Wednesday, May 25, 2011


John is a boy that I have fallen in love with.  He isn't the easiest kid and I still don't know how we became friends.   He has been around since the first time I came to the program, but it was months before I knew his name.  He was always clean and never really looked like a street kid.  For street kids, this is a huge accomplishment because normally they are just a moving ball of dirt from looking for scrap(metal/plastic) all day.  He was always just out of reach but close enough so you knew he was around.

These past 2 months, I have really gotten to know John.  He is a cute kid with an even cuter smile.  He is always up to something.  The uncles call him stubborn, and some days I would have to agree.  He is a tough kid and doesn't put up with nonsense from the other boys.  He also isn't very affectionate and so it is difficult to know what he really thinks or feels.  Thankfully he doesn't do drugs :-) but his vice is gambling.  He knows that I don't like it so when I ask him to stop, he usually does.  One day in particular, really confirmed how he felt about me.  He was playing cards with one of the other boys but his back was to where I was standing.  So I just stood there watching until he turned around.  When he did, all I said was John, and he knew what he had done and gave me a sheepish smile, put the cards down and walked away.

He says he is 13 but I think he is closer to 15.  He is the same boy that told me he wanted to be like me when he grew up and help kids.  He is a boy that I gave a chance.

I didn't have anywhere for him to live and he had to have a home before he could go to school.  I asked for help and found a solution.  Unfortunately the solution is the house where it is not funded properly.  He had lived there before and ran away and I was scared that he would refuse the offer all together.  To my surprise, he accepted(shows how much he wanted school) and we planned to take him to the home and get him enrolled in school.  It has been one week since he went to live there.  A few days ago, the water for the house was shut off.  That means no water for bathing, cooking, washing, etc.  There is a well but it is kind of far from the house so for the boys to go and fetch water it is really difficult.

Yesterday an uncle was telling me about the water problem at the house and then he told me another  story about John.  John didn't want to go to school without bathing so he woke up super early, went back to the slum, bathed there(There is a pipe that brings in water to the canal that runs through the slum.  It is where all the street kids bathe and wash clothes.) and then walked all the way to school.

God totally put this kid on my heart.  He is older, tougher, can't be bothered with feelings, and maybe not many people would give him a chance.  I am really glad I did.  He is going to be a future world changer...

This was the day we went swimming.

At the Easter party

**If you are interested in supporting me and my mission/work here (everything helps!) you can give online at and all donations are tax-deductible, just go to the support tab and preference my ministry. 

Saturday, May 21, 2011

The rest of my weekend

I said that I would share the rest of my weekend and all of the God-given moments in it in my last post but haven't yet. So here goes...

On Friday, one of the uncles was supposed to be going to a prison to look for one of our kids that was taken during the riots.  So I was going to get photos developed of the boy so they knew who to look for at the prison.  I was told that there was a shop in Kivulu that would print them, but when I got there I found the machine broken.  Since I needed medical supplies also, I decided to just go to town and get them printed quickly and get the supplies and return.  As I was leaving, 2 of the boys(Ibra and Junior) started walking with me and I told them they could come if they wanted as I was just going very quickly.  Two hours later we were finally heading back to Kivulu but those 2 hours were precious.  The kids looked a mess and it was obvious they were street kids so everyone was staring and wondering what I was doing.  Some even made comments and asked what I was doing.  The best part was both of the boys are kind of new so I don't know them so well.  It gave me plenty of time to just spend with them and build that relationship.  Ibra is a really sweet kid and the time helped me to connect more with him.  Junior, is a bit of a handful and always wants attention, no matter if it is good or bad, and doesn't listen very well.  Because of this, I find it difficult to connect with him on a regular day because I am always losing my patience with him.  This afternoon, he was a perfect angel and so nice and well behaved that I saw another side of him and it really made me love him.  The difference of being away from the crowd of kids and not having to fight for my attention made all the difference.  Had I not taken them, I would still lose my patience with Junior because I would have never seen a good side to him.

