March 28, 2008
Dear friends and
Over a month has
passed since I arrived here in Jinja…a month full of
joy, pain, love, and letting go. To let go is always
beyond my strength - but in my weakness, He is strong.
So many times, I have found myself face to face with
something so out of my comfort zone or beyond anything
I’ve ever experienced that I have no idea how to react.
My only thought is
“Why, God, have you blessed me so much!?”
A girl showed up on
our doorstep last week seeking help because the rats
were coming and eating her hands at night. Why her, and
Another little girl
walks over an hour, barefoot, to school every morning,
which is actually common for many. Why her, and not me?
Why is Sophia, a
little girl at Amani, suffering through bleeding rashes
because of her AIDS? Why has God blessed me with health
The thought of it all
takes my breath away.
I’ve been at Amani
most days, from midday until all of the kids are in
bed. While the kids at Amani definitely have my heart,
I have been blessed by so many opportunities with other
orphanages/organizations. This past week, Julie, Josh,
and I had the privilege of visiting an orphanage about
an hour or so away. We were welcomed with open arms and
informed that we were the first white people to visit
the village in THIRTY years!
All the kids wanted
to do was touch my skin and hair. They pulled me down
to the ground, content to just sit and smile at me. My
lap was full and the kids continued to press around me.
I was overwhelmed by the need, but felt a strange sense
of peace and satisfaction in their simple joy.
When it was time for
lunch, I walked with the kids down the dirt path where
everyone gathered around to receive a cup of porridge
and a small baked cracker. I sat down on the ground
with the Ugandan women and they immediately started
whispering and staring at me. For some reason, I think
the fact that I sat right down on the dirt beside them
kind of caught them off guard, as if they weren’t really
sure how to take this “Mzungo.”
One of the women
handed me her baby and I thanked her profusely for the
honor of holding the child…she simply smiled. They then
insisted on feeding us lunch. I was very conscious of
the fact that I was being evaluated and so, by the time
their offering was set before us, I had purposed that I
would eat whatever I was given, which turned out to be a
very hot, thick porridge, cassava, and nuts. It didn’t
taste fabulous, but I definitely was grateful that it
wasn’t something worse! ;-)
As we prepared to
leave, they said that they had a small presentation for
us. We were ushered to benches and the women danced a
traditional dance for us. The songs were all in
Lugandan, but translated, they were saying something
about the white person finally coming to their village.
After they finished their dance and songs, they gave us
each gifts. Julie was handed a very large basket of
avocados. Josh was given some pieces of art and some
large woven mats. A woman walked towards me, beaming,
with a chicken in her arms. Once again, I choked back
any hint of shock, and took the live animal as if I were
given such a gift every day. I honestly couldn’t hold
back laughter, which seemed to please them!
Our motorcycles arrived to take us back to the taxi
park. We strapped the mats to the back, Julie climbed
on with her avocados, and I got on the back of the
motorcycle, still cradling my chicken. We survived the
20 minute ride on the motorcycle, and then spent the
next hour and a half in a crowded van. The last leg of
the journey, after reaching Jinja, was another 20 minute
motorcycle ride out to our home in Bukaya, the chicken
all the while in my lap.
Once home, I was
enlisted by our house girl to cut its head off.
Apparently, since I was the one to carry it all that
way, I also had to kill it. Needless to say, chicken
doesn’t seem very appealing to me for the time being.
We are going back to the village on Sunday to bring some
food and gifts. Please pray that God would give us
wisdom in helping these kids. It often seems that the
easiest solution is food or money, but these things are
so temporary. My time here is short and I feel a sense
of urgency to help and give as much as I can before I
have to go home.
On another note,
please be in prayer for the staff and volunteers at
Amani. Relationships and communication don’t always go
as smoothly as they ought. Please pray that God would
grace us all with love and understanding. Sometimes,
when volunteers come in with great ideas and plans, all
with the most sincere of intentions, things can be
misunderstood as an attack on the current system, rather
than fresh ideas. Also, we as volunteers need to learn
patience and understanding towards those in authority
and those around us. God has given us a great gift in
being able to all serve together here. My prayer is
that we wouldn’t get sidetracked by the insignificant
Thank you so much for
the honor of sharing my heart with you. I’m humbled by
the life God has given me. Much love and many blessings
to you and your families.
In His strength,
HERE ARE PHOTOS OF THAT VISIT