me about her situation.  Her brother and his wife had both died so not only is she trying to support her kids but theirs also.  She can't afford to put them in school and told me that some are really bright.  I knew I would face situations like that but I didn't know what to say.  It is difficult to know that there are so many that need help but you can only help a few.

Then on Thursday, we visited another home.  They were boys that used to be in the street programs but an American lady committed to opening a home and providing for them.  I don't know the specifics of what is going on but I do know they are not being taken care of.  It has been 2 months and they still have the same clothes that they had while they were on the street.  They never received new clothes, some may not be in school, and they don't always have food to eat so the kids have to go back to the streets to scrap metal and plastic to get money to buy food.  This is so wrong on so many levels and these kids are teetering on the edge.  How people can commit to something so serious and then take it so lightly is beyond me. And those kids were so cute.  They have nothing but want to give you everything they do have.  One boy was going to take off his necklace and give it to me.  Their selflessness is amazing and how they can continue to be disappointed and taken advantage of is a huge injustice.  Tomorrow I am going to go to the market with Abby so she can buy new clothes for them.  Please pray that something major happens and someone comes along that is serious about helping them and taking care of them.

After that, we went to the street program for handicapped people and this lady almost broke me.  I was sharing with a few ladies about my life and how I came to find God and what brought me to Africa.  They were so engaged and supportive and happy to listen and tell me how they understood what I meant and how we were the same in so many ways.  I was telling them how I knew God had a plan for me and this lady says to me something like, "You know God made me like this for whatever reason.  What can I do but keep living?".  Are you serious?  This lady has to live on the streets and beg because rebels attacked her village and on top of that she is disabled and she is ok with it.  She has every reason to hate and blame God, to hate her life and want to give up but she is so far from it. I almost started crying hysterically.  I have felt like giving up for far less.  It really put things into perspective for me and made me feel like a spoiled brat.  Back home, if the smallest thing is wrong, I will scream and complain and really its something so stupid.  Funny how sometimes you go to give people hope and they inspire you and touch you more than you ever could for them.  When I look back on my time here, I will definitely remember that lady and that moment.

Thankfully the weekend was a bit lighter.  We got a new volunteer on Friday so we went to pick her up and then I did my first Bible study with the ladies at Hope House.  I shared how God has a plan for us and we shouldn't make excuses as to why to not accept it.  The ladies have also been working really hard and almost everyone sold several pieces of jewelry.  I was so worried about the program because they just weren't doing well.  After that, I got to go and watch the boys play soccer.  They love soccer and are so happy playing.  Their field is just a field of dirt but it is always packed with so many people playing.  It was a nice relief to have a lighter moment.

Saturday, we got to celebrate Emma's birthday.  As some of you know, his birthday was well over a month ago but he told Abby that he wanted to wait for me to celebrate (Keep in mind I had never met him before nor had I spoken with him).  He is such an amazing kid.  He is the same one that told me to step on him so I didn't step in mud.  So we had a birthday party for him.  The kids played limbo and bobbed for apples and played a game with balloons.  They had to keep the balloons in the air without using their hands.  They had so much fun and the house was a bundle of screams and laughs.  We had cake for him and of course, Mija being the cow she is tried to steal the cake.  

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

First week

Well I have been in Uganda for one week already....Time has flown by this week.  It seems like it was just yesterday that I was at the airport.  I don't think I have ever been happier as when I got off the plane and got through customs and saw that Mija had made it safely as well.  As most of you know, I was so terrified to have her fly but we all made it.  Even Calcetas calmed down during the course of our journey.  I met another woman at the airport who was also bringing her dog, but hers was left in Amsterdam and no one told her until the plane was backing out. I simply cannot imagine....

I have experienced so many new things here and have so many stories already.  Forgive me if they come out a little disorganized.  As time goes on, I am sure I will get the hang of this blogging thing and hopefully they will make more sense.

On my first day here, we first visited the women's project (Hope House) that I will be helping with.  There are 15 women that were given a job making jewelry so they could get off the streets and earn an honest living.  The jewelry is made from glass beads and they earn a weekly allowance and are paid for each piece of quality jewelry they make.  Currently, another girl is here and is taking care of all the correspondences associated with Hope House but when she leaves in approximately one month, it will become my responsibility. 

Whenever we want to get someplace quickly, we take bodas (motorcycle taxis).  Riding a motorcycle isn't the frightening part but the driving is.  Reckless would be a very mild term to describe their driving.  Since there is so much traffic and people everywhere, they just drive where ever they find space and even where there is no space (on the "sidewalk", in between cars, etc.).  I think I literally died 5 times my first day at the hands of the boda drivers.  My leg got squished while riding on the boda between it and a truck and got hit with a boda passenger's suitcase while I was walking which caused me to almost fall over and them to almost crash.  There were other close encounters, and that is where the title of my blog came from.  During one such encounter, I was told that those are the welcome to Africa type moments.

The boys, which is the reason I came, are absolutely amazing.  There are 16 of them living in the house and they range in age from about 7-17.  There are also 3 uncles and 4 aunts (including myself).  The boys are so sweet and so helpful.  Saturday I had laundry to do (you have to wash everything by hand) and while I was washing, 2 of them came and took it out of my hand and pushed me aside and did it for me.  They are also very protective.  Whenever we are out, they won't let anyone talk to me and if they try and touch me, they hit their hand away.  The other day at the market,  I was with 2 of the boys and we were waiting for 2 of the other aunties and a guy tried talking to me.  I told him that I was there with them and we were waiting for someone.  He then asked if they were mine and when I said yes, the look on his face was absolutely priceless.  He looked at me and then at them and told me but I am white and they aren't.  One of the boys then told him that they were mine and the guy walked away in utter bewilderment. 

Over the weekend, we had an accident at the house from two of the boys playing and had to take the one to the hospital to get stitches.  He is fine but the hospital here was very strange.  There is no emergency room and no signs clearly directing you where you need to be.  After we walked around for at least 15 minutes trying to find the right place, we were sent to admissions, where you pay just to be seen.  Then they send you to the room to wait for someone to attend to you.  The nurse then has to call a doctor and so it took what seemed like forever before we were seen.  Then we had to go back and pay more.  I don't know what happens if you can't pay. probably you don't get seen. 

I have more to share but that is enough for today.  I will try and post pictures of the boys later tonight or tomorrow.

God bless!