As soon as I got back to Kivulu, Ibra was getting the medical stuff out.  A month or so ago, he would be willing to help every day with medical treatments.  As of late, he has been kind of distant and not making good choices for himself.  Therefore, he hasn't really been with it enough to help or been around.  I really love Ibra and he is definitely one of my favorites, so the recent difficult times have really been breaking my heart.  I don't know how to help him or to get him to make good choices.  So this day when he was completely sober and ready to start medical, I was SO happy.  He helped me the whole time and was really good and patient with the boys.  He has a good heart and it just reminded me what a good kid he can be and that I shouldn't give up on him, no matter how frustrated I get.

After medical was over, the other boys were going to play soccer.  As I was getting ready to go to the field, I saw our youngest boy, Yehaya, laying on the ground.  I knew something had to be wrong with him because he is usually a ball of energy, running, screaming and yelling at someone.  When he wouldn't respond to me, Ibra helped him to his feet and helped him walk to the clinic.  Yehaya makes sure that no one gets close to him.  I don't think he has any friends, only boys that tolerate him.  Because he is the smallest, he gets picked on a lot, especially since he flips out.  The boys think it is funny when he goes into one of his rages(imagine a Tasmanian devil) and many of them will pick on him just so he will flip out.  Ibra was so sweet with him and really paying attention to him and making sure he got to the clinic ok.  Yehaya is afraid of needles so Ibra sat with him and reassured him and helped him to take his medicine.  Even when Yehaya got sick and threw up everywhere, Ibra didn't leave his side.  It soon became obvious that the lady at the clinic couldn't help him and we needed to go to the hospital.  So an uncle carried him there but Ibra and I were left to tend to him.  Since he couldn't walk, Ibra carried him to the lab and to the room, and held him while they were taking his blood.  The doctor wanted him to stay over night and I feared he would wake up in the night and try and run.  Ibra offered to spend the night in the hospital with him and make sure he was fine.  When another boy Matthew found out Yehaya was in hospital, he insisted in staying with him also.  I was so proud of them, especially Ibra.  He was the boy that day that I know he can be.  I wish I saw it more often.

The next day, Saturday, we had planned an outing for the leaders and decided to rent a taxi and take some of the boys with us.  We were going to a musical at an international school here.  We got Yehaya out of the hospital in time, and so he, Ibra, and Matthew were the first boys chosen.  When we got to the church, the uncle had told many boys to go and bathe so they would be ready to go.  I wanted John to go, because he is one of my favorites, but sometimes he can be a bit stubborn with the uncles and other boys.  Since the uncle knows how much I love him, he told him to get ready and we went with him and 9 other boys.  John doesn't really show any emotion to anything and always acts like he is too cool for everything.  During the play, both him and Ibra, were on the edges of their seats, so involved and paying so much attention.  Regardless of how he acts, he is still just a kid, and it is moments like these that let them forget having to survive the streets and be tough so no one takes advantage of them and just be kids.  It was a beautiful thing to see.

On the way back to Kivulu, Richard got really sick.  That is where my other post picked up.  But again, Ibra was the first to volunteer to stay at the clinic.  In a different environment, that kid would be so different.  The other day, he told me he wanted to be a doctor.  It isn't impossible, but it is going to be difficult for him to make it, which is sad.  He would be a great doctor...

God is working in these boys' lives, even if they don't know it or realize it.  I pray that He continues to and gives them the strength and courage to do the right thing and make good choices.  I hope you will pray for them also.

**If you are interested in supporting me and my mission/work here (everything helps!) you can give online at and all donations are tax-deductible, just go to the support tab and preference my ministry. 

Sunday, May 15, 2011

War of the worlds

Let me paint a picture for you...

