I wear a gold charm of Africa on my neck every day and in the spot where Uganda lies there is a a pearl. The country is known as the pearl of Africa. I don’t know all of the reasons for this reputation, but I suspect one of them is the second largest fresh water lake borders Uganda, Lake Victoria. It could also be that it has some of the best growing conditions on the continent, known as being the food bowl of Africa. It could be because the people are so friendly and welcoming. It might be simply for the fact that the source of the Nile River is in Uganda. I’m not sure. But these are some of the reasons I would say Uganda has luster.
Kira loves my necklace and she tells me with a finger touching it “Africa”, and I say, “your first home”. I watch her face register something she doesn’t yet understand. I am eager to bring her to Uganda this summer. She’s a popular little lady there, and everyone I know asks me, “Where is Kirabo? Why do you make me suffer by leaving her home?” They will all be so surprised to see her talking and to find so much America in her personality. I know the Aunties at her baby home will fall to their knees when they see little baby Kirabo like a big girl with English coming out of her mouth. It will be a happy reunion.
Craig and I are brainstorming together about our Vision for Kirabo Seeds, our strategies, and our actions. As we discussed our vision last night we thought deeply about our specific orphan care, but also we realized there’s another ingredient to our mission, and this one was uniquely given to us by God. We are able to connect those who have the desire to help with those who need the help, and we can strive to do it in a way that helps effectively, which means we are invested in long term relationship and seeing the people become self sustaining, rather dependent on the western handout.
I’m reading the book, Toxic Charity, by Lupton. It’s spelling out all the thoughts and feelings that have surfaced in my own experience, and it answers many of my dilemmas. I recommend anyone interested in doing mission work whether it is in your own neighborhood, church, or to reach the farther nations to read this book. For me, the knowledge and experience it offers gives me a great sigh of relief. Helping others isn’t about the feeling it gives me. That kind of help can actually hurt them. Giving and giving and giving trains people to expect gifts. Helping them to discover their abilities, and find their niche, then helping them get started on helping themselves, that’s real satisfaction. That takes commitment, relationship, and time. That’s how Kirabo Seeds will proceed. I know there are well intentioned people interested in helping in a way that really helps, and that’s what we can offer with our nonprofit. Rather than giving up, or going naievely forward on their own, we can offer a meaningful, impactful relationship.
For example, and I’ll finish with this, if we descend on a village, and say, “hey we brought people and we are going to build you a well” they will celebrate, dance and rejoice. But if they don’t participate in making the well problems will develop later. The mission team will go home, and the well will breakdown, then the people will abandon the well, and go back to walking long distances with jugs on their head as they’ve always done, thinking, the great gift wasn’t so great. They will wait for the mission team to come back and fix it. How many short term mission teams go back?
There’s something to think about.