Can you think of anyone you know who has never had a table to sit at? Can you even imagine being a child in school then coming home to do homework on the dirt ground? Could it be possible that when the light in the sky sinks below the horizon that is all the light there is for the day? Darkness takes over and determines whether the work is finished or not.
I really cannot imagine living without running water, light switches or furniture.
When the boys were younger and we lived in the desert I would take them to northern Arizona camping for a week. Craig travelled a lot those days so we got creative with his time away. I had a two-fold agenda: 1) we had to escape the desert heat for the elevated cool pines and 2) I wanted the boys to experience the basic necessities of life. We hauled our water, slept in tents, unfolded chairs and hoped there would be a picnic table at the camp site. We could light a fire when it got dark if the big boys were successful finding fire wood. When I felt like cheating we bought wood at the camping store for about a dollar a log. We couldn’t imagine not having our lanterns or flashlights when it got dark. And I had extra batteries when the lights grew dim.
Those were good lessons. At the end of our camping trip everyone was so ready for the comforts of home…especially me. I love the vigorous outdoor camping adventure, but I also like 400 count Egyptian cotton sheets, hot water in my personal shower, reading lights and cushions. I’ve never been able to determine which part of me would win if one hand was tugged by city life and the other tugged by country life. I’d probably split down the center. But that’s another blog topic.
Our kids at the orphanage in Uganda live with the sort of conditions that we consider an experimental camping adventure here.
When I allow that truth to sink in deep it makes me stop. It is exactly why several weeks ago I asked to have tables made for the kids at the orphanage. I knew it would be difficult to do homework without tables. I also hoped it would feel more like family when they eat together. But it didn’t occur to me that there would be no light after the sun set.
The kids at the orphanage went to the government school for their first term. We thought it would be better than nothing while we hoped to find school sponsors for all of them. Next week they begin school at the private school so they have at least had a taste of what “doing school” means for their day. The school reports were not so good the first term…actually their grades were rather poor. This is a Big dilemma…how to help them be good students. In the government school there are no textbooks and with a hundred students per teacher it surprises me they have any idea how the individual child performs. I am hoping that the better school will guide the children to becoming better students.
The tables arrived this week! What a change this is going to bring to their lives. Most of them have never had a table before now. The next challenge is lighting in the church. Adams got smart and realized he could get solar lights installed. Now this is something I LIKE…
Here’s the problem: they are renting the space where they live. If we make any permanent improvements on this property the owner will sniff it like perfume and think, “thank you very much for doing that for my property, now all of you can leave. I’ll enjoy this for myself.” Obviously we don’t want that to happen before we have a new place built for them. So we can’t put water or electricity on the property. But if we have our own solar panels they come with us when we move. Good idea.
It’s going to cost about fifteen hundred dollars to get light for the kids. I’m not sure how we will accomplish this, but I know God is going to provide lightand I’m even confident we will have them when we come to visit in June.