Richard is sick and needs to spend night in clinic.  He refuses until I offer to stay with him.  Everyone else being concerned for my safety, also decides they must stay in the clinic.  Two boys, one uncle, Richard, and me later, we are ready to sleep in the cramped quarters we call a clinic.  Richard has the only bed, I have the chair next to it, uncle is on the waiting bench, and the 2 boys are on the floor.

Of course I am not tired, and cannot fall asleep.  Everyone else is passed out, snoring.  AND THEN, my war began.

If anyone has been in a kind of tropical country, you can attest for the size of the gigantic killer cockroaches that inhabit them.  Uganda is no different.  The cockroaches are huge and disgusting and everywhere.  Because they are so enormous, they make very much noise when they are moving.  They actually sound like mice scurrying around.

So I was tired of the chair and decided to sleep on the ground.  As soon as I laid down, I heard the scurrying.  I kept trying to tell myself I was imagining such things but when the cockroach was touching my face, I kind of couldn't ignore it any longer.  Anyone that knows me knows my number one fear is insects.  So you can imagine how I was feeling to have a cockroach on my face...

Because my logic is always sound, I decided if I got back in the chair the cockroach could in fact NOT get me.  It worked, until I decided to lean on the table to sleep.  There staring back at me was the same "little" bug that had just crawled on my face.  I decided it must die for its crimes (Again if you know me you know I don't agree with killing things hardly ever and especially not insects with hard shells because the sound is gross :-( ).  I realized I couldn't use my shoe, because that is just gross so I picked up Richard's and hit it.  Keep in mind this is all happening in the dark when everyone else is SOUND asleep.  It appeared to be dead and so I brushed it to the floor and hit it again for good measure.  Obviously giant cockroaches are much harder to kill than I thought.  I decided it was time to get my phone to use for light and found the roach on its back.  Then it started spinning in circles somehow.  As if the scurrying noise didn't make me want to run, that noise definitely did.  So I hit it a couple more times and then pushed it to the other side of room.

Feeling like a hero and I had won, I decided the floor was safe to sleep on again.  I was feeling so good about myself.  I killed a monster bug.  I didn't scream.  I didn't wake anyone.  I was feeling invincible.  So I laid back on the floor again and was starting to fall asleep when I heard it again.  I search for my phone, to get some light and don't see any bugs anywhere.  After some time searching, I find it and try to kill it and FAIL miserably and it runs off.  Now there is an angry cockroach out to get me for my  murder attempt.  So I decide to pray because I realized God has nothing better to do than to protect me from cockroaches.  Oh I also turned the other way and put my feet by where it was because again its not like those things can run to the other side of the room or anything.  So in doing so, I then get kicked in the head by one of the boys but I actually start to fall asleep.  

Suddenly, I am startled awake only to find my "friend" on the door staring at me.  I sit up with a start, and then think I am dreaming because I don't see it anymore.  But then I did see it and by the time I got a shoe, it was gone again.

Now I just know they are plotting against me and the cockroaches are totally winning.  I decided if I turned over, it couldn't get me.  That is when it started crawling on my arm, and I am awoken again.  Each time, I am wide awake and all I hear are the boys snoring, completely unaware and oblivious to the life or death match going on right next to them.

Finally, I get back in the chair, deciding it is the safest place and fall asleep.  I don't know how many cockroaches crawled on me and I have a suspicious looking wound on my finger that I didn't have when I went to sleep.

My war with the cockroaches was an EPIC failure, but if I had to do it again I would.  There have been many God-given moments this weekend, and the cockroaches was just the funniest(I will share the others tomorrow).  Just a few months ago, this episode would have left me in tears and  hyperventilating.  Today I think it is funny and laugh.  Not only has God changed my heart and taken my fears but he has also put someone in my life that I love enough to brave all of my fears for.

God is all around us.  Even in the situations we think are terrible.  If we look, He is there.  He is ALWAYS there.  

God bless!

**If you are interested in supporting me and my mission/work here (everything helps!) you can give online at and all donations are tax-deductible, just go to the support tab and preference my ministry.